A federal district court today struck down the U.S. Army’s promotional affirmative action policy because, according to the judge, the policy impermissibly preferences women and minorities. The policy requires those on the promotion board to examine the list of applicants “best qualified” for a promotion and insure that that the percentage of women and minority candidates in the “best qualified” pool is similar to the percentage of women and minorities in the pool of applicants judged to be qualified for a promotion. If females and minorities are found to be underrepresented, the board is to revaluate applications. In addition, when evaluating the applications of women and minorities, the policy instructs the board to consider that prior discrimination may have limited the opportunities of women and minority candidates.
The district court found that this policy, which does not require that a specific number of women or minority officers be promoted, created a racial and gender preference that disadvantaged white males. The district court also found that the Army failed to show that the review process was required because of prior discrimination in the Army in promotions.
As of 1997, women made up 14% of the Army. In that same year, an Army report found that “sexual harassment exists throughout the army” and that “sex discrimination is more common than sexual harassment.” A 1997 report of Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services found that the practice of male commanders denying women leadership positions and assigning them desk duty is "widespread." At some bases, women were "openly demeaned and their roles in the military ridiculed."
The case is Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Saunders v. Thomas E. White.
Media Resources: Washington Post 3/5/02, cnn.com 9/11/97, FMF
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .