Bush Names Affirmative Action Opponent to Civil Rights Post
Fearing a possible defeat for his nominee in committee, President Bush used his power to make appointments during Congressional recesses to name Gerald A. Reynolds to head the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education. The regulatory lawyer from Kansas holds very little experience in educational and civil rights issues and is a vocal opponent of affirmative action. During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, and Labor Committee in February, Committee Chair, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), challenged Reynolds qualifications for the post citing his “lack of education policy experience and his longstanding hostility to basic civil rights laws.”
As part of his duties, Reynolds will be responsible for enforcing civil rights laws affecting school and universities, addressing complaints about racial discrimination, enforcing Title IX laws, and addressing the concerns of students with disabilities. He will serve as a recess appointment until the end of the year unless confirmed by the Senate before then.
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. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .