University of Michigan Gains More Support for Affirmative Action Program
The United States Supreme Court received 64 briefs in February from over 300 organizations and various groups backing the affirmative action practices at the University of Michigan, according to the New York Times. Supporters included scholars, labor unions, and many Fortune 500 companies, along with notable retired military officers such as Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander in the Persian Gulf War; Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., former chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff; and many others, according to the Washington Post. Twelve Democratic senators also filed a brief saying colleges should be able to use race as a factor “in order to foster racial and ethnic diversity in their student bodies,” as stated in the Washington Post.
Last month, the Department of Justice filed amicus briefs supporting the white students’ case against the University of Michigan, which considers race, along with geography, test scores, grades, and a factors, in its admission process. “The Bush Administration is undermining one of the most important tools for promoting equal opportunity,” Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) told the Washington Post.
The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments April 1 for two related affirmative action cases involving the University of Michigan. On the same day, thousands of high school and college students are planning a civil rights march in Washington, D.C. to the Supreme Court to demand that affirmative action be upheld, according to the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN).
At the same time as affirmative action is challenged, preferences shown to “legacies” during the college admission process have come under criticism. ''[President Bush] trying to undo affirmative action programs that promote opportunity, never mind that an older form of affirmative action helped him get into college as a family legacy,'' Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-MO) said last month to the Boston Globe. Bush was a third generation legacy at Yale. According to the Washington Post, the proportion of legacy applicants admitted to Georgetown is between 40-42 percent, while the proportion of minorities is only 28 percent. This trend has been seen all over the country at elite colleges and universities, according to the Post.
Media Resources: Boston Globe 3/5/03; New York Times 2/23/03; Washington Post 2/18/03, 2/20/03, 3/12/03; BAMN; Feminist Daily News 2/11/03
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. . . .