The US Supreme Court agreed today to hear a case involving a former girls' basketball coach who was allegedly fired after he complained that his team received less money and were forced to use worse facilities than comparable boys' teams. The issue before the Court is whether individuals who are penalized for attempting to ensure that schools do not discriminate against women and girls are eligible to sue under Title IX, the landmark 1972 federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs.
Roderick Jackson, formerly head coach of girls’ basketball at Ensley High School in Alabama, argues that the girls’ basketball team was forced to use substandard facilities and equipment and received less money and support from the school, in comparison with the boys’ basketball team. Jackson alleges that he was fired after submitting complaints about the problem.
Jackson’s case has been rejected by lower federal courts, including the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which found that Title IX does not allow any specific right to sue over alleged retaliation, according to the Associated Press. The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) has taken up the case for Jackson, arguing that Supreme Court precedent holds that other broadly worded anti-discriminatory laws allow suits over alleged retaliation, even when the laws do not expressly bar retaliation. Furthermore, “the strength of our civil rights laws hinges on the willingness of citizens to expose violations,” according to Marcia Greenberger, co-President of NWLC, in a written statement. If individuals cannot seek recourse when they are penalized for protesting sex discrimination, not only would that undermine the right to be free from such discrimination, but it would also increase the prevalence of discrimination, Greenberger continued.
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. . . .