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.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .