Supreme Court Ruling Strengthens Title IX, Protects Whistle-Blowers
The US Supreme Court ruled today that those who are the victims of retaliation for drawing attention to Title IX violations can sue under the 1972 federal law prohibiting sex discrimination at institutions receiving federal financial assistance for education programs and activities. The court ruled 5-4 in favor of Roderick Jackson, a basketball coach in Alabama who claims that he was fired for complaining that the girls’ basketball team was forced to use substandard facilities and equipment and was denied funding equal to that received by the boys’ basketball team. Jackson’s case was dismissed by lower federal courts, including the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that Title IX does not allow any specific right to sue over alleged retaliation, only over direct discrimination.
“Without protection from retaliation, individuals who witness discrimination would likely not report it, indifference claims would be short-circuited, and the underlying discrimination would go unremedied,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote for the majority opinion. O’Connor also stated that retaliation against someone who complained about sex discrimination amounted to intentional discrimination on the basis of sex, Reuters reports.
The Department of Justice filed a brief in support of Jackson last year. “Teachers and coaches are often in a much better position to identify sex discrimination and express opposition to it than are the students who are denied equal educational opportunities,” wrote US Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson in the brief.
The participation of girls in high school athletics has increased by 847 percent since Title IX took effect in 1972, and the participation of women in college sports has increased 400 percent.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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. . . .