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.
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. . . .