The House Government Committee has just released e-mails from convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff which indicate that Abramoff tried to use his connections with then White House Political Director Ken Mehlman (who is currently the chair of the Republican National Committee) to have State Department employee Allen Stayman fired. Stayman was advocating for labor reforms to improve the working conditions within sweatshops in the US territory of the Northern Mariana Islands, which is exempt from US minimum wage requirements and most provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The emails show that Abramoff, who was working as a lobbyist for the Northern Mariana Islands and its garment factories, asked Ken Mehlman to fire Stayman, the Los Angeles Times reports. Mehlman has denied he had a role in firing Stayman, but, although the State Department fought the firing, Stayman was fired within four months of the sent emails, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Ms. magazine wrote a long investigative report showing how Abramoff worked to prevent labor law reforms to raise the minimum wage to US levels, eliminate long work hours, and stop high "recruitment fees" that workers must pay upon hiring. By maintaining these poor working conditions for a predominately female workforce, Abramoff served his clients, the Northern Mariana Islands and their sweatshops.
The emails show numerous ties between Abramoff and the White House; previously, Abramoff’s ties had been thought to be mostly with Congress. The Los Angeles Times reports that Abramoff had more than 400 contacts at the White House. The White House has denied any close relationship with Abramoff. The e-mails also indicate several other allegedly unethical dealings between Abramoff and high-level White House officials.
7/1/2015 Women's Rights Activists are Suing the Kenyan Government for Reproductive Rights - A woman in Kenya is suing the Kenyan government for failure to provide safe and legal abortions, which caused her daughter - a 15-year-old rape victim - to suffer a kidney failure after undergoing the procedure illegally.
Currently, there are four petitioners on the case: the mother of the survivor, the Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya, and two other women's rights advocates. . . .
6/30/2015 Supreme Court Ruling Prevents Gerrymandering in Arizona - In a 5-4 decision delivered by Justice Ginsburg this morning, the Supreme Court upheld Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, allowing the use of independent state commissions that draw federal congressional districts, taking that power away from the state legislature.
This gives states an opportunity to deal with partisan gerrymandering by giving an independent commission power to draw federal congressional districts.
In 2000, Arizona voters amended their constitution, shifting the responsibility of drawing congressional districts, previously held by the state legislature, to a panel called the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. . . .