A landmark legal victory in a battered woman case in Nova Scotia caught my attention this week (even more because the Atlantic Canadian province happens to be my hometown). Nova Scotia’s highest court concluded a woman “living in a state of terror” was understandably driven to arrange for her abusive husband’s murder.
The Palm Center, which was formerly known as the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military and has been a leader in research regarding the federal government’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, has announced that it is merging with the Williams Institute at UCLA. As the post on Metroweekly’s poligot observes, this merger makes sense given the imminent demise of DADT. The Williams Institute has a much broader spectrum of LGBT-related issues that it covers, and the Palm Center has apparently revised the description of its mission in keeping with that broader focus:
As a member of the graduating class of South Texas College in 1957, Joe Kegans practiced law for twenty years before being appointed to the 230th Criminal District Court. One of the earliest women to earn a criminal justice degree in America, and considered posthumously to have been a “pioneer of Texas criminal law,” Kegans was the first woman to sit on the bench as a criminal district court judge in the state of Texas. That was over 30 years ago, and not enough has changed since then.
The Seattle Law Review just published a wonderful colloquy issue (here) centered around Joan Williams’s recent book, Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter. Featuring contributions by ten renowned legal theorists, and book-ended by an inspirational article by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and a witty recap by Professor Williams, it is well worth reading.
Earlier in March, the Montana House of Representatives passed a bill, in an 89-10 vote, to increase the penalty for sexual assaults. As the law stands now, sex offenders receive a fine up to $500 and can be sentenced to up to six months in jail. Under this new bill, introduced by Senator Taylor Brown, penalties would double for second-time offenders, with a third offense yielding a five-year sentence and a $100,000 fine.
Today, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a 2008 ballot initiative that banned adults “cohabiting with a sexual partner” outside of a different-sex marriage from being foster or adoptive parents. The court found that the law violated the right to privacy under the Arkansas Constitution–in essence, you have to choose between being able to engage in an intimate sexual relationship in the privacy of your home and being a foster or adoptive parent. For the ACLU press release, click here. For a copy of the decision, click here.
Jan Brewer, along with a litany of other anti-choice politicians in Arizona, have made it a legislative priority to limit women’s access to abortion and other reproductive health care services throughout the state. Between the bill approved in the Arizona Senate earlier this week to ban race and sex motivated abortions, and the piece of legislation to limit out access to RU-486, one thing is very clear: women’s reproductive health, rights, and justice are under attack in Arizona and the anti-choice community is hard at work organizing a coordinated assault on reproductive freedom.
A huge milestone in the campaign for justice for Recy Taylor today: the Alabama State House passed an apology for authorities' mishandling of the African-American woman's 1944 gang-rape. This comes after over 16,000 Change.org members signed a petition run by Taylor's brother, Robert Corbitt, asking for an official apology from the city of Abbeville and state of Alabama. And we're closing in on our goals. "Change[.org] really made a change," Corbitt said.
Today, the Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments in Dukes vs. Wal-mart, the gender discrimination lawsuit against Wal-mart. At stake is whether the case can continue as a class-action suit–that is, whether the plaintiffs in the case can represent over a million more women who worked for the company since 1998.
In what appears to be the first such action of its type, an Immigration Judge in Manhattan has adjourned deportation proceedings for the Argentine lesbian spouse of an American citizen to allow the couple to proceed with their application to have their marriage recognized for purposes of federal immigration law.