Justice Sotomayor Dissents in Landmark Fourth-Amendment Stop and Search Case

If you think this case doesn’t affect you, you’re not paying close enough attention.

The implication of the court’s ruling, Sotomayor explained, is that “you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.”

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor added to her growing list of notable dissents on Monday with a blisteringly fierce objection to a major Fourth Amendment decision. Sotomayor’s dissent touched on individual rights, police authority, and how people of color feel when they’re constantly stopped, searched and catalogued by the state. For good measure, she…

via Sonia Sotomayor cited ‘The New Jim Crow’ in a dissent that’s the best thing you’ll read today — Fusion


Anita Hill Hearings Sparked National Conversation on Sexual Harrassment

“I think it was something that was meant to happen, actually,” Hill explained. “I had an experience to share that went to the fitness of an individual who was going to be sitting on a Supreme Court with a lifetime appointment. It was important, not only to the integrity of this individual, but also to the integrity of the court itself.”

In the years after Hill’s testimony, the number of workplace harassment complaints to the EEOC skyrocketed as more and more people became comfortable with the idea of speaking up. Though Hill recognizes the role she played in sparking a national conversation about sexual harassment, she stressed the fact that there’s still much more work to be done.

via 25 years after accusing Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, Anita Hill says she’d ‘do it all again’ — Fusion

Weekly Link Roundup: 11/20/15

Goodreads from this week on feminist friendships, ISIS, and more. Continue reading “Weekly Link Roundup: 11/20/15”

Intersecting Gender Discrimination, Religious Rights, and the Definition of “Persons”, or: What Happens at Gitmo?

S.T. delves deep into a very sticky legal situation with no clear answer: what happens when court rulings like Citizens United and Hobby Lobby (which deal with “personhood”) run into cases at Guantanamo Bay? And what do women have to do with it?

When I think of Hobby Lobby cases, I think of cases concerning birth control, abortion, and bosses’ “rights” to decide what women can and cannot do with their bodies. Previously, I wrote about The Satanic Temple’s law suit in Missouri. In the past year, Burwell v Hobby Lobby has been used in attempts to justify refusing service to LGBTQ customers and firing women who’ve had abortions (but in big news, women who are denied birth control coverage by their bosses can now get it anyway). But it’s not always corporations or small businesses suing for the right to discriminate. In the past year, some interesting suits have emerged from, of all places, Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. military base that currently houses 116 detainees. One case in particular raises questions about religion, prison rights, and women’s rights.

Continue reading “Intersecting Gender Discrimination, Religious Rights, and the Definition of “Persons”, or: What Happens at Gitmo?”

Weekly Link Roundup: Charleston, Voting Rights, and Marriage Equality!

This week, as with all Weekly Link Roundups, we’ve gathered up some reading that’s near and dear to our hearts. This week, we cover the Charleston massacre, the legalization of gay marriage, films by and about women of color, and more.

This week on the interwebs:

  • The Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. Yeeeees!
  • Congressional Democrats introduce a new bill designed to bolster the gutted Voting Rights Act. From the article: “The 2016 election will be the first in 50 years where voters will not have the full protections of the VRA, which adds urgency to the congressional effort. Since the Shelby decision, onerous new laws have been passed or implemented in states like North Carolina and Texas, which have disenfranchised thousands of voters, disproportionately those of color. In the past five years, 395 new voting restrictions have been introduced in 49 states, with half the states in the country adopting measures making it harder to vote. “If anybody thinks there’s not racial discrimination in voting today, they’re not really paying attention,” Senator Leahy said.”
  • Don’t know what to watch this weekend? Indiewire collected a list of 115 films by and about women of color, following a Twitter conversation led by Ava DuVernay (who’s just been tapped to direct Marvel’s Black Panther!)
  • From The Toast: an interview with a slavery specialist who guides historical tours, and an interesting look in an arena of “heritage tourism.”
  • Don’t let the Charleston massacre get lost in the 24-hour news cycle. From the African American Intellectual History Society: a powerful syllabus that collects op-eds to spur further discussion and a wealth of resources on South Carolina, Confederate history, the Confederate flag and its symbolic legacy, and the history of American racism.
  • A particularly powerful piece that’s worth reading from the syllabus above: ways in which our racially fraught, violent history, which is sometimes framed as something antiquated, is in fact persistently present. A warning that this is a fairly upsetting read. But then again, so is being a victim of racism.
  • Finally: do computers dream? Google’s neural image recognition software gives us an idea of what “AI inception” might look like.

The Good, The Bad, and The Absolutely Terrifying: The Week in Abortion Legislation

Writer ST rounds up the latest developments in abortion legislation. What are old men without medical degrees telling you to do with your ovaries/womb/vagina? Come with us on a tour.

The Good: It often feels like we are being inundated with terrible news about reproductive rights, but there are good things happening too. For all the gynoticians out there telling us what we can and cannot do with our bodies, there are reproductive-rights champions fighting back at every level.

• On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld a 4th-circuit court ruling stating that North Carolina’s ultrasound law (which required women to view an ultrasound of their fetus prior to receiving an abortion) placed an undue burden on…wait for it…doctors. That’s right: the law was changed not because it limits women’s freedoms, but because forcing doctors to narrate ultrasounds to their patients violates their first-amendment right to freedom of speech. But hey, at least the ruling has a good outcome, right? (I’m appreciative of everything doctors do in this fight, but it’s pretty depressing that women’s agency over their own bodies isn’t enough).

• In unequivocal good news (well, for people who support reproductive rights), women in Oregon will now be able to get a year’s worth of birth control at a time, sparing them from going through this rigmarole every 30 days. Yay Oregon!

• In more potentially good news out of the PNW, Senator Patty Murray introduces a bill to make over-the-counter birth control available while keeping it covered by insurance companies. The bill is called “Affordability IS Accessibility,” and you can sign the petition for it here!

The Bad: In slightly more-familiar territory, the past week has seen another rash of clinic-shut-downs, bans, and insane lawsuits.

• Wisconsin, home to Scott Walker, misogynist extraordinaire, has a bill in the works that would implement a 20-week ban on abortions. While the future of the bill is unclear, Walker has said he will sign it into law, and even if it is later overturned by a federal court, it could do some serious damage (see below for why).

• I guess this is technically good news: apparently, murder charges against a Georgia woman arrested for taking an abortion pill have been dropped—but the mere fact that she was arrested—for murder—in the first place is pretty awful. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem Kenlissa Jones is fully off the hook, another reason I’m including this with “the bad.”

A new ruling in Texas effectively shut down a majority of the state’s abortion clinics, in addition to banning abortions after 20 weeks and restricting the use of RU4-86, colloquially known as the “abortion pill.” With only 8 clinics left in the state, many Texas women are now hours away from abortion access, adding yet another hurdle to an ever-expanding list.

The Absolutely Terrifying: All I can say here is that I am deeply thankful for the power of veto; while I don’t know what will happen in the senate, I feel at least 90% confident that Obama will not allow the following law to come to be.

In May, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a national 20-week abortion ban, initially introduced by Senator Trent Franks (AZ-R).Now, South Carolina senator and presidential hopeful Lindsay Graham is determined to see this bill through. Perhaps this ban is simply part of a presidential bid, or perhaps it’s part of an effort to get the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade. Either way, it doesn’t bode well for the future of reproductive rights.

And in case you’re not sure why this law would be so terrible, here are some stories from women who have abortions beyond 20 weeks. Abortions after 20 weeks are incredibly rare; roughly 63% of abortions occur before 8 weeks, and less than 2% of abortions occur at the 21st week or beyond. As the above stories indicate, this ban would have very little effect on most women seeking abortions, but would be catastrophic to those who need late abortions for medical reasons.

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