AZ Ban on Mexican American Studies Ruled Constitutional
On Friday a federal judge ruled that a 2010 law banning Mexican American studies in Tuscon, Arizona, is constitutional.
Federal Judge Wallace Tashima of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appealsdetermined that the plaintiffs failed to prove that the law was too broad or violated student first amendment rights. Only one part of the law was struck down - a clause that prohibited courses "designed primarily for peoples of a particular ethnic group."
Judge Tashima warned that the law did border on discrimination by saying, "This single-minded focus on terminating the MAS (Mexican-American Studies) program, along with Horne's decision not to issue findings against other ethnic studies programs, is at least suggestive of discriminatory intent." But he continued, "Although some aspects of the record may be viewed to spark suspicion that the Latino population has been improperly targeted, on the whole, the evidence indicates that Defendants targeted the MAS program, not Latino students, teachers or community members who participated in the program."
Richard Martinez, the plaintiff's lawyer, has already announced that he plans to appeal the decision. Martinez told the Huffington Post "This case is not over. It's not only important to Arizona, but to the country as a whole that this statute be addressed."
Passed in May 2010, the law bans classes that "promote the overthrow of the United States government," "promote resentment toward a race or class of people," "are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group," or "advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."
Media Resources: Associated Press 3/11/2013; Huffington Post 3/11/2013; New York Times 3/11/2013; Feminist Newswire 5/13/2010
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. . . .