Loopholes in Licensing Agreements Discriminate Against Female College Athletes

Beginning in 2020, many state legislatures began to pass laws that declared that college athletes had the right to sell or license their names, images and likenesses (NILs), and that their eligibility for athletics could not be taken away due to their exercise of those rights.

The monetization of athlete NILs through legitimately independent third parties is not problematic—but once there is university cooperation and involvement, Title IX requires equal treatment of women. There is ample evidence of close and growing university involvement with the collectives, and various estimates put the share of NIL money going to male athletes ranges to be between 80 and 95 percent.

Do Pregnant Women Have the Same Rights Under the Law as Everyone Else?

Feminists often say that abortion bans make women second-class citizens. And it’s true: Abortion bans strip from pregnant women the basic right to bodily autonomy, which other people enjoy. This is true for any abortion ban. But this concept—that banning abortion puts pregnant women in a different class from “regular” people—is particularly apparent in laws that do not allow for a full range of emergency care to preserve a pregnant woman’s health. These laws put fetal life ahead of maternal life, and render women little more than fetus-sustaining objects.

In the coming months, the same Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade will now be asked to answer the question: Are pregnant women full people under the law?

Supreme Court Allows Enforcement of Idaho’s Abortion Ban, Pending April Hearing

The U.S. Supreme Court released a brief order late last week that allows Idaho to continue to enforce its near-total abortion ban, even in medical emergencies. The ruling is a response to an effort from the Biden administration to ensure additional abortion access in hospitals located in states with bans. The Court also agreed to hear the dispute between the state and the Biden administration over the constitutionality of the law in its April session.

“Today’s Supreme Court order … denies women critical emergency abortion care required by federal law,” said President Joe Biden in response to the ruling. “The overturning of Roe v. Wade has enabled Republican elected officials to pursue dangerous abortion bans like this one that continue to jeopardize women’s health, force them to travel out of state for care, and make it harder for doctors to provide care, including in an emergency. These bans are also forcing doctors to leave Idaho and other states because of laws that interfere with their ability to care for their patients. This should never happen in America.”

Documentary ‘Yours in Freedom, Bill Baird’ Explores the Fight for Birth Control Access and the Road Ahead

Bill Baird, the man who successfully challenged the U.S. law banning the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried people, is the subject of Rebecca Cammisa’s powerful documentary, Yours in Freedom, Bill Baird. The film sounds a loud and dire warning about the need for reproductive justice advocates to remain vigilant and active if we want to keep the rights we currently have. This, Baird cautions, requires us to pay attention to politics at the local, state and federal levels. 

“The world is on fire,” Baird says in the film’s final frame. “Freedom is on fire.” Nonetheless, he makes clear that he has already done what he could. It’s now our job to drown the flames and continue the fight for bodily autonomy, human rights and liberation.

Rest in Power: Sandra Day O’Connor, the First Woman on the Supreme Court

One hundred and ninety-one years after the first Supreme Court was convened, Sandra Day O’Connor smashed the glass ceiling and was sworn in as the first woman to become an associate justice and one of the most influential members in the history of the Court.

For 12 years, she was the only women on the bench and the most powerful woman in the United States. At the time, the entire institution was designed for and by men—from the signs on the walls harking to “Mr. Justice,” to the lack of bathrooms and other facilities closed off to women (though she later inaugurated and regularly attended an aerobics class for women law clerks).

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Abortion Pill Case—Setting up an Abortion Ruling Before the 2024 Elections

The Supreme Court granted a request by the Department of Justice and the abortion pill maker Danco Laboratories to review a Fifth Circuit Court decision drastically limiting access to the abortion pill mifepristone. At the same time, the Supreme Court denied a request by the anti-abortion group Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine to reinstate a Texas district court decision staying the 2000 approval of mifepristone.

The case will be heard this term, with a decision likely by summer—just months before the next election, where voters will decide on the next U.S. president and who will represent them in Congress. While the Supreme Court considers the case, the medication will remain available as it has been. 

Expanding the Federal Judiciary Is Not About ‘Packing’ the Courts—It’s About *Saving* Them

The Senate’s set to leave for the year on Dec. 15. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has urged his Senate colleagues to treat judicial nominations as a priority and to prepare “to stay in Washington until we finish our work.” (Trump had confirmed 187 judges by the end of 2019. President Joe Biden had secured 153 as of Thanksgiving.)

But it’s not enough to confirm nominees to the seats that exist; we need to expand the courts. Here’s the case for expanding the federal judiciary.

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: Sexual Harassment Is Pervasive in State Politics; Remembering Sandra Day O’Connor

Weekend Reading for Women’s Representation is a compilation of stories about women’s representation. 

This week: Although Latinas represent 20 percent of California’s population, their representation in elected office lags far behind that; sexual harassment by sitting state lawmakers over the last decade is pervasive and ongoing; the urgent need for creating space for disabled leaders within the political sphere; former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; and more.

The Constitution as a Homicide Pact

The facts of U.S. v. Rahimi reveal the gendered and destructive reality of gun use behind the illusion of abstract, idealized self-defense.

Every 14 hours in the U.S., a man uses a gun to kill his intimate partner. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable. But the Supreme Court’s conservative commitment to “life” is highly selective, to put it mildly, and tends to value women’s lives—including those of domestic violence victims—very little. We can expect the Court’s ruling to come down in June or July of 2024.