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Nan Hunter
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Yes, on Monday June 4, hunter of justice will be born again. Thanks to fabulous web designer Barbara Kerr, the old blog is getting a new look. If the migration goes as well as it is supposed to, all of the rss feeds and email subscriptions will also migrate seamlessly. If you experience any problems, please use the Comments function to let us know. Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2012 at hunter of justice
The unanimity of the First Circuit's ruling that DoMA is unconstitutional virtually insures that a cert petition to the Supreme Court will be filed in the next 90 days, followed by an order granting certiorari in early October, followed by oral argument next winter, followed by a decision by June 2013. There's just one big problem looming for lgbt rights advocates: Justice Kagan will almost certainly recuse herself. The Court of Appeals decision in Commonwealth of Mass. v U.S. Dep't of Health and Human Services [2012 WL 1948017] broke no... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2012 at hunter of justice
Today's New York Times carries an op-ed by Bill Keller titled "A Brief for Justice Kennedy" in which he makes a sweet, but pretty much legally beside the point, argument that the Supreme Court should strike down exclusionary marriage laws because they harm gay couples. With all due regard to Keller for endorsing this argument, and realizing that he is writing for a non-legal audience, I think it nonetheless makes sense to remind people that the real briefs that will need to be filed with that or other courts have... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2012 at hunter of justice
Nan Hunter is now following Paul Caron
Apr 28, 2012
The EEOC has issued a decision holding that it will consider gender identity discrimination to be a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII. The ruling comes in Macy v. Holder, a case brought by a transwoman against an agency within the Department of Justice. The EEOC decision cites precedent established in a series of federal court decisions that have come to the same conclusion. The decision in the Macy case covers only gender identity discrimination and does not include any discussion of whether sexual orientation discrimination is also... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2012 at hunter of justice
In the wake of the Ninth Circuit's opinion in Perry v. Brown, Lambda Legal is filing a lawsuit today in U.S. District Court in Nevada alleging that the state marriage law violates the U.S. Constitution because it excludes same-sex couples. The suit, Sevcik v. Sandoval, is being litigated solely under the Equal Protection Clause. Nevada is one of the states in the Ninth Circuit and, like California, it has an official partnership status that grants essentially all aspects of marriage except the name. According to the report by Chris Geidner... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2012 at hunter of justice
The first DoMA challenge to go before a Court of Appeals was argued this morning, and, if I were plaintiffs' counsel, I would be pretty optimistic. Two judges on the panel - Chief Judge Lynch and Judge Boudin - look like probable votes to declare the law unconstitutional. For details, see Prop8TrialTracker's blogging of the arguments, or listen yourself to an audiotape of the argument (although the first 18 minutes are missing). The most significant aspect of the argument (see Chris Geidner's report below) appears to have been that the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2012 at hunter of justice
A three-judge panel of the First Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing arguments this morning on the constitutionality of DoMA. Kudos to Chris Geidner of MetroWeekly, who wrote this excellent background summary of the case: The questions posed by the challenges to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act are, on a surface level, quite simple: Does DOMA unconstitutionally discriminate against same-sex couples? Does DOMA unconstitutionally infringe on states' rights? HOW DID THE CASES GET HERE? The path that the cases have taken to get to this point, however,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2012 at hunter of justice
March 29 - "Taxing Civil Rights Gains." a panel on tax issues for same-sex couples, featuring Professors Anthony Infanti and Bridget Crawford, at Seton Hall Law School, 5 to 7 pm. March 30 - The Fordham Law Review symposium will focus on the Defense of Marriage Act: Law, Policy and the Future of Marriage. March 30 - CUNY Law Review will hold its annual symposium on Rhonda Copelon and the Future of International Women's Human Rights Law. Copelon, an extraordinary feminist lawyer, died in 2010. Her work and the theme... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2012 at hunter of justice
From the Washington Blade: The Senate on Thursday confirmed to the bench a gay judicial nominee whom Republicans had held up for four months from receiving a floor vote along with other appointees. Michael Fitzgerald, whom President Obama nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in July, was approved by a vote of 91-6. A simple majority was required for confirmation. The six senators who voted “no” were Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2012 at hunter of justice
I have been traveling out of the country for the last two weeks, and so am belatedly responding to the post by Matt Coles, who defended the Ninth Circuit decision in Perry v. Brown as solid constitutional law. I agree (and will also post the more extensive essay on the same topic that I have coming out in the Stanford Law Review online when it is published). I also know, however, that many marriage equality supporters have criticized the Reinhardt-Hawkins decision. One of the nation's leading constitutional litigators told me... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2012 at hunter of justice
An essay by Professor Julie Nice, University of San Francisco Law School, published in Jurist: [Those who have been watching the Prop 8 litigation and the progress of marriage equality legislation in several states] might have missed the importance of Golinski v. US Office of Personnel Management, a sleeper case decided recently by the US District Court for the Northern District of California in the stalwart effort by Ninth Circuit staff attorney Karen Golinski to add her lawful same-sex spouse to her federal health insurance benefits. Karen Golinski and her... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2012 at hunter of justice
From USA Today: Tatiana Pineros, a man by birth and a woman by choice, the first transgender individual to be appointed to head Bogota's social welfare agency. Pineros, 34, is also a high-powered public servant who manages a $360 million budget and nearly 2,000 employees in Colombia's biggest and most powerful municipal government. Her appointment by Bogota's new mayor to head the capital's social welfare agency was remarkable for how unremarkably it was received... Across Latin America, public acceptance is gradually growing for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender officials. It's... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2012 at hunter of justice
Judge Jeffrey White issued an opinion today in Golinski v. OPM, ruling that DoMA is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause. Golinski, a federal government employee, sought health insurance coverage for her spouse; the two were married in California during the period when same-sex marriages were legal there (after the California Supreme Court ruled that the gay exclusion was unconstitutional and before the voters amended the state constitution). The outcome is not a surprise. Judge White's inclinations were clear from the questions for counsel that he circulated prior to the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2012 at hunter of justice
[posted at Stanford Law Review online] In Perry v. Brown, the Ninth Circuit ruled that California’s Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause.[1] Reacting to the state supreme court’s recognition of marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples, Proposition 8 was a 2008 voter initiative that altered the state constitution to “restore” the “traditional” understanding of civil marriage to exclude same-sex couples. The major theme of the Yes-on-Eight campaign was that the state should not deem lesbian and gay unions to be “marriages” because schoolchildren would then think that lesbian... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2012 at hunter of justice
From MetroWeekly: Charles Cooper, the lead attorney for the proponents of Proposition 8, tells Metro Weekly that the proponents of the California marriage amendment will be asking the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to review the three-judge panel decision issued on Feb. 7 holding that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. Although Cooper, of Cooper and Kirk PLLC, told Metro Weekly the filing has not yet been made, the filing is expected later today as today is the deadline for the filing to seek en banc review. The... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2012 at hunter of justice
Matt Coles, former Director of the ACLU LGBT Rights Project and now Deputy National Legal Director of the ACLU, and I will be trading comments this week on the Ninth Circuit panel decision in Perry v. Brown [2012 WL 372713]. Following are Matt's comments on the decision. I will respond in a future post. Are taking away and denying different under equal protection? Judge Stephen Reinhardt’s opinion for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Prop. 8 case purports, in effect, to limit the decision to California. The only... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2012 at hunter of justice
February 23-25 - A conference on Democracy and the Workplace at UNLV Law School, exploring the dynamics of employee participation in workplace governance issues. February 24 - A conference on Reproductive Justice: Examining Choice and Autonomy in the New Milennium will include discussion of access to reproductive technologies by lesbians; at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. February 24-25 - The second LGBTQ Civil Rights Conference at Chicago-Kent Law School. Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2012 at hunter of justice
Thursday, February 16 - London - Program on "Family Migration, Asylum and Same-Sex Couples in the U.S. and U.K"; details here. Friday-Saturday, February 17 -18 - "Privatization of Social Responsibility," a conference co-sponsored by the Feminist Theory Project at Emory Law School. Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2012 at hunter of justice
Will the Prop 8 defenders who lost the Perry case before the Ninth Circuit panel seek en banc review or head straight to the Supreme Court? They have until February 21 to file a motion for rehearing en banc; if that date passes without such a motion, we can wait for the cert petition. According to this LA Times report, it sounds like the decision is not yet made: Andy Pugno, general counsel for ProtectMarriage, noted that a judge on the 9th Circuit might independently call for fellow jurists to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2012 at hunter of justice
Today's decision from the Ninth Circuit ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause, even under a rational basis test, is terrific. Why do I love it? Let me count the ways. Its narrow rationale gives anti-gay advocates a much smaller target to try to hit. As I had hoped for (over and over again), the court wrote this opinion so that it applies only to California. Only in California did a state supreme court rule that same-sex couples have a state constitutional right to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2012 at hunter of justice
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will issue its decision tomorrow in Perry v. Brown, the challenge to the constitutionality of Prop 8. Actually, it will be the decision of the panel of three judges (randomly) assigned to hear the case: Reinhardt, Hawkins and Smith. Reinhardt and Hawkins seem almost sure votes to declare Prop 8 unconstitutional, and I would be astonished if this panel does not reach that result. The main questions going forward are - What will be the basis of the ruling? What comes... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2012 at hunter of justice
The Ninth Circuit ruled today that District Judge James Ware (who replaced retired Judge Vaughn Walker) abused his discretion by ordering the public release of videotapes made of the trial in which the constitutionality of Prop 8 was successfully challenged. The unanimous opinion, written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt, was limited to the specific facts of this case, and ventured no position on the broader questions of public access to judicial proceedings by electronic means. The court stated that "The trial judge [Walker] on several occasions unequivocally promised that the recording... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2012 at hunter of justice
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued its final rule prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in HUD-assisted or -financed housing. The rule also bans inquiries as to these characteristics, and specifically defines "family" to include lgbt families. The regulation will be published in the Federal Register next week, and go into effect 30 days after the date of publication. HUD's summary of its provisions: Requires owners and operators of HUD-assisted housing, or housing whose financing is insured by HUD, to make housing available without... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2012 at hunter of justice