• August 29, 2014
    What Women Want
    An Agenda For The Women's Movement
    Deborah L. Rhode

    by Deborah L. Rhode, the Director of the Center on the Legal Profession, the  E.W. McFarland Professor of Law,  and the Director of the Program on Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford University 

    In a New Yorker cartoon, a woman frostily informs her obviously skeptical husband, “Yes, Harold, I do speak for all women.” This is not a claim any contemporary feminist will readily make. Women do not speak with one voice on women’s issues. But to build a powerful political movement, we have to be prepared to generalize about the interests of women as a group. What would most women want if they were fully informed and free to choose, and the goal was true equality between the sexes? 

    A central problem in securing such gender equality is the “no problem” problem: the lack of consensus that there still is a serious problem, or one that they have any capacity or responsibility to address. Yet on virtually every major dimension of social status, financial well-being, and physical safety, women still fare worse than men. Sexual violence remains common, and reproductive rights are by no means secure. Women assume disproportionate burdens in the home and pay a price in the world outside it.  But these issues are not cultural priorities. What Women Want (Oxford University Press, 2014), argues that this has to change and sets forth a compelling agenda for the women’s movement.

  • August 28, 2014

    by Caroline Cox

    Mary Bonauto, the Civil Rights Project Director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) sees the continuing fight for LGBT rights as a matter of basic constitutional fairness. In an interview with the ACS at the 2014 National Convention, Bonauto explained that opponents of same-sex marriage have not adhered to a basic principle of our democracy:  “We all come to our government as equals, and the idea that you’re trying to put a thumb on a scale and disadvantage people just because of who they are is not acceptable.”

    Bonauto is heralded by many as “the legal architect of the DOMA repeal,” and Barney Frank, the former Massachusetts congressman, once described her as “our Thurgood Marshall” due to her work for LGBT rights. She was instrumental in the 2009 campaign in Maine to pass marriage equality through the state legislature, but much of her work has focused on fighting for same-sex marriage in the court system. Indeed, Bonauto has been a leading force in a majority of marriage equality’s major moments.

  • August 28, 2014

    by Caroline Cox

    The Editorial Board of the Los Angeles Times argues that Arizona and Kansas should not be allowed to institute proposed and potentially discriminatory voter registration rules.

    Charles M. Blow of The New York Times discusses the reality of white privilege in light of Bill O’Reilly’s comments on Fox News.

    Jenny Kutner writes in Salon about the increasing difficulty for minimum wage workers to get necessary contraceptive coverage in the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision.

    In The Root, Donna Barry and Heidi Williamson explain how racism is embedded in both public and private institutions.  

    Michelle Chen of The Nation reports on a new law in Illinois that has granted pregnant women greater workplace rights. 

  • August 27, 2014

    by Caroline Cox

    Tony Mauro writes for The National Law Journal on the formation of a high-powered legal team to fight for marriage equality that includes former ACS Board member Pamela S. Karlan and Jeffrey L. Fischer, winner of the 2012 ACS Bay Area Lawyer Chapter Academic Award

    In The Nation, Karen Houppert writes on the thousands of children braving immigration courts without parents or lawyers.

    In the Huffington Post, Dave Jamieson reports on the Service Employees International Union victory to represent home care workers in Minnesota, which will make it “the largest bargaining unit of public-sector workers in the state’s history.”

    The Daily Beast’s Sally Kohn writes on Indiana “feticide” charge that illustrates the increasingly harsh anti-abortion measures throughout the country.

    Campbell Robertson and Joseph Goldstein write in The New York Times about widespread doubt among young African Americans and others that the killing of Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. will spark significant change, pointing to St. Louis county courts where large numbers of black men are mired in its system.

     John Avignone of Salon explains how conservative media ran a false story on Ferguson. 

  • August 26, 2014
    Guest Post

    By Archis A. Parasharami, litigation partner at Mayer Brown, and James Tierney, litigation associate at Mayer Brown

    *This post originally appeared on Class Defense

    In the three years since AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, courts have largely been rejecting substantive attacks on arbitration agreements that waive class actions. By contrast, in some cases plaintiffs have succeeded in avoiding arbitration by arguing that they never agreed to it in the first place.

    The latest case to address such questions of contract formation comes from the Ninth Circuit, which held last week in Nguyen v. Barnes & Noble, Inc. that  plaintiff Kevin Nguyen had not agreed to arbitration because he and similarly situated consumers lacked sufficient notice of the company’s online “browsewrap” terms of use. Because the Ninth Circuit applied New York law governing contract formation—and because the court indicated that it would have come to the same conclusion under California law—the decision is an important one for all businesses that engage in online commerce in the United States.

    In the opinion, the Ninth Circuit distinguished between the familiar “clickwrap” process—in which a user affirmatively accepts terms by, for example, clicking “I agree” after receiving notice of the terms—and “browsewrap,” in which a company makes the relevant terms available to users on the web site (usually by providing a hyperlink), but does not require a customer to record his or her assent to the terms.

    In Nguyen, each page on Barnes and Noble’s web site included a link to the applicable terms of use. If followed, the link would direct a user to the terms, which provided that a user accepts the terms by “visiting any area in the Barnes & Site, creating an account, [or] making a purchase.” The terms, among other things, provided that parties would resolve their disputes by arbitration on an individual basis.