7:37 AM, Mar 31, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
Less than four months ago, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice had concluded that the transgendered are among the classes of persons protected, unbeknownst to the framers of the legislation at the time, by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Tuesday's press release announcing the filing of a lawsuit against Southeastern Oklahoma State University reiterated the new discovery, noting that Justice "takes the position that Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination is best read to extend the statute’s protection to claims based on an individual’s gender identity, including transgender status." But as the press release also makes clear, the fact that this novel interpretation has only existed for four months will not stop Justice from suing institutions that were operating under a different set of rules for the intervening half century.
The press releases lays out the facts of the case as follows:
Rachel Tudor began working for Southeastern as an Assistant Professor in 2004. At the time of her hire, Tudor presented as a man. In 2007, Tudor, consistent with her gender identity, began to present as a woman at work. Throughout her employment, Tudor performed her job well, and in 2009, she applied for a promotion to the tenured position of Associate Professor. Southeastern’s administration denied her application, overruling the recommendations of her department chair and other tenured faculty from her department. The United States’ complaint alleges that Southeastern discriminated against Tudor when it denied her application because of her gender identity, gender transition and non-conformance with gender stereotypes.
Tudor, backed by Justice, further accuses the university of wrongful termination of employment in retaliation for Tudor's filing of a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):
In 2010, Tudor filed complaints regarding the denial of her application for promotion and tenure. Shortly after it learned of her complaints, Southeastern refused to let Tudor re-apply for promotion and tenure despite Southeastern’s own policies permitting re-application. At the end of the 2010-11 academic year, Southeastern and RUSO terminated Tudor’s employment because she had not obtained tenure.
The EEOC, which has partnered with Justice in bringing this lawsuit, already made history in September of last year by filing two lawsuits in federal court alleging discrimination against transgendered employees.
For its part, via a statement as reported by the Washington Post, the university is "confident in its legal position and its adherence to all applicable employment laws," but would not discuss the case due to the pending litigation.
Although this lawsuit is the first of its kind by the Justice Department, others may be in the works since acts preceding the announcement of the new Title VII interpretation are apparently fair game. Not only might this have various institutions wondering if they will find themselves targets of transgender-related lawsuits in the future, but also might have them wondering what other standards they may retroactively run afoul of if the Justice Department takes yet another look at Title VII somewhere down the road.
11:31 AM, Dec 25, 2014 • By DAVID W. MURRAY
In April of this year, the Obama administration announced it would “reformulate” clemency guidelines for federal prison offenders. As the Washington Post described it, “Justice Department Prepares for Clemency Requests from Thousands of Inmates.” The paper claimed that this “unprecedented campaign to free nonviolent offenders” would continue for two years and that DOJ would “reassign dozens of lawyers to its understaffed pardons office to handle the requests from inmates.”
2:37 PM, Dec 4, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama alluded to the recent unrest in Ferguson and New York City in remarks today at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. The president talked of "restoring a sense of common purpose."
10:25 PM, Nov 24, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama, speaking live to the nation after the decision in Ferguson not to indict a police office for the killing of Michael Brown, said that "America isn't everything that it could be."
8:23 AM, Nov 4, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The Justice Department's Bureau of Prisons (BOP) recently committed $830,160 to purchase Protective Stab Vests for use by employees in federal prison facilities. The contract was awarded on a sole-source, no-bid basis because the need was determined to be of an "urgent and compelling nature." Documents accompanying the posting say that "thousands of vests ... are now considered to be End- of-Life" and need replacing, and vests are needed for new employees as well.
Admits he lives in a "bubble."7:45 AM, Oct 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama does not want to be a Supreme Court justice. He calls it "too monastic" for his own personality. Besides, in an interview with the New Yorker, President Obama acknowledges that he needs to get out of the "bubble" after what will be eight years as president of the United States.
11:39 AM, Sep 22, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan officiated a same-sex marriage over the weekend, the Associated Press reports. It was her first.
"Justice Elena Kagan has officiated for the first time at a same-sex wedding, a Maryland ceremony for her former law clerk and his husband," reports the AP.
12:20 PM, Sep 4, 2014 • By IKE BRANNON and JOSHUA WOLSON
When a class action lawsuit gets settled, the deal has to prescribe how the defendant will pay the members of the injured class and who can be part of that class.
9:10 AM, May 30, 2014 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Hillary Clinton is right about Benghazi—or at least she's right about one thing.
According to a story by Maggie Haberman about the Benghazi chapter in Clinton's forthcoming book Hard Choices, the former secretary of state contends that some of her critics have badly mischaracterized the now infamous question she asked at a January 23, 2012, congressional hearing: "What difference, at this point, does it make?"
3:31 PM, Nov 7, 2013 • By TERRY EASTLAND
“Detroit civil rights lawyer Shanta Driver made a last-minute decision to argue in a high-profile Supreme Court affirmative action case on Oct. 15 in part, she said, because so few African-Americans appear before the justices.”
11:33 AM, Jul 17, 2013 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
We're way past overload on Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman commentary, but there is a tiny tributary of the story that has been largely overlooked. And it's worth a moment because it points to a larger problem regarding both the state and the public.
4:10 PM, Jul 3, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a speedy trial. "Speedy" is, admittedly, an imprecise term.