Posted by Millie Bond on Friday, December 9, 2011
Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall Shepard plans to retire and some are hoping
that the Judicial Nominating Committee tasked with choosing his replacement
will take the opportunity to increase the court’s overall diversity. According to Lafayette
Indiana News, “Indiana is one of three states with no woman on its
supreme court; the others are Iowa and Idaho. It has only one racial minority --
Rucker, who is African-American. Former Justice Myra Selby, also
African-American, is the only woman to have served on Indiana's highest court,
from 1995 to 1999.” Read more about the pending nomination here.
12.8.11 The Human Rights Campaign released its 2012 Corporate Equality Index yesterday. According to the advocacy group, the index “provides an in-depth analysis and rating of large U.S. employers and their policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.” The AMLaw Daily reports that under this year’s more stringent scoring system, “Foley & Lardner, one of six Am Law firms to achieve a score of 60, was among those to fall below the survey's upper echelon. In Foley's case, the low rating makes good on a warning HRC issued publicly to the firm last month as a result of Washington, D.C.–based campaign finance partner Cleta Mitchell's work on behalf of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), an antigay marriage group.” HRC’s efforts to focus on a firm’s client’s stance on LGBT issues harkens back to its previous objections to a former King & Spalding attorneys decision to defend the Defense of Marriage Act on behalf of the House of Representatives.
12.6.11 In her remarks to the United Nations, in Recognition of International Human Rights Day, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton vehemently opposed human rights violations against LGBT people, thus marking the Obama administration’s efforts to take a bold stance on the issue. It is unclear what the administration’s efforts will mean for the attorneys here and abroad, but as the New York Times reports, the administration is “vow[ing] to actively combat efforts by other nations that criminalize homosexual conduct, abuse gay men, lesbians, bisexuals or transgendered people, or ignore abuse against them.” You can watch Clinton’s speech here and read more in The New York Times.
12.2.11 Finally, the Department of Justice and Department of Education released new guidelines to assist colleges and universities as they attempt to diversify their student bodies without violating recent Supreme Court rulings. The release of the guidelines has sparked even more discussion about how, if at all, schools should consider race when admitting students. With these new guidelines and an upcoming presidential election it seems that we may be talking about Fisher v. Texas forever. Read more about the story in The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and our own PSLawNet Blog. You can also find an interesting Editorial in Bloomberg Businessweek.