The Justice Ginsberg Lecture - February 13, 2013
"Justice Ginsburg: The Uniqueness of Her Voice"
Please join us as Nancy Gertner, Harvard Law professor and former judge, US District Court of Massachusetts, delivers the Annual Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Distinguished Lecture on Women and the Law. Nancy Gertner is also the author of In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate, which documents her struggle to succeed personally and professionally as she fought her way through the "boys' club" while working on benchmark cases. The lecture recognizes Justice Ginsburg's ground-breaking contributions to the advancement of women’s rights and her achievements as a lawyer, professor and judge. At the lecture, Justice Ginsburg will be presented with the Association Medal for her exceptional contributions to the honor and standing of the bar in this community.
Committees Seeking Members
The Domestic Violence Committee has several projects in progress including drafting comments on several new bills which affect victims of domestic violence. The Committee continues to monitor proposed city and state legislation affecting domestic violence victims. The Committee also is planning an April CLE and is co-sponsoring a project with the Sex and Law Committee to train lawyers to make presentations on dating and sexual violence in area high schools. For further information or to apply, please contact the Chair, Anna Ognibene, at AOgnibene@inmotiononline.org.
The Task Force on Women in the Courts deals with a wide range of issues impacting women in the courts as advocates, litigants and on the bench. The Task Force focuses on diverse issues, ranging from opportunities for female litigators in the law firm setting to access to interpreters for women struggling through the family court system. For further information or to apply, please contact the Chair, Rebecca Berkebile, at Rberkebile@proskauer.com.
Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda
In a letter to the President of Uganda, the Committee on African Affairs expressed opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2012 (the “Bill”), which imposes harsh penalties--reportedly including the death penalty--for homosexual activities. The Bill, the letter notes, threatens the fundamental rights and freedoms of LGBT individuals and Ugandan organizations that support LGBT rights. The Bill also violates the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and the Government’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Passage of the Bill would undermine the rule of law in Uganda by ignoring the country’s pre-existing legal obligations, which it is duty-bound to uphold. The letter calls upon the Government to promptly oppose the passage of the Bill and, if passed, urges the President of Uganda not to sign it.
Healthcare Coverage for Women in the Military
In a joint letter to Congress, the Sex and Law Committee and the Military Affairs and Justice Committee expressed support for the Shaheen Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which would extend military healthcare coverage for abortions in cases of rape or incest. While such coverage is available to civilians, federal employees, Medicaid and Medicare recipients, and federal prisoners, the more than 200,000 women who serve on active duty in the U.S. armed forces are denied access to abortion care services and they and their dependents are forced to pay out-of-pocket. Women who serve this country in the military, the letter argues, must be free to make healthcare decisions based upon what they and their families believe is best for their personal circumstances. By excluding coverage for abortion services in cases of rape and incest from military health insurance, the government interferes with a woman’s right and ability to obtain vital healthcare services.
Women in Combat
In a letter to Congress, the Committee on Military Affairs and Justice expressed support for S.3182, which would eliminate the ground combat exclusion policy for female members of the Armed Forces. Women in the military, the letter suggests, should be measured by the same criterion by which military men are measured, that is, by merit, and the career progression for women should not be inhibited by any limitations or restrictions on their service in “combat” positions. Eliminating the ground combat exclusion would: 1) expand career opportunities for women; 2) provide a greater pool of qualified members from whom our combatant commanders may draw; 3) reduce the operational tempo for male counterparts by increasing the total number of personnel available for assignment to units co-located with direct combat forces; and 4) improve consistency concerning assignment policy impacting women and provide field commanders with greater flexibility in meeting combat support mission requirements.
LGBT Rights in Ukraine
In a letter to the President of Ukraine, the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights urges that the Government of Ukraine oppose a Draft Law that would broadly ban using publications or the media for “promoting homosexuality." The Committee maintains that the Draft Law threatens the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) and Ukrainian individuals and organizations that support LGBT rights. The Draft Law, the letter notes, would only serve to stigmatize the Ukrainian LGBT community and hamper rather than help public health efforts with regard to HIV/AIDS. In addition, enacting the Draft Law would violate Ukraine’s obligations under international, regional, and domestic law.