When the New York State Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts celebrated its silver anniversary on April 5, 2011, I had the great honor and privilege of having been the Committee’s chair for fifteen years. My active involvement in seeking to end gender bias in our court system, however, reaches back at least another fifteen years to the early 1980s. Those were the days when the first woman, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, had just been appointed to the United States Supreme Court, less than 10% of New York’s judiciary was female, and I was the only woman to hold a statewide Administrative Judge position in New York State. It was still a time when marital rape was not a crime in most states, including New York, and New York was just getting around to abolishing the requirement of “earnest resistance” in rape cases. And it was an era in which a trial guide written by a well-regarded member of the bar advised practicing attorneys that “Women, like children, are prone to exaggeration; they generally have poor memories as to previous fabrications and exaggerations.”
An evidentiary privilege to protect workers' confidential communications from disclosure in federal and state court proceedings would support unions.
Labor organizing privilege is not a magic bullet that will secure the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain. Employers will continue to resist the efforts of their workers to organize.
A transgender student's expression of her gender identity, including through the use of gender consistent bathrooms, is First Amendment protected speech,
Voting rights advocates should explore section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act as a vehicle to combat voter intimidation.