Category Archives: What we’re thinking/reading/doing (IFLS blog)

What’s interesting these days?

Professors Renee Knake Jefferson and hannah Brenner Johnson @ifls: authors of “shortlisted: women in the shadows of the supreme court”

In 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice on the United States Supreme Court after centuries of male appointments, a watershed moment in the long struggle for gender equality. Yet few know about the remarkable women considered in the decades before her triumph.

Shortlisted tells the overlooked stories of nine extraordinary women—a cohort large enough to seat the entire Supreme Court—who appeared on presidential lists dating back to the 1930s. Florence Allen, the first female judge on the highest court in Ohio, was named repeatedly in those early years. Eight more followed, including Amalya Kearse, a federal appellate judge who was the first African American woman viewed as a potential Supreme Court nominee. Award-winning scholars Renee Knake Jefferson and Hannah Brenner Johnson cleverly weave together long-forgotten materials from presidential libraries and private archives to reveal the professional and personal lives of these accomplished women.

In addition to filling a notable historical gap, the book exposes the harms of shortlisting―it reveals how adding qualified female candidates to a list but passing over them ultimately creates the appearance of diversity while preserving the status quo. This phenomenon often occurs with any pursuit of professional advancement, whether the judge in the courtroom, the CEO in the corner office, or the coach on the playing field. Women, and especially female minorities, while as qualified as others on the shortlist (if not more so), find themselves far less likely to be chosen. With the stories of these nine exemplary women as a framework, Shortlisted offers all women a valuable set of strategies for upending the injustices that still endure. It is a must-read for those seeking positions of power as well as for the powerful who select them in the legal profession and beyond.

“This fascinating book reconstructs a chapter of women’s history that has been hiding in plain sight: the numerous qualified women whose names were floated for the Supreme Court but who never got there. Just as they were overlooked, so have their individual stories been — until now. ” 

— Linda Greenhouse, New York Times contributing columnist

Renee Knake Jefferson is a law professor and an award-winning author whose work has been featured in BuzzFeed, CNN, National Public Radio, Slate, the Wall Street Journal, and other media. She holds the Doherty Chair in Legal Ethics at the University of Houston Law Center where she teaches ethics, constitutional law, and a writing seminar on gender, power, law, and leadership. In 2019, Governor Gretchen Whitmer appointed her to the Michigan State University Board of Trustees. A Fulbright recipient and elected member of the American Law Institute, she regularly consults on matters related to lawyer/judicial ethics, gender diversity in leadership roles, and the first amendment and lawyer speech.

Hannah Brenner Johnson is a law professor and author. She is currently the Vice Dean for Academic and Student Affairs and Associate Professor of Law at California Western School of Law in San Diego. Her research interests surround intersections of law and gender, specifically focusing on gender-based violence in closed institutional systems and inequality in the legal profession. 

Prof. Adelle Blackett @ IFLS: Author and Readers of “Everyday Transgressions”: Friday March 20, 1230-230 NEW TIME

Join us on the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Racism to talk about “the story behind the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Decent Work for Domestic Workers Convention No. 189, and its accompanying Recommendation No. 201 which in 2011 created the first comprehensive international standards to extend fundamental protections and rights to the millions of domestic workers laboring in other peoples’ homes throughout the world“. In this accessible and fascinating book, Prof. Blackett ( Canada Research Chair in Transnational Labour Law and Development at McGill Law) ” [a]s the principal legal architect…takes us behind the scene to show us how Convention No. 189 transgresses the everyday law of the household workplace to embrace domestic worker’s human rights claim to be workers like any other – and like no other. ” Other academic guest commentators including including Professors Amar Bhatia, Michele Johnson, Jennifer Nedelsky, Kerry Rittich, Adrian Smith, Ethel Tungohan & Leah Vosko. This event is co-sponsored by the Global Labour Research Centre at York.

Friday March 20, 2020 **NEW TIME** 1230PM 230 IKB 2027 (Faculty Lounge). Refreshments will be served. Space is limited, so please register to avoid disappointment: bit.ly/BlackettMarch20.

This Institute for Feminist Legal Studies event graciously co sponsored by the Global Labour Research Centre at York.

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EVERYDAY TRANSGRESSIONS: DOMESTIC WORKERS’ TRANSNATIONAL CHALLENGE TO INTERNATIONAL LABOR LAW (Cornell 2019). Copies will be available for purchase.

[bio from McGill Law]: Adelle Blackett, Ad. E., is Professor of Law and Canada Research Chair in Transnational Labour Law and Development at the Faculty of Law, McGill University, where she teaches and researches in the areas of labour and employment law, trade regulation, law and development, critical race theory and slavery and the law. Professor Blackett holds a B.A. in History from Queen’s University, civil law and common law degrees from McGill, and an LL.M. and a doctorate in law from Columbia University. Widely published in English, French and Spanish in the emerging field of transnational labour law, in 2015, she co-edited a Research Handbook on Transnational Labour Law. Her book manuscript entitled Everyday Transgressions: Domestic Workers’ Transnational Challenge to International Labour Law (Cornell University Press) was published in Spring 2019.

Professor Blackett is the recipient of prestigious research fellowships, notably the Social Science and Humanities Research Council’s Bora Laskin National Fellowship in Human Rights Research in 2010, and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Fellowship in 2016 on transnational futures of international labour law, for which she organized an eponymous course in winter 2019.

She was a William Dawson Scholar at McGill from 2007 to 2016, and has been a visiting scholar at the African Development Bank, the Australian National University and SOAS (University of London). She founded and directs the Labour Law and Development Research Laboratory (LLDRL) at McGill, was a founding steering committee member of the international Labour Law Research Network (LLRN), and is member of the Quebec based Inter-University Research Centre on Globalization and Work (CRIMT).

A former official of the International Labour Office in Geneva, Professor Blackett has been an ILO expert on international standard setting on decent work for domestic workers (2008-2011) leading to the adoption of ILO Convention No. 189 and Recommendation No. 201; and in a labour law reform process in Haiti (2011-2014). In 2009, she was unanimously appointed by the National Assembly of Quebec to the province’s Human rights and youth rights Commission, where she served as a commissioner for seven (7) years.

A member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Barreau du Québec, she was awarded the latter’s Christine Tourigny Award of Merit and the status of advocate emeritus in 2014, in recognition of her social commitment and her contributions to the advancement of women. She received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.  In 2015, the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers awarded her its Pathfinder Award for her significant contributions to the legal community and the community at large.

In November 2018, Adelle Blackett was appointed to the Human Rights Expert Panel of the Government of Canada’s renewed Court Challenges Program. She was appointed to the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) Chapter 23 (Trade and Labour) Roster of experts in December 2018. Professor Blackett was elected an associate member of the International Academy of Comparative Law in July 2019.

Indigenous Law, Gender and Land: Friday January 17 at Osgoode

INDIGENOUS LAW, GENDER & LAND with Dr. Heidi Stark | Dr. Cheryl Suzack | Dr. Deborah McGregor

Friday January 17, 2020 1230-230

ATTENTION: ROOM CHANGE TO Helliwell Centre, Osgoode Hall Law School ROOM 1014

Lunch Served. Please RSVP for Space/Food Purposes bit.ly/ILGLJan17

Panellists:

Dr. Heidi Stark, UVic Political Science

Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in 2008. Her doctoral research focused on Anishinaabe treaty-making with the United States and Canada and serves as the foundation for her manuscript Unsettled: Anishinaabe Treaty-Relations and U.S./Canada State-Formation (In progress, University of Minnesota Press, First Peoples Series).

Her primary area of research and teaching is in the field of Indigenous Comparative Politics, Native Diplomacy & Treaty and Aboriginal Rights. She is the co-editor of Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding the World Through Stories with Jill Doerfler and Niigaanwewidam Sinclair (Michigan State University Press, 2013) and is the co-author of the third edition of American Indian Politics and the American Political System (2010) with Dr. David E. Wilkins.

Professor Cheryl Suzack, U of T English

Cheryl Suzack’s research focuses on Indigenous law and literature with a particular emphasis on writing by Indigenous women. In her book, Indigenous Women’s Writing and the Cultural Study of Law, she explores how Indigenous women’s writing from Canada and the United States addresses case law concerning tribal membership, intergenerational residential school experiences, and land claims. Her current project analyzes Justice Thurgood Marshall’s papers in the context of Indian civil rights claims from the 1960s. She is a co-editor (with Greig Henderson and Simon Stern) of “The Critical Work of Law and Literature,” University of Toronto Quarterly (Fall 2013) and a co-editor and contributor (with Shari Huhndorf, Jeanne Perreault, and Jean Barman) to the award-winning collection, Indigenous Women and Feminism: Politics, Activism, Culture (UBC 2010). Suzack is cross-appointed to the Aboriginal Studies Program and teaches courses for English and Aboriginal Studies on comparative Indigenous literatures, comparative Indigenous studies, and Indigenous decolonization with a focus on gender issues and Indigenous women.

Professor Deborah McGregor (Osgoode)

Professor Deborah McGregor joined York University’s Osgoode Hall law faculty in 2015 as a cross-appointee with the Faculty of Environmental Studies. Professor McGregor’s research has focused on Indigenous knowledge systems and their various applications in diverse contexts including water and environmental governance, environmental justice, forest policy and management, and sustainable development. Her research has been published in a variety of national and international journals and she has delivered numerous public and academic presentations relating to Indigenous knowledge systems, governance and sustainability. She co-edited Indigenous Peoples and Autonomy: Insights for a Global Age with Mario Blaser, Ravi De Costa and William Coleman (2010). She is co-editor (with Alan Corbiere, Mary Ann Corbiere and Crystal Migwans) of the Anishinaabewin conference proceedings series.

Professor McGregor, who is Anishinaabe from Whitefish River First Nation, Birch Island, Ontario, is the Primary Investigator on two current SSHRC-funded projects: Indigenous Environmental (In)Justice: theory and practice and Indigenizing the First Nations Land Management Regime.

Prior to joining Osgoode, Professor McGregor was an associate professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Toronto and served as Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives and the Aboriginal Studies program. She has also served as Senior Policy Advisor, Aboriginal Relations at Environment Canada-Ontario Region. In addition to such posts, Professor McGregor remains actively involved in a variety of Indigenous communities, serving as an advisor and continuing to engage in community-based research and initiatives.

Professor McGregor coordinated an Indigenous Environmental Justice (IEJ) Symposium in May 2016 featuring the voices of women and youth. She also recently launched an IEJ website.

Co sponsors: Osgoode Intensive Program in Indigenous Lands, Resources & Governments; Osgoode Environmental Justice Clinic; Osgoode Institute for Feminist Legal Studies

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Prof. Abbye Atkinson (Berkeley) @ IFLS: “Debt by another name ” on Monday February 3 1230

Monday February 3, 2020 1230-2PM IKB 2027 (Faculty Lounge)

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Lunch Served. RSVP bit.ly/DebtFeb3

DEBT BY ANOTHER NAME

ABBYE ATKINSON Berkeley Law, University of California

The US Congress’ reliance on “credit” as a tool of liberation and equality following the Civil Rights and Women’s Right Movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s suggests that Congress viewed credit as a reliable and viable social good.

This valorization of credit, however, explicitly excluded any meaningful consideration of the countervailing force of debt.  Given that debt necessarily accompanies credit as extended and then used, in order for credit to be a social good, debt also has to be a reliable and viable social good. 

Yet debt has itself functioned as a mechanism of the very subordination in marginalized communities that Congress’ invocation of “credit” hoped to address. Credit cannot, in fact, meaningfully function as a social good without due attention to and solution for the work of debt as a social ill.

Professor Abbye Atkinson’s research focuses on the law of debtors and creditors as it affects economically disenfranchised communities. Her work examines how certain legal institutions—such as consumer bankruptcy—that were created with a purpose of improving economic health do not attend to and may actually exacerbate existing inequalities experienced by economically disenfranchised groups. Her recent work has explored structural inequality in the Bankruptcy Code, and whether and how bankruptcy law might serve as a back-stop against debt that results from social problems such as intractable mortgage discrimination and policing for profit. Her work is forthcoming in the Stanford Law Review and has been published in the Vanderbilt Law Review, the Arizona Law Review, and the Michigan Journal of Race and Law.

Before joining Berkeley Law, Atkinson was a Thomas C. Grey Fellow and Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School and the Reginald F. Lewis Fellow at Harvard Law School.  Previously she worked as an associate attorney in the San Francisco office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ronald M. Gould of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for the Honorable Marilyn Hall Patel of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. She graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to attending law school, she worked as a special education teacher in California public schools. 

Prof. Bethany Hastie @ Osgoode: Workplace Sexual Harassment: Assessing the Effectiveness of Human Rights Law in Canada | Thursday JANUARY 23 230PM

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Prof Hastie’s recently published report analyzes substantive decisions on the merits concerning workplace sexual harassment at each of the BC and Ontario Human Rights Tribunals from 2000-2018, with a view to identifying how the law of sexual harassment is understood, interpreted and applied by the Tribunals’ adjudicators. In particular, this report examines whether, and to what extent, gender-based stereotypes and myths known to occur in criminal justice proceedings arise in the human rights context.

Prof Hastie’s talk will be followed by brief commentary from Professor Janet Mosher and Osgoode McMurtry Fellow Fathima Cader.

23-Jan-2020
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Room 2028, Osgoode Hall Law School
Refreshments served, PLEASE RSVP!