Washington Markup

On the First Anniversary of Wal-Mart v. Dukes:  Stand Up or Be Trampled

On the First Anniversary of Wal-Mart v. Dukes: Stand Up or Be Trampled

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:27am
Over a decade ago, I had the great honor to be part of a team representing Betty Dukes, an employee at Wal-Mart who had received unfair treatment at her job and had decided to do something about it. Betty soon became the face of a large class of women who worked at Wal-Mart and faced similar types of discrimination in the workplace. These women banded together, from all across the country, to take on sex discrimination at one of the world’s largest employers—and through it all, Betty Dukes remained at the forefront fighting for justice. “In this life,” said Betty, “you have to stand up or be trampled.”  The ACLU co-authored a brief before the Supreme Court, joined by a large number of civil rights groups, highlighting the gender stereotypes that the women were banding together to challenge.
One Year Longer?  Why Won’t DHS Protect Its Detainees under the Prison Rape Elimination Act Right Now?

One Year Longer? Why Won’t DHS Protect Its Detainees under the Prison Rape Elimination Act Right Now?

By Chris Rickerd, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:18pm

The Prison Rape Elimination Act was passed by a unanimous Congress in 2003, with regulations due by June 2010. It was clearly intended to cover all detainees, civil and criminal. Two years later, the Obama administration at last released the final implementing rules for PREA. Commendably, the Department of Justice reversed its prior position that PREA doesn’t cover all immigration detainees. Yet the Department of Homeland Security – despite an abysmal track record of preventing and investigating sexual abuse and assault in its facilities, which was recently exposed on PBS’s Frontline – got a 360-day extension on PREA compliance.

Why #BringBackOurGirls Isn't Enough

Why #BringBackOurGirls Isn't Enough

By Zak Newman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:46pm

When Boko Haram kidnapped girls in Nigeria, the Obama administration voiced its strong opposition. Social media sprang into action, with millions—including the First Lady and many members of Congress—participating in the viral social media campaign…

Amidst the Budget Chaos, Long-Awaited Abortion Coverage for Women in the Peace Corps

Amidst the Budget Chaos, Long-Awaited Abortion Coverage for Women in the Peace Corps

By Georgeanne M. Usova, Washington Legislative Office at 12:00am

The news out of Washington this weekend was dramatic as lawmakers hashed out an eleventh hour deal over a $1.1 trillion funding bill to narrowly avert a government shutdown. But amidst the chaos and special interest wins in favor of salty lunches and…

The American Public Gets It. President Obama Gets It. Why Doesn't Congress?

The American Public Gets It. President Obama Gets It. Why Doesn't Congress?

By Vania Leveille, Washington Legislative Office at 10:46am

Like millions of Americans, President Obama doesn't think it makes a lot of sense to fire an employee or force her to take unpaid leave because she's six months pregnant and needs a stool to sit on while working the cash register.

This is a…

The 40th Anniversary of an LGBT Milestone in Congress

The 40th Anniversary of an LGBT Milestone in Congress

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:00pm

Forty years ago today, "Battling Bella" Abzug, a member of Congress from New York and a trailblazer for women, introduced a bill to protect gay people from discrimination for the first time in American history. The Equality Act of 1974 would have banned…

A Very Unhappy Anniversary for Low-Income Women

A Very Unhappy Anniversary for Low-Income Women

By Sarah Lipton-Lubet, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:07am

Some anniversaries just don't deserve a celebration, and today is one of them. Thirty-seven years ago today, Congress shut off Medicaid coverage for abortion care, unfairly targeting low-income women.

The Hyde Amendment, which was enacted…

Truly Dishonorable: Military Justice System Betrays Survivors of Sexual Assault

Truly Dishonorable: Military Justice System Betrays Survivors of Sexual Assault

By Elayne Weiss, Washington Legislative Office at 4:49pm

Rebekah Havrilla, a former Army sergeant, received no justice after she was raped by a fellow soldier while serving in Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, Rebekah testified before the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee at a hearing on military…

One Step Closer: New York Times Praises Executive Order on Human Trafficking

One Step Closer: New York Times Praises Executive Order on Human Trafficking

By Amshula Jayaram, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:54pm

The New York Times issued an editorial Tuesday praising President Obama’s Executive Order to end human trafficking in government contracts.  The Times viewed the order as an important step towards eliminating this shameful practice. …

Obama Promised to Stop Government-Funded Discrimination.  Has He?

Obama Promised to Stop Government-Funded Discrimination. Has He?

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:51pm

Four years ago last month, then-candidate Barack Obama promised to ensure that religious organizations that receive government funds to provide social services abide by the Constitution and are not allowed to discriminate with government funding. …