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Feminist News


November-30-04

Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Title IX Case

The US Supreme Court will hear arguments today in a landmark case under Title IX, the 1972 federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded education. The case in question involves Roderick Jackson, a basketball coach in Alabama who alleges that he was fired for complaining that the girls basketball team was forced to use substandard facilities and equipment. The team also received less money and support from the school than the boys basketball team. At issue is whether Title IX protects those who suffer retaliation for attempting to ensure that schools do not discriminate against women and girls.

When I mentioned the problems, no one wanted to hear it, Jackson told USA Today. Thats what led me to start writing letters in January 2001. I found out that only made people madder ... They told me, Hush your mouth, and Dont make problems for yourself.

Retaliation is simply one variant of discrimination, said Marcia Greenberger, president of the National Womens Law Center, in a brief filed on behalf of Jackson. Retaliation is on the basis of sex when it is triggered by a complaint about sex-based discrimination. Jacksons case was rejected by lower federal courts, including the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that Title IX does not allow any specific right to sue over alleged retaliation.

The Bush Administration also filed a brief in support of Jackson. Teachers and coaches are often in a much better position to identify sex discrimination and express opposition to it than are the students who are denied equal educational opportunities, wrote US Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson in the brief, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

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Media Resources: Associated Press 11/27/04; USA Today 11/5/04; Christian Science Monitor 11/30/04; NWLC brief