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The Sotomayor Hearings: Day 4 Begins

Posted by NWLC, Intern | Posted on: July 16, 2009 at 01:35 pm

by Alison Taroli, Intern,
National Women's Law Center

This post is part of a series about the nomination of Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

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Ricci v. Destefano – The Second Circuit Did Not Have Crystal Ball

Posted by NWLC, Intern | Posted on: July 16, 2009 at 12:32 pm

by Debra Eichenbaum, Legal Intern, 
National Women's Law Center 

This post is part of a series about the nomination of Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

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Major Steps Forward for Health Care Reform

Posted by Thao Nguyen, Director of Outreach | Posted on: July 15, 2009 at 08:30 pm

by Thao Nguyen, Outreach Manager, 
National Women's Law Center

Today, after nearly a month of mark-up, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s Affordable Health Choices Act cleared an important hurdle – and moved us one step closer to health care reform that meets the needs of women and their families. The Affordable Health Choices Act was voted out of committee 13 to 10. The HELP Committee bill is one of the two bills that the Senate will use to form their health care reform legislation.

This bill reflects years of work, expertise, and careful consideration of options. It is particularly important for women because it makes critical headway it makes towards women’s ability to secure access to quality, affordable health care throughout their lives.

One of the exciting aspects of the bill is that it works towards confronting many of the particular obstacles faced by women in our current health care system, and eliminates many insurance industry practices that are especially harmful to women. The bill takes gender rating head-on, by banning this discriminatory insurance practice where women are charged more than men in the individual insurance market, even with maternity benefits excluded.

The bill would also ban the insurance industry practice of rejecting applicants based on health status or history – a harmful practice that has, for example, prevented survivors of domestic violence and women who have had caesarean sections from getting health coverage.

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The Personal is Political, Not Judicial

by Lara S. Kaufmann, Senior Counsel, 
National Women's Law Center

This post is part of a series about the nomination of Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

This morning, Senator Tom Coburn questioned Judge Sotomayor on a number of topics. While I have been watching the hearings mostly to hear what is said on women’s rights issues, my ears perked up when he was talking about the Second Amendment, as he went beyond Constitutional doctrine and asked:  “As a citizen of this country, do you believe innately in my ability to have self-defense of myself -- personal self-defense?”  In response, Judge Sotomayor explained that “the issue of self- defense is usually defined in criminal statutes by the state's laws,” but that was not enough for Senator Coburn. He went on: “But do you have an opinion, or can you give me your opinion, of whether or not in this country I personally, as an individual citizen, have a right to self-defense?” Again, Judge Sotomayor’s response was based on the law; she said that did not know if that legal question had ever been presented. Senator Coburn continued his badgering:  “I wasn't asking about the legal question. I'm asking about your personal opinion . . . I think that's what American people want to hear, Your Honor, is they want to know. Do they have a right to personal self-defense? . . . Does what the Constitution -- how [the American people] take the Constitution, not how our bright legal minds but what they think is important, is it OK to defend yourself in your home if you're under attack?”

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That's Judge Sotomayor, Not Judge Ricardo

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: July 15, 2009 at 07:08 pm

by Amy Matsui, Senior Counsel, 
National Women's Law Center 

This post is part of a series about the nomination of Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

During Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing this morning, Senator Coburn was inspired to use the immortal words of Ricky Ricardo from the I Love Lucy Show:  You’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.

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Supreme Court Hearings: Serious, Substantive and Successful

Posted by | Posted on: July 15, 2009 at 01:06 pm

by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President, 
National Women’s Law Center 

This post is part of a series about the nomination of Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

The atmosphere at the second day of hearings reflected the serious business at hand -- the confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice for a life term.

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