Child care at philosophy conferences

It *is* possible after all. Esa tells us that participants at the ESPP conference received an email reading as follows:

since we want to have familyfriendly conditions at our meeting, we managed to offer childcare during the ESPP 2010. Given the constraints we can offer childcare at the campus in Bochum on Friday from 9 a.m. to 4.15 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The leader of the childcare is a professional person applied by the university which will be supported by some experienced persons depending on the number of kids. The room for childcare is in the same building as the meeting, i.e.Veranstaltungszentrum der Ruhr-Universität Bochum, just two floors up and can be easily accessed.

Kids are accepted from the age of 12 month onwards up to 12 years.

We offer the following rule:
– students can use the childcare for free
– non-students have to pay: 5 Euro per hour (or 20 Euro for the whole day).

Awesome! Let’s hope it inspires others.

Prop 8 defeat: A backstory

One of the interesting backstories concerns the lawyers who represented the plaintiffs in the case.  Most of our US readers will know about them, but perhaps not everyone else.

They are quite exceptional attorneys, who are among the most talented in the US.  Ted Olsen is apparently tops on constitutional law, while David Boies is said to be a wonderfully skilled trial lawyer.  Perhaps particularly interesting is the fact that they were on opposite sides of the Bush-Gore election struggle, with Olsen representing Bush and Boies representing Gore. 

There have been many conjectures about what they are trying to get for themselves from coming together over same-sex marriage.  Have a look at the video and see what you think. 


News from the UK

Theresa May, Tory Home Secretary and Equalities Minister, has done something good: She warned the Chancellor that his budget would widen inequalities and criticised his failure to carry out a legally required equality audit (these are the reasons Fawcett is suing). She’s also done something bad: she’s scrapped a scheme to bad domestic abusers from their victims’ homes. Via The F-Word.

The F-Word also brings us news that the Equality Act 2010 will legalise discrimination against transsexuals.

Rachel Maddow on Prop 8 Ruling

elp’s sent me a link to this excellent video. A few highlights:
(1) Nice discussion of whether or not fundamental rights should be voted on.
(2) Interesting stuff about the importance of Walker’s including so much as “findings of fact” rather than “findings of law”: Higher courts have much more obligation to defer to the original judge on findings of fact.
(3) The strategic importance of Walker frequently citing Anthony Kennedy’s previous rulings.

Radio Show: Philosophy, Law and Domestic Violence

Jack Weinstein has alerted us to what sounds like a really fascinating and important radio broadcast on his philosophy radio show, Why?

“Domestic Violence and the Law: China vs. the U.S.A”
Guest: Robin Runge.
August 8, 5 p.m. central:

In March of 2010, Robin Runge traveled to Beijing to train Chinese judges to better deal with issues of domestic violence in the law; this was her second such visit. In comparing the Chinese and American systems, she has able to see those areas in which American law better responds to the needs of the community and those areas in which the Chinese system does. In this episode of Why? we will discuss her experiences and address central questions in the philosophy of law. What counts as evidence? How ought the court deal with a he said/she said situation? In what ways can judges work with the police to promote better investigations? How do cultural differences affect legal frameworks, and to what extent is domestic violence a violation of human rights?

Why‘s host Jack Russell Weinstein says, “trying to discuss domestic violence philosophically is a real challenge, as is comparing legality and morality. Having Robin on the show helps us take a fresh look at a complex and difficult subject – a subject that needs much more attention.”

Robin R. Runge is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of North Dakota School of Law where she teaches in the Employment and Housing Law Clinic. Professor Runge taught public interest lawyering and domestic violence law at The George Washington University Law School, and domestic violence law at The American University Washington College of Law. From 2003 to 2009, Professor Runge was Director of the Commission on Domestic Violence at the American Bar Association where she managed all aspects of Commission programming including developing training curricula for attorneys, writing articles and speaking domestically and internationally on various aspects of domestic violence and the legal response to domestic violence including the employment rights of domestic violence victims. Previously, Professor Runge was Deputy Director and Coordinator of the Program on Women’s Employment Rights (POWER) at the D.C. Employment Justice Center and the Coordinator of the Domestic
Violence and Employment Project at the Employment Law Center, Legal Aid Society of San Francisco.

The show will be streamed here.
People can (if they wish) RSVP via facebook.

The proposition 8 ruling and gender roles

J-Bro and Balk have called attention to some extremely important bits of Judge Walker’s ruling. This deserves not to get buried in the comments, so I’m giving it its own post.

Instead, the evidence shows that the tradition of gender restrictions arose when spouses were legally required to adhere to specific gender roles. California has eliminated all legally mandated gender roles except the requirement that a marriage consist of one man and one woman. Proposition 8 thus enshrines in the California Constitution a gender restriction that the evidence shows to be nothing more than an artifact of a foregone notion that men and women fulfill different roles in civic life.

The evidence shows that the movement of marriage away from a gendered institution and toward an institution free from state-mandated gender roles reflects an evolution in the understanding of gender rather than a change in marriage. The evidence did not show any historical purpose for excluding same-sex couples from marriage, as states have never required spouses to have an ability or willingness to procreate in
order to marry. Rather, the exclusion exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.

J-Bro, who has a law degree, notes that “The court is casually asserting that CA has “eliminated all legally mandated gender roles” apart from within marriage. This isn’t a holding of the opinion, because it’s not the direct point, but it’s a very strong statement, and depending on where this case goes could be used in the future against any differential state treatment in CA based on gender.”

For the full ruling, go here.