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Amicus
The advancement of a women’s rights agenda depends heavily on court decisions for its success. Since its inception, CWL has devoted significant energy to an active amicus committee in which CWL prepares or joins others in presenting amicus briefs in cases relevant to CWL’s core issues.
  • In determining whether CWL will sign on to or file an amicus brief, we consider the following factors: Is the issue of importance to women? Is it an area of law directly relating to women? Will the resolution of the issue have a significant impact or effect on women even though the issue is not normally considered a “women’s issue?”;
  • Is the issue likely to be or has it already been adequately briefed by the parties in the lawsuit?;
  • Is CWL’s position likely to be of interest to the Court? Will the fact that CWL takes the time to file an amicus brief highlight the importance of the issue in a way that might not otherwise be evident?; and
  • Where does the issue fall among CWL’s overall priorities and amicus brief priorities for the year?
In 2018 and 2019, CWL signed on to the following amicus briefs:
 
Case        Outcome

June Medical v. Gee
This amicus brief in a high-profile Supreme Court abortion rights case focuses on the actual burdens that the Louisiana statute at issue imposes on women’s ability to make reproductive decisions, and the resulting negative impacts that deny women’s equal participation in social and economic life. These harms—which have particularly detrimental effects on low-income women, women living in poverty, women of color, women who already have children, women subjected to intimate partner violence, and transgender and non-binary individuals--confirm that the Louisiana statute unduly burdens individuals’ reproductive autonomy and inhibits their equal participation in society, thereby depriving them of the right to liberty promised by the Constitution.

Pending

Moussouris v. Microsoft Corporation
In this employment gender discrimination case, we argued that the district court erred in denying class certification by mandating that litigants provide a minimum number of declarations from impacted employees, while at the same time ignoring hundreds of formal complaints of gender bias, thereby frustrating the vindication of antidiscrimination laws and permitting barriers to women’s career advancement to remain firmly in place.

Pending

Tudor v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University
In this case, a unanimous jury found in favor of a professor who was denied tenure after undergoing a male to female gender transition, but the district court denied her claim for reinstatement. CWL joined a brief underscoring the importance of reinstatement in employment discrimination cases and arguing that the factors the court considered in denying reinstatement were improper.

Pending

Massachusetts v. Department of Health and Human Services
CWL achieved a favorable result from the First Circuit in an opinion reversing the district court's order granting the Trump administration’s motion for summary judgment in a case challenging the Trump administration's new rules that broadly exempt employer's from complying with the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive coverage mandate. The district court held that Massachusetts had not established standing because it had not shown likely future injury stemming from the rules. CWL joined an amici brief in support of Massachusetts’ appeal of the decision. On May 2, 2019, the First Circuit reversed and held that Massachusetts has standing to challenge the rules “based on an imminent fiscal injury that is fairly traceable to the federal regulations and redressable by a favorable decision” since it is likely that at least some women would lose contraceptive coverage under the rules and those women would seek contraceptive care or prenatal care for unintended pregnancies from the state. 

Reversed

Doe v. University of Kentucky
CWL joined an amici brief to the Sixth Circuit supporting the plaintiff in her appeal of a district court decision holding that she lacked standing to bring a Title IX claim. The plaintiff alleged that the University of Kentucky acted with deliberate indifference after she reported that she was raped by a student in the university’s dormitory. Even though the plaintiff was a community college student taking part in a program at the university, resided at the university, and had access to the university’s services and facilities, the district court held that she lacked standing because she was not a student at the university. As the amici brief explained, the district court’s narrow reading of a plaintiff’s standing under Title IX is inconsistent with the purpose and policy goals of the statute and frustrates a university’s obligation to protect all members of its community.

Pending

Doe 2 v. Trump
CWL signed on to an amicus brief supporting current and prospective transgender service members who have brought suit to challenge President Trump’s directives and to enjoin the implementation of the President’s 2017 memorandum that, among other things, (1) indefinitely extended a prohibition against transgender individuals entering the military, and (2) required the military to authorize the discharge of transgender service members.

Pending

Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
To prohibit business owners from disregarding non-discrimination protections in the name of religion and free speech. 

Reversed

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Donald J. Trump
CWL continues to support lawsuits brought by states challenging the Trump administration’s rules that broadly exempt employers from complying with the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage mandate. In the beginning of 2019, CWL signed on to an amici brief supporting a preliminary injunction against the Trump administration’s final version of the rules, which the district court issued. In March 2019, CWL joined an amici brief in the Third Circuit opposing the Trump administration’s appeal of the preliminary injunction.   

 Pending

State of California et al v. Eric D. Hargan et al
(Sister brief to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, supra)

 Injunction Granted
&
Partially Affirmed

Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31
To decide whether employees who enjoy union benefits -including antidiscrimination protections and greater pay equity- should be required to contribute to the cost of securing them. At stake is the decades-old Supreme Court precedent, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which held that public sector collective bargaining agreements may include these "fair share" provisions.

 Reversed & Remanded

National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra
To argue that the disclosures required by California’s Reproductive FACT Act comply with the First Amendment, since that Act reasonably requires Crisis Pregnancy Centers to avoid misleading women and inform them of the availability of low-cost or free family planning services provided by the state.

 Reversed & Remanded

Jock v. Sterling Jewelers
This case is a class action challenge to pervasive sex discrimination in pay and promotion opportunities under Title VII and the Equal Pay Act. 

 Pending

State of California, et al v. Health and Human Services, et al
CWL continues to support lawsuits brought by states challenging the Trump administration’s rules that broadly exempt employers from complying with the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage mandate. In the beginning of 2019, CWL signed on to an amici brief supporting a preliminary injunction against the Trump administration’s final version of the rules, which the district court issued. In April 2019, CWL joined an amici brief in the Ninth Circuit opposing the Trump administration’s appeal of the preliminary injunction.

 Pending

Parker v. Reema Consulting Services, Inc.
Our amicus brief argued that the lower court inappropriately dismissed the sex discrimination claim. The Fourth Circuit reversed the lower court ruling in its decision by an unanimous three-judge panel, holding that rumors that a female employee slept with her male boss to obtain promotions can give rise to her employer’s liability under Title VII for sex discrimination. The Fourth Circuit revived the claims of sex discrimination in this case agreeing that “the traditional negative stereotypes regarding the relationship between the advancement of women in the workplace and their sexual behavior” are still at play and allowing harassment based on such stereotypes can violate federal law.

 Reversed

Karnoski, et al v. Trump 
In opposition to dissolving the preliminary injunction halting the government's ban on transgender men and women serving in the military. 

 Pending

Adams v. St. John’s County School Board 
CWL signed on to an amici brief in a case involving transgendered students’ rights to use the restroom of their choice. The brief argued that the presence of transgender students in a restroom does not create a hostile environment under Title IX or implicate a privacy concern under the U.S. Constitution; that sex-based protections in federal civil rights laws and the Constitution’s equal protection provision include protections for transgender students; and that transgender students face documented harms when they are not permitted to use facilities that align with their gender identities.

 Pending

Parents for Privacy v. Dallas School Dist. No. 2 
CWL signed on to an amici brief in a case involving transgendered students’ rights to use the restroom of their choice. The brief argued that the presence of transgender students in a restroom does not create a hostile environment under Title IX or implicate a privacy concern under the U.S. Constitution; that sex-based protections in federal civil rights laws and the Constitution’s equal protection provision include protections for transgender students; and that transgender students face documented harms when they are not permitted to use facilities that align with their gender identities. 

 Pending
 
If you would like CWL to consider drafting or signing onto an amicus brief, please contact us at amicus@cwl.org.