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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. “That’s what led me to start writing letters in January 2001. I found out that only made people madder … They told me, ÔHush your mouth,’ and ÔDon’t make problems for yourself’.” “Retaliation is simply one variant of discrimination,” said Marcia Greenberger, president of the National Women’s Law Center, in a brief filed on behalf of Jackson. “Retaliation is Ôon the basis of sex’ when it is triggered by a complaint about sex-based discrimination.” Jackson’s 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. LEARN MORE about the Feminist Majority Foundation’s effort to protect Title IX SIGN UP to receive important updates and action alerts from the Title IX Action Network DONATE to support FMF’s work to achieve gender equality in education

Sources:

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