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Supreme Court hears arguments in Title IX retaliation case

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education (case summary from Duke Law School), a landmark gender equity case where the court will decide whether Congress intended under Title IX to allow lawsuits persons complaining of gender bias even if they are not direct victims. Title IX, best known for promoting women's athletics, bars discrimination in any educational program receiving federal funds. In this case, a basketball coach lost his job in 2001 after repeatedly asking the Birmingham Board of Education to provide his girls' team with a regulation-size gym just like the boys’ team. The Justices appear to be divided along ideological lines with the liberal group saying barring this action will deter other discrimination complaints, while the conservative group suggested Congress never intended for these type of suits. The government, which joined with the coach, argued the suit should be allowed to go forward because it is vital to the promotion of the purposes behind the act. Kenneth Thomas, a lawyer representing the Birmingham school board, argued that the statue does not include the word ’retaliation’ and allowing whistleblowers to sue would open school districts to a wave of lawsuits that lawmakers never intended. While the lower courts in the case ruled against Jackson, other federal courts have reached an opposite conclusion in similar cases. Read the US Eleventh Circuit appeals opinion here. The ABA provides merit briefs filed in the case. Read the ACLU amicus brief here [PDF]. AP has more.

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