News Roundup

Weekly Briefs: Skirts-only dress code gets rehearing; ex-judge reprimanded for 'sexual innuendo'

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En banc 4th Circuit will rehear school dress-code case

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Richmond, Virginia, has granted an en banc rehearing to consider a challenge to a skirts-and-dresses-only dress code for girls. A 4th Circuit panel ruled in August that the girls attending the Charter Day School in Leland, North Carolina, may have a claim for alleged sex discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. But the panel denied a constitutional claim, holding that the school’s state charter didn’t make it a government actor that is subject to the equal protection clause. (Reuters, How Appealing, the 4th Circuit order)

Ex-judge is reprimanded for ‘sexual innuendo’

A former municipal court judge in Somerset County, New Jersey, has received a public reprimand for a remark to a defendant described as “sexual innuendo.” The New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded former JJudge Hector I. Rodriguez in an Oct. 15 order. The incident happened after discussion of bail at a December 2017 hearing. “Do I owe you anything?” the female defendant asked. “Not that you can do in front of all these people, no,” Rodriguez replied. (Law360, the Associated Press,, the New Jersey Supreme Court order, the advisory committee’s May 2020 presentment)

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz reinstated after dues lapse

Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida was reinstated to the Florida Bar on Friday after paying $265 in bar dues plus a $200 late fee. The Florida congressman had been deemed ineligible to practice because he failed to pay bar dues on time. (The Daily Beast, the Northwest Florida Daily News)

NFL will end race-based adjustments in dementia testing

The National Football League has agreed to end “race-norming” in dementia tests used by some doctors to determine which retired NFL players qualify for compensation in a $1 billion concussion settlement. The race norms assumed that Black athletes started with worse cognitive functioning than their white counterparts, requiring them to show a greater cognitive decline to qualify for compensation. (The Associated Press, the New York Times)

University can continue considering race in admissions, judge rules

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can continue considering race as a factor in the admissions process, U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs of the Middle District of North Carolina ruled Monday. The group challenging the university’s policy, Students for Fair Admissions, said it will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. The same group failed to overturn Harvard University’s admissions policy and is seeking Supreme Court review. (The New York Times, the News & Observer)

Suit challenges ban on teaching of critical race theory

A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday challenges an Oklahoma law restricting discussions of race and gender in the courtroom. The law, HB 1775, says educators can’t teach that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.” The plaintiffs in the First Amendment suit are students and educators. They are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Oklahoma, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and pro bono counsel Schulte Roth & Zabel. (NBC News, American Civil Liberties Union press release, the lawsuit)

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