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  • 05 Jan 2016 9:30 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    On January 4, 2016, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) and a coalition of 13 other LGBT, racial justice, and health equity organizations filed an amicus brief in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down draconian restrictions on abortion providers enacted by the State of Texas in 2013 which, if upheld, would lead to the closing of most abortion clinics in the state. The brief urges the Court to carefully scrutinize the state’s asserted justification for the law, just as the Court has done with other laws that infringe upon fundamental freedoms. The State of Texas has argued that the law protects the health of women seeking abortion, but the evidence at trial showed just the opposite. In fact, medical organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, and the American Public Health Association have explained that the restrictions imposed by the new law are medically unnecessary and endanger, rather than advance, women’s health.

    In addition to BALIF, the organizations filing the brief are the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, the Equal Justice Society, the National Black Justice Coalition, the Family Equality Council, the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality, Equality Federation, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, Immigration Equality, the National Health Law Program, and Movement Advancement Project.

    U.S. history is replete with attempts to use pseudo-science and unsupported health-related justifications to exclude individuals and groups from the full protection of essential constitutional liberties, including laws barring interracial marriage, excluding women from certain professions, permitting the forced sterilization of those deemed “inferior,” and criminalizing and discriminating against LGBT people. BALIF and its fellow amici urge the Court to remember this history and to fulfill its constitutional obligation to look carefully at the State’s asserted justifications for restricting women’s fundamental right to reproductive autonomy. 

    “The brief powerfully reminds us of the history of using empirically indefensible social science to justify discrimination against vulnerable groups," said Julie Wilensky, chair of BALIF’s Amicus Committee. “With this history in mind, it is especially important for the Court to meaningfully review the public health rationales Texas has asserted here."

    BALIF and the other amici are represented by Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld LLP and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

    Click here to read the brief.

    Click to view a PDF of the press release.
  • 24 Nov 2015 10:23 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Dennis Nix, a treasured BALIF member and dear friend and neighbor, was killed early Sunday morning while driving his scooter home, in an apparent hit and run (SF Gate Article).

    If you would like to assist with plans for a celebration of Dennis's life, please email chair@balif.org.



  • 06 Oct 2015 9:56 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Bayview Hunters Point Community Legal is the only legal aid office in the entire zip code, and they are doing something that's never been done before -- attempting to offer universal access to civil representation for everyone who lives in the zip code, regardless of issue. Currently, they only have two full-time attorneys on staff.  They were just selected by Google as one of the "10 most innovative nonprofits in the Bay Area". Google will be giving a half-million dollar grant to four of the ten organizations -- the four who get the most votes. You can vote for Bayview Hunters Point Community Legal here. 

  • 18 Aug 2015 3:52 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    The Korean American Bar Association of Northern California (KABANC) is pleased to announce the 2015 Bar Study Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded by the KABANC Foundation at KABANC's upcoming 2015 Annual Gala, and is open to all graduating law students or recent grads in Northern California who are planning to take the California State Bar examination in July of 2015, or February or July of 2016. Selection factors include academic achievement/work experience, demonstrated leadership and commitment to community service, particularly to the Korean and Korean American community and other diverse communities, and financial need. The deadline has been extended to August 24thPlease contact Liz Kim , KABANC Scholarship Committee Chair, with any questions.

    link: http://kabanc.com/kaba-2015-bar-study-scholarship-deadline-extension 

  • 30 Jul 2015 9:05 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Law students, have you demonstrated a commitment to the Asian Pacific American and LGBT communities?  BALIF and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley (APABA-SV) are partnering to offer a $3,000 joint scholarship to deserving APA/LGBT students.  Learn more and apply by September 09, 2015.

    Click here to apply!

  • 28 Jul 2015 9:38 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    It's that time of the year again! BALIF's Connections mentorship program is seeking mentors and mentees for 2015-2016. For more information, see the program guidelines and description on the BALIF website. If you are a law student, recent law school graduate, or newer attorney seeking a mentor, or if you are an experienced attorney interested in serving as a mentor, please contact the Young Lawyers and Students Programs Committee, younglawyers@balif.org. Mentor/mentee pairs will be assigned on a rolling basis from July-September.

  • 21 Jul 2015 9:34 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    The Lavender Law Conference is just around the corner! This year, the annual conference hosted by the National LGBT Bar Association is in Chicago from August 4-7. We hope some of you have booked your trip!

    BALIF has raised a limited amount of funds for BALIF Student Members who are attending the Lavender Law Conference this year. We apologize for the late notice, but late is better than never! If you are attending the conference and would like to apply for a limited amount of reimbursement for your travels, please notify us by Friday, August 14 and include the following documents:

    • Your registration receipt for the Lavender Law Conference
    • Receipts for flights to and/or lodging in Chicago
    • A copy of your BALIF membership card

    To be eligible for reimbursement, you must be a current Northern California law student and a current BALIF member. The amount available for reimbursement depends on how many applicants send us their information. No late applications will be accepted.

    Please send all the required documents in .doc or .pdf format by Friday, August 14 to lawstudentrep@balif.org. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us with any questions.

    See you in Chicago!

    2015-16 BALIF Student Board Members

    Alex Lemberg

    Sam Potts

    Joe Deignan

     

  • 14 Jun 2015 2:44 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

     

    June 12, 2015 – San Francisco – Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) filed an amicus curiae brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Norsworthy v. Beard. Ms. Norsworthy is a transgender woman held in a California men’s prison. The district court concluded that the denial of necessary medical care to Ms. Norsworthy violated the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It issued a preliminary injunction requiring the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to provide Ms. Norsworthy with adequate medical care, including sex reassignment surgery. CDCR appealed the preliminary injunction to the Ninth Circuit.

    BALIF’s brief in support of Ms. Norsworthy argues that when sex-reassignment surgery – or any medical treatment required for a serious medical need – has been identified as medically necessary for a prisoner, CDCR must provide it. There is no authority for a blanket denial of a particular procedure due to anticipated security and administrative issues. The brief explains that state and local detention systems throughout the country, including CDCR, have developed policies and procedures that ensure the health and safety of transgender prisoners while effectively balancing security and administrative issues. CDCR’s asserted security issues ignore important aspects of California’s prison system and are entirely manageable with respect to Ms. Norsworthy. Constitutional and other federal law require that CDCR take steps to ensure both the health and safety of a transgender prisoner like Ms. Norsworthy, as the district court correctly held. 

    “CDCR cannot hide behind its asserted security and administrative concerns to avoid its constitutional duty to provide medically necessary care to all prisoners, including Ms. Norsworthy,” said Julie Wilensky, chair of BALIF’s Amicus Committee.

    BALIF’s brief was filed by pro bono amicus counsel Rosen,  Bien,  Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, whose team includes attorneys Aaron J. Fischer and Sanford Rosen, summer associate Abbye Klamann, and paralegal clerk Charlotte Landes. 

    ###### 

    BALIF is the nation’s oldest and largest bar association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in the field of law. Founded in 1980, BALIF represents its members’ interests in the wider San Francisco Bay Area. BALIF members and supporters include San Francisco Bay Area judges, lawyers, law students, and legal workers. 

    Click here to read the brief.

  • 20 Apr 2015 11:11 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)


    Please join me in

     
    congratulating the newly elected members of the 2015-2016 BALIF Board of Directors:

    Jessica Bogo

    Mario Choi

    Joseph Deignan

    Jamie Dupree

    Daniel Faessler

    Alex Lemberg

    Shauna Madison

    Jennifer Orthwein

    Sam Potts 

    Linsey Rosellini

    David Sims

    John Unruh

    Julie Wilensky

    Thank you to all candidates this year.  It was a very competitive race!  Thanks to all the members that voted online or at our meeting.

  • 07 Mar 2015 1:09 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    MARCH 6 – San Francisco – Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) filed an amicus curiae brief yesterday in the United States Supreme Court in the consolidated cases Obergefell v. Hodges , Tanco v. Haslam, DeBoer v. Snyder, and Bourke v. Beshear, in support of the Petitioners’ positions that the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a same-sex marriage lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state. BALIF’s brief argues that it is the duty of the courts to decide the equal protection challenge, that the marriage bans are unconstitutional applying even the most deferential rational basis review, and that the bans inflict profound legal, economic, and emotional harm on same-sex couples and their children.

    “Contrary to the Sixth Circuit’s holding, it is the role of the judiciary to evaluate the constitutionality of state provisions and not to defer the question to the state voters and legislators who enacted them,” said Leah Nutting, BALIF’s Amicus Committee chair. “Fundamental rights such as the right to marry cannot be denied by majority vote. The institution of marriage is too special and the harms caused by the bans are too costly to just ‘wait and see’ for the democratic process to recognize that right.”

    Thirty bar associations and legal organizations from around the nation joined BALIF in signing the brief. The coalition of amici includes state, metropolitan, local, and minority bar associations and local non-profit organizations. The brief was filed with pro bono support from Jerome C. Roth and Amelia L. B. Sargent of the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson.

    ###

    BALIF is the nation’s oldest and largest bar association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in the field of law. Founded in 1980, BALIF represents its members’ interests in the wider San Francisco Bay Area. BALIF members and supporters include San Francisco Bay Area judges, lawyers, law students and legal workers.

    Click here to read the amicus curiae brief.

    Click here to view the press release.

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