Chai Feldblum

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Chai Feldblum


Chai Rachel Feldblum, born 1959, is a Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. Her partner is Nan Hunter.

In March 2010, she was appointed to a position on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by President Barack Obama, and in December 2010 she was confirmed to a full term on the EEOC by the United States Senate.[1]

Background

Chai Feldblum was born in New York City to Rabbi Meyer Simcha Feldblum and his wife Esther Yolles Feldblum. She grew up in an Orthodox Jewish home in the Washington Heights section of New York City.

Chai Feldblum attended the Yeshiva University High School for Girls in Manhattan, New York before majoring in Ancient Studies and Religion at Barnard College. Feldblum received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1985.

Education/early career

Professor Feldblum graduated from Harvard Law School in 1985 and clerked for Judge Frank M. Coffin on the First Circuit Court of Appeals and for Justice Harry Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court[2].

ACLU

As a legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union from 1988 to 1991, Feldblum was one of the lead lawyers who crafted and negotiated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990[3].

Legal activism

In 1993, Professor Feldblum founded the Federal Legislation Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center, where she teaches students the art of merging law and politics in the development and negotiation of legislation. Professor Feldblum has written and spoken widely on civil rights (including disability rights and gay rights) and on employment law issues. In 2004, Professor Feldblum launched and now co-directs Workplace Flexibility 2010, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation funded-initiative engaged in legal research, outreach and consensus-building to advance a national policy on workplace flexibility[4].

JStreet advisory council

In 2009 listed members of the JStreet advisory council included Chai Feldblum, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center [5]

Advocating presidential executive order

Supporters of the Tennessee Equality Project rallied outside of the federal courthouse in Memphis Dec. 9.2012. All across the state, similar rallies took place to petition President Barack Obama to sign an executive order barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in federal contracting jobs.

Michelle Bliss, discussed why the TEP is seeking an executive order from the President: "Our state legislature has cut us off at the knees." She went on to explain, "Nashville has passed a law that says no municipality can extend protections beyond their own employees."

In October, by a 9-4 vote, the City Council of Memphis approved a nondiscrimination ordinance that extended protections to city workers based on sexual orientation and gender identity. However, the City of Memphis is powerless to extend similar protections to other workers due to state law.

According to Bliss, "The only way to overcome this state law is through federal action." She added, "Workers should be judged by what they do 9 to 5" and not by who they love.

In October, by a 9-4 vote, the City Council of Memphis approved a nondiscrimination ordinance that extended protections to city workers based on sexual orientation and gender identity. However, the City of Memphis is powerless to extend similar protections to other workers due to state law.

According to Bliss, "The only way to overcome this state law is through federal action." She added, "Workers should be judged by what they do 9 to 5" and not by who they love.

According to writer James Raines, for the Communist Party USA's People's World, Chai Feldblum, a Commissioner at the EEOC and the lead attorney in drafting the Americans with Disabilities Act, agrees. Feldblum met with a small group of Memphis equality advocates days before the rally in the basement of Evergreen Presbyterian Church. "Ultimately what is needed," Feldblum said, "is a federal law." "But," she said, "until we get that, what we need is an executive order."

Feldblum outlined her approach, saying, "You need three things to create social change: law, policy and practice and social norms." An executive order from President Obama would represent a crucial change in policy and advance the cause of equality. Feldblum confided, "I have zero doubt the President will issue this executive order." She paused, then added, "The question is when...we have to be smart and strategic about it."[6]

References