Trump Controlling Women’s Bodies
Many on the religious right are pro-Trump even though his life is not right religiously.
He’s bragged about enjoying plenty of casual sex. He’s even boasted about sexually assaulting women. And some women have filed lawsuits that sound exactly like the assaults that he has described making. His first wife said he raped her once (later taking back the claim).
Why do so many religious conservatives still back him? Read the rest of this entry
Gay Marriage Protects Marriage
Mamma, don’t let your daughters grow up to marry gay cowboys.
That’s from a headline I once saw.
You could reverse that:
Mamma, don’t let your gay sons grow up to marry girls.
I get that. Because some of my friends have tried it. Except for the cowboy part. Read the rest of this entry
Virtually Attack Women, But No Nudity
A gamer creates an avatar resembling himself and plots to kill a three-dimensional, lifelike woman. The avatar grasps an axe and raises it to strike. He hears the thud as the axe slices her head. He hears her cry out in pain. He sees her split skull and feels the sensation of blood on his hands and face.
I’ve just paraphrased one part of Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Alito’s opinion on whether video games of this sort should be protected as free speech in sales to minors.
Yes, he uncomfortably concludes. Read the rest of this entry
Supreme Court May Ok Forcing Your Religion on Others
Should some people be allowed to force their religion on less powerful people?
That might happen if the Supreme Court rules against the government in the Zubik v. Burwell contraception case. Read the rest of this entry
Laws “Protecting Women” Harm Them, Instead
Laws “protecting” women often end up harming them, instead.
That’s because limiting liberty is the real aim.
In 1905 a laundress sued her employer for making her work more than 10 hours — Oregon’s legal limit for women back then. The case eventually wound up at the Supreme Court, where her employer made this feminist argument:
Limits on women’s work hours discriminate against them.
But the Justices upheld the law, saying that women are like children, both needing special care. Read the rest of this entry
Will the Rights of Fictional “Persons” Trump Actual People?
Should the rights of a disembodied, fictional “person” trump the rights of someone whose actual body and well-being could be gravely affected by a court ruling?
That’s a question the Supreme Court will be answering later this month.
Through the magic of legal fiction corporations have gained personhood. And now the “person” that is Hobby Lobby Inc. argues (without evidence) that some forms of birth control may cause abortion, making the Affordable Care Act’s free contraceptive directive a threat to (his? her?) religious tenants.
That this judicial question is under consideration is remarkable. Arguments before the court had centered on whether corporations can hold religious views. But what if a woman’s beliefs — or lack thereof — allow for contraception? Why must she follow the dictates of her employer instead her own conscience?
Where there’s a conflict between the rights of fictional bodies and actual bodies, surely the latter should win out. Read the rest of this entry
Bias on the Supreme Court?
Supreme Court nominations bring worries about bias, “left” and “right.” But only women and people of color are thought to have gender or ethnic biases. When white men are nominated the issue never arises. The upcoming vote on Elena Kagan and the nomination of an Asian woman, Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, to the California Supreme court have got me thinking about this.
What is the record of a white man who was not thought to be biased and a Latina woman who was: John Roberts and Sonia Sotomayor?
Discussing the issue, one of my women’s studies students politely raised his hand to say, “Well, Sotomayor did say that a wise Latina would make better decisions than white men.”
Her actual quote is as follows:
“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
So I asked, “Do you think biased judgments would more likely come from someone who is aware or unaware of her bias? If a person is unaware, she won’t be able to take it into account or assess it. But if a person is aware of a bias, she has the possibility of checking her thinking.
The student nodded his agreement.
So what is the record of Sonia Sotomayor? Prior to joining the Supreme Court studies found her to be moderate in her political leanings with 38% of her opinions liberal and 49% conservative. Clearly her experience as a Latina woman did not show a clear bias. Still, after a year on the Supreme Court she has voted with the liberal wing about 90% of the time.
But John Roberts, a white male who has lived with great privilege, and who was never questioned on the matter, has fared no better. John Roberts has shown a clear partiality for the privileged side of society. Court watcher, Jeffrey Toobin, has noted that, “In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff… Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party.”
Yes, there is bias on the court. I find I can generally predict with great accuracy how the Court will rule, and who will vote with each side. Even when it turns out 7-2 I can figure out which two.
At the very least we need a diversity of experience and opinion on the court – and hopefully dialogue, with people sharing their differing ways of seeing – since it is likely impossible for anyone to be unbiased. This can happen. Sandra Day O’Connor talked of how much she learned from hearing Thurgood Marshall’s perspective.
Today we can only hope.