Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Monday, January 3, 2011

Scalia is Not Entirely Sure Women Are Persons

Well, I know, that's an eye-catching blog-title. But that's the only way I can understand the comments Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made in this article in California Lawyer (Oh, I'd say "trigger warning for infuriating sexist assumptions"):

In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don't think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we've gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?
Yes, yes. Sorry, to tell you that. ... But, you know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that's fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't. Nobody ever thought that that's what it meant.
 Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don't need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box. You don't like the death penalty anymore, that's fine. You want a right to abortion? There's nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn't mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it's a good idea and pass a law. That's what democracy is all about. It's not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.
As Amanda Terkel at Huffington Post points out,

For the record, the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause states: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." That would seem to include protection against exactly the kind of discrimination to which Scalia referred.
Unless, of course, one just wasn't entirely sure women qualified as "persons". Not as "citizens according to the limitation accorded to their gender at the time of the framing of the US Constitution". Just....persons in general. About half of the human beings in this country: not really "persons." A third of the SCOTUS? Not "persons" either.

And yet this is a respected legal mind? He just unthinkingly "un-personed" half the country!

This is why feminism is so very necessary.  Women are people, too! (Sheesh....need stronger beverage.)

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