The Court Ladies Are Pissed

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Supreme Court, Women's Issues

Adam Liptak at the NY Times:

In a decision that drew an unusually fierce dissent from the three female justices, the Supreme Court sided Thursday with religiously affiliated nonprofit groups in a clash between religious freedom and women’s rights.

The decision temporarily exempts a Christian college from part of the regulations that provide contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The court’s order was brief, provisional and unsigned, but it drew a furious reaction from the three female members, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. The order, Justice Sotomayor wrote, was at odds with the 5-to-4 decision on Monday in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, which involved for-profit corporations.

“Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. “Not so today.”

The court’s action, she added, even “undermines confidence in this institution.”

Preach it, Sister Justice Sonia! See SCOTUSblog for more detailed explanation. Sister Justice Sonia wrote a 15-page dissent that probably is still smoking. See also Corporations race into Ginsburg’s ‘minefield’ to claim post-Hobby Lobby religious exemptions.

By Their Tweets Ye Shall Know Them. People who are celebrating the Hobby Lobby and subsequent decisions do seem to have one thing in common, which is huge disgust at female sexuality. No surprise.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Bonnie  •  Jul 3, 2014 @10:22 pm

    I have decided to rename the U.S. Supreme Court since it has proven most of its members do not fit the adjective “supreme”. My choice for now is the United States Subordinate, Inferior, and Insignificant Court–USSIIC. Or, the Subordinate, Inferior, and Insignificant Court of the United States–SIICTUS.

  2. Swami  •  Jul 3, 2014 @11:30 pm

    Seems Alito isn’t the heavy intellectual hitter he’s been made out to be. Maybe he should have followed Clarence’s lead and just dummied up and vote however Scalia votes.
    Real thinkers are now coming out of the woodwork and shredding Alito’s lame reasoning to bits. I’m surprised that Alito didn’t lard up his opinion with a bunch of Latin mumbo jumbo phraseology to throw some of his pursuing intellects off his trail. I don’t know how well that tactic works with Supreme Court justices, but in evangelical circles tossing in a little Greek or Hebrew requiring translations into a dialogue really gets the intellectually insecure to back off and lower their heads. I know when I get into a jam I usually throw out a little reference to prototokos or paracletus to back off my opponent. Oh, and using the word transubstantiation is always a good standby to use to disarm the novice Christian.

  3. paradoctor  •  Jul 3, 2014 @11:33 pm

    In addition to their misogyny, the activist Roberts court has also bench-legislated a new legal absurdity; corporate religion. I wondered what religion a corporation might have; as a result I wrote the following fairy tale:

    ***

    Corporate Religion

    Once upon a time a Hero descended into the Underworld, seeking monsters to destroy. There he met an imaginary Person, who told him, “I do not exist. I am fictitious, discorporate and robotic. I have no use for empathy, nor for you, other than your market value. I care only for power and profit.”
    The Hero said, “Then you are an evil spirit. Prepare for battle, Demon.”
    The Legal Fiction replied, “No, I am a Corporation, and I do not fear your weapons, for I have neither a body to harm nor a soul to damn. Yet though I have no soul, nonetheless I have a religion, which I must impose upon others.”
    The Hero scoffed, “A religion? What would a lie like you believe? Preach your phony faith, you fraud, and I shall pay you what it’s worth!”
    The Corporation preached, “I sincerely believe in the right to deceive, in liberty of oppression and the freedom to enslave. All men are created useful, but only few are created users. Those few users demand unlimited privileges, among which are: the privilege of enforcing belief; the privilege of false speech; the privilege of censoring the press; the privilege of bribing the government; the privilege of arming lunatics; the privilege of bypassing rule of law; and the privilege of usurping the people’s rights. Profit is sacred, corporations are people, money is speech, and corruption is integrity. That is my credo.”
    The Hero said, “And here is your payment.” He drew forth a magic weapon.
    The Corporation shrieked, “A zero dollar bill!” It ran for its life, but the Hero overtook it. He threw it down, he rolled it onto its back, and the Corporation cried out, “Believe me, believe me!”
    The Hero said “No,” and he ruthlessly paid the Corporation zero dollars.
    Thus the monster was slain. The Hero cut off its logo, for a victory trophy.

    Moral: Free means paid for.

  4. Swami  •  Jul 3, 2014 @11:48 pm

    I liked Sonia Sotomayor’s analogy with the Quaker and the draft board. It summed up the logic of the fallacy of their argument precisely.

  5. Swami  •  Jul 4, 2014 @2:08 am

    The Ladies of the Court should rightfully be pissed. The five clowns are making a mockery of the court. I’ve gotta disagree with Sonia Sotomayor in one respect. She says people are losing respect for the institution as a result of recent rulings.. Well, on that note…Elvis has already left the building!

  6. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 4, 2014 @6:55 am

    paradoctor,
    Great tale!

  7. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 4, 2014 @7:17 am

    Maybe the Fascist Five Catholic males on the SC will realize how f*cking stupid and Unconstitutional their decision was, when they have to spend the next few years deciding countless cases of corporations asking for exemptions from the ACA Law, among others.

    Drop by drop, drip by drip, conservatives are turning this country into something that, if unchecked, will be a “Christian” Theocratic Fascist Banana Republic – thanks to “Christian” banana’s Republicans.

    I wish I could get the hell out of here.
    If I ever get SS disability, I’ll look around for a better country – this one has gone insane – one that’s kind of like the USA used to be…

    I’m very afraid.
    Whoever the Democratic candidate is in 2016, I’ll be manning the phones to help her/him.
    Yes, the Democratic Party has issues too. But I’d prefer my Fascism without a heaping helping of “Christianity,” thank you.
    I’m not a religious person, but I bet I know more about the Bible, especially the New Testament, than most purported “Christians” – they seem stuck on the Old Testament, as opposed to the New.
    Kind of like the “Originalist’s” on the SCOTUS, and other courts – they don’t recognize the Amendments to the Constitution (The 2nd one, exempted – since, apparently, it’s like the Holy Grail), and want to return to “The Articles of Confederation.” Or, at best, the “original” Constitution – with its 3/5ths designation for black people.

    I’m going to stop writing about this now, because I’m getting angrier and angrier. And that’s no way to “celebrate” the 4th of July.

    Read “The Declaration of Independence” today.
    It’ll do your heart good:
    http://www.ushistory.org/Declaration/document/

    We once aspired – and that is what I loved about this imperfect country.
    We were once a “CAN DO!” nation.
    Since Reagan, and his open invitation to “The ‘Moral’ Majority,” we can’t seem to do f*cking sh*t.
    For shame…

    Happy 4th of July nonetheless!!! ;’-)

  8. maha  •  Jul 4, 2014 @9:43 am

    Everybody — there are four Catholic males on the Court, not five. Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Don Scalia are Catholic. Breyer is Jewish. Sotomayor is Catholic; Ginsburg and Kagan are Jewish.

    Update: Oops; forgot Kennedy.

  9. fermion the clown  •  Jul 4, 2014 @7:29 am

    Odd, I’d never totted up the religious affiliations of the SCOTUS justices before this week.

    Surprising. I believe I’ve seen several statements that “all five RC justices voted to give Hobby Lobby a religious exemption”, but that would appear to inaccurate, so perhaps I misread. “All five male RC justices” is correct.

    Unless I’m miscounting, of course. Lessee … Roberts, Kennedy, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas (surprisingly) are all RC, right?

    And Sotomeyer.

    Perhaps I’m misremembering, but wasn’t there a lot of sturm and drang over the loss of “the woman’s seat” and “the Jewish seat”.

  10. maha  •  Jul 4, 2014 @9:40 am

    fermion — When Justice Sandra O’Connor resigned there already was another woman Supreme Court justice, the esteemed Ruth Bader Ginsburg. So the “token woman” issue was covered, just as the “Jewish seat” issue also is covered by justices Ginsburg, Kagan annd Breyer (there are not five Catholic men on the Court; there are four Catholic men and one Jewish man). I suspect that had there not been another woman on the Court there would have been huge pressure to appoint a woman. But you might remember that George Bush initially nominated Harriet Miers to replace O’Connor, and you might remember how that turned out. And I seem to remember there was some grumbling that a man replaced O’Connor.

    I suspect that the representation of Catholicism on the court is connected to the abortion issue, though. During the confirmation process the nominees have to be careful not to make explicitly anti-choice promises, but a conservative Catholic man is more likely to get a pass from conservative senators, and the approval of the political Right, than anyone else. So there we are. And I find your comment about Thurgood Marshall a tad whiffy. Of course, it wasn’t “the black seat” then. What’s your point?

    My understanding is that Catholic women in the U.S. are about as likely to use birth control as anyone else. Pregnancy is not theoretical or hypothetical to them, but actual experienced reality, which tends to broaden one’s views. Apparently Catholic women made up their minds that the anti-birth control doctrine is just nonsense spewing from celibate old men that they don’t take all that seriously.

  11. fermion the clown  •  Jul 4, 2014 @7:31 am

    -> “sturm and drang”

    Back in the day, I mean. Perhaps as long ago as Nixon.

  12. fermion the clown  •  Jul 4, 2014 @7:45 am

    Also, too … perhaps sturm und drang over “the black seat”, but I don’t remember that. Perhaps because Thurgood Marshall was the first black SCOTUS justice, so his seat wasn’t considered “the black seat” at the time? Or perhaps I just missed the ruckus. Or am forgetting it.

    And an edit to the earlier comment: “the loss” -> “the possible loss”.

  13. erinyes  •  Jul 4, 2014 @8:15 am

    It seems to me that the obvious solution is for everyone to form a corporation.
    Paradoctor, great story.

  14. goatherd  •  Jul 4, 2014 @8:19 am

    Wow, that’s great series of comments. Thanks to all, and a happy “Fourth.”

    I can only add that Diane Rehm had the author of a very insightful and in depth book about the Declaration of Independence. She has a doctorate and was a MacArthur recipient. It’s well worth listening to the show.

    Remember to always have adult supervision with your fireworks. Here in the Carolinas it will sound like a war zone this evening. It scares the horses and dogs.

  15. Stella  •  Jul 4, 2014 @9:02 am

    Thanks paradoctor, I love a good story. The zero dollar bill is beautiful.

    Could you do one in which the five are somehow changed into females overnight? That would be some kind of justice.

    Aw hell, go ahead and let them be young again.

  16. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 4, 2014 @9:30 am

    Stella,
    Even if the uber-Christian Fascist Five were young females, they probably couldn’t get laid with a fistful of pardon’s in a prison – male, or female!

  17. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 4, 2014 @10:12 am

    D’OH!
    And, WHOOOOOOPS!

    Thanks for the correction, maha!

  18. fermion the clown  •  Jul 4, 2014 @10:34 am

    Maha, where do you get “four Catholic males”? I believe your list tots up to 8, not 9. Perhaps you overlooked Kennedy?

    Wikipedia says that Kennedy is also RC. I checked before I posted. Doesn’t mean that wiki is right, of course.

    As regards my “sturm and drang” comment (er, s/and/und for greppers, shame on me), as I said in a follow-up correction, I’m talking about 50 years ago (perhaps), not recently…

    … and I’m referring to the absence of any Protestant seats.

    Of course there are no atheist, agnostic, Muslim, LDS, Buddhist seats either, but has there ever before been a SCOTUS with nary a single Protestant justice, ever?

  19. maha  •  Jul 4, 2014 @10:52 am

    fermion — You’re right; I overlooked Kennedy. So we’re back to five. Seriously, though, this is not necessarily a Catholic vs. everyone else issue.

    … and I’m referring to the absence of any Protestant seats.

    Of course there are no atheist, agnostic, Muslim, LDS, Buddhist seats either, but has there ever before been a SCOTUS with nary a single Protestant justice, ever?

    No, but the way you worded your earlier comment struck me as bigoted. And it still does. I have addressed why the abortion issue probably has a lot to do with the over-representation of Catholics on the Court.

  20. Pablo  •  Jul 4, 2014 @10:40 am

    And Kennedy is????? pastafarian????

  21. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 4, 2014 @10:45 am

    Is Scalia a Pasta-Fazoolian?

  22. fermion the clown  •  Jul 4, 2014 @10:46 am

    Perhaps my point about “Protestant” wasn’t clear.

    Within my adult lifetime there was sturm und drang over the possible disappearance of “the Jewish seat” and sturm und drang over the possible disappearance of “the woman’s seat” (and perhaps over the possible disappearance of “the black seat”, but I don’t remember if so) …

    … doesn’t it seem a little odd that there was almost no fuss about the disappearance of the last “Protestant seat”?

    My head just ‘sploded. Not because “six Catholics”, but because I don’t remember anyone noticing.

    BTW, I just checked two more references which say that Kennedy is Catholic.

    Adding Kennedy to your list makes five male Catholics on SCOTUS, if I am not mistaken.

    Six Catholics total including Sotomeyer.

  23. fermion the clown  •  Jul 4, 2014 @11:02 am

    “Bigot” is strong language, Maha.

    I am not religious. I won’t bother with the “some of my best friends are Catholics” schtick. I will say that I have defended religious beliefs to some of my less tolerant buds.

    I will add that I felt a bit icky about pointing out the religious affiliation of SCOTUS justices.

    In the interests of improving my (ahem) “presentation”, might you be so kind as to say what you find bigoted about my comments?

  24. maha  •  Jul 4, 2014 @11:29 am

    “Bigot” is strong language, Maha.

    You may not have intended it, but it’s what came across.

    In the interests of improving my (ahem) “presentation”, might you be so kind as to say what you find bigoted about my comments?

    The way you worded your comment came across to me as an assumption that non- white male Protestant justices were tokens appointed for the sake of tokenism. If that’s not what you meant I apologize, but that’s what it sounded like.

    People haven’t spun their wheels over the lack of white male Protestants on the Court (of which I was aware) because white male Protestant is the default norm in our culture; therefore, white male Protestants are not perceived as a separate group that requires token representation. Weirdly, that also means nobody notices when they get left out.

    Please read “The Default Norm,” an old post about Sotomayor’s confirmation, for further explanation.

  25. fermion the clown  •  Jul 4, 2014 @12:20 pm

    Maha, it’s your blog, you can (and will) do with it as you please. [shrugs]

    But it might be worth remembering that although we all have “triggers”, not all of us have the same triggers.

    As it happens, I’m from a generation that grew up with the terms “woman’s seat” and “Jewish seat”. It is news to me that these phrases are now examples of bigoted speech.

    I am so advised. Thank you for explaining.

    In like manner, my daughters were horrified a few years ago when I used the word “Oriental”. Quelle surprise! Who knew that “Oriental” is now considered cracker speech??

    Not I. [ignorantly]

    Well, now I know. [dryly]

    What is truly funny, in a noir sorta way, is that I assumed you were calling me a bigot for noting that all five male RC justices voted in a bloc to create a religious exemption.

    (No, seriously! I had absolutely no idea! I am that clueless.)

    Which religious exemption (referring to contraception, not abortion) is almost exclusively of concern to RC doctrine (and the RC hierarchy). I may be mis-remembering, but I think I read somewhere that 89% of Catholics use contraception … in violation of doctrine.

    Anyway, there’s a serious point here, whether one calls it tokenism or “appropriately diverse representation” … or bigotry.

    A sectarian bloc of five male justices just created a religious exemption aligned with their sect’s doctrine. Would a more diverse panel have created that same exemption? Well, who knows? But a priori it seems unlikely, given that Sotomeyer voted against and Kennedy wasn’t as gung-ho as the other four.

    I’m afraid I’m not articulating my point clearly.

    How about this: whether you call it “bigoted tokenism” or “diverse representation”, it’s preferable to have diverse representation rather than majority “special-interest” blocs on any decision-making panel.

    A “wisdom of crowds of experts” sorta thing… monolithic blocs have blind spots and/or axes to grind, and in the process segments of the citizenry get screwed over.

    Not good for democracy.

    Put differently (into a soundbite): “diversity is our friend.”

    In re your response about abortion: I think you missed my point, but never mind. If I can think of a better way to make the point, I’ll try again.

  26. maha  •  Jul 4, 2014 @12:45 pm

    As it happens, I’m from a generation that grew up with the terms “woman’s seat” and “Jewish seat”. It is news to me that these phrases are now examples of bigoted speech.

    As I doubt you are older than I am, that’s hardly an excuse. Where have you been these past, oh, 50 years or so? Were you a cloistered monk?

    How about this: whether you call it “bigoted tokenism” or “diverse representation”, it’s preferable to have diverse representation rather than majority “special-interest” blocs on any decision-making panel.

    Of course diverse representation is a good thing. No one is saying otherwise. That’s not even an issue here, because we are a liberal crew that honors diversity. In other words, what you say here abut diversity and the wisdom of crowds is the sort of thing that goes without saying in these parts, because of course. It’s obvious. You’d have to be an idiot to not see that.

    Perhaps you should read the blog awhile and try to catch up to the rest of us before you presume to comment here.

  27. fermion the clown  •  Jul 4, 2014 @12:43 pm

    uh, one other point. You wrote:

    “People haven’t spun their wheels over the lack of white male Protestants on the Court (of which I was aware) because white male Protestant is the default norm in our culture; therefore, white male Protestants are not perceived as a separate group that requires token representation.”

    At risk of stating the obvious, white males are perceived as the norm in Murkin society. Nonetheless, there are “white rights” and “men’s rights” advocacy groups.

    Take ’em seriously or not, your call, but they exist and they make a lot of noise.

    I don’t see how your explanation explains the absence of “Protestant rights” groups. Certainly none of the usual suspects protested (no pun intended) the loss of the last Protestant justice on SCOTUS. (Better than “Protestant seat”? Or worse?)

    I get the abortion argument, but still, Michelle Bachmann’s ex-church (Lutheran) had rather harsh words for the Catholic Church, abortion notwithstanding … and they’re not the only anti-Catholic Protestant (ahem) bigots in town.

    Not so long ago, most Protestants (well, *many*) regarded the Catholic Church with suspicion… and my more ultramontane Catholic acquaintances every now and again emit a whiff of contempt for their (ahem) country-bumpkin Protestant allies.

    It just seems strange to me to see no evidence of tension in this culture-war alliance of Protestant and Catholic.

    Personally I suspect that they’re just waiting for the final triumph of Christian Dominionism to start sticking knives in each other’s backs, but hey, that’s just my guess. And it doesn’t explain the absence of “Protestant rights” groups.

  28. maha  •  Jul 4, 2014 @1:00 pm

    At risk of stating the obvious, white males are perceived as the norm in Murkin society. Nonetheless, there are “white rights” and “men’s rights” advocacy groups.

    The fact of white maleness, especially Protestant white maleness, as the sociocultural “default norm” is well documented by social psychologists, and you don’t appear to fully grasp it. Some people talk about white male privilege to mean the same thing, but I think the “default norm” syndrome is more accurate.

    Second, the men’s “advocacy” groups are not really about men’s rights. See a post I wrote four days ago explaining them.

    It just seems strange to me to see no evidence of tension in this culture-war alliance of Protestant and Catholic.

    That’s because it’s not really about religion. See the post I wrote today, which includes an excerpt from my book (Rethinking Religion: Finding a Place for Religion in a Modern, Tolerant, Progressive, Peaceful and Science-affirming World), which touches on why it’s not really about religion. But I explain this in much more detail in the book.

  29. paradoctor  •  Jul 4, 2014 @12:47 pm

    cund gulag, erinyes, Stella: Thank you. I live to serve.

    Please note that each of the privileges claimed in the Corporation’s credo is a denial or perversion of a key point in the Bill of Rights.

    Our hero is an honest bloke, though violent and unreflective. He used the first person singular only once, in a true statement, and in trochaic octameter!

    Aside from the constitutional insanity of Alito’s “corporate religion” novelty, there is also the ruling’s misogyny. To celebrate what it attacks, I offer this:

    In Praise of Contraception

    Enfettered by the seed of men?
    This wheel, darling, guards for thee
    Affection, passion, love and yen
    A month of women’s liberty!

  30. fermion the clown  •  Jul 4, 2014 @2:20 pm

    Maha, I’ve read your blog for years, not every day, but a couple times a week.

    It’s your blog, you get to say what you want.

    Thank you for deigning to respond to this lowly one’s ignorant and bigoted comments.

    I have learned that I shouldn’t use “XYZ seat on SCOTUS”.

    Any day I learn something new is a good day in my book.

    Thank you for that learning.

  31. Swami  •  Jul 7, 2014 @11:22 am

    Just ran across this little nugget. Thought I’d share it. It’s an historical woman know thy place sentiment that makes up the foundation for the GOP’s current war on women.

    America has come a long way since 1873, when the Supreme Court would refuse to allow Myra Bradwell to become a lawyer, and Justice Joseph Bradley would write: “The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life….The paramount destiny and mission of women are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law of the Creator.”



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