Obama's SCOTUS Nominees Should Be Women

>> Wednesday, April 22, 2009

If President Obama has the opportunity to nominate new members of the SCOTUS then i believe the first should be a minority woman. the reason for this is that those who decide our constitutional law should be able to understand more than simply the dominant point of view in our society. Currently the make up of the court is 8 men and 1 woman and the only minority is Clarence Thomas. Given the power of the court more non-traditional view points need to be present on the court.

Anyone who believes that it doesnt matter whether the justices are male, female, black or white needs to examine this case. The case is that of Savana Redding, the 13 yo girl strip searched by school officials because of an entirely uncorroborated, self-interested and ultimately inaccurate, accusation that she possessed ibuprofen, without even contacting her parents first. The case for more female justices is clear in the oral arguments with gems like this,

This leads Justice Stephen Breyer to query whether this is all that different from asking Redding to "change into a swimming suit or your gym clothes," because, "why is this a major thing to say strip down to your underclothes, which children do when they change for gym?"

This leads Ginsburg to sputter—in what I have come to think of as her Lilly Ledbetter voice—"what was done in the case … it wasn't just that they were stripped to their underwear! They were asked to shake their bra out, to stretch the top of their pants and shake that out!" Nobody but Ginsburg seems to comprehend that the only locker rooms in which teenage girls strut around, bored but fabulous in their underwear, are to be found in porno movies. For the rest of us, the middle-school locker room was a place for hastily removing our bras without taking off our T-shirts.

But Breyer just isn't letting go. "In my experience when I was 8 or 10 or 12 years old, you know, we did take our clothes off once a day, we changed for gym, OK? And in my experience, too, people did sometimes stick things in my underwear." [Unaltered quote--ed.]

It is clear from this and several other reports that Ginsburg was horrified that the teenage girl was forced to strip. None of the other men where able to even comprehend that, first there is a difference between a locker room and a strip search, and second that teen girls dont strut around showing off their bodies in locker rooms. As a man, i have never been present in a teenage girls locker room. I cannot equate my experience in a male locker room with that of a girl. Now, i might be able to imagine that such a search would be incredibly intrusive and embarrassing for a girl but if i based my evaluation solely on my own experiences i might not find it so.

You would expect that anyone could be made to understand that such a search was intrusive and embarrassing. However, 7 of the justices are older white men. They are stuck in their outmoded conceptions of gender equality and do not seem to be interested in a more modern feminist perspective. Due to this they fail to take into account women's perspectives on the policy they are passing judgment on. They fail to understand the modern female conceptions of dignity. This should not be allowed to continue.

The court here seems to lack concern for basic notions of human dignity. They cannot properly evaluate the impact of policy on non-male students. I have little confidence that they can do it when it comes to minority experiences. Im not contending that it is impossible for them to understand or evaluate minority experiences but that it would be vastly beneficial to have those with that background evaluating the policies at work.

The SCOTUS evaluates policy. Here they are likely to legitimize a policy that allows strip searches of female children, without parental notification, for ibuprofen. Are you kidding? Imagine if they were subjected to strip searches at random because we heard they had some drugs without a prescription. Do you think that this policy would last long?


O-le,O-le, O-le, O-le! O-le, O-le!

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