The Last Word on Sonia Sotomayor’s ‘Character Problem’

by matttbastard

NPR:

The subject of the Supreme Court nominee’s judicial temperament has so far been raised by just one senator, Lindsay Graham (R-SC).

“There’s a character problem; there’s a temperament problem,” says Graham.

Referring to the comments in the Almanac, Graham went on:

“I just don’t like bully judges,” Graham says. “There are some judges that have an edge, that do not wear the robe well. I don’t like that. From what I can tell of her temperament and demeanor, she seems to be a very nice person. [Supreme Court Justice Antonin] Scalia is no shrinking violet. He’s tough, but there’s a difference between being tough and a bully.”

Indeed. A big difference (ok, not necessarily big, but…):

Judge Guido Calabresi, former Yale Law School dean and Sotomayor’s mentor, now says that when Sotomayor first joined the Court of Appeals, he began hearing rumors that she was overly aggressive, and he started keeping track, comparing the substance and tone of her questions with those of his male colleagues and his own questions.

“And I must say I found no difference at all. So I concluded that all that was going on was that there were some male lawyers who couldn’t stand being questioned toughly by a woman,” Calabresi says. “It was sexism in its most obvious form.”

‘Nuff said.

h/t Ann Friedman via Twitter.

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Gaza: The Bottom Line

by matttbastard

Contra collective punishment apologist Alan Dershowitz (who, with his post-9/11 embrace of “torture warrants”, has long forfeited any moral authority he may have once possessed), Chris Hedges starkly charts the ethical and practical landscape where Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza ultimately resides:

Privilege and power, especially military power, is a dangerous narcotic. Violence destroys those who bear the brunt of its force, but also those who try to use it to become gods. Over 350 Palestinians have been killed, many of them civilians, and over 1,000 have been wounded since the air attacks began on Saturday. Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, said Israel is engaged in a “war to the bitter end” against Hamas in Gaza. A war? Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely crowded refugee camps and slums, to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armor, no command and control, no army, and calls it a war. It is not a war. It is murder.

[…]

The Israelis in Gaza, like the American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, are foolishly breeding the next generation of militants and Islamic radicals. Jihadists, enraged by the injustices done by Israel and the United States, seek to carry out reciprocal acts of savagery, even at the cost of their own lives. The violence unleashed on Palestinian children will, one day, be the violence unleashed on Israeli children. This is the tragedy of Gaza. This is the tragedy of Israel.

Those who forget the past

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Misplaced Empathy

by matttbastard

Via Daisy: Brand-spankin’ new Feministe contributer Cara highlights a story that FRIDA has followed in detail (h/t cripchick), all about “KEJ”, a disabled Illinois woman whose legal guardian was petitioning to have KEJ sterilized against her will (for KEJ’s own good, of course *cough*). Thankfully, a state appellate court recently ruled in KEJ’s favour, affirming her right to bodily autonomy. Score one for the good guys, right?

Right?

Well, hold on, tiger. According to some oh-so-enlightened commenters, maybe we’re being too hasty in championing the reproductive liberty of a disabled woman. Cripchick selects the following gems (and deserves some kind of an award for not justifiably engulfing the original thread in an inferno of righteous magma):

“…Who exactly IS supposed to raise a child born to a woman who is truly incapable of doing so on her own? I realize that abuses have been and may still be rampant, and many disabilities do not affect a person’s ability to parent, but honestly, if this woman gets pregnant, who’s on the hook for raising that child? The aunt, who is already caring for KEJ?”

– Comment 4, by Ruth

Who in the world is going to raise that child? Our tax dollars? Relatives dragooned into service through state power or shame? What if the disability is congenital and the child needs as much or more care than the parent? I agree with your basic point, that forced sterilization is something to be avoided. But people who are emotionally, or physically, or financially incapable of providing a decent quality of life for their children shouldn’t reproduce.”

– Comment 8, by felagund

“…I do think it would be unfair to push that child on someone else (the mother’s parents or private caretakers). It’s unfair to the others, and it’s unfair to the child. It’s like giving a puppy to your friend, but your friend doesn’t have the time/patience/love/etc. to take care of it and pushes it off on her roommate, who grudgingly obliges because her roommate doesn’t want the puppy to be unhappy and starve to death. That’s not how children should be brought up!”

– Comment 14 by danakitty

cripchick nails it:

Many commenters on the Feministe thread have rightfully pointed out how close the argument that disabled women should not be mothers is to the long history of policies and policing based on the idea that poor women should not be mothers. By talking about who will raise or pay for the child we are already talking about class— class and disability, like race, are very much tied together. I believe there are certain aspects of disability (poverty, housing, employment) that can somewhat be canceled out by class and white privilege (look at Christopher Reeve) but recognizing this does not give people the right to determine who are “good” parents and “bad” parents. Though the discussion is on disability, it is very much about criminalizing a perceived poor woman for wanting to have children.

[…]

The ableism in these threads always scare me. Partially because it’s on feminist blogs, partially because the internet allows people to say what they really feel. KEJ’s case is a victory but I’m still left to question whether we’re making any progress.

I’m sure many people reading this remember the disturbing-yet-perversely-enlightening trainwreck that occurred at Alas, a Blog a while back over The Ashley Treatment. The ablism being expressed by many commenters who I normally have respect for was utterly disheartening. One couldn’t help but note the cruel irony of watching people who would in any other case unequivocally stand up for a woman’s bodily sovereignty suddenly balk at the notion–all because the person in scenarios such as these who many able-bodied individuals automatically relate to is the able-bodied caretaker, rather than the disabled woman.

And, once again, the empathy has unfortunately (but not surprisingly) been entirely misplaced. Whether consciously or unconsciously, the “I’m not for forced sterilization but…” peeps have chosen to let their privilege (and, I would contend, ablist squick) blind them to the basic principles of bodily autonomy that are so obviously at stake here.

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PSA: Protest Against Bill C-484

by matttbastard 

Via fern @ BnR:

Stand up and say NO to Bill C-484, “Unborn Victims of Crime”. It is an infringement on reproductive rights and does nothing to address the systemic violence against womyn and pregnant womyn in particular. 

For immediate release:
Contact: opposebillc484@gmail.com
Headline: “Moving backwards in fight for abortion rights”

Ottawa, ON – May 3rd, 2008 – On May 3rd, 2008 from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM a protest opposing Bill C-484 will take place at the Peace Tower. Bill C-484, “The Unborn Victims of Crime Act,” has passed its second reading in Parliament as of March 5th, 2008. The bill creates a separate offence for killing a foetus when a pregnant woman is murdered. It gives an unborn foetus some human rights in these cases, which is a cause for concern in the pro-choice community. Under current Canadian Law, human foetuses are not considered persons(s) until they are born alive. If Bill C-484 should pass, the laws would be in conflict because the foetus would be considered a person and therefore the right to a legal abortion would come into question, as well as the rights of pregnant women in general. The law is clearly not concerned with the roots of violence against women and thus this bill would be a detriment to women’s rights. Similar laws have been passed in the U.S. resulting in dozens of women being punished for trying to “harm their child”. Let’s not let this happen in Canada.

We believe that the Government should look to pass laws that increase the sentencing upon those who commit violent acts against women, instead of passing laws just for foetuses that give women no ounce of protection and infringe on their rights.

Women and men are encouraged to come join us and the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada at the Peace Tower on May 3rd, 2008 to show their solidarity. We are encouraging supporters across Canada to hold similar protests as a sign of nationwide solidarity against Bill C-484.
 
Pour le dégagement immédiat :
 
Contact : opposebillc484@gmail.com
 
Titre : « Combattre le projet de loi C-484 »
 
Ottawa, Ontario – le 3 mai, 2008 de 12 h à 15 h protestation à l’opposition du projet de loi C-484 aura lieu à la tour de paix. Affichez C-484, « Loi modifiant le Code criminel (blesser ou causer la mort d’un enfant non encore né au cours de la perpétration d’une infraction) » a passé sa deuxième lecture au parlement en date du 5 mars, 2008. Le projet de loi crée une offense séparée pour tuer un foetus quand une femme enceinte est assassinée. Elle donne à un foetus à venir quelques droits de l’homme dans ces caisses, qui est un sujet d’inquiétude dans la communauté de pro-choix. En vertu de la loi canadienne courante, des foetus humains ne sont pas considérés comme personnes) jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient vivants soutenus. Si le projet de loi C-484 passe, les lois seraient en conflit parce que le foetus serait considéré une personne et donc le droit à un avortement légal hériterait la question, aussi bien que les droits des femmes enceintes en général.
 
La loi n’est pas véritablement concernée par les racines de la violence contre des femmes et ce projet de loi serait ainsi un détriment vers les droits des femmes. Des lois semblables ont été passées aux États-Unis ayant pour résultat des douzaines de femmes étant punies pour qu’essayer « nuise à leur enfant ». Ne laissons pas ceci se produire au Canada. Nous croyons que le gouvernement devrait regarder pour passer les lois qui augmentent la condamnation sur ceux qui commettent des actes violents contre des femmes, au lieu de passer des lois juste pour les foetus qui ne donnent à des femmes aucune protection.
 
Des femmes et les hommes sont encouragés à venir joignent nous et la Coalition de droites d’avortement du Canada à la tour de paix le 3 mai, 2008 pour montrer leur solidarité.

For more information on Bill C-484, please visit the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada website.

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Read This Now

 by matttbastard

fetal-homicide-bill.jpg

Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada has an op-ed up at the National Post’s website that ably refutes right-wing spin on just who (or what) will be “protected” by Bill C-484 the proposed fetal homicide bill.

A sample:

Our justice system already allows for harsher penalties for aggravated crimes. The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada supports such remedies, and we’ve also called for better measures to reduce violence against pregnant women, who are at increased risk of domestic violence. Further, we’ve advocated the use of Canada’s hate crime legislation (which has a gender clause) and even suggested passing a specific law to mandate increased penalties for attackers of pregnant women.

Giving separate legal status to a fetus is an unnecessary approach that could endanger not only abortion rights, but the rights of all pregnant women. Fetal homicide laws are prevalent in the U.S., but have done nothing to reduce violence against pregnant women. Instead, they have been used to arrest and prosecute pregnant women for their behaviour, and to justify restrictions on abortion — even when such laws exclude abortion and pregnant women from criminal liability. Our fear that this bill will be used in a similar way in Canada is not unjustified.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

Related: Fern can hear a dogwhistle–can you?

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PSA: Fight Back Against Anti-Choice Op-Eds and Articles

by matttbastard

from the ARCC-CDAC

Hi everyone, There’s been a steady stream of anti-choice op-eds and articles published in the media lately, regarding Bill C-484, which passed Second Reading in Parliament on March 5. This bill would create a separate offence for killing a fetus when a pregnant woman is attacked. It endangers abortion rights by creating fetal personhood, and would also interfere with the autonomy of all pregnant woman.

We’d like your help in countering the anti-choice misinformation around this bill. We’d also like to show support to the writers opposing the bill.

Could you please take a moment to write a letter or letters to the editor? Below are links to recently published pieces as well as how to send your letters. If you need the full text of an article, let us know (some papers require that you purchase online articles.)

Letters should be brief, forceful, and meaningful in expression – pithy.
Providing your unique or provocative perspective will increase the chance of publication.

The receipt and publication of many, many letters would certainly send a clear message of opposition to this bill to both the media and the public. Please also cc your letter to your MP.

For further information on the bill, visit our website at http://www.arcc-cdac.ca

From the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada info@arcc-cdac.ca

————–

Today’s bullies – yesterday’s feminists
Barbara Kay, National Post Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2008
http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/sto … ?id=368477
Letter to the editor:
http://www.nationalpost.com/contact/let … the+Editor

Layton keeping eye on Stoffer regarding unborn-child bill Stephen Maher, The Chronicle Herald, Published: Tuesday, March 11, 2008 http://thechronicleherald.ca/Canada/1042959.html
Letter to the editor: letters@herald.ca

Anti-abortion billboard branded ‘misleading, false’
Joe Matyas, London Free Press, Sun Media, Published: Tuesday, March 11 http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/CityandRegi … 1-sun.html
Letter to the editor:
http://lfpress.ca/cgi-bin/comments.cgi? … &s=letters

Epp elated to see bill head to committee Park MP vows to continue fight to make bill law in spite of NDP axe during second phase Michael Simpson, Sherwood Park / Strathcona County News, March 11, 2008 http://www.sherwoodparknews.com/News/383058.html
Letter to the editor:
http://cgi.bowesonline.com/pedro.php?id=22&x=contact

Canadian women need a fetal homicide law
Suzanne Fortin, National Post Published: Monday, March 10, 2008
http://www.nationalpost.com/todays_pape … ?id=364293
Letter to the editor:
http://www.nationalpost.com/contact/let … the+Editor

A killer of two; Fetus deserves legal status when mother is murdered Posted By Hoy, Claire
http://www.thesudburystar.com/ArticleDi … x?e=939059
Letter to the editor:
http://www.thesudburystar.com/feedback1 … orialemail

IWD 2008: so many butts to kick, so little time Rabble staff, Rabble, Published: March 8, 2008 http://www.rabble.ca/news_full_story.sh … 328&rXn=1&
Join the online discussion at:
http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb. … 4&t=001355

Bill to protect ‘the unborn’ is the wrong approach Antonia Zerbisias, The Toronto Star, Published Friday, March 7, 2008
http://www.thestar.com/living/article/310182
Letter to the editor: lettertoed@thestar.ca

Unborn-rights bill passes new stage
Mia Rabson, Winnipeg Free Press, Published Friday, March 7, 2008 (also printed in Victoria Times Colonist) http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/ … 0088c.html
Letter to the editor:
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/info/l … index.html

Pro-choice radicals oppose ‘unborn victims’ crime bill Parliamentary vote stirs up abortion debate Mark Hasiuk, Vancouver Courier Published: Wednesday, March 5, 2008
http://www.canada.com/vancouvercourier/ … =15586&p=1
Letter to the editor:
http://www.canada.com/vancouvercourier/letters.html

Good reasons for all sides to support this unborn bill Lorna Duek, Globe and Mail, Published: Wednesday, March 5, 2008 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ … login=true
It appears you need to be a ‘Globe Insider’ to write online letters to the editor at the Globe and Mail. But, if any of you are…

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The Tampon Police

Ok, this is taking the fetish to absurd, Onion-esque extremes:

The Colorado Supreme Court cleared the way Tuesday for an anti-abortion group to collect signatures for a ballot measure that would define a fertilized egg as a person.

[…]

“It doesn’t outlaw abortion, it doesn’t regulate birth control,” said Kristi Burton, 20, of Colorado for Equal Rights. “It’s just a constitutional principle. We’re laying a foundation that every life deserves protection.

Burton said the initiative would simply define a human.

“It’s very clearly a single subject,” Burton said. “If it’s a human being, it’s a person, and hey, they deserve equal rights under our law.”

It’s a fucking egg, you dumb ass. As Katha Pollitt said, “[a] potential person is not a person, any more than an acorn is an oak tree.” Yeesh, how long before the Kleenex Kops begin investigating the wastebaskets of wank-happy teenage boys? (MASS SPERMICIDE BY JERK OFF JANJAWEEDS!!!11 CONVENE TEH UN SECURITY COUNCIL!!!1)

h/t Stormy Days Of March

Update: fern-with-one-eff-hill is full of WIN.

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