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Way to go, Mark Halperin!

By Amanda Marcotte
Sunday, May 3, 2009 15:27 EDT
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I’m sure y’all have seen this at this point, but who cares? It’s an insta-classic in the art of acting like a super-entitled prick.

This is an official Time.com blog. It’s hard not to boggle at the nerve that it takes to declare white men an oppressed group because they’ve only claimed 96.4% of the seats on the Supreme Court, and only 97.7% of the Presidential terms. We don’t need to get essentialist here—of course you have your Sarah Palins and Clarence Thomases out there—but the odds of Obama appointing someone like that are shockingly close to nil.

So, setting aside the sellout factor, the recent years for Ruth Bader Ginsburg alone show why we need more diversity on the court. Ginsburg has been the sole voice against encroaching Dude Nation antics on the court, after the more conservative appointments and the loss of Sandra Day O’Connor started to move the court in that direction. Ginsburg often sounds like she’s howling at the winds in despair, as she should, because she’s sitting on a court that now thinks that women’s right to get paid the same as men for the same work is debatable, as is the notion that women are adult human beings who can make decisions about their own health without paternalistic male strangers telling them they’re too stupid to know what they’re doing. Told by your doctor that this pregnancy will kill you? Justice Kennedy knows better than you—you want to die in a fiery sacrifice to show how much you worship the patriarchy. Don’t like suffering a strip search that comes dangerously close to school-sanctioned sexual assault excused on the weakest of grounds? Well, you should have thought of that before you grew breasts. Perhaps even one more woman on the court would help tilt the club towards remembering what they’ve been trying to forget, which is that women are people who can be assumed to have feelings and thoughts within the people range.

Much of what the Supreme Court does is protect the rights of its citizens against being encroached on by others, and that means that they’ll often be looking at protecting people who are under attack for being non-white, female, or gay. The notion that it’s acceptable to have a group of mostly straight white men examine these cases smacks too much of, “We have evaluated ourselves and found that we’ve done nothing wrong.” Indeed, while we have some strong liberal voices from straight white men on the court, the trend has been exactly what you’d guess when you don’t have much in the way of voices of people who personally know the sting of racism or sexism. The decision in Ledbetter and especially in Carhart shows how bad an idea it is to run things this way.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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