Women’s Issues & the Supreme Court


One of my favorite online sites for posting my opinions is TED’s “Conversations.”

What is TED? According to their website, “TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference and TEDGlobal — TED includes the award-winning TED Talks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations…” and much more. “TED conferences bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less).”

A popular element in the TED world is the Conversations, a kind of online opinion and debate site, where TED’s people present a subject and participants present their opinions. Sometimes the conversation gets a bit testy.   Here is a sample:

How does the US Constitution deal with conflicts of interest by the Supreme Court?

Did the Founding Fathers ever anticipate how it would impact on the issue of abortion? Should male Supreme Court Justices be permitted to vote on issues relating to abortion?

Spring Bright

Maybe they thought about it, but only as it affected men.

The founding fathers never thought women would participate in the legal system except as chattels. When the Constitution was written, women couldn’t vote, own property, open a business, use birth control, which was illegal in most states, and their earnings and inheritances were controlled by their husbands or male relatives. All legal decisions concerning the lives of women were made by men.

The SC was not expected to have women justices, and though the Constitution’s authors were brilliant, many owned slaves and considered women to be similar property. Dolly Madison’s plea to her husband to “remember the Ladies” when writing the Constitution was ignored in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Women did not even have control over their children.

DancerUnless she had a midwife, when a pregnant woman’s life was at risk, the decision to save her or the child was entirely up to her male relatives and male doctor.

No one knows what the SC would have done with the Texas case of the brain dead, pregnant woman whose body was kept artificially breathing and fed for months to temporarily sustain an unviable fetus against the wishes of its mother, father and grandparents. They didn’t hear the case, and never considered the long, ghoulish arm of Texas law.

If the anti-abortionist movement is religious (abortion is not mentioned in the Bible) then religious Judges like Scalia and Thomas who think their religion is more “right” than their vows to uphold the Constitution, will ignore the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or restricting the practice thereof.”

Too bad we have no way to keep them from voting on religious issues like abortion. They have to voluntarily recuse themselves. Not much chance of that.

  • Reply (from a male participant)


So, if men are automatically disqualified from having any say in “women’s issues”, then WOMEN MUST BE DISQUALIFIED FROM HAVING ANY SAY IN “MEN’S ISSUES”.

Let me guess–there is no such thing as a “men’s issue” in your little world. Women get to have special set-asides, but not men, right?

  • Spring Bright

Abortion is not a women’s issue. Men often pressure women to have abortions, some beat pregnant women so they lose the child, and some rape women to force them to have their children.

Your “little” rant is probably because I named two male SC Justices who have voted religion over the constitution. Perhaps it will calm you to know that I would also oppose Ms. Sotomayor deciding a religious issue if her religion makes her break the constitutional ban on “law in support of an establishment of religion.”

You have imagined that my comment is anti-male, when it is simply pro First Amendment. Our constitution is strongly anti government support of religion.

I am curious as to what men’s issues you think rise to the level of importance and controversy of abortion rights.

Describing my world as little is a such a cute, traditional way of insulting women, but you are ignoring the most vocal opponents of abortion, who are themselves < tadah!> women. They should also recuse themselves from deciding the religious rights of other men and women.

Many religious laws come before the court, but the question posed here was limited to abortion.

A judge who does not recuse her or himself from cases where he or she is unable or unwilling to put the sworn duty to uphold the constitution ahead of all religious doctrine should be impeached.

This applies to decisions about many religious questions, like falsely teaching kids that evolution is not proven, or providing tax payer money to religious schools or federal tax payer grants to religious organizations that force people they assist to listen to or agree with religious teachings.

Photo credits: from paintings by Spring Bright


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