Sexism

Getty only has images of women or children sniffing things… because men sniffing women is TOTALLY CREEPY.

Of course sniffing a woman can be sexual harassment. Who would even dispute that? Hovering over a woman and inhaling deeply is the move of creepy rapists in Lifetime movies.

A Dallas magistrate judge ruled against a woman who was fired after complaining that men would come into her office and freaking sniff her. Thankfully, an appeals court reversed… because Jesus Christ, ex-convicts were smelling her and talking about how they needed a “release”….

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Women have made great strides in the workplace over the last several decades. But one doesn’t have to look much further than these pages to see that despite all the progress, significant hurdles remain. Maybe those hurdles could be overcome if women would just listen to their firm Women’s Committees.

Or maybe women have it better off than we think. A major newspaper assembled a crack team of men and asked them if women still face discrimination in the workplace.

According to a Biglaw managing partner, women have no problems in the workplace anymore.

Maybe he forgot about those pesky sex discrimination suits his firm got slapped with….

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This is a Biglaw fashion don’t.

Day in and day out, the demands associated with Biglaw grind people up and lay waste to the hopes and dreams that many once had about what it would be like to work as a high-powered attorney. And more often than not, it is the men who are in charge of this “all work, no play” carnival of tortured souls.

From origination credit to salary wars to leadership opportunities, it is usually the men who are accused of pushing women two steps back in the Biglaw regime. But today, we’ve got insider information on some alleged woman-on-woman crime. This time, it is the women who are ripping their female colleagues to shreds. And it’s not just any women; no, it’s the members of the firm’s Women’s Committee who are doing the damage, and trust us when we say that these cats have claws.

Brought to you by the same firm that produced the departure memo seen ’round the world, we now present to you what may be one of the most sexist Biglaw memos we’ve ever seen….

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I think we all saw this day coming. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito certainly did. Last term, Alito’s holding in Vance v. Ball State essentially announced that it was open season on women you work with as long as you are not their direct superior. Thanks to “Alito time,” you can now sexually harass pretty much any woman at the office so long as she doesn’t directly report to you, without getting your employer in trouble.

And sure, while it might be fun to sexually harass your boss’s secretary, asking female colleagues to “touch it” is not without its dangers. In this crazy world, the female object of your desire might one day become your boss, or something similarly ridiculous. And who really wants to feel up a career-oriented co-worker anyway? Even if she can’t sue the company, she’s probably just going to be bitch about it in some uncool fashion anyway.

No, the gold standard for harassing people at work are the young, nubile, and generally helpless interns. They’re the ones who can’t really even complain about it. They’re the ones who might take your creepy advances as a career opportunity. And now, according to a New York judge, you can do pretty much anything you want to them, so long as they are so desperate as to be working for your company for free….

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I do not mean to say that life as a young woman of color at a large corporate law firm felt like just one Big Marathon of Blatant Racist and Sexist Slights. The experience is, of course, far more nuanced and subtle than that, and often more insidious and harder to battle for its very sublety.

Helen Wan, author of The Partner Track (affiliate link), reflecting on the plight of minority women in Biglaw. (For additional thoughts on the subject, see Vivia Chen.)

For all of the unnecessary pomp and circumstance associated with the British monarchy, we sure are obsessed with it in America. Perhaps it’s because their gorgeous young royals are great at generating headlines, whether reputable or repugnant. First, there was the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, an eleventy-billion-hour extravaganza of elegance that our eyes were glued to for what seemed like all eternity. The family quickly dropped nobility’s veil, and just one year later, Prince Harry’s crown jewels and Duchess Catherine’s breasts were put on display in gossip rags for all the world to see. After recovering from tabloid infamy, we are now eagerly awaiting the birth of the royal baby, which is a very, very big deal.

The young royal couple does not yet know the sex of their child, and Duchess Catherine, who wanted to have a natural birth, has been in labor for more than 11 hours. At this point, she’s likely desperate to greet His or Her Royal Highness. Typically, British royalty would be crossing their fingers for a male heir to the throne, but thanks to the Succession to the Crown Act, all of that is going to change…

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Whether an employee who has not engaged in flirtatious conduct may be lawfully terminated simply because the boss views the employee as an irresistible attraction.

No one. The Iowa Supreme Court revisited its December opinion in the case of Melissa Nelson’s firing for being too attractive and removed the above language. The new opinion limits the holding to the narrow facts of the case in order to prevent gender-based firings masquerading as “irresistible attraction” claims.

Mr. Milbank is a humorist and satirist. He can make mountains out of molehills if he wants to. But he should take a page out of Justice Alito’s book and pay more attention to getting it right.

William Ranney Levi and Dana Remus, former law clerks to Justice Samuel Alito, in a letter to the Washington Post responding to an article by Dana Milbank. Milbank accused the justice of “demonstrat[ing] his disdain” for his women colleagues while on the bench.

* Former Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez arrested. In other news, that Patriots offense was killing people last year. [NBC News]

* Elie appeared on HuffPo Live to explain how today’s rulings changed his marriage. [Huffington Post Live]

* For all the role-playing game nerds out there, a guide to the SCOTUS alignments. I’m not sold that Scalia isn’t “Lawful Good” and Alito “Chaotic Good,” but the point remains. [It's a Great Life If You Don't Weaken]

* Aaron Zelinsky has a solution for the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the VRA formula — force every jurisdiction to adhere to Section 5 preclearance. That would make way too much sense. [Concurring Opinions]

* Iowa’s Supreme Sausage Fest to reconsider “irresistible attraction” ruling, which you may remember from stories like this or this. [On Brief: Iowa's Appellate Blog]

* Ilya Somin on the strange bedfellows emerging on questions of standing. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Congratulations to Saccharomyces cerevisia, the newly minted Official State Microbe of Oregon. The bacteria is also known as “brewer’s yeast,” so it makes a lot of sense when Portland has the most breweries per capita in the country. [Lowering the Bar]

* This judge makes important observations about rodent control. Or at least some clerk slipped footnote 5 in because Caddyshack deserves more legal citation. Unfortunately it does not conclude with, “By Order of this Court, We’re All Gonna Get Laid.” Opinion below…

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The Socratic method is the bane of every law student. If executed through cold calling, it meant you sat there knowing that at any given moment you could be called upon to publicly humiliate yourself in front of your peers. Even if the process relied on voluntary participation, there was a sense of trepidation attached to both talking and remaining silent.

Some insufferable douches people enjoyed the “law school experience” of the Socratic method, either because they were academic superstars or otherwise possessed a massive ego and the misapprehension that anyone cared about their opinion.

Here’s how much the Socratic method sucks: it’s named after a guy that everyone thought was so much of a prick they made him kill himself for cold calling everyone in Athens.

There is an argument that the system itself disadvantages women. But “disadvantages women” at what? Being a law student or being a lawyer? Because those are two very different things…

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