Sexism

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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‘I object… to your cleavage.’

In terms of the legal profession as a whole, breasts are a topic we all know and love. Some breasts are so large that people have allegedly been fired and forced to sue over them. Some breasts are so large that people file motions over them because they’re too distracting to be seen in a courtroom. In fact, some lawyers’ breasts are so large that their cleavage alone is recognized as “empowering,” and can be seen as a “career enhancer.”

Wait… what? Why weren’t we told about this before looking down every few minutes to check to see if we were showing too much cleavage became an ingrained habit? Because it’s bullsh*t, that’s why….

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A fireable offense in Iowa.

Probably.

Melissa Nelson, the dental hygienist who was fired for being too hot (aka an “irresistible attraction”), in response to Daniel Tosh’s question — “Did you walk out real slutty?” — posed during this week’s episode of Tosh.0 on Comedy Central.

(Nelson, who lost her gender discrimination suit at the Iowa Supreme Court, received a Web Redemption on Tosh.0, where she dressed as a sexy dental assistant. Continue reading to see the clip.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The ‘Law of Irresistible Attraction': Now With More Cleavage!”

Oh internet, ye keeper of all knowledge ever committed to your bosom. I do so love when you bring somebody’s crazy ramblings from one sphere crashing down on his basically normal-sounding relations in another.

Today we have a great story about a Law Student Bar Association election that received some holy ghost power… in the form of a student sending around one of the candidate’s religious views.

Freedom of speech, baby. You’re free to say it, everybody else is free to talk about it….

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