Carol Platt Liebau: Ginsburg "Isolated" on Court?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ginsburg "Isolated" on Court?

According to this piece from The Washington Post, Justice Ginsburg feels isolated as the lone woman on the Supreme Court.

Discussing Justice O'Connor, Justice Ginsburg said:

We divide on a lot of important questions, but we have had the experience of growing up women and we have certain sensitivities that our male colleagues lack.

To me, this is a particularly pernicious argument for a judge -- any judge -- to make. It suggests that one's position on legal questions is properly affected by one's own personal experience, rather than by what the law requires. If women have "certain sensitivities" that render them differently qualified for the bench than men, then wouldn't those who have had abortions (or who were nearly killed by them) be vested with "certain sensitivities" that other people lack? How about crime victims? Or any other host of special classifications?

Obviously, it's probably impossible to divorce one's own experience completely from one's judging in every case -- but that should be the goal. By legitimizing the idea that different people are going to come to different decisions based on their own life experiences, Justice Ginsburg undermines the important idea that justice should be completely color- (and gender-!) blind.

2 Comments:

Blogger wile e coyote said...

If Ginsburg misses O'Conner that much, maybe she should join her -- in retirement.

8:13 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Maybe she feels, "isolated" because she falls asleep too often on the bench!

4:11 PM  

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