The Furies

Feminist bloggers are angry about the nomination of Samuel Alito.


Rebecca Traister
November 1, 2005 1:50AM (UTC)

After checking in with conservative women, I did a tour of the feminist blogosphere to see what Broadsheets favorite bloggers are saying about the nomination of Samuel Alito to the court.

At Pandagon, Amanda Marcotte headlines her first Alito reaction entry "Bush nominates white guy to the court," and kicks off by commenting that "the only question left now is should they try to overturn Roe v. Wade or even possibly Griswold v. Connecticut now or should they wait until they have the Platonic conservative ideal of an all-male court in order to get a symbolic as well as actual victory against women's equality? This guy is alarming." Marcotte continues, "There's little doubt in my mind that once Roe is overturned, abortion will be banned here in Texas with haste. It's downright surreal to me that I could be living in the same country as the American Taliban, so you can imagine how odd it feels that they are a few blocks away from my house concocting ever more dehumanizing laws against their neighbors."

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In a stirring post titled "Someone explain to me why I do NOT need these boots, Bitch Ph.D. concedes, "I know that there's a new Supreme Court nominee and I'm already getting emails from progressive organizations explaining why his conservatism is a threat. I'll have to read up and do a li'l research before posting anything other than 'aha, we had Miers and she got scuttled so so much for the idea that we should replace O'Connor with a woman. You get one chance and then, tough shit ladies.'"

But before she educates herself, Bitch Ph.D. has "a truly pressing issue" with which she needs help: What kind of winter boots to buy. Her two choices seem to be this $400 pair or this $40 pair. She's taking advice, and any help with this decision will presumably help her get cracking in her research on Alito.

It seemed as though A View From a Broad might not have heard about Alito, as she began her Monday post with a note addressed to her pets: "Dear cats: I am well aware of where the kitchen is. You're not fooling anybody with the whole Cats of the Damned routine, either." But the scolding of her felines leads her to similarly toned notes addressed to President Bush, people who bitch about Camilla Parker-Bowles and, at last, "Dear Twits: Think we don't need feminism? Let's see how you intend to get back abortion then." She's not done. "Dear wingnuts: If you outlaw abortion, I guarantee you won't like the results: Lots of dead women, lots of abandoned children, lots of outrage over no BC and yet no programs to help those children. Also, with abortion outlawed, you won't have it as a distraction. That whole Christian facade gets really thin when you don't actually do what Jesus did."

Echidne of the Snakes writes, "So this is the next step in the game: a hardcore wingnut, ready to hunt down the uppity women. Pretty much. He is also otherwise a wet dream for the radical cleric wing of the Republican party." After covering some of Alito's opinions on abortion cases, Echidne continues, "He is one of those legal scholars [who] regard the definition of a woman as the life support system around the uterus." Echidne cites Alito's opinion that the Family and Medical Leave Act was unconstitutional congressional overreach, in part because there was no evidence that women are disadvantaged in the workplace when they are not allowed to take family leave. "We can ask what it means that Sandra O'Connor is replaced by this particular testiculated wingnut at this particular moment, leaving Ruth Ginsburg the last representative of the majority of Americans on the bench," wrote Echidne. Or, Echidne suggests, we can "try to figure out if Alito is meant to be the second nominee to appease the wingnuts before the third and final one will be brought out. This would mean that a Big Fight is expected and that the Democrats are supposed to hammer Alito back into the underground with their stern little hammers, to help Bush, so that he doesn't get stuck with this wingnut who would make even his daughters' lives harder." Interesting.

At Feministing, blogger Ann writes, "In addition to his indefensible opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Scalito's record is chock-full of information that should make every woman in America shudder. Happy Halloween." Feministing recounts other points of distress in Alito's record, including the fact that he has only ruled in favor of a plaintiff in a sex discrimination case once. Striking down the anti-harassment policy of the State College Area School District in Pennsylvania (Saxe v. State College Area School District), Alito wrote, "There is no categorical 'harassment exception' to the First Amendment's free speech clause." Alito has also ruled (in D.R. v. Middle Bucks Area Vocational Tech. School) that public school students who were physically and sexually abused in class could not sue the state, because the state has no special duty to care for them.

And then there's the word from the guys. Linking to a slew of feminist sites, Dohiyi Mir writes, "Sorry gals, you're just organic breeding vats, wholly owned by Husband, Inc. You are commanded to get over it. And fetch me some coffee."

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So funny, it hurts.


Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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