An Activist Judge? I (unfortunately) don’t think so…

Sotomayor confirmedThroughout the confirmation process, Sonia Sotomayor has distinguished herself from prospective candidates and future colleagues by self-identifying as a “wise Latina” and explaining how her life experience, the daughter of immigrant parents and raised in the Bronx, expands her views of the world and gives her a leg up in comparison to other justices.

Critics have demonized these statements, claiming they foreshadow an attempt to legislate from the bench. They have referred to her as an “activist judge,” and Senate Republicans latched on attempting to prevent her confirmation. However, from my own personal research, “activist judge” seems to be code for any individual who upholds the Constitution in a more just and fair way for all citizens of the US, not just a select few. Perhaps all justices would interpret the US Constitution differently if they truly understood the realities experienced by ethnic and gender minorities, along with those surviving day to day on the streets.

However, when analyzing this “wise Latina’s” view on abortion, will that supposed unique understanding of the lives of women in poverty translate into the same type of judicial support displayed by predecessor David Souter? Unfortunately, the jury is still out. While Sotomayor has caused a stir in the feminist community with powerful statements, her record on reproductive health seems to be minimalist at best. [Read more...]

Is It Really Monday? News Roundup

mouse2So, What is Feminist Mothering? – Feministe
What Sotomayor’s Confirmation May Cost the Republicans – Women’s Media Center
Adventures in Lube – Essin’ Em
WTF? A Breastfeeding Babydoll? WTF? – Feministing
Find Out Which Birth Control is Right For You – Amplify Your Voice

Choice After the Bush Administration

This is my first blog and I am intimidated by all the wonderful writers on this site and have no idea what to write about. I wanted to cover the proposed health care plan but it seems like everything I have read the past couple of weeks have been about health care. My next grand idea was to talk about our 111th Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, but we don’t know enough about her to know how she will fit into the choice discussion. Then I thought maybe I could talk about why I am pro-choice but do you really care? Finally I just decided to touch on why it is so important for all of us to be active in our pursuit of reproductive choice right now.

Choice is always an important topic but in recent years it has become even more pressing. During the Bush administration we saw anti-choice activism and propaganda gain momentum with consent laws, doctors being encouraged to refuse abortion services, Plan B was derailed by government intervention at the FDA and eventually approved for over the counter sales, etc. Eight years of slaughter to choice made us overly optimistic of what the Obama administration would do for choice. It turns out that nobody has stopped the domino effect of the Bush administration. State by state many of us are learning that choice either has or is being stripped down and diminished.

In Arizona HB2564 has limited health care for women in every way.  The umbrella bill that just keeps on giving. HB2564 imposes a 24-hour waiting period after a government imposed information session is given by a health care professional. Most women I know who have had an abortion have thought about it far longer than 24 hours before making that decision. Not to mention the cost to poor women who have to travel to a city where abortions are provided and cannot afford the extra time off work or the lodging arrangements. The bill also mandates notarized consent laws for minors. Minors don’t need privacy right?  I thought the goal was to try to avoid scared teenagers throwing children in dumpsters or inflicting dangerous abortions on themselves. Not to mention that many teenagers are going to be put in danger by telling a parent or guardian that they are pregnant. Finally HB2564 allows pharmacists and doctors to deny access and information on abortion and emergency contraceptives if it interferes with their moral beliefs. [Read more...]

Monday News Roundup

mouse_click_270x270Jury duty continues this week, but at least I’ve got my pro-choice reading materials to keep me occupied during breaks. Here’s a few to get your week started off right.

India to Create Abortion Registry to Reduce Sex Selection – Medical News Today
Blue Dog Democrats Won’t Support Health Care Reform – NPR
Sotomayor on Gay Rights: Friend or Foe? – Queers United
STI and Teen Pregnancy Rates are Up – Reuters
How Does a Feminist Mom Teach About Sex? – Feministing
Senate Passes Matthew Shephard Act – Gaypolitics.com

After the jump Ive got a video of Rachel Maddow slamming Pat Buchanan for his bias against Sonia Sotomayor. Have I mentioned that I have a big lezzy crush on Rachel Maddow and I want to have her babies? [Read more...]

Friday News Roundup

mouse_click_270x270Holy crap, it’s the weekend. Sweet! Here are some links to get is started off properly.

Y Chromosome May Disappear – Science Daily
House Lifts Ban on DC’s Ability to Fund Abortion With Local Funds – NARAL
Sotomayor on Gay Marriage – 365 Gay
Health Care Reform Could Equalize Tax Treatment of DP Benefits – GayPolitics.com
Sex Toy Review: Acuvibe Mini – Sexuality Happens

Tuesday News Roundup

Here’s what we missed yesterday while we were watching Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings.

Media Justice for Sotomayor – Women’s Media Center
Women & Privacy: Questions for Sotomayor – Womenstake
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Senate Confirmation Hearings – Womenstake
Ginsburg & Sotomayor: What Else Do They Have in Common? – Women’s e-News
Women in Sudan Lashed for Wearing Pants – BBC

Live Blogging Sotomayor’s Confirmation Hearings

The Senate confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor have just started. Senator Leahy is still getting through her extensive bio. One thing that troubles me is that the questions haven’t even started yet and they’ve already handed Sotomayor the burden of breaking prejudice on the Court. However, hes does say that she’s “a judge for all Americans” based on her judicial record. And he’s now saying that there’s not one law for people of color and one law for white people. He says that the Constitution applies equally to all Americans. Oh, live the dream, Senator Leahy. Live the dream.

Senator Sessions just said that judges “don’t make policy.” Right. They don’t. But what’s your point, Senator? If your point is that judges should rule based on precedent and let previous decisions stand, I’m going to hold you to that statement when the questions about Roe v. Wade come up. When you say that judges have forced their own personal agenda on the American public, that applies as much to judges who have restricted access to abortion as it does to judges who have ruled that the 10 commandments have no place in the courtroom or classroom. If “politics has no place in the courtroom,” then this standard needs to be applied equally.

Why can’t these white men admit that THEIR social and political views influence THEIR opinions? It’s not just women and people of color who participate in identity politics, ya’ll. [Read more...]

Demonstrators Protest Outside of Sotomayor’s Confirmation Hearings

17170581Both pro-choice and anti-choice demonstrators have showed up outside of the Capitol building this morning to voice their opinions about Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination. The press release that anti-choice groups sent out last week said that they would have a Sotomayor look-a-like carrying a sickle, as well as dead babies in coffins, at the protest. Super classy, ya’ll. Super classy.

Photo credit: NARAL

I’ll post pictures of the pro-choice demonstrators when I get some.

Confirmation Hearing Starts Today

sotomayor 7.12.09Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor begin Monday, July 13. At first the pro-choice community knew nothing about her record on choice and how she might vote on an abortion case. Unfortunately, we still have no hard evidence. We cannot make assumptions, but over the past few months of the media, congress, and non-profit organizations investigating her record have revealed she may have a progressive bent to her thinking and she may even resemble the legal demeanor of her predecessor, Justice David Souter, which was mindful of precedent, progressive and critically thinking.   

About one month ago, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg made a bold move and publicly announced her endorsement of Sotomayor. This past week, the NY Times ran an interview with Justice Ginsberg revealing her staunch feminist thinking and slightly re-iterating her desire to see Sotomayor confirmed as the first Latina nominee and the third woman nominee. Ginsberg is currently the lone female Justice among 9 members of the high court.  

If not read only for a brief history of women on the court, this exclusive interview is also a wonderful glimpse into a most accomplished woman who openly and proudly asserts her feminism. Justice Ginsberg is an extraordinary human being. Her acknowledgement of having benefitted from affirmative action further promotes the case that new faces and persons of differing opportunity levels must be given the chance to succeed. Our country has greatly benefitted already from the decisions of Ginsberg and how her perspective (juxtaposed with a white male) has brought change to our laws as well as serving as a reminder of the complexity of our world. I am, of course, not hating on all white men, but instead expounding the idea that our world should be lead by more than one group. 

[Read more...]

My Encounter with Randall Terry

“It was as though in those last minutes he (Eichmann) was summing up the lessons that this long course in human wickedness had taught us the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil” -Hannah Arendt

The banality of evil. When Hannah Arendt wrote of Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem she painted him as entirely average, not particularly hateful, and committed wholly to the notion that he was following orders. Randall Terry is not analogous to Adolf Eichmann for a number of reasons, but Arendt’s famous (and, frankly, now over-used) phrase was one of the first things that occurred to me this morning after I attended (and protested) his press conference in Topeka proposing a filibuster of Sotomayor.

Terry’s banality comes in his manner. He does not (or did not today) come off as a lunatic or an idiot. He is not on the corner of the street warning of the apocalypse with an overgrown beard and loincloth. He’s personable, has a sense of humor, and is well spoken. He is smart, too. But make no mistake, he is extreme, he is fanatical, even most anti-choice people don’t want anything to do with him, and his rhetoric is dangerous. I suppose that what follows is not an outright iteration of why I think this is true, I think most people who read this blog already hold the position that abortion ought to be legal, that it is classless and dangerous to call health care providers “mass murderers” and compare abortion to the Holocaust, not to mention his thoughts on homosexuality and Islam. Rather, I want to sort of describe and comment on my experience.

[Read more...]