Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Laws written by men to protect women deserve scrutiny, Supreme Court told

Most laws written by men "to protect women" actually tend to do the opposite which is oppress and harm them.  Think the laws barring certain foelds of employment, restrictions on abortion or birth control.  This is especially true when men claim a magic invisible imaginary sky daddy tells them to do this to protect women.

The same can be said of men dictating the proper role or behavior for women.

From The Chicago Tribune:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-supreme-court-abortion-20160207-story.html
 
Robert Barnes
Feb. 10, 2016

 
History holds a lesson for the Supreme Court, the brief warns: Be skeptical of laws protecting women that are written by men.

The nation's past is littered with such statutes, say the historians who filed the friend-of-the-court brief, and the motives were suspect.

Some protected women from "the embarrassment of hearing filthy evidence" as members of a jury, a sheltering instinct that resulted in female defendants being judged by panels composed only of men.

Some shielded women from having to work nights as pharmacists in hospitals - but not as low-wage custodians.

Some barred women from working as bartenders - jobs coveted by men - but not as cocktail waitresses.

The brief is filed by professors from across the country in the court's upcoming abortion case, Whole Women's Health v. Hellerstedt. The brief urges the justices to examine the intent of Texas legislators who say they approved new restrictions on abortion providers as health safeguards for the women undergoing the procedure.

"Any new law that claims to protect women's health and safety should be scrutinized carefully to assess whether its ostensibly protective function actually serves to deny liberty and equal citizenship to women," said the brief filed by 16 historians, 13 of whom are women.

It is part of an avalanche of amicus briefs filed by both sides in the case, which will be the court's most important look at abortion rights in decades.

And the attempt at persuasion, like many of the others, is representative of a specialized brand of legal brief that aims to school the court not about law but about life.

"Brandeis briefs" are long on history and science and short on detailed legal citations. The first of its kind was filed in 1908 by lawyer Louis D. Brandeis, who eight years later became famous as the first Jewish Supreme Court justice.

Last month, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg discussed the importance of the revolutionary brief at - where else? - Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass., at a ceremony marking the centennial of his Supreme Court appointment.

Brandeis's submission "was unlike any the court had yet seen. It was to be loaded with facts and spare on formal legal argument," Ginsburg said. The facts consumed 98 of the brief's 113 pages.

"The aim of the Brandeis brief was to educate the judiciary about the real world in which the laws under inspection operated," Ginsburg said.

Continue reading at:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-supreme-court-abortion-20160207-story.html

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