Posts Tagged ‘sexism’

When Virginia Bell was announced as the next nominee for the High Court, I suggested that the usual suspects would not quibble with the Rudd Government’s choice since they were going to see the back of Michael Kirby. I was wrong.

Janet Albrechtsen, concern troll – apparently, appointing women to the High Court is a threat to gender equity because it creates an impression of “jobs for the girls”.

In my opinion, Janet’s column on the appointment of Justice Bell should be a late but prime contender for the worst blog post of the year. The illogic of her argument in this piece is a match for the most notorious blog commenters. Try to reconcile statements like this:

And it is true that Bell has had a distinguished career as a criminal silk and judge.

There are plenty of male members of the legal profession – on the bench and at the bar – of equal if not greater ability who are entitled to mumble that this is a deliberate gender-based appointment.

Even if Bell’s appointment was not based on gender, the gender perception emerges to detract from Bell’s ability.

Recall when US President George W. Bush nominated the well-meaning but utterly unqualified Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. [IIRC, the concern about Miers’ nomination is that it was jobs for the mates rather than jobs for the girls.]

Bell is no Miers. Legal sources confirm her name deserves to be on the list of potential High Court judges.

To have three females out of seven High Court judges – a proportion vastly in excess of the proportion women represent of the pool of judges and barristers from which High Court judges must be drawn – inevitably raises doubts about whether this was truly an appointment on merit.

Janet laments the fact that there is “talk” that Bell’s appointment was undeserved and that she was an affirmative action choice – but isn’t she the one doing the talking? Well, yes she is, but that doesn’t make it her fault. No, Janet knows who is responsible for her actions:

Labor has only itself to blame.

It is unfortunate and undeserved for Bell that there is talk that her appointment was a case of the Labor Government filling a High Court vacancy according to the out-dated gender politics of Emily’s List.

But that’s what happens when a political party, now in government, has for so long wedded itself to gender selections where the mediocre trump the meritorious.

Pay attention, Labor. Stop making Janet write this shit – for all of our sakes. Heed this advice: in future, don’t even think of appointing a woman. It doesn’t matter if she is distinguished and deserving. There is bound to be another person who is distinguished and deserving, while also having a penis. Pick that one. If there is more than one male who deserves consideration, pick whichever one you like. Do not depart from this formula until you have re-established your misogynist credentials – and then our dear Janet will not need to write these columns warning you that it looks like you engage in affirmative action.

ELSEWHERE: More on the Bell appointment from Legal Eagle.


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Mike Huckabee decries the sexism and the attacks on Sarah Palin’s family:

Calling media critiques of Palin “unprecedented” (“they never did this to Chelsea Clinton,” he said), Huckabee predicted that Palin’s victimization would rouse support even from non-Republicans outraged by sexist sentiment.

True, the Democrats never did attack Chelsea Clinton. But as brownsox at Daily Kos notes, the Republicans sure did, including the man who put Palin on his ticket:

McCain made the joke at a 1998 Republican Senate fundraiser. “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?” he asked. “Because her father is Janet Reno.”

Between calling adolescent girls ugly and suggesting a woman might enjoy being raped by an ape, that John McCain sure proves he’s a funny, sensitive and completely honourable guy.

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