Tag Archives: judges

Feminist judge brings new perspectives to Germany's highest court

Feminist judge brings new perspectives to Germany’s highest court | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 06.01.2011.

Prof. Dr. Susanne Baer (Germany)An interesting news piece on Prof. Dr. Susanne Baer’s ascension to the highest court in Germany, the Federal Constitutional Court.  You can read her CV in English here.

She holds Canada up as an example:

Comparing the extent to which other western nations obey their respective constitutions, Baer sees Canada as a good example of how basic law can be reflected in practice.

“In Canada, sexual orientation isn’t written into the constitution, but the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and heterosexuals are very well established,” Baer said. “In many parts of the corporate world, the point has been reached where sexual orientation doesn’t play a role at all. What really matters is what you’re like as a person.”

Here`s an english language lecture (notes) on women in higher education and the idea of quality, which looks like something I should keep in my back pocket (“talking points”!).   This is also her work (from SSRN, where she doesn’t appear to have any other papers posted): A closer look at law: Human Rights as Multi-Level Sites of Struggles Over Multi-Dimensional Equality.

Good luck to her – I hope to hear more about her work on the Court, where, according to the article, she’ll be one of 2 women out of 14 judges.  Progress!

Will women judges make a difference? [via the atlantic]

Well, here’s a difference.  Images of the actual documents are from: Judge Kimba Wood, Standing Up for Women – Jeffrey Goldberg – National – The Atlantic.

From the WSJ:

[A] Manhattan lawyer recently asked New York federal judge Kimba Wood to grant him a day’s reprieve in a criminal trial to attend the bris of his grandson. ….

Should the child be a girl, [he wrote] not much will happen in the way of public celebration. Some may even be disappointed, but will do their best to conceal this by saying, “as long as it’s a healthy baby.” . . . However, should the baby be a boy, then hoo hah! Hordes of friends and  family will arrive . . . for the joyous celebration . . . known as the bris. . . . My presence at the bris is not strictly commanded, although my absence will never be forgotten by those that matter.

Judge Wood, in a note written at the bottom of the letter, granted the request. But she did Epstein one better. Wrote Wood:

Mr. Epstein will be permitted to attend the bris, in the joyous event that a son is born. But the Court would like to balance the scales. If a daughter is born, there will be a public celebration in Court, with readings from poetry celebrating girls and women.


And on the topic of having to ask a noted female judge for time off to celebrate the birth of a boy, but not a girl, Epstein minced no words:

“Look, the Jewish religion is sexist. It just is. But I didn’t make the rules!” http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2010/11/19/if-its-a-girl-judge-kimba-wood-will-celebrate/

“Success itself is Masculinized”: She-Lawyers and Other Improbable Creatures

Patricia Williams writing in The Nation:   She-Lawyers and Other Improbable Creatures

Patricia J. Williams uses Elena Kagan’s confirmation as the context for a discussion of the ways that cognition, language and culture are barriers to equality.  Worth reading, for the analysis and for Williams’ always deft touch with language.  Why does Kagan seem to be having an easier time than Sotomayor? Is it just the absence of a smoking “Wise Latina”? Or is it the way that Kagan is being treated not as a successful woman, but a successful “man”?

This chatter isn’t really about Kagan’s sexual preference as much as it is about whether she exhibits masculine traits. ….She likes poker! She swings a softball bat! Not only does anything she touches suddenly get characterized as a male pursuit; she is amply endowed with a Midas touch of testosterone. Success itself is masculinized.