Tag Archives: US

'Omak’s Minimum Pay Law Joan D’Arc': Telling the Local Story of West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (1937) by Helen Knowles

‘Omak’s Minimum Pay Law Joan D’Arc’: Telling the Local Story of West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (1937)

by Helen Knowles (Whitman)

New at SSRN.

Scholars agree about the socio-political significance of West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (1937), in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Washington State minimum wage law for women. However, they tend to focus on the decision’s relationship to FDR’s Court-packing plan. Little attention has been paid to the stories of the parties; beyond identifying her as the famous-for-five-minutes “Wenatchee chambermaid,” scholars have provided us with minimal information about the plaintiff Elsie Parrish, and even less is known about the lawyers and lower court judges who participated in this landmark case.

Using analysis of local newspaper coverage, the original court documents, and drawing upon information provided by descendants of Elsie Parrish, her lawyer C.B. Conner, and Fred Crollard, the attorney for the West Coast Hotel Company, in this article I bring to light many previously untold details of the local story of Parrish. This material highlights the importance of telling the stories of Supreme Court cases, because it demonstrates that for the residents of Washington State it was the local story, rather than the national narrative, of Parrish that captured their attention.

Rethinking Gender Equality … Media Coverage of [US] Supreme Court Nominees now on SSRN

Our project sits at the unique interdisciplinary intersection of law, gender studies, mass media, and political science.

Renee Knake and Hannah Brenner from Michigan State U College of Law have posted their interesting study on SSRN:

Rethinking Gender Equality in the Legal Profession’s Pipeline to Power: A Study on Media Coverage of Supreme Court Nominees Phase I, The Introduction Week by 

From the abstract:

“….women remain significantly under-represented in major leadership roles within the legal profession, where they face extensive gender bias and stereotyping. This gender bias and stereotyping is also leveraged against women who are featured in the media, illustrated most vividly by coverage of the most recent Supreme Court nominations. Headlines from mainstream news, “Then Comes the Marriage Question” in the New York Times or “The Supreme Court Needs More Mothers” in the Washington Post, and from the online blog arena, “Elena Kagan v. Sonia Sotomayor: Who Wore it Better?” in AbovetheLaw.com or “Put a Mom on the Court” in TheDailyBeast.com, are just a sampling…”

“This article presents results from the first phase of data analysis looking at the week following a president’s announcement of a nominee, and we report six preliminary findings. In identifying these findings, we assess the gendered portrayals of nominees to the Court, and we reflect upon how this knowledge might motivate the resolution of gender disparity in the legal profession’s pipeline to power”


Given that we’re coming up to some new “appointments” if not “nominations”, time seems ripe for a similar analysis here….


gender/agenda: elections

I’m a bit behind on the blogging. There have been some elections lately. Not those elections! The Canadian municipal elections! Specifically, Toronto.  I will spare you my rant about the whole thing (others have done it better, I’m concerned about how Scarborough is being treated, and this is the IFLS blog, so…) I see that Toronto now has 33% women on council.  This is grounds for celebration, and I’m not being sarcastic.  Did you know that:

Kristyn Wong-Tam is one of the few women who ran on a feminist platform. She’s also the only new visible minority to get elected – but that’s fodder for a whole other column.

Well. Now that IS news (both bits are news, and i’m waiting for that other column….)  If your career plans have been changed by reading that first line (from Catherine Porter in the Star, click through for her interesting piece to see more about the women’s “breakthrough” with  Sarah Doucette, stalwart Pam McConnell, Mary Fragedakis and Ana Bailão – and see how Wong-Tam plans to do gender analysis at Metro Hall and connect with Rob Ford),       maybe you want to check out Equal Voice.  This organization wants to promote the election of more women at all levels of government and to that end.  Go to their online “Getting to the Gate” course (you have to register) and learn how to get ready to run.  Or get ready to tell that smart, aware and active friend of yours that she should run.

Equal Voice and another Canadian organization, Canadian Women’s Voters Congress aren’t like Emily’s List,  the American organization dedicated to electing Female, pro choice, Democrats.  They are non partisan, and open to women of all backgrounds and presumably all political positions.*

With that in mind, and for those of you thinking about those midterms (not exams! elections) here’s a link to Slate’s DoubleX “So, How’d the Women Do” set of articles.  Because it’s always good to complicate the issue with a bit of “be careful what you wish for…..”

On the new governor of S. Carolina, Nikki Haley.  You know, immigrant, minority businesswoman subjected to a fair amount of racist and misogynistic crap during her campaign (click here for Ann Bartow at feministlawprofessors on the situation).  Apparently she doesn’t think being a minority or an immigrant is  interesting, and upon reflection perhaps it makes a certain amount of sense for her to stay away from those things given the context in which she’s running.  I still wouldn’t vote for her. Says Slate’s Hanna Rosin:

She may be anti-feminist, pro-life, and want to destroy any government-subsidized child care, but still, her victory has symbolic meaning for women ….

But what does it symbolize? And is it spreading north?

My fear fueled frustration is totally unfair – Hanna Rosin did write about what it symbolizes, here, here and here.   I really, really could have done without the Sex and the City explanation for which “mama grizzlies” won/lost [keep lots of clothes on if you want to win! I’m talking to you, woman in her 20’s with no idea that politics are in her future!]  I prefered Amanda Marcotte’s take on those grizzlies:

This contradiction exposed why it’s so critical to the fundamentalist worldview that women stay at home and abandon ambition. In this world, women are supposed to be the light, the caretakers, the homemakers, those who smooth feathers and wipe brows. Aggression, meanness, ambition, and even lustiness are considered more masculine traits, even by the public at large. As Dave Weigel reports, the Republicans are beginning to feel that Sharron Angle, at least, spent too much time in the public eye. The longer the public stares at a Mama Grizzly, the more painful the contradiction between her ideals of femininity and her actual behavior.

Here’s something worth taking away about those American elections:

As American University professor Jennifer Lawless points out on the XX Factor blog today, this was most decidedly not a historic year for women. In fact, it’s the first time in 30 years that Americans have seen a net loss in the total number of women in political office. As Lawless explains, Democratic women lost a lot of seats, and Republican women—despite all the hype —did not gain enough seats to make up the difference. Hence, we have backslid in the year of the woman.

Well, you know. That “we” she’s talking about – it’s not Canadian. Right? Oh……Canada.


* If you are wondering where you can get information about your pro choice candidate is in Canada, try the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.  In  2008 they produced a report card on MP’s, updated October 15, 2010, here.  Maybe they ramp this up during election campaigns? Although I’m not sad that it’s not a major election issue….

My MP is Joe Volpe (Lib).  He fills up my mailbox, and since I don’t read his material because I have no intention of ever voting for him, I don’t know whether he has been letting me know that

a.  he is anti choice,

b.  what he thinks about Dr. Morgentaler’s order of Canada is a secret, and

c. he was absent for the vote on the Unborn Victims of Crime Bill.  For those of you who just mentally heard a slamming on the brakes sound, this happened in 2008.