home

Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen

by TChris

Judge Roberts presumably rubbed sticks together to start a fire in his cave before using a dinosaur bone to scrawl these words on the wall:

Supreme Court nominee John Roberts disparaged state efforts to combat discrimination against women in Reagan-era documents made public Thursday, and wondered whether "encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good."

Does encouraging sexists to join the Supreme Court contribute to the common good?

< Breaking: Cindy Sheehan to Leave Camp | Able Danger: Gorelick Smear Unjustified >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft


  • Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#1)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:30 PM EST
    Heh, an anti-lawyer justice on the Supreme Court? It's like John Bolton at the UN...

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:30 PM EST
    And yet strangely Jane Roberts -- his wife -- is an attorney & partner at one of the nation's top law firms, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pitman LLP, and works pro bono as counsel for Feminists for Life, a feminist pro-life organization that opposes the death penalty.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    This is a misleading summary of Roberts' opinion. He didn't oppose equal pay for the same work. He did oppose having the government declare different jobs equivalent and therefore mandating equal pay for, say, a construction worker and a secretary. Let's criticize Roberts for his actual positions, not for a charicature of them.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    Let's criticize Roberts for his actual positions, not for a charicature of them.
    Then stay focused and address what he said. Roberts wondered whether
    "encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good."


    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#5)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    So long as it's OK to put words in mouths, I propose a better title for this post: "Roberts to Women: Compete Directly with Men".
    And yet strangely Jane Roberts -- his wife -- is an attorney & partner at one of the nation's top law firms...
    Which illustrates the problem with characterizing a person based on a single, out-of-context statement. Sort of like if I was to harp on Bill Clinton saying "I can spend your money better than you can" and not mention that he balanced the federal budget.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#6)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    Oh, I meant to say I suspect that Clinton quote is bogus -- but if it was real it would illustrate my point nicely.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    Yeah, actually, I think THIS is the quote that ticked me off, personally:
    On immigration, he wrote Fred Fielding, White House counsel at the time, in October 1983 that he did not share his opposition to a national ID card. Separately, anticipating a presidential interview with Spanish Today, he wrote. ''I think this audience would be pleased that we are trying to grant legal status to their illegal amigos.''


    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#8)
    by The Heretik on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    Let's criticize Roberts for his actual positions, not for a charicature of them. It is curious how often Roberts' when documents are made available so often appears a caricature created by his own words.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    From reading the article, it sounds to me like Roberts was just making a joke that encouraging more lawyers was not a good thing. But from what little we know, it's hard to tell for sure.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    Yes, imagine if we got to see any documents that were actually requested. Zero have been delivered by skimpy King Chimpy. They must be really embarassing.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#11)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    From reading the article, it sounds to me like Roberts was just making a joke that encouraging more lawyers was not a good thing.
    Not merely encouraging more lawyers, but encouraging more homemakers to become lawyers. This is a crucial difference. By referring specifically to homemakes, it says nothing about whether other groups should be encouraged, so your interpretation cannot be correct. If all groups were intended, the specific reference to homemakers is gratuitous, to say the least.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    "it sounds to me like Roberts was just making a joke" Do you usually make jokes in analytical memos written for your boss?

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    Sounds like Roberts would make a great justice, if we were in the year 1890. Is it too much to ask for a nominee a little more with the times?

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    It may have been funny if Hillary told the joke, but for a man to be speaking for women...makes you think about his future jokes that may make their way into law regarding women's rights, civil rights and anything else that he decides on regarding 'the other'.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    Um, at the risk of provoking Cro-Magnon non-sequiturs I'll just say this: I think homemakers are a lot more valuable to society than lawyers. I know TChris is probably reeling from shock at the very suggestion, but that might be because TChris is a lawyer, and not an especially open-minded one. I think TChris could learn a little from Roberts about taking oneself less seriously.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    Rea, I've read a few of Roberts's judicial opinions and a few of his Reagan-era memos, and he does often use humor in them (or at least try to). Plus, this comment doesn't sound like it was in an an "analytical memo". According to the article, it was at the end of a one-page memo about a nominee for an award. And yes, in more casual communication with colleagues, I do sometimes try to use humor. Shortwave, I take your point, and I had a similar initial reaction, but I think that in context (what little we have from the article's description of the memo), he wasn't really expressing a view about homemakers, just about lawyers. Remember that the award in question was for women "who had made changes in their lives after the age of 30 and had made contributions in their new field". Of course, not all of the women up for the award would have been former homemakers but that isn't such a leap given both the nature of the award, and, especially, the year. If Roberts was writing a memo about a former homemaker who became a lawyer, I don't think it's fair to say that his comment--even if a joke--reflects a view that women should stay in the home. In any event, Roberts should be asked about the memo and a whole lot more at his confirmation hearings.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#17)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    I would like to see the ‘feminists’ put away the noose and pitchforks long enough to make the opposing case, that is, why the state has a vested interest in promoting lawyers (or any other career) over homemakers. I think homemaker is a very necessary and rewarding job, not merely the last resort for a woman that has been forced out of more meaningful careers.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#18)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    Homamakers may be more valuable than lawyers, but that has nothing to do with gender. A man can make a home, a woman can bring home the bacon. If you guys don't see the sexist overtones of the remarks, that's rather obtuse. As to whether it was a serious remark or a joke, only those that heard it live can testify to that.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#19)
    by nolo on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    For those who are accusing feminists of hauling out their pitchforks over this one, I'll just point out that even Phyllis Schafly (who started law school at 51) cocked an eyebrow at Roberts' remarks. That being said, I agree with the folks who see it as a lawyer joke. And pigwiggle, the context in which the remark was made had nothing to do with the state promoting any type of career, be it lawyer, homemaker or otherwise. The memo had to do with whether there was any legal problem with a White House staff member nominating her deputy for a contest honoring women who'd made mid-life career choices -- a contest that was being conducted by a private company (i.e., Clairol). So I really don't see the point of your question.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#20)
    by Quaker in a Basement on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    why the state has a vested interest in promoting lawyers (or any other career) over homemakers
    Read it again, piggy. That remark wasn't about the state promoting careers:
    His remark about homemakers and lawyers seemed almost a throwaway line in a one-page memo about the Clairol Rising Star Awards and Scholarship Program. The program was designed to honor women who made changes in their lives after age 30 and had made contributions in their new fields.


    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#21)
    by Quaker in a Basement on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    OK, either nolo has figured out how to backdate comments or I need to read all the comments before I chip in my two cents.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#22)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    nolo-
    “Supreme Court nominee John Roberts disparaged state efforts to combat discrimination against women … wondered whether "encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good."
    Well, I’m more than a little embarrassed at being sucked in by the spin of some left wing rag, and the Guardian no less.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#23)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    "that has nothing to do with gender. A man can make a home, a woman can bring home the bacon." True, kdog, they can. But if you are suggesting that gender is irrelevant, that a mother and father are identical and freely interchangable in the eyes of their children, you are mistaken.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#24)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    Gender is irrelevant in that the light company doesn't care who brings home the bacon, as long as you pay the bill. Obviously, men and women have different ideal roles in parenting, but nothing set in stone. Different strokes for different folks, there are lots of ways to make it work outside the traditional way. If Roberts isn't aware of this, he has been in a cocoon for 50 years.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#25)
    by Quaker in a Basement on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    Aw, piggy. Surely you can come up with a better excuse than "I blame the media." Haw.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#26)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    kdog, fair enough, if your reading of Roberts' comment is that it's purely about providing for the family, I'm with you.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#27)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:32 PM EST
    Posted by Fight for Justice: "This is a misleading summary of Roberts' opinion." No, it's a quote. Your troll name is HILARIOUS, btw. "Let's criticize Roberts for his actual positions," 'Let's'? 'Let's'? Who are you, the Camp Counselor? Posted by Murray: "he does often use humor" Wow, that's great! It's really wonderful when a man with powerful friends can make fun of serious issues that hurt innocent people while he is failing to recuse himself from a job interview with one of the defendants in case he is deciding. It's all in fun! C'mon, Iraqi, dance. Dance! And you, woman, get the supper on the table before I have my aide whip you. Ha-ha-ha. That's an aide joke. I love being in charge. You get to make fun of people who are suffering. Just get some of your amigos to help you clean the dishes, b*tch.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#28)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:32 PM EST
    Let's clarify the original issue: Roberts opposed comparable worth, a feminist concept we don't hear much about any more, not equal pay for the same work.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#29)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:32 PM EST
    paul: I really don't expect hardcore Democrats to criticize him for his actual positions.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#30)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:33 PM EST
    His actual positions are quite obvious. So why not release his papers? Roberts made (and no doubt makes) all sorts of cynical jokes about equal rights. PERFECT for a corporate TOOL; not so good for the SCOTUS as it should be. He licks Bush's bloody boots. That's plenty of evidence of how unfit he is.

    Re: Roberts to Women: Stay in the Kitchen (none / 0) (#31)
    by DawesFred60 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:33 PM EST
    Most woman want to be in the kitchen and not at some low paying job and why not are you all insane.