“A wise old woman and a wise old man will reach the same conclusion.” – Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, 1991
Despite nominees to the third branch of government consistently testifying before Senate confirmation hearings promising in their most convincing voice that they could separate their personal feelings from the legal facts placed before them when it came to rendering decisions, Justice Ginsburg may have tipped her hand concerning the hot-button topic of gender politics. As reported by Yahoo! News on July 31, 2014, and also by the Cybercast News Service on Aug. 1, 2014, Ginsburg more than slightly alluded that due to gender, the five male justices who formed the majority opinion in the recent Hobby Lobby case are somehow incapable of rendering a correct judicial decision regarding members of the opposite sex.
In her recent interview with Yahoo! Global News Anchor Katie Couric, Justice Ginsburg dropped her now famous bombshell statement that the five male Supreme Court justices who disagreed with her have a “blind spot” when it comes to ruling on the constitutionality of laws concerning women. When queried by Couric if the five male justices “truly understood the ramifications of their decision?” in the recent 5-4 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. ruling, “I would have to say no,” the 81-year-old justice replied. Then pressed if the five have a “blind spot” in their decision, Ginsburg said yes.
Somehow missed by many American media outlets, a number of lawyers and judges associated with the Hobby Lobby case that the five male justices agreed with have all been women. Ed Whelan of The National Review made note last month that “Seventh Circuit judge Diane Sykes and D.C. Circuit judge Janice Rogers Brown (each of whom wrote opinions holding that the HHS mandate violates the RFRA rights of for-profit companies and/or their owners).” Not only have the two cited judges happen to be of the female persuasion, lawyers Hannah C. Smith, Lori H. Windham and Adèle A. Keim, all of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, all served on The Hobby Lobby legal team.
Nominated by President Ronald Reagan, the first woman to be confirmed an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court felt the heat of her detractors alleging women aren’t capable of properly hearing a case presented before the court due to what is popularly known present day as “gender politics.” As the now retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor penned in the NYU Law Review in 1991, “Do women judges decide cases differently by virtue of being women? I would echo the answer of my colleague, Justice Jeanne Coyne of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, who responded that ‘a wise old man and a wise old woman reach the same conclusion.'”
Flipping the O’Connor statement on its head, the most recent of the Obama nominees, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated in a 2001 speech, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”