7.10.2006

The hullabaloo over the lack of female supreme court clerks

Well, Amber over at Prettier Than Napolean has certainly created quite a stir with this post (which was in response to this post at Feminist Law Professors): Why so few female Supreme Court clerks? A number of prestigious bloggers have referenced and/or responded to her post, including Prawfsblog, The Volokh Conspiracy (here as well), Ann Althouse, Crime and Federalism, and Point of Law.

I certainly don't have the answer to her question. But I am amazed by some of the hypotheses posited by both the bloggers and the commenters. Eugene Volokh suggested that the following was one factor that might explain the disparity:
Differences in innate ambition? Social pressures that lead men to be more ambitious than women (for instance, because less ambitious men face more condemnation from parents, peers, or prospective girlfriends than do less ambitious women, or because more ambitious women face more such condemnation than more ambitious men)?
The assumption being that men are innately more ambitious than women. Really? In other words, women are essentially lazy as a result of their biology. Now, that's a loaded statement! The latter half of the quote isn't much better. I have a hard time accepting the idea that men as a whole face more pressures to succeed than women. I think that that particular generalization ignores the many factors faced by each person as an individual person, as opposed to as a man or woman.

And, this post seemed to encourage a veritable assortment of men who were ultra-conservative and/or sexist and/or couldn't get laid to crawl out of the woodwork and offer gratuitous comments regarding the innately deficient characteristics of women. Here are a few of my favorite gems:
But why there are few women clerks is truly mysterious, since the major qualification is ability to kiss up. My female law school colleagues had no problem bedding down the professors, so why can't they get clerkships?***

Two reasons for the male disproportion at the top of the class are the greater male variability in intellectual performance that Eugene mentioned (more at the very top and more at the very bottom) and a greater aversion to competitive environments among women. (Lani Guinier wrote about this). ***

I have 2 kids and am about to start my final semester. (Finishing up in 2 1/2 years). I could easily go clerk for a judge. My wife (if she was a lawyer, thank God she isn't) could and would never even think about it.***

I have the suspicion that, if law school exams were as objective as those in the sciences, women would likely make up around 5% of practicing lawyers, just as they make up less than 5% of practicing hard scientists in the USA, Britain and Germany. ***

Alternatively, she can coast through law school, planning her wedding on theknot.com instead of taking notes in class (I saw a shocking number of women doing this), and still get a job at a top firm earning $135K right out of the box.***
Wow. So, what I've learned from all of this is that women are actually favored by the current system, sleep their way to the top, spend all of their class time dreaming about their weddings and still manage to do well (presumably because we're nailing the professors) and are innately dumber than men. That certainly explains a lot, not the least of which is why we're under- represented as Supreme Court law clerks.

And, the fact that we're not too bright certainly explains why I wasn't able to follow all the big words and complex ideas posited by the pompous asses quoted above. It's my damn double X chromosomes. All those girlie hormones are fogging up my synapses. Good to know.

|

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home