Gender And Our Judicial System Essay

2527 words - 11 pages

The ambiguous language and aim of the constitution has allowed for numerous interpretations of the law. There have been several instances, where our limited perception and interpretation of the constitution has warranted change due to cases that do not fit the ruling party’s ideology of equality. In those cases, we amended our constitution and included clear diction to award rights to those subjected to subordination, so in going forward a clear distinction would not allow room for interpretations that perpetuated further discrimination.
Over the course of history, we have followed this path to incorporate our societies changing paradigm that was dissimilar to our founding fathers’. ...view middle of the document...

No state shall make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United State; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. (U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1).
The Equal Protection Clause (EPC), ratified in 1868 and then added to the 14th amendment, is an assumptive all-inclusive key that offers protection against sex based discrimination. Although a warranted assumption, it is incorrect. Firstly, In The Readers Companion to Woman’s History (Mankiller, Mink, Navarro, Smith, & Steinam, 1999) we discover that “the court has never read the 14th amendment to forbid all sex-based classifications” (p. 326). This elusive detail demonstrates the precarious standing of equality held within the 14th amendment. Additionally, it demonstrates the amendments unconstrained interpretations of sex. Since no precedent has been set against sex-based classification, there is no guarantee that sex discrimination is invalid in all conditions. In view of this major technicality, it is problematic to ensure that women, who suffer from the same bias and stereotypes yet hold dissimilar positions, will receive judicial equality and rectification within our judicial system.
This leads me to a practical example of this inequality, found in the case of WalMart v. Dukes (2011). In this court case, the female employees filed a lawsuit against Walmart for discriminating against women. The employees claimed that when it came to decisions about pay and promotion, the men were favored over women, which violated Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act. Title VIII prohibits any type of major discrimination in employment. Justice Scalia delivered the court opinion, which claimed that the millions of women who were involved in this lawsuit had too contrasting of a connection for the case to go forward as a class action. Part of the reasoning of this opinion was based on Walmart’s announced policy and claim that the policy allows local supervisors to make pay and promotion decisions based on their own discretion. In an article on this case, Dahlia Lithwick (2011) states that:
“As Scalia sees it, in giving local managers so much leeway in making personnel decisions, Wal-Mart actually established "a policy against having uniform employment practices." It is not Wal-Mart discriminating against women. It's just all these men doing it…”
By Scalia simply stating that it was just men doing it, it shows how readily we sweep sex based discrimination under the table and how societal bias affects the views of those who carry out justice. Under strict confines, the ruling of this case may be justifiable, but the implications are not. This case directly highlights the pervasiveness of sexual discrimination in the workplace and that it is happening simply because someone is a woman. The court only recognizes the discrimination...

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