Pack the court, with women

September 27, 2018 6:02 am

The United States Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. (CCO Creative Commons via Pixabay)

No less a bright light than Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa had this to say about the recent combat over Brett Kavanaugh: “If that’s the new standard, no man will ever qualify for the Supreme Court again.”

He was reacting to Christine Blasey Ford’s claims that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school 36 years ago.

Well, Steve, your idea of an all female Supreme Court is, unfortunately, probably too much to hope for.

But, hey, let’s hope. Wouldn’t it be something?

Roe v. Wade would have been a slam dunk and all the laws passed aimed at undermining it — and approved by the men on the Supreme Court — over the last 45 years would have been rejected.

Planned Parenthood would be either a thriving organization or it would be completely unnecessary, given the existence of free health care for all.

The National Rifle Association, which today is considered a social welfare organization and is tax-exempt, wouldn’t be.

Women in the military? Not an issue. Gays in the military, even less of an issue.

Equal pay for equal work? OK, but men might have to make an argument to get paid as much as women. Family leave would be expected, lengthy and paid for.

The Violence Against Women Act, which was sponsored by Joe Biden more than two decades ago and is set to expire, again, at the end of September, wouldn’t be a law. It would be in the Bill of Rights, just after the Equal Rights Amendment.

A Supreme Court comprising nine women might seem unlikely today, but hey, why not? It was all men for about 200 years, until Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981. He had obviously learned from that old Vulcan proverb: “Only Nixon could go to China.”

The three women now on the court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, were all nominated by Democrats.

Wouldn’t it be good if the current president would take a lesson (as if that were possible) from Reagan and, after Kavanaugh comes to his senses and drops out, nominate a woman?  It would be a positive to again have a woman justice nominated by a Republican, or whatever the current president is, on the court.

And speaking of women, Virginia has seven women running for the House this year – Vangie Williams in the 1st District, Elaine Luria in the 2nd, Leslie Cockburn in the 5th, Jennifer Lewis in the 6th, Abigail Spanberger in the 7th, and Jennifer Wexton and Barbara Comstock in the 10th.

We know the 10th District will be represented by a woman in the next Congress. But if the other five women were able to win, Virginia will have more women in the House of Representatives than men.

And if that can happen, anything, including nine women on the Supreme Court, can happen.

Editor’s note: The views of our opinion contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Virginia Mercury. 

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Gordon Hickey
Gordon Hickey

Gordon Hickey is a lifelong reporter and editor who worked for more than 20 years at The Richmond News Leader and Richmond Times-Dispatch covering law enforcement, courts, and politics. He also served as Gov. Tim Kaine's press secretary and most recently was director of communications at the Virginia State Bar.