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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More "feminist" judges; less justice

LSUC bencher Carole Curtis gets judicial appointment

Posted: January 18, 2008, 5:32 PM by Jim Middlemiss

The Ontario government has appointed four new judges to the Ontario Court of Justice, including noted family lawyer and Bencher Carole Curtis.

That brings the total number of judges appointed by the McGuinty government to 73.

Attorney General Chris Bentley made the announcement today and praised the diversity of the incoming judges in a statement....

______________________

Here's some background about Carole Curtis, from a complaint to the Law Society about her in 1993:

The Solicitor has a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Toronto which she obtained in 1973 and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1978. She has carried on her own practice since 1979, and has practised family law exclusively since 1983. She described her practice as a "grass roots family law practice", as a "feminist practice", and as one which was "very committed to clients generally, and even more so to Legal Aid clients". A very substantial portion of her clients are women, and a substantial portion of her clients are retained by her on Legal Aid certificates. She has had much experience in custody cases generally, and cases involving sexual abuse in particular. Both areas of law she described as "specialties".

______________________

They say that "Justice must not only be done; it must be seen to be done." Evidently, nobody told Dalton McGuinty about this. If you were a father appearing before Judge Curtis on a Family matter, how confident would you be that you would get a fair hearing?

Posted by Grant Brown on March 26, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink

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Comments

The link you posted indicates that the LSUC Discipline Committee found that Carol Curtis was NOT guilty of professional misconduct. In a career as long as hers it's not unusual to have someone lodge a complaint against her. Character references from the hearing say, in part:
"Carole's reputation in the profession, to the best of my knowledge, is outstanding"
"I have never heard anyone say anything negative about Carole's integrity in acting on a file. I have never heard anyone Say that they did not respect her ethics or her commitment to her clients."
"She viewed her ethics as 'rigid'"
Why, exactly, should anyone be concerned about getting a fair hearing while appearing before her?

Posted by: Michelle | 2008-03-26 3:21:59 PM


I guess I'm going to have to learn to be more explicit in my postings in the future. (Some things seem too obvious to me.)

Suppose the Harper government appointed someone to the Bench on the basis of being a "masculinist" lawyer whose clientele was almost entirely males fighting false allegations in custody disputes. Ask yourself: How would that be received by the bar associations, the media, the "Women's Court of Canada," etc.?

Posted by: Grant Brown | 2008-03-26 3:28:59 PM


Another man-hater get her knife.

Posted by: John West | 2008-03-26 3:36:23 PM


Grant,

If you really think that there is no difference between a person describing themselves as "feminist" and a person describing themselves as "masculinist", then I suppose you think "gay pride" is just like "white pride". It's good to know that the people with the power to make appointments don't share your warped view of the world. Nothing posted here gives any non-bigot any reason to be worried about Judge Curtis.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-03-26 3:39:36 PM


So are you insinuating that the "basis" of Carole Curtis' appointment was that she's a feminist? It couldn't be because she's been practicing law for 30 years? Because she helped develop the Family Law Rules? Because she's been a Law Society Bencher? And are you also insinuating that a feminist (or a 'masculinist', for that matter) is incapable of making a rational, impartial decision? I would like to know where we are going to find judges who have no personal opinions.

Posted by: Michelle | 2008-03-26 3:39:43 PM


No human being is without prejudice. I would find this judge very, very scary indeed. Firstly she claims to be of a feminist bent and secondly Ontario Family law is prejudiced against males.
A perfect combination for perpetuating the myth that all men are potential abusers and all women are victims. No matter how much the purveyors of our justice system attempt to sugar-coat it, that is the God's honest truth and I challenge anyone to refute it.

Posted by: atric | 2008-03-26 3:40:19 PM


The fact that she was never convicted doesn't mean she wasn't guilty, Michelle. Judges and lawyers don't like to put one another in jail; it's an unspoken manifestation of professional courtesy. I CANNOT remember the last time a judge was ever removed from the bench in this country.

Our system is based on British law, where no high court judge has been removed from the bench since 1830. On the other hand, over 200 judges have been so removed in the United States, where there is a little more balance between executive, legislative, and judicial power.

In any case, Canada's habit of appointing judges with activist credentials is well documented. Several prominent Liberals, Paul Martin in particular, have gone so far as to say that government in Canada should be "activist," as if a merely administrative role were not enough. To say nothing of the Ottawan Auto-de-Fe--sorry, I meant the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

Grant is right. Judges are supposed to be scrupulously impartial and agenda-free. Feminism is not morally superior to masculinism, and it would make no difference if it were, because they are political ideologies. A court's FIRST duty is to the truth and a court's LAST duty is to the truth and ALL ELSE IS DROSS. To appoint to the bench a lawyer who made a point of favouring this type of client over that type is very imprudent and smacks of bias.

Of course, given McGuinty's personal contempt for the rule of law--witness the shameful standoff at Caledonia, where lawful residents live in fear of hooligans while McGuinty "negotiates" with them as though they were equals--I suppose objectivity is too much to ask.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-26 3:48:59 PM


Fact Check wrote: "If you really think that there is no difference between a person describing themselves as "feminist" and a person describing themselves as "masculinist", then I suppose you think "gay pride" is just like "white pride"."

Ah, yes, I keep forgetting that only "historically oppressed" groups are allowed to make noise and be obnoxious. Feminism has long been tainted with overtones of lesbianism and misandry. To argue that it is in some way superior to masculinism is to betray one's own prejudices.

Fact Check wrote: "It's good to know that the people with the power to make appointments don't share your warped view of the world."

Warped, as in having the guts to call a spade a spade, while you cower behind a bulwark of political correctness?

Fact Check wrote: "Nothing posted here gives any non-bigot any reason to be worried about Judge Curtis."

Define "bigot." And no emotional terms, please.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-26 3:53:28 PM


Michelle wrote: "I would like to know where we are going to find judges who have no personal opinions."

The salient question is whether she will suppress those opinions and find for the truth instead of allowing her long experience in a field of law where men are routinely derided to colour her judgement. Women have a harder time than men in separating feelings from logic as it is.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-26 3:55:10 PM


Great! Just what we need another judicial activist instead of a judge. I could care less about her sex; it is her agenda that is very concerning.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-03-26 3:55:43 PM


My original comment was merely, "Justice must not only be done; it must be SEEN to be done."

The follow-up question I asked you to ask yourself remains unanswered. I infer that you *would* in fact find a "masculinist" lawyer whose clientele was predominantly men fighting false allegations of abuse in custody battles to be unsuitable for the Bench. QED.

(The only difference between a lawyer describing herself as "feminist" and one describing himself as "masculinist" is political correctness.)

Posted by: Grant Brown | 2008-03-26 4:02:40 PM


Grant: "My original comment was merely, 'Justice must not only be done; it must be SEEN to be done.' "

Nice try, but backpeddling away from what you claimed is cowardly (and transparent). The heading for your post was "More 'feminist' judges; LESS JUSTICE". You did not "merely" claim that appointing a feminist leaves the APPEARANCE that justice in not being done. You claimed that it CONSTITUTED justice not being done.

You lie as badly as you reason.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-03-26 4:12:44 PM


Fact Check wrote: "You lie as badly as you reason."

And you don't answer the questions put to you. Ten days cleaning modem connections for contempt of blog.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-26 4:29:50 PM


To elaborate on my previous post: There is no clear demarcation between perceptions of the law and the reality. Perceptions *become* the reality. If men scheduled to appear before Judge Curtis feel that they are unlikely to get a fair deal from her, they are more likely to accept an unfair settlement. If men perceive that Judge Curtis is the norm on the Bench, they will avoid the legal system like the plague. All negotiation takes place in the shadow of the legal system and its likely outcomes.

Gender bias (against men) is the most common form of complaint to the Canadian Judicial Council today.

Posted by: Grant Brown | 2008-03-26 4:31:26 PM


Grant: "To elaborate on my previous post..."

LOL! Is that why you posted again? It wouldn't be because of my comments, would it?

I find it quite amusing how you continue to reply to my comments despite saying you would not debate me anymore. You can pretend you are not debating me, but we both know differently.

Silly (and, once again, dishonest) man!!!

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-03-26 4:39:09 PM


Fact Check

"If you really think that there is no difference between a person describing themselves as "feminist" and a person describing themselves as "masculinist", then I suppose you think "gay pride" is just like "white pride"."

By definition, there is a difference. However, the question is not whether there is a difference, the question is whether one is biased and the other is not by virtue of their self-identification.

Would you be equally comfortable with a self-proclaimed masculinist under the same conditions? If not, please provide evidence to support your discrimination.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-26 4:44:40 PM


Fact Check, either post something substantive or reveal yourself for a troll. Your skull must be quite deformed from all those hoofprints.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-26 4:48:42 PM


Michelle,

"And are you also insinuating that a feminist (or a 'masculinist', for that matter) is incapable of making a rational, impartial decision? "

Hence, there is no need for set-asides in the political process (known as proportional representation) or quotas or affirmative action in the judiciary, law enforcement, gov't bureaucracy, etc.

A male can just as easily represent women's issues as a woman can men's issues.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-26 5:01:19 PM


Karol, it might be better if you simply posted a link to such sources instead of quoting them in their entirety. By all means, cite sources, and those who want to read more can do so. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this blog is for your arguments, not someone else's.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-26 7:15:59 PM


Shane, Grant and Karol,
You guys are the Larry, Curly and Moe of legal analysis.
A few random points:
- a feminist is someone who is committed to achieving equality for women. It is an indisputable legal fact that women have not, historically, been equal at law to men. I'll leave it to Grant to explain what a "masculinist" is
- law societies don't send people to jail. They discipline or disbar them. Plenty of lawyers are disciplined or disbarred. In the case of Ms. Curtis, the LSUC panel found that the complaints against her were entirelgy unfounded -- that she didn't say the things she was accused of saying.
- there are many male lawyers-turned-judges - generations of 'em for that matter-- who have only acted for male clients. there are also many lawyers-turned-judges who have spent their entire careers acting for corporations or governments. I suppose if appearances are everything, they should be barred from the bench, since they will inevitably sit on cases in which women or individuals or citizens bring claims against men or corporations or governments.
-- one of the reasons American judges are so frequently removed from the bench is that most of them are politicians, with all that entails. While some Canadian judges get appointed because of party connections, they are for the most part a capable, honest and independent bunch. You may not agree with their decisions all the time, but then, as you have demonstrated, your ignorance of the law is deep and broad.

Fact Check,
Once again, you have performed yeoman work at trying to bring a dose of reality to the echo chambers, but it's really pearls before swine.


Posted by: truewest | 2008-03-26 9:10:18 PM


Truewest wrote: “You guys are the Larry, Curly and Moe of legal analysis.”

Given your history of backing the HRC, Truewest, especially considering just how big and how ugly this scandal has gotten (Dean Steacy, he of “I’m not here to protect American ideas like free speech” fame, actually REFUSED to answer questions during a recent hearing), you have a lot of nerve tossing insults. Better Larry, Curly, and Moe than a stinking troll from Teutonic folklore.

Truewest wrote: “A feminist is someone who is committed to achieving equality for women.”

It depends on how you define “equality.” Contemporary feminism promotes a form of über-equality that seeks compensation for past wrongs, special privileges for special female needs (like rape-shield laws and fast and easy prosecution of men accused of mistreating women), equality of outcome (as opposed to equality of opportunity), and also reeks of man-hating. They’d bar men from everywhere except the slave pits if they could.

Truewest wrote: “It is an indisputable legal fact that women have not, historically, been equal at law to men.”

It’s also an irrelevant fact, since you can’t apply modern ethics to historical laws.

Truewest wrote: “I'll leave it to Grant to explain what a "masculinist" is.”

In theory, someone who promotes equality for men. While it can theoretically be taken to the extreme that feminism has, that would take some doing.

Truewest wrote: “law societies don't send people to jail. They discipline or disbar them. Plenty of lawyers are disciplined or disbarred. In the case of Ms. Curtis, the LSUC panel found that the complaints against her were entirelgy unfounded -- that she didn't say the things she was accused of saying.”

It didn’t find them unfounded; it found them unproven. There’s a big difference between not guilty and innocent.

Truewest wrote: “there are many male lawyers-turned-judges - generations of 'em for that matter-- who have only acted for male clients.”

Until recently that was almost the only kind.

Truewest wrote: “there are also many lawyers-turned-judges who have spent their entire careers acting for corporations or governments. I suppose if appearances are everything, they should be barred from the bench, since they will inevitably sit on cases in which women or individuals or citizens bring claims against corporations or governments. ”

Neither of these groups is quite so tainted with the virulent contempt for half the human race that defines contemporary feminism.

Truewest wrote: “one of the reasons American judges are so frequently removed from the bench is that most of them are politicians, with all that entails.”

SOME of them are politicians. Supreme Court Judges are appointed, but they undergo a rigorous screening process before both houses of the Legislature. (Just ask Clarence Thomas.) Elected judges are a feature of some jurisdictions but not others. In some places judges are appointed yet recallable via popular vote. In any case, I rather like the idea of a public servant who has real incentive to remember who’s the public, and who’s the servant.

Truewest wrote: “While some Canadian judges get appointed because of party connections, they are for the most part a capable, honest and independent bunch.”

This is an opinion, not a fact. It’s no doubt largely true, but the fact remains that Canada’s political system has far too much patronage and far too few checks and balances.

Truewest wrote: “You may not agree with their decisions all the time, but then, as you have demonstrated, your ignorance of the law is deep and broad.”

Don’t even go there, Truewest. Remember when I told you most HRC councillors aren’t lawyers? You ladled on the scorn, told me most of them were lawyers. When you finally went to the trouble to look it up and find out that most of them are NOT lawyers, you then tried a different tack, arguing that their lack of legal training was irrelevant. You’re in no position to be tossing accusations of ignorance.

Truewest wrote: “Fact Check, Once again, you have performed yeoman work at trying to bring a dose of reality to the echo chambers, but it's really pearls before swine.”

Observe the greeting ritual of the Canadian troll, folks. This ritual consists of licking and sniffing the rectum until no sweat remains. Stick around--maybe they’ll start grooming each other next.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-26 10:11:25 PM


Shane,
You know what they say: A troll is someone who drops by a conservative website and points out the factual and logical errors of ignorant right-wing cracker blowhards.


Posted by: truewest | 2008-03-26 10:24:31 PM


Truewest wrote: "You know what they say: A troll is someone who drops by a conservative website and points out the factual and logical errors of ignorant right-wing cracker blowhards."

Who's "they"? If "they" knew what they were talking about, they'd say a troll is a disgusting ogre that lives in a hole in the ground, a cave, or (in one case) underneath a bridge, only emerging occasionally to rob a cradle or devour an unwary traveler. Tough break, pal; I brought my .30-06. If this is the limit of your rebuttal, consider your surrender accepted...again.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-26 11:20:46 PM


Karol wrote: "truewest, at least conservatives let you post your leftie nonsense on their blog. Jason Czerniak, Warren Kinsella and other lefites never let me post at their blogs."

Yet another connection between "tolerant" liberals and trolls, Karol; they're both fables.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-26 11:24:52 PM


Someone running a self-described "feminist law practice" has as much business being a judge as I do.

Being a Judge requires the ability to seperate one's ideology from one's judgement. Someone whose background is a running an ideologically-driven law practice hardly sounds like someone who should be trusted to dispense fair judgements.

The fact that she helped write the custody rules and so forth simply attests to how screwed-up the system already is.

Posted by: Adam Yoshida | 2008-03-26 11:29:55 PM


Shane,
Why is that whenever someone points out your stupidity, you start talking about your guns? Does your .30-06 make you feel smart, fat boy? Does it make you feel attractive? Because however it makes you feel, it makes you look like an idiot. And I'm pretty sure it isn't going to get you laid. (btw, you got something personal against rape-shield laws?)

Karol,
Let me let you in on a secret: the reason people don't let you post is because they can see from a mile off that you're both unstable and prone to libelling people. Why anyone would expose themselves to liability for a defamation so that a bitter miscreant like you can indulge in long-winded and unfounded smears is a mystery to me.

Posted by: truewest | 2008-03-26 11:38:42 PM


Well, shut my mouth!! Imagine my horror at having my entire philosophy demolished with the simple expedient of citing a tendentious definiton! Why bother to look at a person's 30-year history as a lawyer to figure out what she *actually* stands for when you can exonerate her a priori with self-selected and politically correct labels?... I should have guessed that would be the defense.

For what it's worth, I didn't cite Curtis's Law Society complaint as condemnation of her, merely for the brief background on her career that I clipped -- much elaborated (with thanks) in subsequent posts by others. For what it's worth, I would have acquitted Curtis of the citations, too, given the summary of facts in the Judgment. But I wouldn't have given her the clean bill of health she was given. I would have admonished her for being at least careless in her communications about disobeying Court Orders. Further, it seems to me that if a lawyer's own carelessness might have contributed to a client believing that she was instructed to disobey a Court Order, then the lawyer *does* have a positive duty to rectify the error (contrary to what the panel ruled). Finally, I consider it at least foolish for Curtis to continue to communicate with Debbie Cantrell, whom she knew was harbouring a criminal suspect. She comes too close for my liking to being an accomplice.

Contrary to what "truewest" asserts, the complaints against Curtis were not "entirely unfounded;" they were basically true, just not deemed worthy of sanction (i.e. excusable). She DID say some of the things she was accused of saying, and the panel at least implied that it would have been better had she not expressed herself in certain ways.

If "truewest" knows of any judges sitting on the Bench in Family Court, anywhere in Canada, who have, as a matter of announced policy (or even unannounced coincidence), served only male clients in custody disputes, I challenge him to name them. To suggest that there are "generations" of such judges is preposterous. In generations past, almost all lawyers were men, and since women did not go unrepresented in divorce cases, about half of any male lawyer's clients were women, on average. About half of my clients were women, many on Legal Aid certificates.

As for "truewest"'s confidence in the competence and fairness of Canadian judges in family disputes, I will have more to say about that in my forthcoming book, tentatively titled "Deadbeat Judges: How Courts Disenfranchise Fathers." It is mosly based on my personal experiences as a trial lawyer in custody disputes.

Posted by: Grant Brown | 2008-03-27 12:07:24 AM


I am the father of the child that Karol Karolak mentions in his post (only partially quoted):

"I just received and I am just reading Report of the Director’s Review Pursuant to Section 68(3), The Child and Family Services Act, R.S.O. 1990"

I'd like to add a few comments about the Director's Review that KK mentions, since I have been the ONLY person speaking out for my children for the past five years and children, as is typical in our society, get cheated the most, but are also granted the least "air-time" to report their abuses.

Deb Cantrell recently conducted a Ministry of Children & Youth Services' Director's Review about how the London CAS dealt with the assault (as Karol mentioned) against my daughter, as was committed by her own grandmother and - tragically - mother, in an attempt to frame me for sexual assault. I was never even accused of the crime. My "beef" is with the CAS agencies who did not take any action against the true abusers.

Despite the postings so far making it seem like it was a Carole Curtis vs. Deb Cantrell thing in 1990/1991, it was anything but.

They BOTH committed crimes in the 1990/1991 fiasco involving Vanessa, the child who was illegally taken before she could be reunited with her father.

I can't stop Carole Curtis from being made a judge any more than I could have stopped Deb Cantrell from being appointed as the "Director" of our DR.

But, I challenge any of the Carole Curtis defenders to explain why the hell she got off, seemingly solely because there was someone else who was equally to blame.

When answering, please consider that Deb Cantrell was never held accountable either. Why did the LSUC seemingly hang Deb Cantrell out to dry, so to speak, yet never ensured that the real culprit be punished?

When I came to realise that Deb Cantrell was about to really screw my children over, I finally mentioned what she did in 1990/1991.

She arrogantly spouted out this nonsense:

"I committed no criminal offence; I was never threatened with prosecution; I was never charged with any crime."

Damn criminals!

Posted by: Brad C. | 2008-03-27 2:50:46 AM


Shane – So, a “masculinist” is someone who, theoretically, supports equality for men, while a feminist is someone who:
- would bar men from everywhere except the slave pits if they could.
- is a “man-hater”
- is “tainted with the virulent contempt for half the human race”

I’m not at all surprised that you think this woman should not be on the bench, given your understanding of what a feminist is. While I’m sure that there are women who define themselves as feminists and who feel that way, they don’t make up the majority of the “feminist” population, and it’s a cop-out to use the most extreme version of feminism as a basis for your arguments. You don’t know what Carole Curtis’ ideology is, and the fact that she mostly represents women and describes her practice as “feminist” is hardly evidence that she is a man-hater who would like to send all men to the “slave pits”.

“Women have a harder time than men in separating feelings from logic as it is.”

So…..should women not be allowed to be judges at all? Or lawyers or politicians or anything requiring rational thought?

“There’s a big difference between not guilty and innocent.”

This is weak, Shane. Let’s say, hypothetically, that a man is accused of molesting his daughter and is found ‘not guilty’. If some horrible, raging feminazi were to use that argument as a reason for taking his child away anyway, I’m sure you’d be the first one to verbally tear her apart.

Grant said: “To elaborate on my previous post: There is no clear demarcation between perceptions of the law and the reality. Perceptions *become* the reality. If men scheduled to appear before Judge Curtis feel that they are unlikely to get a fair deal from her, they are more likely to accept an unfair settlement. If men perceive that Judge Curtis is the norm on the Bench, they will avoid the legal system like the plague. All negotiation takes place in the shadow of the legal system and its likely outcomes. “

While I don’t necessarily disagree with the thinking behind your argument, I also don’t think that men’s stereotypical perceptions of feminists should be used to keep a woman who identifies herself as a “feminist” off the bench. I have not heard any objective evidence as to why she should not be allowed to be there.

Posted by: Michelle | 2008-03-27 6:30:43 AM


Truewest wrote: “Why is that whenever someone points out your stupidity, you start talking about your guns? Does your .30-06 make you feel smart, fat boy? Does it make you feel attractive?”

No. But it does allow me to worry less about grizzly bears, black bears, cougars, wolverines, assorted rodents, and of course, trolls.

Truewest wrote: “Because however it makes you feel, it makes you look like an idiot. And I'm pretty sure it isn't going to get you laid. (btw, you got something personal against rape-shield laws?)”

Still ducking the questions, eh, Truewest? You come in here riding a wave of your own self-righteousness, proclaim everyone on the blog an idiot, administer e-wedgies all around, and then, when asked specific questions, slap your hands against your head, poke out your tongue and start rolling in your own dung. I like watching that almost as much as I enjoy watching you and Fact Check groom each other—specially the part where you eat the grubs off each other’s hides.

Truewest wrote: “Karol, Let me let you in on a secret: the reason people don't let you post is because they can see from a mile off that you're both unstable and prone to libelling people. Why anyone would expose themselves to liability for a defamation so that a bitter miscreant like you can indulge in long-winded and unfounded smears is a mystery to me.”

Classic projection, troll. Look at your screed up above. I have never seen Karol write anything like that. Face it, Truewest—most of the bigots today are on the Left. They have to be, because they’re the reactionaries, the ones on the defensive, the ones trying desperately to hold together an outdated model of society, just like unreconstructed Southerners after the Civil War. Hell, what with overturning cars, burning people in effigy, erecting barricades in city streets, trashing frankenfood labs, harassing people in their homes, and all of the other crap the Left pulls—while Right-wingers generally just go to work and Church—I wonder which one more resembles the KKK?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-27 7:27:08 AM


Michelle wrote: “I’m not at all surprised that you think this woman should not be on the bench, given your understanding of what a feminist is. While I’m sure that there are women who define themselves as feminists and who feel that way, they don’t make up the majority of the “feminist” population, and it’s a cop-out to use the most extreme version of feminism as a basis for your arguments.”

Oh, please. Name me FIVE well-known feminist organizations who publicly bill themselves as feminist but have yet managed to avoid the “men screwed us; women are exploited; women need more of this or that than men” rubric in any of their public statements or policies.

Michelle wrote: “You don’t know what Carole Curtis’ ideology is, and the fact that she mostly represents women and describes her practice as “feminist” is hardly evidence that she is a man-hater who would like to send all men to the “slave pits”.

Feminism is about the advancement of women, at the expense of men, not equality. (Women already have equality before the law, so there really isn’t anything left to fight for in that regard.) And a career in one of the most politically charged and notoriously unfair types of law, as well as going out of her way to describe herself as an activist, is an EXCELLENT reason to call into question her impartiality—which you have cleverly avoided addressing.

Michelle wrote: “[Women have a harder time than men in separating feelings from logic as it is.] So…..should women not be allowed to be judges at all? Or lawyers or politicians or anything requiring rational thought?”

Like men, they should have to demonstrate their capacity for untainted rational thought before being put in a position that requires that it, and it alone, be used. And fewer women than men meet that requirement. Those women that do, more power to ’em, by all means, let them serve. I’ll tell you something, though—practically none of them would go out of their way to describe themselves as “feminist.”

Michelle wrote: “[There’s a big difference between not guilty and innocent.] This is weak, Shane. Let’s say, hypothetically, that a man is accused of molesting his daughter and is found ‘not guilty’. If some horrible, raging feminazi were to use that argument as a reason for taking his child away anyway, I’m sure you’d be the first one to verbally tear her apart.”

First of all, you should know better than to use the device of the hypothetical argument—only amateurs fall for that. Secondly, we’re not talking about taking away someone’s child—we’re questioning the appointment of someone who has a controversial record that suggests bias and preferential treatment, precisely the sort of attributes you do NOT want in a jurist.

Michelle wrote: “While I don’t necessarily disagree with the thinking behind your argument, I also don’t think that men’s stereotypical perceptions of feminists should be used to keep a woman who identifies herself as a “feminist” off the bench. I have not heard any objective evidence as to why she should not be allowed to be there.”

Identifies herself as, or ADVERTISES herself as? Those are very different things. Think about it.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-27 7:44:13 AM


Karol – you missed my point entirely. I was simply pointing out that Shane’s statement that someone *could* still be guilty even if they were found innocent was weak.

Shane wrote: “First of all, you should know better than to use the device of the hypothetical argument—only amateurs fall for that. Secondly, we’re not talking about taking away someone’s child—we’re questioning the appointment of someone who has a controversial record that suggests bias and preferential treatment, precisely the sort of attributes you do NOT want in a jurist.”

Amateurs? As opposed to “professional” blog-posters such as yourself?
Your argument was weak and nonsensical, Shane. Let it go.

Whether or not her record is “controversial” is open to interpretation. As I said, the fact that she was the subject of a disciplinary hearing is not, in itself, particularly controversial. Despite your previous assertion that “judges and lawyers don’t like to put one another in jail” lawyers are very often the subject of disciplinary hearings, and many of them are sanctioned. Tribunal decisions are posted on the Law Society of Upper Canada website. There’s a lot of them.

Shane wrote: “Feminism is about the advancement of women, at the expense of men, not equality. (Women already have equality before the law, so there really isn’t anything left to fight for in that regard.) And a career in one of the most politically charged and notoriously unfair types of law, as well as going out of her way to describe herself as an activist, is an EXCELLENT reason to call into question her impartiality—which you have cleverly avoided addressing.”


We’re going to have to agree to disagree as to what “feminism” is. I consider myself a feminist because I believe in equality for women. I was a member of a feminist organization in law school along with other women who believed in equality. We conducted fundraising for local women’s shelters and other charities, and organized lectures of prominent female lawyers. Our activities did not revolve around “male bashing”. While you assert that “women already have equality before the law”, there are still unique challenges facing women in the legal profession, as well as in other areas. Because the legal profession has historically been male dominated and because it can be more difficult for female lawyers to find an appropriate work-life balance, especially if they have children, it was very helpful to have a supportive organization of other women to discuss these issues with. There is such a thing as positive feminism.

By the time I went to law school the male-female population was pretty evenly balanced and I didn’t feel as though I experienced any overt discrimination. I’m sure this wasn’t the case when Carole Curtis went to law school. Being an active feminist and fighting for equality at that time was necessary. It doesn’t mean that she is going to be unable to make fair decisions as a judge.

Shane wrote: “Oh, please. Name me FIVE well-known feminist organizations who publicly bill themselves as feminist but have yet managed to avoid the “men screwed us; women are exploited; women need more of this or that than men” rubric in any of their public statements or policies.”

Honestly, off the top of my head I can’t name five well-known feminist organizations period. I’m pretty sure that no feminist organization uses “men screwed us” as their motto, though. In the interest of staying somewhat on-topic, wouldn’t a more pertinent question be whether Carole Curtis belonged to any feminist organization that has made these kind of statements? I did a quick google search and couldn’t find any feminist organizations she belonged to, but if anyone has further information I’d be happy to hear it.

Shane wrote: “Like men, they should have to demonstrate their capacity for untainted rational thought before being put in a position that requires that it, and it alone, be used. And fewer women than men meet that requirement.”

Source?
And how, exactly, would this be demonstrated?

Posted by: Michelle | 2008-03-27 8:13:41 AM


Michelle wrote: “Amateurs? As opposed to “professional” blog-posters such as yourself? Your argument was weak and nonsensical, Shane. Let it go.”

What makes it weak and nonsensical, Michelle? Explanation please. And please don’t say “it’s been argued enough elsewhere.” I know you have a tendency to do that when asked for logic.

Michelle wrote: “Whether or not her record is “controversial” is open to interpretation. As I said, the fact that she was the subject of a disciplinary hearing is not, in itself, particularly controversial. Despite your previous assertion that “judges and lawyers don’t like to put one another in jail” lawyers are very often the subject of disciplinary hearings, and many of them are sanctioned. Tribunal decisions are posted on the Law Society of Upper Canada website. There’s a lot of them.”

What percentage of lawyers have faced disciplinary hearings, Michelle? As Karol wrote, for a father to even been ACCUSED of hurting his children is often enough for him to never get them back, even if later exonerated, and feminists seem to find nothing wrong in this. Yet when a female lawyer faces a disciplinary hearing, the fact of her being accused is “unimportant” and “uncontroversial”; all the matters is the outcome. Why the disparity in attitudes, Michelle? Should women get an easier ride because of the “unique challenges” they face?

Michelle wrote: “While you assert that “women already have equality before the law”, there are still unique challenges facing women in the legal profession, as well as in other areas. Because the legal profession has historically been male dominated and because it can be more difficult for female lawyers to find an appropriate work-life balance, especially if they have children, it was very helpful to have a supportive organization of other women to discuss these issues with. There is such a thing as positive feminism.”

Ah, yes, “unique challenges” requiring “unique solutions.” In other words, special people need special treatment. It was so easy to worm that out of you. Even many feminists who honestly believe they only want equality do in fact favour a little something extra for women, whether it be redress for injustices suffered by their ancestors (on whose behalf they have no legal basis to claim compensation), or because they find it harder to achieve “work-life balance” (presumably because the men won’t help with the kids or housework. MEN!). So you had an all-girl’s network. That’s fine—as long as you’re willing to accept the presence of all-boy’s networks as well. But feminists don’t accept them, do they?

Michelle wrote: “By the time I went to law school the male-female population was pretty evenly balanced and I didn’t feel as though I experienced any overt discrimination. I’m sure this wasn’t the case when Carole Curtis went to law school. Being an active feminist and fighting for equality at that time was necessary. It doesn’t mean that she is going to be unable to make fair decisions as a judge.”

Mother of Christ, you’re a LAWYER, and you make arguments like this, all dewy with emotion? “Enough has been argued elsewhere; I don’t need to say anything?” (Different thread, granted.) If no more is expected of lawyers today, I’ve missed my calling. But let me give you a tip, Michelle—you should NEVER say “you’re sure” of anything, because what that really means is that YOU DON’T KNOW, BUT ARE ASSUMING IT TO BE TRUE. That is not a compelling argument for others to take your word for it, and also assume it to be true.

Michelle wrote: “Honestly, off the top of my head I can’t name five well-known feminist organizations period. I’m pretty sure that no feminist organization uses “men screwed us” as their motto, though.”

Not in so many words. But if the objective of feminism, as you say, is to promote equality for women (which they already have), isn’t that sentiment pretty much a given?

Michelle wrote: “In the interest of staying somewhat on-topic, wouldn’t a more pertinent question be whether Carole Curtis belonged to any feminist organization that has made these kind of statements? I did a quick google search and couldn’t find any feminist organizations she belonged to, but if anyone has further information I’d be happy to hear it.”

But just above, you say that you are SURE that the male-female population in law school was not evenly balanced and that being an active feminist was NECESSARY (as if the male-female ratio at the school was the sole determining factor of whether things were fair or not). Were you hoping I had forgot? If the average juror has no longer a memory span than this, I can see why some lawyers feel safe in such outrageous conduct. And here is another question for you: If more men in law school equals unfair treatment for women, does more women in law school (which is the current situation) mean unfair treatment for men?

Michelle wrote: [In answer to “Like men, they should have to demonstrate their capacity for untainted rational thought before being put in a position that requires that it, and it alone, be used. And fewer women than men meet that requirement.”] Source? And how, exactly, would this be demonstrated?”

Just about any study comparing the reasoning process of the two sexes you care to name. Of course, it has recently become favourable in such studies to acknowledge the difference, but to argue that emotion is equally as important as logic to the act of reasoning, or even to suggest that all logic has its start in emotion. If women can’t convince men that they aren’t more emotional, maybe they can convince men that emotions are king (or queen). Sort of like how feminists spent the 70s and 80s trying to be men than then spent the 90s trying to turn men into women.

As for how it would be demonstrated, that’s easy. Acquire a representative sample of each gender and sit them together. Pick two subjects known to cause intense feelings in each gender, and then have a debate on it. For men, pick gun control. For women, pick abortion. See which side first gets pissy, argues that enough has already been said elsewhere, and departs in a huff.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-27 8:50:02 AM


Grant,
The law is full of people who choose to spend their entire careers working on one side of an adversarial system: union and management-side labour lawyers and crown counsel and criminal defence lawyers come immediately to mind.
By your reasoning, this should bar them from the bench, since there would always be the fear that they carried their biases with them from practice. By my observation, however, most judges are scrupilous in casting off those biases and, indeed, welcome the escape from the adversarial role.
Curtis came to the law in an era when female lawyers were still a rarity and chose to devote her career by acting on behalf of women (who might otherwise have to have retained a "masculinist" lawyer such as yourself.) She is apparently well-regarded by her peers, if her election as a bencher is any guide. But you say she's unsuitabloe because she declares herself a "feminist lawyer" and that label might raise some apprehension of bias in Cro-Mags like Shane and Karol. Please.
Curtis may turn out to be dud as a judge -- not every appointment is a brilliant one -- and she may lean one way of the other -- as former Crown and criminal defence lawyers do. On the other hand, she may benefit from being liberated from the demands of her clients. But to suggest that she is prima facie unsuitable because she identifies herself as a feminist is idiotic.

Shane -- you grow more pathetic with each post.

Posted by: truewest | 2008-03-27 9:05:27 AM


Truewest wrote: “The law is full of people who choose to spend their entire careers working on one side of an adversarial system: union and management-side labour lawyers and crown counsel and criminal defence lawyers come immediately to mind. By your reasoning, this should bar them from the bench, since there would always be the fear that they carried their biases with them from practice.”

Perhaps it should, Truewest. Perhaps those whose ambition is to become a judge should spend similar amounts of time on both sides of the fence to round out both their experience and their attitudes. In many countries, judges receive special legal training and often don’t even practice law first. Our judges don’t receive the benefit of such training, so if we’re going to appoint them based on their on-the-job experience, better it be well-balanced.

Truewest wrote: “By my observation, however, most judges are scrupilous in casting off those biases and, indeed, welcome the escape from the adversarial role.”

And when did you have a chance to observe this?

Truewest wrote: “Curtis came to the law in an era when female lawyers were still a rarity and chose to devote her career by acting on behalf of women (who might otherwise have to have retained a "masculinist" lawyer such as yourself.) She is apparently well-regarded by her peers, if her election as a bencher is any guide. But you say she's unsuitabloe because she declares herself a "feminist lawyer" and that label might raise some apprehension of bias in Cro-Mags like Shane and Karol. Please.”

That’s the trouble, Truewest; you are psychologically and ideologically incapable of believing bias to exist anywhere Left of centre. For you, the definition of impartial is “Leftist,” and that of bias, “Rightist.” You even call your opponents “Cro-Magnons” (which is stupid because all modern humans are Cro-Magnons; a better label would be “Neanderthal,” or better yet, “smirking chimp”). In so doing, you reveal your own bias. I call you a troll because that’s what Netizens call someone who goes through blogs ragging on other people but not really contributing much. This post is actually one of your better efforts.

Truewest wrote: “Curtis may turn out to be dud as a judge -- not every appointment is a brilliant one -- and she may lean one way of the other -- as former Crown and criminal defence lawyers do. On the other hand, she may benefit from being liberated from the demands of her clients. But to suggest that she is prima facie unsuitable because she identifies herself as a feminist is idiotic.”

No one said she was prima facie unsuitable. But it’s hard to believe there was no one better qualified for the job who also had better optics.

Truewest wrote: “Shane -- you grow more pathetic with each post.”

Down, troll, I have eat with these hands.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-27 9:21:27 AM


“What makes it weak and nonsensical, Michelle? Explanation please. “
What makes your argument weak, Shane, is that you are stating that just because the Discipline Committee exonerated Carole Curtis doesn’t mean she’s innocent, without offering any evidence whatsoever to prove her guilt. The Discipline Committee is the body charged with deciding whether or not a lawyer has committed professional misconduct and they found that she had not. You haven’t offered anything to contradict this other than your own suspicions.

Shane wrote: "What percentage of lawyers have faced disciplinary hearings, Michelle? As Karol wrote, for a father to even been ACCUSED of hurting his children is often enough for him to never get them back, even if later exonerated, and feminists seem to find nothing wrong in this. Yet when a female lawyer faces a disciplinary hearing, the fact of her being accused is “unimportant” and “uncontroversial”; all the matters is the outcome. Why the disparity in attitudes, Michelle?

I don’t know what percentage of lawyers face disciplinary hearings, Shane. The LSUC website publishes about 13 Tribunal Hearings per month which makes them, as I said, not unusual.
The real problem with your postings is that you seem to be incapable of structuring an argument without setting up a straw man. For example, you presume that I (and all feminists) think that:
- A father who is accused of hurting his children and exonerated in a court of law should still lose custody (I don’t)
- Women facing “unique challenges” means that they should get “special treatment” to “redress injustices”. This is not at all what I was saying. I referenced the fact that women have greater challenges finding a work-life balance because often they do. I’m not blaming men for this, but it’s still a reality. It’s hard to be a mother and yet still fit in with “big firm” culture, and yes – it’s helpful to have other women to discuss this with and to brainstorm creative solutions. Why you feel the need to get angry and defensive over this, I have no idea.

Shane wrote: Mother of Christ, you’re a LAWYER, and you make arguments like this, all dewy with emotion? “Enough has been argued elsewhere; I don’t need to say anything?” (Different thread, granted.) If no more is expected of lawyers today, I’ve missed my calling. But let me give you a tip, Michelle—you should NEVER say “you’re sure” of anything, because what that really means is that YOU DON’T KNOW, BUT ARE ASSUMING IT TO BE TRUE. That is not a compelling argument for others to take your word for it, and also assume it to be true.

I don’t know where you got the impression that my arguments were “dewy with emotion”. I have had enough experience with your hyperboles and name calling to infer that you’re the one who gets emotional in these discussions.
Read my post again, Shane. I said that I had never felt that I had experienced discrimination, but I was sure that was not the case for Carole Curtis. If she had not felt that she was discriminated against, why would she become active in the feminist movement? It’s not a difficult line of reasoning to follow.

Shane wrote: Michelle wrote: “In the interest of staying somewhat on-topic, wouldn’t a more pertinent question be whether Carole Curtis belonged to any feminist organization that has made these kind of statements?"

But just above, you say that you are SURE that the male-female population in law school was not evenly balanced and that being an active feminist was NECESSARY (as if the male-female ratio at the school was the sole determining factor of whether things were fair or not). Were you hoping I had forgot? If the average juror has no longer a memory span than this, I can see why some lawyers feel safe in such outrageous conduct. And here is another question for you: If more men in law school equals unfair treatment for women, does more women in law school (which is the current situation) mean unfair treatment for men?”

I’m not disputing that she was a feminist, Shane. I was inquiring whether anyone has information regarding any specific feminist organizations she may have belonged to in order to possibly substantiate your assertion that she is a radical, man-hating feminist. I notice that you didn’t refer to any.
In terms of the male-female ratio, you’re looking at it backwards. More men in law school did not necessarily create unfair treatment of women. Historical inequality of women resulted in less women in law school. Because there were less women in law school, it's not surprising that it was male-centred in the past. Because women have not historically been in a position of power over men I would not think that more women in law school would result in unfair treatment of men, but I suppose it’s possible.

Shane wrote: “Just about any study comparing the reasoning process of the two sexes you care to name. Of course, it has recently become favourable in such studies to acknowledge the difference, but to argue that emotion is equally as important as logic to the act of reasoning, or even to suggest that all logic has its start in emotion."

Haven’t you chided me in the past because you thought that I did not present enough evidence to support my arguments? And when I ask for a source you give me “just about any study comparing the two sexes you care to name.”?

Shane wrote: As for how it would be demonstrated, that’s easy. Acquire a representative sample of each gender and sit them together. Pick two subjects known to cause intense feelings in each gender, and then have a debate on it. For men, pick gun control. For women, pick abortion. See which side first gets pissy, argues that enough has already been said elsewhere, and departs in a huff."

For the sake of men everywhere, Shane, I would hope you wouldn’t be the representative of your gender in that study.

Posted by: Michelle | 2008-03-27 9:46:07 AM


Michelle wrote: “What makes your argument weak, Shane, is that you are stating that just because the Discipline Committee exonerated Carole Curtis doesn’t mean she’s innocent, without offering any evidence whatsoever to prove her guilt. The Discipline Committee is the body charged with deciding whether or not a lawyer has committed professional misconduct and they found that she had not. You haven’t offered anything to contradict this other than your own suspicions.”

Granted, being found innocent is not proof of guilt. (Things aren’t quite that topsy-turvy yet, thank goodness.) At least, being found innocent is not proof of guilt if you’re a feminist lawyer appearing before a disciplinary committee. Being found not guilty very often amounts to proof of guilt if you’re a man accused of mistreating your wife or children. This double standard is openly supported and even engineered by feminists, “to level the playing field.” My point is this: If, in the pursuit of their agenda, feminists are OK with trashing established rules of evidence and procedure, they can have no complaint if those relaxed rules are then used against them. Unless you want to argue why the system should treat men and women differently? Remember, dearie, you’re after EQUALITY.

Michelle wrote: “I don’t know what percentage of lawyers face disciplinary hearings, Shane. The LSUC website publishes about 13 Tribunal Hearings per month which makes them, as I said, not unusual.”

13 per month, or about 150 per year. Over 2,000 people graduate from law school every year in Canada, and the total number of practicing lawyers is over 60,000. And then there’s the likelihood that a single case engenders more than one hearing, so that 150 per year may be higher than the actual number of cases. So while disciplinary hearings may not “be uncommon,” it’s a safe bet that most lawyers have never faced one.

Michelle wrote: “The real problem with your postings is that you seem to be incapable of structuring an argument without setting up a straw man. For example, you presume that I (and all feminists) think that a father who is accused of hurting his children and exonerated in a court of law should still lose custody (I don’t)”

But he often does, doesn’t he?

Michelle wrote: “- Women facing “unique challenges” means that they should get “special treatment” to “redress injustices”. This is not at all what I was saying.”

But it is what groups like Women Against Violence Against Women and the National Action Committee on the Status of Women say, isn’t it? In cases of rape and sexual harassment, a women often doesn’t even need to face her accuser. That is a violation of the accused Constitutional rights, but women’s groups pushed for it anyway, “to protect the victim.” Law in practice, and in many cases even in theory, is loaded with double standards that favour women. They even receive lesser sentences for the same crimes.

Michelle wrote: “referenced the fact that women have greater challenges finding a work-life balance because often they do. I’m not blaming men for this, but it’s still a reality. It’s hard to be a mother and yet still fit in with “big firm” culture, and yes – it’s helpful to have other women to discuss this with and to brainstorm creative solutions.”

No shame in that. But who, in general, is asked to pay for the solutions?

Michelle wrote: “I don’t know where you got the impression that my arguments were “dewy with emotion”. I have had enough experience with your hyperboles and name calling to infer that you’re the one who gets emotional in these discussions.”

I’m not the one with a history of refusing logical argument and departing in a huff, Michelle.

Michelle wrote: “I said that I had never felt that I had experienced discrimination, but I was sure that was not the case for Carole Curtis. If she had not felt that she was discriminated against, why would she become active in the feminist movement? It’s not a difficult line of reasoning to follow.”

There’s that phrase again, “I was sure.” I’m serious, Michelle, don’t use it—it weakens your argument tremendously. Even if she did feel discriminated against, that does not mean she actually was—feeling is not fact.

Michelle wrote: “I’m not disputing that she was a feminist, Shane. I was inquiring whether anyone has information regarding any specific feminist organizations she may have belonged to in order to possibly substantiate your assertion that she is a radical, man-hating feminist.”

In order to be a radical, man-hating feminist, since when must one be a member?

Michelle wrote: “In terms of the male-female ratio, you’re looking at it backwards. More men in law school did not necessarily create unfair treatment of women. Historical inequality of women resulted in less women in law school. Because there were less women in law school, it's not surprising that it was male-centred in the past. Because women have not historically been in a position of power over men I would not think that more women in law school would result in unfair treatment of men, but I suppose it’s possible.”

Given the drubbing men are taking in the field of family law, I’d say it’s more than just possible. Granted, some of these reports are no doubt sour grapes from disgruntled male exes, but the sheer accumulation of such stories suggests that either feminist law has had the worst case of bad PR in the history of the Universe or else that there are serious inequalities in family law.

Michelle wrote: “Haven’t you chided me in the past because you thought that I did not present enough evidence to support my arguments? And when I ask for a source you give me “just about any study comparing the two sexes you care to name.”?”

That’s like you asking me, “how can you prove that men are stronger?” And me answering, “Find me a study that says they’re not.” The list of studies reporting men as stronger would be so overwhelmingly long, the odds of you finding a dissenting study so vanishingly small, that it provides a sufficient reference. That’s what happens when you ask people to prove the obvious—any attempt at proof looks ridiculous.

Michelle wrote: “For the sake of men everywhere, Shane, I would hope you wouldn’t be the representative of your gender in that study.”

First, Michelle, your petulance shows in that statement; I could easily say the same thing about you, or even Judge Curtis, but since it amounts to no more than a childish taunt, why bother? Secondly, remember I said a SAMPLE, which means a group, not an individual, represents each gender. That means, ideally, that you get enough of a spread on both sides to produce meaningful normal curves. I notice you didn’t attack the methodology of the test itself. Are you afraid to face what it might reveal?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-27 10:31:41 AM


Oh please...not Judge Happy-Dope. Never was there a more eloquent argument against putting feminists on the bench. She was known as the "Great Dissenter," applying a radical twist to damned near everything.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-27 11:31:41 AM


Shane - once again, you're throwing out blanket statements trashing women, feminists, and now the entire family court system but you have said nothing specifically about Carole Curtis getting a judicial appointment which is what this whole discussion was about. Do you have anything to say that's on topic? When every discussion disintegrates into "Feminists hate men, the justice system isn't fair to men, etc. etc" it becomes quite boring.

Shane wrote: "That’s what happens when you ask people to prove the obvious—any attempt at proof looks ridiculous."

This is why you have not quoted any specific sources? Because there are SO many to chose from that naming a couple would be ridiculous?

Shane wrote: "First, Michelle, your petulance shows in that statement; I could easily say the same thing about you, or even Judge Curtis, but since it amounts to no more than a childish taunt, why bother? Secondly, remember I said a SAMPLE, which means a group, not an individual, represents each gender. That means, ideally, that you get enough of a spread on both sides to produce meaningful normal curves. I notice you didn’t attack the methodology of the test itself. Are you afraid to face what it might reveal?"

I apologize if I appeared petulant Shane. I was being completely serious. Given your tendency to resort to immature name-calling when someone disagrees with you, you would not be the best subject to demonstrate the inherent logic and rationality of men.
As for your methodology, I did not address it because I didn't think you were being serious. It might be difficult to find an objective measure of "pissy-ness". If you figure out how to do it, though, and carry out this study please keep me apprised of the results.

Posted by: Michelle | 2008-03-27 11:40:17 AM


Michelle,

Help! I am having a very difficult time disentangling the following.

"Because there were less women in law school, it's not surprising that it was male-centred in the past. Because women have not historically been in a position of power over men I would not think that more women in law school would result in unfair treatment of men, but I suppose it’s possible. "

More men in law school in the past not-surprisingly resulted in male-centred law. More women in law school today...you admit it possible that we could be starting toward a female-centred law but only just possible.

Explain this:

"And are you also insinuating that a feminist (or a 'masculinist', for that matter) is incapable of making a rational, impartial decision? "

As I see it, either there is bias (incrimental or atomistic) or there is not.

A feminist judge either is not biased or she adds her own flavoour of bias. Over time, this flavour of bias is reinforced by others following in her precedents.

The result is bias...as with the male-centred law of the past.

Please square the circle.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-27 11:47:54 AM


I think Michelle and "truewest" are being willfully blind to both the quantity and quality of evidence of Carole Curtis's biases that has been presented in this discussion thread. If they don't see it yet, nothing more I can say will reveal it to them.

I made one narrow claim about appointments to the Bench that could reasonably be generalized, namely that lawyers with the kind of gender-specific advocacy background of Carole Curtis are unsuitable as judges in Family Court. While a dissertation could be written about other possible biases of other types of lawyers, and their suitability for the Bench, I leave that to others to pursue. I will simply state that I find the analogies far less compelling than the case that lead off this discussion.

The very fact that this discussion has been so lengthy and so heated suggests that I have a prima facie case. I am unaware of any judicial appointment generating quite so much controversy on the basis of the candidate's advocacy for some other cause, or practicing exclusively in some other form. Perhaps gender expectations are more intimately connected to a person's identity than other kinds of professional views might be; in which case gender bias would be more difficult to eradicate simply by being appointed to the Bench than other forms of professional outlook are. Perhaps the pre-existing biases in other legal areas (labour relations, criminality, insurance claims) are not as pronounced or polarized as in family law, so that sensitivity to appointments of lawyers from these areas is understandably more moderate.

These are simply thoughts -- "speculations," if you like. I don't feel called upon to defend every extravagant generalization or analogy that might be pressed on the basis of something I said about a single case. It behooves everyone to stick to the topic a bit more closely.

Posted by: Grant Brown | 2008-03-27 12:10:40 PM


Michelle wrote: “Shane - once again, you're throwing out blanket statements trashing women, feminists, and now the entire family court system but you have said nothing specifically about Carole Curtis getting a judicial appointment which is what this whole discussion was about. Do you have anything to say that's on topic? When every discussion disintegrates into "Feminists hate men, the justice system isn't fair to men, etc. etc" it becomes quite boring.”

Excuse me, I pointed out the fact that she was accused (and exonerated). But the fact of the matter that she was even accused is somewhat disturbing. Remember that? Or were you hoping (once again) I had forgotten?

Michelle wrote: This is why you have not quoted any specific sources? Because there are SO many to chose from that naming a couple would be ridiculous?”

Here is one:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2576-womens-better-emotional-recall-explained.html

And another:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1749346,00.html

There’s your couple. Is this your courtroom strategy—send the opposition on meaningless fishing expeditions? Of course you’ll argue that the methodology was flawed, the result pre-determined, and so on. It is true that science has become increasingly politicized and that it’s difficult to trust it anymore. But you didn’t ask me to factor for that, so…

Michelle wrote: “I was being completely serious. Given your tendency to resort to immature name-calling when someone disagrees with you, you would not be the best subject to demonstrate the inherent logic and rationality of men.”

And your remark that you hoped I would not be the one to represent the male gender in my proposed debates was intended to be a compliment, was it?

Michelle wrote: “It might be difficult to find an objective measure of "pissy-ness". If you figure out how to do it, though, and carry out this study please keep me apprised of the results.”

I was talking about the debate in which the subjects are those that provoke an emotional response, one in men and one in women, and seeing how the two groups handled it. Pissiness is easily measured by voice volume, voice pitch, frequency of motion, and if someone gets up and clouts the other (or even simply walks away), that’s hard to miss.

I’ll grant you that Karol’s arguments are a lot more persuasive than mine on this subject, because she seems to be well versed in the specifics; she knows the subject matter better than I do. As a lawyer, I should think you’d be equally well versed, and clearly being of the opposite persuasion, jump at the chance to sink your teeth into those arguments. But to Karol you’ve been almost silent, and you haven’t attempted to refute any of her points. Why is this? If the entire thrust of your argument is to be “she wasn’t convicted,” and “others have been accused, TOO,” then it’s a weak one.

For something as important as a judgeship, the appointee’s bias and misconduct should not only have never been proven, but never even considered. There is such a surplus of good lawyers in this country that it just doesn’t make sense to consider an appointee with a checkered past unless that person brings something truly extraordinary to the table, something no one else can bring, something that justifies the risk. If Curtis does bring such a boon, it has been well concealed.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-27 12:26:22 PM


Karol,

That wasn't necessary and is certainly not corroborated.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-27 1:12:49 PM


Karol -

I wonder if you might want to ask the guy who runs this site to remove your last comment (along with mine, herein).

The evils we all suffer at the hands of Feminists (even including taking of innocent children, destroying familes, unjust incarceration, etc.) certainly engender actual hatred of the perpetrators, but we can prevail against them by confining our advocacy to public records.

I empathize with your anger and I appreciate the potential "benefit" in showing a motivation-cause associated with their distorted thinking, but in this argument-advocacy of public issues we might more easily prevail by offering sympathy and forgiveness (or restraint) as part of the bargain. We are all plenty weak, even on our best days.

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2008-03-27 1:20:51 PM


Michelle, give it a break, sister. This post cuts right to the heart of where "the sisterhood" has gone in this country, permeating courts, bureaucracies of all kinds and public schools and universities. I, for one, am sick of it, and I WAS one of the sisterhood in my own early law career (fortunately, I now run two corporations; my family and my own small business, where the true, angry feminists fear to tread!!!).

Posted by: Beggar | 2008-03-27 2:09:40 PM


From the NAWL article:

"At the end of the day Carole doesn’t shut the door on the assaulted and abandoned women and sexually abused children whom she sees every day in her independent law practice. She continues to lobby on their behalf."

What is truly disgusting about the actions of Carole Curtis in 1990/1991, is that she put the child's (Vanessa) interests behind - far, far, behind - the interests of the mother, Bonnie Scott. "Guilty" or "not guilty" at the LSUC hearing, that cannot be denied.

In my children's case, Deb Cantrell (Carole's co-conspirator 1990/1991) did the exact same thing. The CAS agency involved was exonerated by Deb (so far), because, were she to condemn the CAS, it would reveal that the CAS agency literally allowed a mother and grandmother get away with a sexual assault, seemingly solely so that a female was not blamed.

True feminists, who actually want equality, are disgusted when the radical feminists act in such a manner.

Posted by: Brad C. | 2008-03-27 2:25:44 PM


Beggar - can you elaborate on "give it a break"? And expand on what you are "sick of" and why? As a lawyer, business person, mother and former (?) feminist, you could probably add much to this discussion.

Posted by: Michelle | 2008-03-27 2:48:29 PM


Karol,
I fully empathize with the plight of men treated badly at the hand of modern day feminist ideology, however, I don't believe lowering yourself to their level and acting the way some of them did vis-a-vis the high tech lynching of Justice Clarence Thomas is the answer.

Unless you have corroboration, I think an apology is in order. Heaven knows Nina Totenberg et al would never offer one but you can now show who is the more generous in spirit and fair-minded individual here.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-27 4:13:23 PM


Michelle - Do you care to comment on what Carole Curtis ACTUALLY did, or at the very least, what she allowed Deb Cantrell to get away with doing in 1990/1991?

The radical feminists act similarly all the time, when dealing with Family Law matters:

1) They hypocritically place themselves on a level equal to children, in regards their supposed innocence.

2) They further claim to care deeply about children's needs.

3) But when push comes to shove, they completely disregard the best interests of the children, choosing to allow the mother to get away with anything that she wishes, even when TRULY innocent children suffer immensely in the process.

Personally, I am equally a feminist as I am a "masculinist" (never heard that term before), for I think every part of the justice system should treat us as equals.

However, there is absolutely no denying that the scales of justice in Family Court tip very heavily in favour of the mothers.

Posted by: Brad C. | 2008-03-27 5:04:19 PM


Karol

"If I were you, I would not read too much into my statement. I have not attended at the Law School of the University of Windsor so I have no direct knowledge of what went on there over thirty years ago. I just repeated what I have heard from a lawyer that did. "

And Nina Totenberg et al never clerked with Thomas but felt compelled to sling as much dirt as possible without verification because they didn't like his stance.

Don't be them.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-27 5:52:23 PM



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