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Judge Sotomayor Belongs to a (GASP) Women’s Organization!

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Judge Sotomayor is catching flack for having accepted, about one year ago, an invitation to join Belizean Grove, a  small, (from one hundred and fifteen to one hundred and twenty five members), apparently intimate and rather exclusive, invitation-only organization which has only female members. According to its website, Belizean Grove is

a constellation of influential women who are key decision makers in the profit, non-profit and social sectors; who build long term mutually beneficial relationships in order to both take charge of their own destinies and help others to do the same.

To this end, the organization invites

members [who] are highly accomplished leaders in a wide venue of fields, are dedicated to giving back to their communities, have a sense of humor and excitement about life and are willing to mentor and share connections. With this vision in mind, members are invited not only for their professional accomplishments but also for their generosity and compatibility.

According to the founder of the organization,

Ms. Stautberg, who founded the private club nine years ago, . . . the group is a response to the all-male clubs that have long fostered business connections and policy links for powerful men.

"I think we all need support in our lives," Ms. Stautberg said. "We need time to relax; we need time to think. We're all being nibbled at constantly all day, by e-mail." (emphasis added)

The principal legal question involved in this minor kerfuffle is whether membership in such organizations as the Belizean Grove violates Canon 2C of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which discourages judicial membership in organizations which "invidiously discriminate" on the basis of sex, race and national origin, unless they try to eliminate the discrimination. Obviously, the Belizean Grove discriminates on the basis of sex; men aren't invited and presumably can't join, no matter how greatly accomplished, sharing or humorous they may be. But does it discriminate invidiously?

The adverb "invidiously" presumably is not redundant, and must therefore have some meaning; otherwise it would not be there. That's why the commentary associated with Canon 2C goes on at some length trying to explain what "invidious" means in context. This is

often a complex question to which judges should be sensitive. The answer cannot be determined from a mere examination of an organization's current membership rolls but rather depends on how the organization selects members and other relevant factors, such as that the organization is dedicated to the preservation of religious, ethnic or cultural values of legitimate common interest to its members, or that it is in fact and effect an intimate, purely private organization whose membership limitations could not be constitutionally prohibited. . . . Other relevant factors include the size and nature of the organization and the diversity of persons in the locale who might reasonably be considered potential members. Thus the mere absence of diverse membership does not by itself demonstrate a violation unless reasonable persons with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances would expect that the membership would be diverse in the absence of invidious discrimination. Absent such factors, an organization is generally said to discriminate invidiously if it arbitrarily excludes from membership on the basis of race, religion, sex, or national origin persons who would otherwise be admitted to membership. (emphasis added)

The commentary associated with Canon 2C cites for guidance by analogy several Supreme Court cases in which organizations had been found discriminatory and therefore subject to adverse action under State statutes.  One case involved a popular eating establishment open only to men.  Another involved Rotary Clubs International, with "19,788 Rotary Clubs in 157 countries, with a total membership of about 907,750."  Membership was limited to men. Another involved the United States Jaycees, with "295,000 members in 7,400 local chapters affiliated with 51 state organizations." Full membership was restricted to young men. In each case, no Constitutional right of association was found to be sufficiently infringed to outweigh State interests in eliminating discrimination on the basis of sex. A key factor in each case was that the group involved was so large as to vitiate any suggestion that "it is in fact and effect an intimate, purely private organization . . . ." 

Hence, it is apparently not in contravention of Canon 2C for a judge to belong to a very small, private and selective organization, membership in which is limited to women and which is dedicated to the preservation of "religious, ethnic or cultural values of legitimate common interest to its members." Belizean Grove is very small, and it apparently invites for membership only a few women with "particular cultural values," which they presumably share. It does not appear to matter whether those values are unique to women.

There has been some discussion of the meaning of Canon 2C, as to which there is probably legitimate disagreement. For example, this writer for the National Review seems to come to a different conclusion, and this writer for Power Line agrees with him. Legal issues frequently produce divergent views, and that's probably a good thing; otherwise, what would lawyers do?

There are those who claim that membership in such an organization is bad, since it discriminates on the basis of sex, and that Judge Sotomayor's membership must somehow be explained away during her confirmation hearings.  Based on my reading of opinions in which she joined as a judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, there appears to be little in them, or in other matters, to bring her qualifications seriously into question.  I hope that my fellow "conservatives" don't engage in silliness by elevating Judge Sotomayor's Belizean Grove membership to an obstacle of greater importance than, in my opinion, it warrants. It would, I think, be a bad thing were "conservative" Republicans to attack Judge Sotomayor as "liberal" Democrats attacked Judge D. Brooks Smith when he was nominated to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 2002, based on his then former membership in the Spruce Creek Rod and Gun Club, a men's fishing club. One basis for opposition was that the fishing club provided

important business and professional contacts . . . where business and professional men interact and bond with each other and with important political figures and judges.

The same is clearly true of Belizean Grove, the web site of which states that it is dedicated to "influential women who are key decision makers in the profit, non-profit and social sectors; who build long term mutually beneficial relationships."  Judge Smith was eventually confirmed by the Senate, sixty four to thirty five.

The attack was beaten back to considerable degree because of an interesting fact neither Leahy nor Schumer knew. On the wall of the club was a photograph of Marine One landing at Spruce Creek. . . . The president in question was a Spruce Creek devotee  — Jimmy Carter. . . . a frequent visitor to what Leahy and Schumer were painting as a sewer of gender discrimination, he was still coming there long after his White House days were over.

That Democrats sometimes do silly things should not be an excuse for Republicans to do those same silly things; silliness begets silliness, and the selection of a Supreme Court justice is too important for that sort of nonsense. And, of course, by not acting silly, the Republicans can help the Democrats look silly by comparison.

 

I do think that some explanation of Judge Sotomayor's membership in Belizean Grove is in order, and I hope it goes beyond what she has said thus far: that men are invited to some social events and that she is unaware of any instance in which a man has sought but been denied membership; it is an invitation only club. These comments do not appear to have been fully considered and, based on my understanding of the commentary associated with Canon 2C, seem inadequate.

I hope for some interesting questions and answers on other, but related, matters, such as "reverse discrimination." The Belizean Grove matter may well be the only context in which such questions can be raised with a legitimate hope for a responsive answer.  I would very much like to hear Judge Sotomayor agree with Ms. Stautberg's idea that "we all need support in our lives" (emphasis added), from members of our own genders and, I would suggest, possibly from members of our own races as well. I see no reason why women should not join similar organizations comprised solely of women; why gays or lesbians should not join similar organizations comprised solely of gays or lesbians, nor why Black or Hispanic people should not join similar organizations comprised solely of Black or Hispanic people. Consistently, I see no valid reason why they should be disparaged for doing so, and I very much hope that Judge Sotomayor holds a similar view.

Nor do I see any valid reason why Whites, males, "straights" and others who join comparable small and intimate organizations comprised solely of those who resemble them should be disparaged for doing so. And there's the rub; they are.

Gender politics have proved a minefield for male Supreme Court nominees. . . .

Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy quit all-male clubs when they were being considered for the Supreme Court in the late 1980s, and Justice Harry Blackmun resigned his membership in the exclusive Cosmos Club in 1988.

The Boy Scouts of America has been under fire for its membership policies, which preclude Agnostics, Atheists, gays and — yes — girls. The Girl Scouts of America have been under attack for discriminating against some people, but generally not against boys. Just as women who think that they should have an organization to respond to "the all-male clubs that have long fostered business connections and policy links for powerful men," so perhaps should men, Caucasians, "straights" and others – boys and girls included.

I would challenge neither their right to do so nor the morality of such organizations. I would, however challenge the hypocrisy of those who think it is fine for women, but not for men, fine for Blacks, Hispanics and other "minority" group members, but not for White folks, fine for gays and lesbians but not for "straights." I will be very interested to learn whether Judge Sotomayor holds a similar, or divergent, view.

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About Dan Miller

  • irene wagner

    It’s hard to argue against this. If there’s a club where the real influential “yeasty” discussions are taking place among people of influence, then it’s absolutely WRONG to exclude on the basis of race or gender, be that gender male or female.

    (I’m still holding to the idea of women-only gyms…just because. But I’m agin’ men-only gyms because super athletic women would be barred from the place where the best equipment probably is.) PS: Your hanging Chad quip on other thread was funny.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    She’s resigned from the club this evening, so problem solved

  • Clavos

    Sorry to hear that, she should have stood her ground.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    El Bicho,

    I didn’t think there was a problem; to the extent that there was, her resignation shouldn’t solve it.

    According to anews account yesterday,

    In a letter to Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the federal appeals court judge said she is convinced that the club does not practice “invidious discrimination” and that her membership in it did not violate judicial ethics.

    But she said she didn’t want questions about it to “distract anyone from my qualifications and record.”

    I agree with the first part of her statement, but not with the second part: In view of her position that membership was not a bad thing, I think she should still be questioned during the confirmation hearing about her views on “reverse discrimination.”

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Dan,
    I agree with you that people should be able to form and participate in any club they choose as long as it does not cloud their judgment.
    Judge Sonia Sotomayor would not discriminate against “all men” just because she belonged to a women’s group. She should have remained a member!
    My questions are about “The skull & Bones.”
    Are they all men? and How much power do they posses in American politics?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Federal judges are bound by a code that says they shouldn’t join any organization that discriminates by race, sex, religion or nationality.Are there any Supreme Court Judges in the Skull & Bones?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Over the years, Bones has included presidents, cabinet officers, spies, Supreme Court justices, captains of industry, and often their sons and lately their daughters, a social and political network like no other.
    So they now allow women. The question still remains. “How much power do they have and is this right?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    One more question, even though I don’t believe I will receive an answer.
    Is the skull & Bones Society a discriminatory group? I believe it is!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Jeannie, I agree that she should have remained a member; her resignation takes her down a notch in my opinion. The club “discriminates” against men, but not “invidiously.” If it was “right” for her to be a member while serving as a Federal appeals court judge (and, again, I think it was), it would have been equally “right” for her to remain a member and to defend her membership during the confirmation hearing. Her resignation may have been expedient, but suggests a rather unfortunate wishy-washy mind set.

    Skull and Bones was (and I assume still is) an exclusive, “secret society” at Yale University; it appears to keep its secrets better than does the CIA.

    As I understand the situation based on news reports, many Skull and Bones members went on to become quite powerful and prominent. I have no idea whether women are invited to join. And that’s all that I know, never having been invited to become a member; had I been a member, of course, I would presumably be honor bound by an oath of secrecy and couldn’t tell you anything more about it.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Clavos

    Jeannie,

    S & B is a college society. At the time they are invited to join, they are students, with no power whatsoever, nor any guarantee they ever will have any, and many S&B members never do.

    Likewise, just being a Yale (or any other prestigious school) alumnus results in a lifetime of contacts with people who tend to become captains of industry, politicians, etc.

    Would you propose regulating friendships forged in college?

  • irene wagner

    I see I missed your point, Dan (Miller). I picked up the “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” idea and ran with it, without, I’m ashamed to admit, reading the whole article. I’m sorry.

    Still, the troubling thing about the membership of statesmen and judges in exclusive groups such as Skull & Bones and Belizean Grove is that it chips away confidence in the assurance that our government is “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

    “The bailout” is evidence that so many deals and decisions are being made behind closed doors which keep from public view interactions between people we elected to represent us (or their appointees) and influential people we didn’t. Those conversations apparently signify more than those that are part of the Congressional record.

    Maybe as you indicate, Clavos, there’s no getting away from it. People who, either by virtue of superior intellect and ability or family connections, are privileged, will be drawn together, and of course one wouldn’t want those associations regulated. The best one can hope for is that the people involved would hold to a personal code of honor.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Dan,

    I see that we can agree :) She shouldn’t have given her membership up to satisfy “Who, I don’t know.”
    I ask about S&B because I have heard soo many rumors about them and their power. Like this little gem, ” G H B stole Geronimo’s skull for the group!” I really hope this is not true…
    Now the big rumor is that Obama is a member, but like you said. He couldn’t tell us if he was.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Irene,

    “People who, either by virtue of superior intellect and ability or family connections, are privileged, will be drawn together.”

    I’m trying to think of the Enlightenment era and the open-house kind of atmosphere at Voltaire’s place of residence and French salons. It’d seem the French, whether by culture or nature, were more egalitarian when it came to accepting others into the inner circle, or perhaps it was the times.

    Le Rouge et le Noir comes to mind. The aristocracy of the Bourbon era was facing severe crisis due to impoverishment and alliances with the bourgeois class, however deplorable, were necessary. Hence they lowered their “standards.”

    But the Americans never had aristocracy in the sense proper. Hence their insistence on distinction as regards birth, education and upbringing are artificial but comparison, because it’s a construct. One’s always more adamant about privileges one doesn’t naturally have than those who are “born into them.”

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Clavos,

    Thank you for addressing me personally!, I didn’t think you would, In my #7 there is proof from 60 Minutes that shows the influence of the S&B society.
    That is a frightening thought and would really show why our Constitution seems soo powerless in this country. It doesn’t work right..and maybe S&B is the reason why?
    I don’t want to control everyone even though I give that impression:)

  • Zedd

    That Democrats sometimes do silly things should not be an excuse for Republicans to do those same silly things

    Is this happening? Did I read this or am I still in the dream where Nelson Mandela is about to sing at a rock concert and Obama asks me to come to the from to sit with him and chat. BTW the dream ends with my mom and I singing after Mandela passes out and duet him back to health from our front row seats. This is all so weird, and laughable.

    silliness begets silliness

    Much like the last part of this paragraph.

    And, of course, by not acting silly, the Republicans can help the Democrats look silly by comparison.

    Whuuu??? (
    Ahahahahahaha hhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaa ha ha.

    How? Who? Wow! How?

    Ahhkakaakakaka (Popeye laugh) Cant stands n’more. ahkakakaka……

  • irene wagner

    Roger Nowosielski, I will say (tentatively!) that I see your point. You are making a distinction between genuine I’m-a-direct-descendant-of-Charlemagne aristocracy—which, at it’s best (maybe) carried with it a sense of “noblesse oblige”—and the snobbishness and self-promotion of “nouveau riche.” Oligarchy by the former might do less damage than an oligarchy by the latter, in theory.

  • Clavos

    @# 13:

    Good analysis, Roger.

    Americans, especially those whose origins were in Europe, are by and large, descendants of peasants; the nobility and ruling classes of the European countries which populated the USA during the 19th and early 20th centuries, for the most part did not emigrate — they had no reason to. Those who did come were, on the whole, looking for a better life, or even as in the case of most of the Irish, escaping poverty and even starvation caused by the Great Potato Famine of the 19th century.

    Interestingly, one of the national groups that decidedly does not fit this profile is the first wave of Cubans (those who came in the early sixties), almost all of whom were from the ruling and wealthy class of the island, and who have succeeded in this country beyond the levels of most European immigrant first wave arrivals (not their descendants). Their children are doing well, too; even those who came over by themselves in the Pedro Pan program of the early sixties.

    Florida’s Mel Martinez (Senator, Cabinet member, gubernatorial candidate) is one such.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Jeannie,

    I seem to recall that President Obama was graduated from an insignificant formerly all boys school in Massachusetts, the name of which does not immediately come to mind. Skull and Bones is a secret society at very highly regarded Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut. I seriously doubt that it accepts, or even recognizes, candidates from lesser institutions.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Clavos

    You are making a distinction between genuine I’m-a-direct-descendant-of-Charlemagne aristocracy—which, at it’s best (maybe) carried with it a sense of “noblesse oblige”—and the snobbishness and self-promotion of “nouveau riche.”

    Actually, the nouveau riche are NOT of the aristocracy. The term itself was originated by the aristocracy centuries ago and used to describe the merchant class, who were not aristocrats. It was pejorative, and of course means “newly rich,” as opposed to those whose wealth has been in the family for generations, as is the case with most nobility.

  • irene wagner

    Yes, Clavos, and that was the distinction Roger was trying to make. American “aristocracy” likes to think it is aristocracy, but it’s really just nouveau riche.

  • Clavos

    I seriously doubt that it accepts, or even recognizes, candidates from lesser institutions.

    Don’t be coy, Dan(Miller). As a Yalie yourself, you KNOW it doesn’t.

  • irene wagner

    Well (#20), the distinction I think Roger was trying to make…(lol)…

  • Clavos

    Right, Irene. That’s why I began my comment to him with “Good analysis, Roger.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Apropos #16 and #17, another thing comes to mind, an episode from Les Miserables.

    When Jean Jean Valjean, for whatever reason, offers Thénardier a passage to America and start-up money, even the scoundrel of Thénardier’s ilk, always scrounging and poor, refuses. That was 1830s.

    So the idea of starting a new life in the New World wasn’t a very appealing one, except perhaps for the select few or those with very special circumstances.

    It’s fiction of course, still food for thought.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    here is the Geronimo reference in wikipedia
    Obama’s controller? Of course can you trust wikipedia or a blog? :)
    Oh, It was Preston not Herbert according to Wikipedia.

  • irene wagner

    I thought 19 was a correction of my analysis of his analysis, Clavos.

  • irene wagner

    …and I’m not going to defend my analysis of his analysis, because it is likely to be wrong, I just didn’t want to be misunderstanding THREE people on this thread.

  • irene wagner

    (I am laughing, I hope you know…)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    7 – Jeannie,

    S&B is the Frat (+ women since the 90s) Club for the masters of the universe. Some are the good ‘ol boys and girls of the power elite, some are their minions.

    But this is what Republics and Capitalism brings. No, it’s not right. I suggest we get rid of gov’t and thus their influence.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Irene,

    I think the distinction goes deeper, to include even those who try to emulate “their betters,” or the original (if you like).

    See, e.g., “Two Polish Films” (the third article from top, September archive), where I compare The Red and Black with a “similar” work by a Polish writer, Boleslaw Prus, The Doll (Lalka) – also a movie.

    The Poles had a genuine aristocracy but the French always served as the model. And the differences are telling.

  • Clavos

    But this is what Republics and Capitalism brings.

    Um, no.

    This is what human nature brings.

    People have a natural tendency to hang out with their own; hence clichés like “birds of a feather flock together.”

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Clav, That wasn’t really my point. Even anarchists have voluntary association as a principle.

    My point was about their power over other people, not their associating.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Irene, are you misinterpreting my comments? I think we are all agreeing here aren’t we?
    It seems like it…
    OK, everyone that believes Judge Sotomayor should stay in her club and that the S&B’s have way to much power. Raise your hands!

    You too Cindy :)sorry bout my conniption the other day and I really didn’t mean what I said to you:(

  • Clavos

    My point was about their power over other people, not their associating.

    That, too, is human nature, though I know you anarchists don’t think so.

    Thatis, in fact, what (IMO) is wrong with anarchism as a political system.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    People have a natural tendency to hang out with their own; hence clichés like “birds of a feather flock together.”

    Yes, but they don’t have the right to override our elected officials!

  • irene wagner

    Jeannie asks me, “Irene, are you misinterpreting my comments?” and I will hazard an answer. “I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I am.” Take care, Jeannie.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Irene, What does take care mean?

  • irene wagner

    …well, Jeannie, it could mean many things, and if you’d said it to me, I would have probably locked onto the meaning you DIDN’T mean….
    but I meant “take care” to mean: “Jeannie, have a good day, take good care of yourself, see ‘ya, I have to go grocery shopping.”

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Clav, re # 31 — then it is clear that we should get rid of humans. Not only do some of them think they are “masters of the universe,” all of them mess up the environment, horribly. As I have previously written,

    We emphatically proclaim that humankind is the sole source of both global warming and global smarming, and that humankind must, therefore, out of reverence for Mother Earth, be eliminated.

    Hark unto the words of Mani, may his holy name be praised.

    Bishop Dan

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Jeannie and Irene. Let’s all take a breather, shall we? – myself included.

  • irene wagner

    Not before I emphasize to Jeannie that I am laughing at myself, not at her, Roger. I am apparently having major reading comprehension issues today…

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Oh OK Irene! whew I thought here is another person I totally pissed off and I couldn’t remember what I said.:)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well all do – the nature of the medium. Do you really think we’d be so much at each other’s throat in person?

    Why don’t you look up the link I provided a few comments ago? It’ll surely cure you of any “comprehension issues.”

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Dan, I don’t get it. Are you for or against the reality of Global Warming?
    Are you going to provide the kool-aide here?

    Make mine a beer please, Guinness preferred:)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Clav,

    That, too, is human nature, though I know you anarchists don’t think so.

    That is, in fact, what (IMO) is wrong with anarchism as a political system.

    First I didn’t say it wasn’t human nature. I have simply said human nature is flexible. We can see this in egalitarian cultures, for example.

    When we accept and live under a paradigm of domination, what can you expect to see? That you see it, is no evidence for it’s rigid nature. If that were true it would be true for all humans and for all of history. We know it’s not.

    That domination is abundant whilst egalitarian cultures are not is no evidence that domination is the ONLY human nature. Wwould you expect? If people make it their goal to take over everything, what do you think will happen if the world allows this paradigm?

    It is the very tendency for people to abuse power that requires anarchy.

    Otherwise, consider this: isn’t what you are saying, since it’s human nature to desire power over others we should just allow that?

    Why then not say that women shouldn’t vote because mens’ nature is to dominate them? Some cultures should rule over others because that’s natural. Slavery would be natural under such ideas about human nature. That whatever human nature has arrived at in its current potential should be allowable.

    What this does–this acceptance of the current nature of things–it prevents progress toward the elevation of our nature.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    then it is clear that we should get rid of humans

    We are Dan(Miller).

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Jeannie,

    My altar (horrible pun intended) ego, Bishop Dan, believes with all his being in the travesties of both Man Made Global Warming and Man Made Global Smarming; he has concluded that the only viable solution is the elimination of venal mankind, to which noble goal he has dedicated his life and sacred honor.

    I, on the other hand, remain agnostic on that as well as on many other half baked notions. Perhaps more to the point, I think that the various remedies thus far suggested are at best silly, and that if there is actually such a thing as Man Made Global Warming, serious efforts to promote voluntary birth control make far more sense than anything thus far proposed.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    American “aristocracy” likes to think it is aristocracy, but it’s really just nouveau riche.

    Rich people have such funny pastimes, which often seem to involve trying to see themselves as better than someone else.

    They have something in common with the ‘intellectuals’ who aspire to consider themselves as worthy of similar esteem (despite not having the bucks).

    They’re all just tiny little people under bellowing self-promotion.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Dan,

    Growing up in catholic school, I remember more than one nun telling us. “Man will destroy man.” I didn’t know what they meant then but I believe that saying NOW!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Cindy, I’m a regular person trying to have conversations with intellectuals..:)
    I have to admit that most of the time I don’t have a clue! what the heck you guys are talking about. I’m just along for the ride..

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Then you’ll have to count me out, Jeannie, for I never claimed that title for myself. I had no idea that any of my remarks were over your head so as to leave you clueless.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Just to clarify the difference between nouveau riche and aristocracy in American terms, if you live off inherited money and have never had to work for a living other than in managing the family fortune, then you are part of America’s aristocracy of wealth. If you worked and made yourself rich or are no more than one generation removed from someone who earned money by working for it, then you are nouveau riche.

    And if you’re on “The Real Housewives of XXX” then you’re just tacky.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    A few questions?

    Is the discussion about whether or not the American dream is truly attainable?

    Would a potential competitor ever be invited into one of these clubs?

    By participating is such a group does a judge illuminate the limitations of our open society?

    Are her civil liberities being trampled upon by denying her the right to participate in such a group?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    45 should not be “Wwould you expect?” But ‘What would you expect?”

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    33- Jeannie,

    I often use ‘conniption’ as my middle name. ;-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “By participating is such a group does a judge illuminate the limitations of our open society?

    Are her civil liberities being trampled upon by denying her the right to participate in such a group?”

    Good questions, Zedd. Perhaps one way to escape the horns of the dilemma is to abrogate certain “civil rights” in case of elected/appointed officials.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Dave, #52:

    But “the aristocracy of wealth” is already a step below the blue-bloods.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    50 – Jeannie,

    Cindy, I’m a regular person trying to have conversations with intellectuals..:)

    I am just a regular person too. I used to think of myself as reasonably ‘intellectual’, in this way I looked down on some people and up at other people. All the up and down made me so nauseous, I decided to give up that view. :-)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Zedd, re Comment #53:

    Is the discussion about whether or not the American dream is truly attainable?

    I suspect that there are many American DreamS, and that some may not realistically be attainable. Many others are attainable, as witness Judge Sotomayor’s personal and professional achievements.

    Would a potential competitor ever be invited into one of these clubs?

    I would certainly hope so; according to its web site, the club here at issue is

    a constellation of influential women who are key decision makers in the profit, non-profit and social sectors; who build long term mutually beneficial relationships in order to both take charge of their own destinies and help others to do the same.

    By participating is such a group does a judge illuminate the limitations of our open society?

    No, I don’t she does. However, I think that her resignation from the group to avoid providing answers about that and other related topics does. I think it also illuminates some of the problems which result from our national preoccupation with political correctness.

    Are her civil liberities being trampled upon by denying her the right to participate in such a group?

    Judge Satomayor has not been deprived of any right to participate in the Belizean Grove; she withdrew voluntarily. Membership, in my opinion, did not contravene Canon 2C of the Code of Judicial Ethics, and she could easily have remained a member. As noted previously, I think that’s what she should have done.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #59:

    Zedd: “By participating is such a group does a judge illuminate the limitations of our open society?”

    Dan (Miller): “No, I don’t [think] she does.”

    The answer is skirting the issue, serving as a preamble to a dissertation on the evils of political correctness (which is a side point given the question before us).

    If the purpose of groups such as the Belizean Grove (or the S & B, for that matter) is to maintain power and privilege, than they DO illuminate the limitations of our open society – which is not a comment on the person’s rights to join such an exclusive club/group.

    Whether elected/appointed officials should be entitled to the exact same civil rights accorded to ordinary citizens is the crux of Zedd’s question, I take it. And perhaps, such perhaps, different standards ought to apply in these two kinds of cases – “the holding of office” being primary consideration.

  • Clavos

    she could easily have remained a member. As noted previously, I think that’s what she should have done.

    As do I.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Errata: “And perhaps, just perhaps . . .”

  • Clavos

    Jeannie,

    [I’ve been away working for a while — now I’m catching up]

    #33:OK, everyone that believes Judge Sotomayor should stay in her club and that the S&B’s have way to much power. Raise your hands!

    Aye on the first part, nay on the second.

    #35: Yes, but they don’t have the right to override our elected officials!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Roger,

    There are already quite a few limitations on the rights of elected and appointed officials and others bound, for example, by various codes of ethics. Judges, for example, are required to be rather more circumspect during their extra-judicial moments than most “ordinary citizens.”

    Some organizations doubtless do seek to maintain power and privilege, but based on what little I have read about the Belizean Grove it does not; certainly to no greater degree than my brief comment on political correctness amounted to a “dissertation.” I do think that political correctness is part of the problem, and that it may have had something to do with Judge Sotomayor’s resignation; that’s why I mentioned it.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Clavos

    Cindy #45:

    Your entire response presupposes that everyone believes in the ideal of egalitarianism and egalitarian societies. I don’t think that’s the case.

    I, for one, would not at all like to live in a society where everyone is equal; despite what the declaration of independence says, my life experience tells me that not all people ARE equal: in industriousness, in ability (for whatever — I couldn’t catch a fish to save my life; many people make a good living doing so), intelligence, even luck (“right place right time”).

    In my somewhat long life, I have met few people I considered my equals; some (the majority) have been greater, a few lesser; but the point is, there’s always a difference.

    The way I see it, the dream of an egalitarian society depends very much on the co-operation of those in it. I for one, would not be co-operative, and I dare say there are billions like me in the world — far more than there are those who would accept a truly egalitarian society.

    YMMV.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Clav,

    I will try to refrain from demanding the same size TV set for everyone. :-)

    The chief element in an egalitarian society is not that everyone IS exactly the same. But that each has the same say in her/his own destiny.

  • Clavos

    Cindy,

    Further to my comment above:

    Even here in the microcosm of BC and these threads, we see differences. An excellent case in point is Roger’s comment #40, which is not the first time he has attempted to exert influence (and in some instances, control) over others on the threads.

    i don’t mean this observation as an insult to Roger, but it is obvious that such an instinct comes to him repeatedly, these threads hold ample evidence of it.

    [Sorry, Rog — it’s just too good an illustration of my point.]

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    As to paragraph one, Dan, it’s only as it should be.

    And since I don’t know much about the purposes of organizations such as Belizean Grove, let’s just say she may be tended her resignation because of “political correctness” AND a sense of propriety – just in case . . .

    And given that eventuality, I find no fault in her tending her resignation.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Example: In true matriarchies. Women do not dominate, but men and women all have a say. These are egalitarian societies. In true patriarchies, women have no voice and amount to property.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Of course I’m exerting my influence here. Me and Jeannie have a pact.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    67 – Clav,

    I acknowledge your point and even said that is the reason why anarchy is a necessity. If all people everywhere simply naturally were fair, we wouldn’t really need a system designed to correct unfairness.

    By extending your argument against anarchy, I would be left with the proposition that we shouldn’t have rules to try to create fairness in this forum, because people naturally aren’t fair. So, creating a forum to counter this is quite unnatural. People should just be left to go about acting out their unfair nature.

  • Clavos

    I rather hope she did NOT tender her resignation in the interests of PC,but (and I think this more likely) did so for expediency, to facilitate the confirmation of her appointment.

    If she had done so to be PC, it’s logical to assume she never would have accepted membership in an eite club to begin with.

    BTW, everybody: My bad on the open tag — SORRY!

  • Clavos

    So, creating a forum to counter this is quite unnatural. People should just be left to go about acting out their unfair nature.

    And this one, to a significant degree, places few restrictions on participants (as does, on a much larger scale, our society), which makes it an enjoyable (and ironically, more egalitarian) forum.

  • Clavos

    And now, like Irene, I have to go grocery shopping.

    Like MacArthur, “I shall return.”

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Hah!

    (he exits, like Irene, to the theme song from The Magnificent Seven)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Clav,

    And this one, to a significant degree, places few restrictions on participants (as does, on a much larger scale, our society), which makes it an enjoyable (and ironically, more egalitarian) forum.

    Indeed it is. It’s the greatest thing. Believe it or not, there are so many rules on the most popular anarchist forum, that I never bothered to post anything there. The rules put me off. There are rules against one-liners, rules against saying you agree, rules that irritate me so much I’d rather not bother with the people who made them (anarchists or not).

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Clavos, on #63 why nay to the second:(

    RogerOf course I’m exerting my influence here. Me and Jeannie have a pact.Thanks:)

    Cindy,I acknowledge your point and even said that is the reason why anarchy is a necessity. If all people everywhere simply naturally were fair, we wouldn’t really need a system designed to correct unfairness.This is why we need a fair system of government. I admit President Obama is not GodHe killed a fly! but he is better than we’ve had for a looong time! :)

    Dan, I’ll pick you up some Guinness.:)

    And now, like Irene, I have to go grocery shopping.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Very good point, Clav, and that’s regardless of what you think of my meddling.

    Long live human interaction and its dynamic. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    (as does, on a much larger scale, our society)

    Those with power decide that their contribution is valued more highly than those without power. If you are never without any power, the robbery of your freedom in this way may escape you.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Jeannie,

    This is why we need a fair system of government.

    A fair system of government? That’s easy–no government is good government. All gov’t leads to abuse of power.

    Which is not to say I don’t make distinctions. Unlike at least one (and unfortunately probably more) of my anarchist friends with whom I am arguing on Twitter. As far as I see it, their arguments would lead to the conclusion that living under the Chinese gov’t is exactly the same as living under the US gov’t. I am disappointed that some won’t stand in solidarity with the Iranians. They see it as supportive of gov’t.

    I see it as them standing aside and arguing from their comfy homes why a secular Democracy is bad (i.e. it’s gov’t and I agree all gov’t is bad, just that some are worse than others.) and refusing to reach back, meantime their fellow people are getting their teeth kicked in and having their communications shut down by their theocratic gov’t in the street.

    It’s an easy argument from a suburban living room in the US.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Addendum: To see so many anarchists who can’t tell the difference between a human rights issue and an election issue, makes me realize how far the world has to go. Some of them haven’t even bothered to get an informed opinion, so they won’t choose solidarity (just in case it would be ideologically distasteful to them).

    How do we change the world, when one of the most historically important events takes place and the people who are supposed to be changing things can’t be bothered to be informed?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Here is an anarchist who does understand the meaning of what’s happening in Iran.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Cindy,
    I just watched the video in Denver. It makes me sick to see how much personal freedom we have lost in this country.
    When I was a child I remember how nice police officers were to my family at our store. They seemed more respectful anyways.
    Then in the seventies they weren’t so nice anymore. All those hippies you know.
    Now today we are all treated like criminals.You are guilty first and innocent second!

  • Zedd

    I don’t think it’s political correctness but political expediency. We know what a political football a judicial appointment is. I would think she resigned to remove any roadblocks or issues that would delay her appointment.

  • Zedd

    Roger,

    You understood where I was going with my questions, perfectly.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Cindy look A fair system of government? That’s easy–no government is good government. All gov’t leads to abuse of power. If we had absolutely no government at all it would be like the wild wild west outside our doors! I don’t like the way things are today either, but that’s why we need to change it. Not tear it down altogether!
    We know how many little children go to bed with out food or shelter now. Most of the homeless in this country in fact are women and children!
    Just imagine your anarchist world then.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’ve got no choice, Zedd. Underestimating you is a mistake I dare not make. It could lead to disaster.

    But seriously, now. I’ll be checking out ’cause it’s been a long day.

    Adieu to all my female friends (and enemies).

  • Zedd

    Dan,

    The most important word in Canon 2C appears to be the word “invidious” which means “Tending to rouse ill will, animosity, or resentment”. The need for the judge to disassociate with the group is nullified by that distinction because the group does not appear to have an intent to rouse animosity against the males of our species.

    However what I do see as an issue is her being a member of a group that has as its mission to better the aspirations of its members. What she would be admitting to is having a greater intent to better the position of these particular Americans more so than others.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Goodnight Roger…

  • Zedd

    Dan/Clavos,

    I do understand that clambering against political correctness has been what in vogue for the past 20yrs or so, especially among Reps. However now that we all have become more politically savvy, it must dawn on you that the climate that has been created by politicians or political play book makers actually forces what you just expressed disdain for. Being thinking men, surely you must acknowledge that what is even most interesting is that it is the Reps who have become the party of word play and minutia; the party that forces the over correcting that would force what you call political correctness.

    What we end up with is a false indignation by many in your party against PC when they actually purposely create the nervous climate which requires the over correcting.

    It simply had to be said. I just wonder if you notice it. You must though.

  • Zedd

    all Dan’s refered to on this thread were Dan(M). I forgot to make that distiction

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    If we had absolutely no government at all it would be like the wild wild west outside our doors!

    Well, at least you didn’t say we couldn’t live in houses (no private property = no houses some people think, I guess) or drink champagne or have roads in an anarchist society. (people have told me those things)

    Zanon Factory of the people

    That link is for a workplace consistent with anarchist principles. No government doesn’t mean no rules, just no rulers. The rules come directly from the people instead of from representatives. From the bottom, not the top (there is no top) No wild west repeats :-)

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Ha Ha If we had absolutely no government at all it would be like the wild wild west outside our doors! I stayed up late just to see if you would read these words.:)
    I will have to read your #92 in the morning OK?
    Now, I really have to go to sleep!
    goodnight Cindy

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Considering the amount of attention that Ms. Sotomayor is getting, as would be expected, it’s probably unfair to judge her decision to relinquish her membership. Currently, she is kind of our version of Susan Boyle. Keep in mind that the harsh public scrutiny she is currently enduring is hardly similar to the much more private endeavors of a sitting jurist.

    If membership in various clubs and other organizations became a prohibitive issue for anyone entering the public sphere, few people would be able to serve in any capacity. How about fraternities and sororities? They are gender specific, are they not. Invidious? Maybe. Stupid? Definitely.

    I don’t see how her belonging to that little club has any relevance regarding reverse descrimination or anything else. It simply serves as one more nit picking distraction from what is important regarding Ms. Sotomayor’s judicial record.

    As just a side note, I must concur with Zedd. Who has been making absolute fools of themselves over the last several months? Democrats? Mmmm, not so much. Republicans? Ah, the answer there would be yes! It is as if any Rep who has even a modicum of common sense or real intelligence has taken the year off or hidden in the woodwork. All that are left are frankly, idiots spouting off with a whole host of inane statements. Who, you may ask, am I refering to? Well, let’s see:

    Leading the pack IMO is Michelle Bachman, then in no particular order come Eric Cantor, John Boehner, good ole Sister Sarah, Indiana Congressmen Stephen Buyer, Mike Pence and Dan Burton, John McCain, Michael Steele and neither last nor least (but all I can think of at the moment) that great sage of the GOP “The Newt” Gingrich.

    Since they aren’t “official” spokesmen for the Reps, I’ll just mention the likes of Hannity and Limbaugh, etal as being perhaps even more egregiously culpable.

    All of these people and many more have gone out of their way to say and do really stupid stuff over the last few months. Most Dems have had the good sense to keep their mouths shut since they currenly hold the keys to the kingdom. Yeah, I know, our VP has come up with a few doozies, but given his track record, it’s hard to have expected otherwise.

    But Dan, suggesting that Dems are the “stupid” ones is at best way off the mark given the recent spate of idiotic drivel flowing from the mouths of the pachyderms.

    B

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    But does it have raging orgies with gay prostitutes like the (similarly named) Bohemian Grove? Let’s check with Alex Jones. Maybe he can dress in drag and infiltrate it.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    @#90:

    Actually, zedd, I prefer to inveigh against PC, rather than climb on it.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    goodnight Cindy

    Nite nite Jeannie…er..or good morning probably. ;-)

    (Going to NYC in my pajamas today. It’s the anniversary of John and Yoko’s Bed-In for world peace. 21 June ‘09 NY Central Park Bed-In for World Peace by The World March for Peace & Nonviolence. Walking around in NYC in a bathrobe should be fun :-)

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Cindy,

    My son’s in Brooklyn, give him a call. Although, I don’t believe he owns a bathrobe.:)

    B

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Oh. One person I meant to mention, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of NC who publically stated that Matthew Shepard wasn’t killed because he was gay, that it was simply a robbery, and saying that the “hate crime” aspect was a hoax. This while Shepard’s mother sat in the audience. Foxx is a complete ditz!

    B

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    IMAGINE PEACE

    “Imagine all the people living in peace”
    – as John said.

    Remember, each one of us has the power to change the world.
    Power works in mysterious ways.
    You don’t have to do much.
    Visualise the domino effect
    And just start thinking PEACE.
    The message will circulate faster than you think.

    It’s Time For Action.
    The Action is PEACE.
    Spread the word.
    Spread PEACE.

    I love you!

    Yoko Ono
    21 June 2009

    I Wish we could meet you in the
    park, Say hi to Yoko:)

    peace Cindy

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Happy Father’s Day!

    It’s Sunday morning and time for my weekly apology to the right wing…:)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Morning Jeannie,

    Oh well, we can’t go. My husband doesn’t feel well (I think he’s faking :-). But, it’s been raining forever and driving to NYC to lie around in the wet grass with sheets and pillows–I can see why he doesn’t feel well. lol

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Baritone, you say

    But Dan, suggesting that Dems are the “stupid” ones is at best way off the mark given the recent spate of idiotic drivel flowing from the mouths of the pachyderms.

    In the context of the article, I was expressing a hope that the current minority party would not engage in the same sort of degrading stupidity about which it complained when it was the majority party. I seem to recall a bit of silliness from the Democrats when Bush the Younger Evil One nominated Federal judges and justices. See, e.g., the silliness when Judge Smith was nominated to the Third Circuit, noted in the article. My point was that senseless obstructionism on the part of the Democrats then is no excuse for the same thing from the Republicans now that the Democrats have a majority.

    As to whether the Democrats or the Republicans are currently providing the greater spate of idiotic drivel, there seems to be enough from all sides that who gets first and who gets second prize is a tough call.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I would say the article was evenhanded except for the following paragraph:

    “That Democrats sometimes do silly things should not be an excuse for Republicans to do those same silly things; silliness begets silliness, and the selection of a Supreme Court justice is too important for that sort of nonsense. And, of course, by not acting silly, the Republicans can help the Democrats look silly by comparison.”

    I suppose you just couldn’t help yourself, Dan (Miller), but to expose your bias. Even when claiming the high ground.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Roger, please see my comment #103.

    As to my claiming the high ground, that’s your perception, not mine. Obviously I have “biases;” I readily acknowledge them, see my bio here. I would suggest that anyone who pretends to have no “biases” is disingenuous, insufficiently introspective or at least rather dull. The best that the rest of us can do, I think, is to recognize our biases and try to neutralize them. That is probably more necessary for judges than for the rest of us.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I wrote it in light of #103 as well, Dan.
    I suppose the point I was making is that “taking a high ground” is more effective when keeping biases at bay and not tarnishing the motive. Especially in the present case, there’s nothing to be gained by the dig, “[to] help the Democrats look silly by comparison,” even if your onlyconcern was that the Republicans don’t look silly.

    I happen to think that the point of your article was to go beyond mere admonition against silliness (from either side of the aisle); but that point is somehow lost or rendered ineffective by the unnecessary reference.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Roger — clearly (I hope), I wanted to present the view that the nomination of Judge Sotomayor should not be opposed frivolously. I have also tried to make that point in other articles. Were I in a position to nominate Supreme Court Justices, I doubt that she would have been my choice. There are quite probably others whom I would consider better suited to the office; I would prefer a “conservative” (which she seems not to be) with substantial experience (she has quite a bit) as an appellate court judge. However, that is hardly relevant, and my criteria are very likely quite different from those of President Obama; It’s his job, not mine.

    As to the rest, I sorta kinda maybe hoped that a few “conservatives” might read the article. As a “conservative,” I would very much like to see the Republicans provide a good, rather than bad, example on how best to deal with Presidential nominations. Optimist that I am, I don’t see that as a lost cause.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I believe I understood your intent all along, which you express in the following:

    “I would very much like to see the Republicans provide a good, rather than bad, example on how best to deal with Presidential nominations.”

    And that’s “taking a high ground” as far as I’m concerned. Which is the only reason why I posted #104.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Dan (M),

    Currently, I believe the Reps have a clear edge on the Dems for dumbdiddy dumb.

    After I hit the hay last night I suddenly realized that I hadn’t mentioned tricky Dick Cheney, nor his even less enlightened daughter who have been making the cable news rounds with the goal, I presume, of keeping him out of jail.

    B