Riane Eisler

By Riane Eisler and Kimberly Otis

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia just asserted for a second time that our Constitution does not protect women against discrimination. That was one of the arguments for passing the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)., and ironically, people of Scalia’s “conservative” persuasion often countered that the ERA was not needed precisely because women are already protected by the 14th Amendment.
Kimberley Otis

Indeed, many Supreme Court cases have invoked the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to strike down laws that blatantly discriminate on the basis of gender. But now we’re told that these cases for four decades were wrong because the Constitution was never intended to protect women. And that’s true if we only look at original intent. The focus of the framers of the Constitution was to protect the life, liberty, and property of white men who owned substantial property. And the focus of the 14th Amendment was implicitly on African-American males.

Of course, the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause uses the term “person,” and in this 21st century it’s bizarre that a jurist would think “person” does not include members of the female half of humanity.

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