Attack on the Courts

Phyllis Schlafly — arch conservative, opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment, and founder of the right wing Eagle Forum — is going after “supremacist judges” on the lower federal courts.  Apparently, as far as Schlafly is concerned, a “supremacist judge” is one who applies the Constitution and laws to reach a decision that Schlafly simply does not like.  And since equality for all is high on Schlafly’s list of no-nos, judges who have the temerity to apply this country’s anti-discrimination laws as they were intended to be applied have now become “supremacists.”  Thus, Schlafly has her knickers in a twist because the federal courts have ruled that the Michigan High School Athletic Association discriminated against girls, in violation of the Constitution and Title IX, by scheduling girls’ sports, but not boys’ sports, during non-traditional seasons.  While Schlafly thinks it’s no business of the courts “to decide which seasons high school boys and girls will play which sports,” in fact, and as the courts found, the scheduling of girls’ sports in non-traditional seasons deprived girls of important opportunities, such as being recruited by college coaches. 

Schlafly is also exercised because a federal judge in Kentucky ordered a public high school to allow a student Gay-Straight Alliance to meet. In fact, the federal Equal Access Act requires that a public high school that allows any non-curriculum-related student club to meet must allow all clubs to meet and cannot discriminate against clubs that it does not like.  Ironically, the Act was passed in large measure at the urging of Christians who wanted to ensure that students could have Bible clubs in their high schools.  Now that the Equal Access Act is being used to protect other students as well, right wingers like Schlafly somehow think that “equal” doesn’t really mean equal.  Fortunately, federal courts have rejected this pernicious notion.  In fact, several years ago, attorneys with People For the American Way Foundation, along with Lambda Legal and the law firm of Irell & Manella, successfully represented courageous high school students in California in the precedent setting case that was the first in which a judge applied the Equal Access Act to require a school district to allow a GSA to meet.  Other courts have followed suit.  Sauce for the goose, Phyllis.