Ah, work-life balance. Such a beautiful idea. And all too often, such a desert mirage taunting travelers dying of thirst. For instance! A Georgia judge recently informed an attorney that her fancy newfangled European "maternity leave" was insufficient reason enough to postpone a hearing for three weeks.
That's according to Above the Law. Attorney Stacy M. Ehrisman-Mickle petitioned the Atlanta court to move an immigration hearing, since she'd be on maternity leave (and, as a solo practitioner, didn't have coworkers who could cover). Opposing counsel didn't mind. But that excuse just wasn't good enough for Judge J. Dan Pelletier, Sr., who shot down her request (with just a week's notice, no less). He said there was "no good cause" and she knew the hearing date when she signed on to represent the client so tough shit, little lady. THAT'LL TEACH YOU TO REPRODUCE WHILE TRYING TO DRAW A SALARY.
As though women with kids were slowing down the nation's justice system and not, say, pissant nonviolent drug charges.
Her husband was gone for work, plus she's relatively new to the area and has no nearby family. So Ehrisman-Mickle turned up at the courthouse on the date of the scheduled hearing—with her infant in arms. That's when things got really nasty, according to the formal complaint she has now filed against Pelletier:
I was forced to bring my weeks old daughter with me as day care centers do not accept infants less than 6 weeks of age and I have no family in Georgia that could help me look after my baby. … When the IJ saw me with my daughter, he was outraged. He scolded me for being inappropriate for bringing her. He questioned the fact that day care centers do not accept infants less than 6 weeks of age. He then questioned my mothering skills as he commented how my pediatrician must be appalled that I am exposing my daughter to so many germs in court. He humiliated me in open court.
Don't go anywhere because she's just getting warmed up:
Apparently my clients do not deserve to be represented by counsel of their choice if that counsel happens to be a pregnant woman. Likewise, pregnant women should not be litigating attorneys due to their "condition". This thinking is absolutely reprehensible and should not be accepted by anyone within or representing the Department of Justice. I am horrified that this occurred and that I had to bring my infant to court with me. Despite the IJ's belief, child birth is no minor inconvenience and rightfully calls for a six week absence from work – if not longer as most other developed countries recognize.
It's almost like producing another human being is a huge drain on one's body and requires adequate recovery time!
Image via Siberia - Video and Photo/Shutterstock.