Meet Georgetown Law Professor and aspirant federal judge Nina Pillard. If you don't know who she is, here's the short version: she's a brilliant, kickass law scholar (and feminist) in the tradition of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. And naturally, conservatives are flipping out about her nomination to the federal bench.
President Obama nominated Pillard to fill a vacancy on the D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and as she awaited her confirmation hearing in the Senate, the conservative Family Research Council (which the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as a "hate group," but still exerts undue influence over the GOP establishment) went into full-freak out mode, writing in a panicked release on their website that Pillard isn't fit for the position for which she was nominated because she (emphasis added by the FRC),
...argues that abortion is necessary to help "free women from historically routine conscription into maternity." As if her militant feminism wasn't apparent enough, she takes the opportunity in some of her writings to slam anyone who opposes the abortion-contraception mandate as "reinforce[ing] broader patterns of discrimination against women as a class of presumptive breeders."
Wow. I guess I didn't realize I was a militant feminist for not wanting to be forced to or assumed to want to have children. Does this mean I get a hot pink bazooka?
ThinkProgress has a good rundown of Pillard's impressive pro-lady law career, which includes arguing important cases before the Supreme Court like United States v. Virginia, the case that established that men and women cannot be treated differently based on their sex unless there is "exceeding persuasive justification."
She's also sex-positive and pro-reproductive rights — which is the sort of thing that the conservative wing of the GOP (OK, brass tacks: basically the entirety of the GOP circa 2013) really hates because everyone knows that sex is dirty. In an article that argues that abstinence-only education programs are unconstitutional by virtue of the fact that they indoctrinate children with gender stereotypes (thus violating the principle of equal treatment under the law), Pillard writes,
Girls and women disproportionately are taught to be in denial about their own sexual urges, and yet rely inappropriately on their sex appeal. The denial occurs both ways: Women are expected to deny the presence of their sexual desire (to guard chastity), and to deny its absence (to be sexually responsive to men). In a world in which such denial is the norm, women will lack the kind of agency and responsibility needed to meet their own desires for pleasure, well-being, support, and meaning in their lives.
But this whole "women are people" thing doesn't exactly fly with the dangerous nutjobs who run the Family Research Council. Citing the article excerpted above, the FRC calls Pillard a "radical ideologue." And they don't mean "radical" like how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles meant it. Then mean it like the way social conservatives mean it — Pillard is going to personally see to it that everyone's gundicks are taken away and the world is henceforth ruled by a softball team of shrieking lesbians with buzz cuts and leg hair. They're imploring Fox News viewers with nothing better to do as they wait to die to call their Senators and encourage them to block Pillard's confirmation. Which — sigh — they could totally do.
If we're going to approach this whole situation like it's a glass-half-full kind of a scenario (even though the glass is half full of dicks): It's great to see people in Washington really coming together behind a cause. Or, um, doing a thing. One single thing. Even if that thing is preventing other people from doing other things.