Feature

Surprise! Women really aren’t equal

“I tend to think of myself as a person,” said Ann Woolner in Bloomberg Businessweek, as do most women—but we are obviously mistaken.

Ann Woolner
Bloomberg Businessweek

“I tend to think of myself as a person,” said Ann Woolner, as do most women—but we are obviously mistaken. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has corrected this fallacy in a new interview, in which he says the 14th Amendment to the Constitution—which prohibits depriving “any person” of equal rights—does not apply to women.

Scalia, of course, is the nation’s most visible, and most outspoken, proponent of “originalism”—the belief that the Constitution must be interpreted only according to its authors’ original meaning and intent. When the 14th Amendment was passed in 1868, Scalia says, it gave  equal rights to freed male slaves—not to women. “Sorry to tell you that,” said the justice with evident relish, but the Constitution doesn’t prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation.

Now we know what our country will be like, with more “originalists” like Scalia on the Supreme Court: More than two centuries after the Constitution was written, women will still “have no legal existence.”

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