Chief Justice William Rehnquist:  too much of a “lefty loony” for Tony Perkins?

The anti-choice right is in high dudgeon this morning as Georgetown Law Professor Nina Pillard has her Senate confirmation hearing for appointment to the D.C. Circuit Court.  Leading the pack is Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, who objects to a quote taken from a 2011 paper written by Pillard:

“A mother of two, Nina wrote a 2011 paper, “Against the New Maternalism,” which argues that by celebrating motherhood, society is creating a “self-fulfilling cycle of discrimination.” (my emphasis)

The Perkins piece is widely republished and quoted across right wing media. Weasel Zippers calls her “just a tad fanatical.”

The problem is, as PFAW notes, that Pillard didn’t say that.  William Rehnquist did:

 [S]he is quoting the majority opinion in the Hibbs case, written by then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist: “Providing men with family leave, the Hibbs court reasoned, would help to change underlying gendered patterns of family care and thereby help to counteract “a self-fulfilling cycle of discrimination” – a cycle that “fostered employers’ stereotypical views about women’s [lack of] commitment to work and their [lesser] value as employees,” as well as “parallel stereotypes” of men’s overriding workplace commitment that routinely obstruct men’s equal access to family benefits that could encourage them to spend more time parenting.

A more balanced view of Pillard comes from Ian Millhiser over at ThinkProgress, who correctly notes that most objections to her confirmation are primarily focused on her work promoting constitutional equality for women.  He compares Pillard to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who two years ago said that her work in that arena “would probably disqualify me” if she were nominated today.

Apparently William Rehnquist would now be a tad too “fanatical,” too.

Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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