There can be little doubt any longer that there is an official, administration wide, war on American women in this country and if any American doesn’t believe it the people are stupider than one originally thought possible. Republicans have waged a non-stop war on women for decades, but Trump’s election empowered them to take extreme measures against women because a rubber stamp is in the Oval Office. Based on Trump’s selection for a seat on a U.S. District Court of Appeals, there will be another patriarchal rubber stamp on the federal judiciary and this particular anti-women’s rights malcontent believes that there are no rights worth affording over half the population; simply because they are women.
Today the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on Trump’s nomination to serve on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for the rest of his misogynistic life. The current justice on the Texas Supreme Court, Don Willett, was in the running as a “potential” Supreme Court justice while Trump was campaigning for a job he is unqualified to hold, so it begins to make sense why he tapped Willet for an Appeals Court appointment he is unqualified to fill.
Willet has not altered his opinions since 2000 when he sent a “memo” demanding that then-Texas governor George W. Bush refrain from praising the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women because they supported equal rights for women. Bush does have two daughters, a wife, and a mother and no doubt he considered their plight in a decidedly patriarchal society and had a semblance of appreciation for a Texas Business group advocating for women’s rights.
The letter Willet wrote to his boss, the Texas governor, was about a litany of policies he vehemently opposed; basically anything remotely related to women’s equal rights. It was former head of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and current head of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Vanita Gupta, who sent the “memo” in a letter to the Senate prior to Willet’s confirmation hearing to alert them to Willet’s extremist position on women’s rights..
In his “memo” to Bush, Willet not only questioned the need for any laws protecting women from all manner of discrimination, he mocked the policy positions of the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women. It is noteworthy that then Governor Bush was only going to make an “official proclamation” praising the business group’s advocacy for women in business; still, it was too much for Willet to take. He wrote:
“They support the ERA, affirmative action, abortion rights, legislation adding teeth to the Equal Pay Act, etc. and they regularly line up with the AFL-CIO and similar groups. I resist the proclamation’s talk of ‘glass ceilings,’ pay equity (an allegation that some studies debunk), the need to place kids in the care of rented strangers, sexual discrimination and harassment, and the need generally for better ‘working conditions’ for women. I strongly resist anything that shows we believe the hype.”
Willet didn’t elucidate exactly what “hype” he or other Republicans don’t believe, but it appears that anything giving women the equality the U.S. Constitution guarantees all American citizens is an atrocity in his mind. Equal pay, not happening. The right to self-determination in reproductive health choices, definitely not acceptable. Placing children in day care while women work, for lower pay, also not acceptable. And the idea of better working conditions, such as protection from gender discrimination and sexual harassment cannot be allowed to take place.
No doubt Willet and his supporters will claim those were his deeply-held religious beliefs two decades ago and he’s a changed patriarchal conservative. That would be bullshit. Republicans still oppose equal pay, equal rights, protection from sexual harassment and reproductive freedom and Willet is, if nothing else, a dyed-in-the-wool patriarchal Republican. And, just two years ago he praised a 1905 case banning labor from suing employers for discrimination and minimum wage violations. He is anti-labor as well as an enemy of women and their Constitutional rights; it is precisely why Trump tapped him to sit on a federal appeals court for the rest of his life.
This latest assault on women by the Trump administration is more than a trend; it is an ongoing and concerted government-wide agenda that shows no sign of letting up. Putting an avowed anti-woman’s rights sycophant on a federal Appeals Court for life virtually guarantees women far into the future will have to contend with patriarchs who oppose equality for women – probably because it is a biblical construct. Now it is safe to assert it is the official policy of the Trump administration that no small number of white women helped elect because they wanted the country to go in a different direction and revert to a different era.