Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I don't always agree with Dahlia Lithwick, but I do appreciate this short essay on the feminism of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and how her contributions to the law helped make the public and professional careers of women like Sarah Palin more feasible. Can Palin express appreciation for Ginsburg's achievements without endorsing the entire legacy of those achievements? Maybe Palin has, in fact; I don't know, but I do know that there is a tendency to demonize categorically entire worldviews and the folks who hold them, whether they be labeled "radical feminists" or "the religious right." It seems to me that one valuable contribution of Catholic legal theory is its embrace of nuance and complexity; in its refusal to be captured by any particular ideological or partisan political position, CLT should have the capacity to stand back and applaud figures coming from a wide array of perspectives, even while speaking out about where those figures have lost sight of foundational values and/or the fundamental reality of the human person. In other words, what can make CLT seem frustratingly elusive equips it to reach across today's sharply drawn lines and affirm the good, wherever it is found.