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View Diary: On Constitutional Interpretation: Originalism v. A Living Constitution? (286 comments)

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  •  Small criticism (4.00)
        First, a small critique of the post.  One does not discriminate on the basis of "gender" [sic].  One discriminates on account of "sex".  "Gender" is a grammarian's word, useful mostly in foreign tongues to denote certain words.  In English, pronouns have "gender".  "Gender" has been substituted for "sex" because the people who advocate equality are uncomfortable with the word "sex".  It rather undermines their argument for equality, that they cannot even say the proper word.  How prim!
    •  Don't follow (none)
      Gender is equivalent to male/female classification.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 12:40:08 PM PDT

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      •  "sex" vs. "gender" (none)
        The 19th amendment reads "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

        "Sex", not "gender". ScarySteve's basic point is that common usage has shifted in the preferred term for M/F.

        •  Agreed (none)
          re common usage -- although note also that the term was inserted (some accounts claim to kill the whole thing) by an older Southern male.  I.e., the term gender was in usage then, but not by good ol' boys.:-)

          Simply put -- very simply put -- sex is about nature and gender is about nurture, i.e., the social (and thus legal) construction of gender, no matter what we were born. . . .

          "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

          by Cream City on Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 05:55:04 PM PDT

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    •  wrong (none)
      gender has been used to distinguish between physical sexual differences and the abstract, culturally-constructed concepts of maleness-femaleness which does not actually have much to do with those physical differences. one of the nice things about language is that, like our constitution, it is flexible enough to accept that words change meaning and can be employed in new ways as the society grows.

      i'm guessing you haven't read enough feminist discussions of gender to have the foggiest idea why it was rededicated to this new second meaning.

      crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

      by wu ming on Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 01:02:45 PM PDT

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      •  Feminist screeds (none)
            You are correct.  I have not read a lot of propaganda from anyone, feminist or otherwise.
            I am, however, descended from a long line (3 generations) of college educated women, all of whom expected one to use the English language correctly.  
        •  Indeed (none)
          in English as in some other languages nouns have gender, almost always neutral, but when I went to grade school we were expected to know a list of nouns for which 'her' was correct.

          At this late date, the only one that immediately comes to mind is 'ship'.

          Of course, we were also expected to know that English had a subjective tense (moderns call this 'mood') and to recognize and use the present and past subjunctive of 'to be'.

          •  Subjunctive? (none)
                I can recall as a young lawyer seeing other young lawyers getting corrected by senior partners for not knowing the subjunctive.  One of the reasons they were fussy was that they knew the judges who read what was written would know the difference.
                I am glad they changed "tense" to "mood".  I'd sooner be moody than tense.  <g>
        •  asdf (4.00)
          I have not read a lot of propaganda from anyone, feminist or otherwise.

          the vehemence with which you denounce feminism out of hand as a screed suggests otherwise. what is it about distinguishing between physical sex and cultural gender that so threatens you?

          as for "speaking correct english," a historical survey of english over time would show that what is "proper" has in fact shifted with changes in society and the natural evolution of the language itself. the proper english of your and my college-educated great-grandmothers was most likely quite different from your own.

          strict constructionism depends upon a willful ignorance of historical change, whether it be in law or linguistics.

          crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

          by wu ming on Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 02:07:55 PM PDT

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        •  So you are an originalist re English usage (4.00)
          mayhap, kind sir?  Or, perchance, ye have been known to adapt to moderne terminology as well as moderne technology, such as the infernal machine upon which ye have typed your message, forsooth?

          Or if ye like your languages as dead as Scalia likes his Constitution, perchance we ought converse in Latin?

          "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

          by Cream City on Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 05:59:52 PM PDT

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          •  Originalist? (none)
                No, I am not an originalist.  However, many of the folks in power who wear black dresses at work are.  I'm just fighting fire with fire.  If they want to interpret the Constitution and Bill of Rights as of the time of adoption, then let them get it right.  Keep the damned government away from my front door.
                I never took Latin, either.  I had 8 years of French.

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