March 24, 2022

When Ketanji Brown Jackson said "Can I provide a definition? No. I can't... Not in this context I can't."

You can listen to the video here. Take note that the Republican National Committee Research gives us a distorted transcript, omitting key words and not using ellipses to show that there were omissions:

"Can I provide a definition? No. I can't... Not in this context I can't."

I find these omissions quite deceptive, though the video is there, so the deceptions stare you in the face. I suspect that if you're rooting for the GOP here, you think this is a fabulous gotcha and you won't absorb what I'm about to say. If you're rooting for the Democrats, keep reading an you might find a new perspective on this troublesome clip that's delighting your antagonists.

Blackburn asked "Can you provide a definition of the word 'woman'?" And Jackson's response — listen to the video — stressed the word "provide": "Can I provide a definition?" Jackson shows a judicial temperament: Instead of jumping to giving an answer, she inspects the question, its precise wording. What does it mean to provide a definition? 

I know I'm restraining myself from looking up the words "provide" and "definition" and spending the next 10 minutes contemplating whether providing a definition of a word is substantially different from saying what a word means. And then, can you ever really say what a word means?

"It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is," wrote Justice John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison. "Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret that rule."

Judges say what words mean when they have particular cases — concrete disputes to resolve — that require the understanding of words. Their powers of understanding unfold within a real context. They don't — like a dictionary — yield instant definitions of words. They refrain from giving answers in the abstract. 

Thus, it was entirely appropriate for Jackson to expand with "Not in this context I can't." I think that means: As a judge, I wait until I am presented with a real dispute that can only be resolved by determining what the word "woman" means. What would that context be? 

If I'd been in the Jackson's position, I wouldn't have made myself vulnerable by saying "I can't," and I certainly wouldn't have laughed at Blackburn in a manner that can read as contemptuous. I'd have turned the questioning back on Blackburn: When would a real case depend on finding the meaning of that word? As a judge, I need a concrete and particularized dispute to resolve. I have no expertise in defining words outside of that judicial role. 

Jackson gestured at that when she said "I'm not a biologist." Would it have been better to say "I'm not a lexicographer"? Yes, because she was asked to "provide a definition." By saying "I'm not a biologist," she suggested that if she were confronted with a real case that depended on the meaning of "woman," the expert she'd most want to hear from is "a biologist." That might have disappointed some people on the left. Is there a whiff of transphobia?

Is there any Senator who would would want to follow up with a question like "Biologist?! You're saying that biology determines who is a woman and who isn't?" It never rose to that level of sophistication, but it's obvious to me that the right answer is: It would depend on the relevant facts and legal texts in the particular case or controversy before the court, and multiple areas of professional expertise may very well come into play.

192 comments:

Amadeus 48 said...

Gosh. I guess the point of all this is Althouse for SCOTUS. You are certainly working hard to "provide" answers that Jackson Brown never "provided".

gilbar said...

Our Professor said...
I know I'm restraining myself from looking up the words "provide" and "definition"


let's cut to the (imaginary) video!

Class: "Professor, can you provide a definition of the word "definition?"
Professor: "No i can't. In this context, it would REALLY hurt my argument"

Lem Ozuna from the Braves said...

Whatever happened to ‘senator I will decline to speculate on a decision/case that may come before the court…’ or something.

Beasts of England said...

A better question: is your mother a woman? And a follow-up: how do you know?

gilbar said...

Jackson's response — listen to the video — stressed the word "provide": "Can I provide a definition?" Jackson shows a judicial temperament: Instead of jumping to giving an answer, she inspects the question, its precise wording. What does it mean to provide a definition?

I never thought of this, as a 'judicial temperament', i took it as political
"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is"

Kevin said...

Is the Judge a woman?

How does she know?

Is there ever a time when she is not a woman?

When would that be?

Gahrie said...

There is some high-level "cruel neutrality" in play here.

Lem Ozuna from the Braves said...

I decline to answer on the grounds that my response may incriminate me with the political agenda that sent me here before you today ☺️

Ann Althouse said...

My favorite example of they way it depends on the case was the one where the right answer to the question is a black person a white person was yes.

Kevin said...

The idea that a word can mean anything depending on the context is at the heart of the Living Constitution.

Once the Constitution means anything, it means nothing.

Once our rights are at the interpretation of others, we have no rights.

Ann Althouse said...

The statute was designed to protect the Indian tribes and the statute used the word white. "White" was properly understood to mean not Indian.

Gahrie said...

So the end point of feminism is to erase womanhood?

We've come from "I am woman hear me roar!" to "I can't define what a woman is"?

Seriously?

Christopher B said...

Everybody recognizes that she's going to use the definition of 'woman' that supports whatever outcome the Regressives on the Left consider desirable in any given case. So your explanation is more honest but she couldn't really say that out loud.

Gahrie said...

The statute was designed to protect the Indian tribes and the statute used the word white. "White" was properly understood to mean not Indian.

Why? Because the intent of those who wrote and passed the law meant it to?

Now do the Fourteenth Amendment.

Andrew said...

Judge Jackson should have quoted Queen Latifah. Maybe stood up and danced a little.

"The ladies will kick it the rhyme that is wicked.
Those that don't know how to be pros get evicted.
A woman can bear you break you take you.
Now it's time to rhyme can you relate to.
A sister dope enough to make you holler and scream?"

Then, sit down, calm and collected.
"That's my definition of 'woman,' Senator."

Scotty, beam me up... said...

The problem with Ketanji Brown Jackson’s response "I'm not a biologist." is that in today’s age, a biologist would be attacked / doxxed by giving the correct clinical and biological answer. With her answer, she essentially left herself wiggle room to redefine the term “woman” in a legal sense as a Supreme Court justice despite actual biology that could be contrary to reality. I wish Sen. Blackburn would have instead asked her as a follow up question “Are you a woman?” and if Brown Jackson had said “yes”, ask her how she couldn’t definitively answer the original question but could definitively answer the follow up question.

tim maguire said...

That's a plausible interpretation and maybe it is simply a matter of Jackson not being ready with a careful answer to a question her handlers should have anticipated, but it is still problematic for Brown that her answer sounded exactly like the evasiveness you would expect from someone who wants to promote trans ideology without admitting that they are promoting trans ideology. In my own scoring system, this is the first blow that actually hit the target.

Gahrie said...

Instead of a post attempting to provide cover for the absurdity of not being willing (she is certainly able) to define the word "woman" at a Senate confirmation hearing, why not a post about the fact that we as a society have reached this absurd state?

Lyssa said...

“I suspect that if you're rooting for the GOP here, you think this is a fabulous gotcha and you won't absorb what I'm about to say.“

I’m generally rooting for the GOP (though I accept that Biden gets this pick, and it’s about as good as one could hope for under the circumstances), and I find this edit extremely disheartening. Hate when the other side does it; this is just as bad. Blackburn is my senator, and I generally think she’s fine (and admit I sort of love pointing her out to my daughter when she’s on TV), and, while I assume she’s not responsible for the edit, but she’ll still push it I’m sure.

I had the same thought about Jackson’s use of “biologist.” Did she realize she was implicitly conceding it was a biological question? Was that her intention? I’d love to discuss that one with her over a beer.

Tom T. said...

The issue for the senators and other observers is what conclusion to draw from the questions she chose to answer and those she didn't. Certainly, Ann's analysis would permit her to refuse to answer any question posed to her. If Blackburn said, "good morning," under Ann's approach, Jackson could have taken the position that she's not a meteorologist, and the quality of the morning might come before her in a case someday. But she didn't always choose to do that, and we're free to draw inferences as to why.

Further, the question is now teed up for Democratic political candidates across the country. They're going to get asked, "what is a woman," and they won't have this avenue of judicial evasion open to them. They'd be wise to figure out how to answer.

rhhardin said...

She's still stupid. In law a woman is something else than in real life, which is not hard to explain. She went the opposite way - it takes a biologist, she said.

The logic for law is pretty simple: a woman is a woman or a man who claims to be a woman.

Now the set for legal woman is larger. In fact it's infinitely large because it also has to include "a man who claims to claim that he is a woman," because that woman word now includes two things, and he's claiming to be one of them.

Any number of "claims to" levels can be levereged into the legal "woman" set now, owing to "woman" including all the necessary previous levels among its objects.

In real life that doesn't happen. Wide hips and thinks with balls of fuzz covers it normally.

Humperdink said...

Doctored video or not, most things in life are black and white. Good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, daylight vs. night time. What is a woman? Things get real muddled on the left. And that's how they treat the US constitution. Nothing, repeat nothing, is black and white when viewed by the left. They create rights out of thin air. The living constitution as it's known. Ketanji Onyika Brown Jackson is perfect for the job.

"We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins." Supreme Court Judge Harry Blackmun 1973

Barry Dauphin said...

However, can a large boulder be the size of a small boulder?

farmgirl said...

I think what she meant to say was:
“It’s above my pay grade.”

“And then, can you ever really say what a word means?”
You’ve been giving us original definitions from OED for how long?

If anything, the clip made the exchange worse. To my ears. She quickly said no. As in- a refusal. Repeating herself, she changed the context to , well- context, and moved beyond to needing a PhD.

Wtf? She should have let it rest at the contextual level.

Kay said...

I don’t care too much about the Supreme Court, but I like her. Some of the questions she’s getting are pretty wild. I wouldn’t be surprised if they asked her what she thinks about rap music. All these questions are inadvertently helping to make her seem like a just a normal person.

Critter said...

My impression of her answer was that she was devious and not forthcoming. She could have sounded brilliant if she pointed out one context where biology at birth is the right answer and another where self-identified gender was the right answer. But she didn’t because she and the left want to translate Title IX as protecting self-identified female genders when the law clearly never intended that. The good Senator had set that trap and the judge tried to avoid it. Most Americans watching were surprised at how devious the judge looked. She’s not a very goor liar. Of course, that might be seen as a virtue by some.

Gahrie said...

Some of the questions she’s getting are pretty wild.

Have they asked her about pubic hairs on Coke cans yet? How many questions about her high school yearbook? Anyone called her a religious fanatic?

exhelodrvr1 said...

Depends on what the definition of is is.

farmgirl said...

Rh- “Wide hips and thinks with balls of fuzz covers it normally.”

Uh? If you’re implying what I think you’re implying… and meant “things” w/balls of fuzz… but said “thinks”? Why yes, I know so many that think w/(their) balls of fuzz.

… and it ain’t a woman.

gilbar said...

here's a fun question

If a person has a penis, and f*cks people with vaginas; and is 6 foot tall, and 200 lbs..
Is that person a woman? If so; WHY?
Also, should that person's athletic scholarship money be taken from the women's pool?
If so; WHY?

Dave Begley said...

Ann: You should have been nominated for SCOTUS. But you are totally reaching on this post.

“ What does it mean to provide a definition?” Althouse. “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” Bill Clinton.

Dave Begley said...

Ann: What’s the case name for an Indian is a White person?

Gahrie said...

Since you added the Marbury V Madison tag to this post:

Marbury V Madison was the result of a political conspiracy, a raging conflict of interest and judicial fraud. Marshall should have never been allowed to hear the case, much less write the decision. The decision is illegitimate at its base.

Temujin said...

She will be a Leftist on the court, not a Liberal. She will be like Sotomayor, not Breyer.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

I’m with you all the way Althouse. Until she says, “I’m not a biologist.” If she had full-stopped after “context” I’d still agree. But I find her disingenuous by suggesting a biological definition is appropriate. I think her definition is situational. That’s much more believable than the faux deference to biology. I guess we’ll learn the truth when some female athletes sue the NCAA and the SCOTUS has a biological definition in front of them to consider.

Black Dog said...

I miss the days of civility, like Mazie Hirono asking Amy Cony Barrett is she was a sexual predator or when some serious senator asked Kavanaugh if he liked beer.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

I would guess some of the woke or woke-leaning are hesitant to say a person's gender is whatever they assert it is. This sounds kind of crazy, and one might well ask whether biology has something to do with it. So a somewhat sophisticated backup would be: biology has a lot to say about gender, but what it says does not support old-fashioned or common-sense judgments. The presence of testosterone and many other things is on a continuum, not either/or, basically two groups. So the result is the prudent thing is to let people assert whatever they want. Biological males can take over female sports, etc.

I gather a big concern of trans activists is if a person gives off a lot of female affect, and a date or social evening goes very well, lots of of laughing and kissing, then things go further: if at some point an unexpected penis is revealed, the other person, male or female, is not allowed to object. To do so would apparently be transphobic. The great Kinks song "Lola."

Enigma said...

@Althouse, you are thinking like an attorney not a publicist and political PR operative. Your definitional ground truths and legalistic splitting of hairs is explicitly rejected by postmodernism, and per their reliance on a postmodern concept of womanhood, by KB Jackson and her defenders. Her nomination as the first "Black woman" strongly supported by the Congressional Black Caucus is thereby self-contradictory in a 5-second-to-analyze PR sense.

This exchange delivers all that's needed for (likely effective) sarcastic statements such as:

"We welcome KB Jackson as the newest White male member of the Supreme Court."

"We welcome Rachel Dolezal as the newest Black female member of the Supreme Court."

"We welcome Ted Cruz as the first Asian male President of the United States."

"We welcome my dog Barf as the latest cat in our household, as she identifies with our cats and sleeps in pile of cats rather than fighting like cats and dogs. She obviously questions her species identity, so we've started plastic surgery to make he look like a cat."

In terms of PR, KB Jackson and the left lost this round.

Ann Althouse said...

"Doctored video or not"

I didn't say the video was doctored. I'm saying the seeming transcript isn't a verbatim transcript.

Lurker21 said...

Objections to what the Republican senators are saying and doing are pretty small potatoes compared to what happened in the Kavanaugh hearings. In an ideal world the hearings would be different, but by today's standards they are behaving quite well.

Talk about the subconscious, though, it almost seems like some subconscious part of Brown Jackson is hinting at something by referring to biology in her refusal to answer the question. Fortunately or unfortunately, the unconscious doesn't make legal decisions.

Biology does determine sex. People are either XX or XY with a very few people having other configurations and being legitimately intersex. But there are also hormones involved (estrogen, testosterone, etc.) that affect personality. Some people don't fit in with the gender stereotypes. That doesn't mean that a man can be a woman or a woman a man, but it does do something to explain our current confusion. There's a conflict between traditional assumptions and bureaucratic distinctions on the one hand and postmodern aspirations to greater fluidity on the other.

Eddie said...

Thanks, Ann. I haven't seen this point elsewhere, but I think you're right.

David Begley said...

KBJ will be confirmed, but she’s a real radical. A white guy with the same record and Senate performance this week would probably lose. She’s immune because she’s a Black woman.

Calling Bush and Rummy war criminals is astounding, but she got away with it.

John Borell said...

A woman is an adult human female.

What's a female?

Humans who can bear offspring or produce eggs.

I don't understand the left's seemingly constant desire to obliterate objective truth.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

“As a judge, I need a concrete and particularized dispute to resolve. I have no expertise in defining words outside of that judicial role.”

No expertise? That answer would have been mocked too. Kentanji could have answered,

“I’m a woman, you’re a woman, your fellow Republican Caitlyn Jenner is a woman, but whether Caitlyn would be considered a woman in the context of the wording of a particular statute is an issue that could come before the Court, and so I can’t speak to that here today.”

But her answer may have been been better, in the context of getting confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wince said...

Althouse said...
And then, can you ever really say what a word means?

"Could I buy some pot from you?"

Patrick Henry was right! said...

I will try for her.
Human with an absence of a Y chromosome? Human born with no peni$. [Autocorrect] Human born with a vagina? This is who our nation is placing on our high court??? Please Senator Manchin, save us!!!

Heartless Aztec said...

It's an easy answer context or not: what set of chromosomes does an individual carry - XX or XY? All the rest are additional add on options; hair color, eye color, height, and so on.

David Begley said...

Will SNL spoof KBJ’s “I’m not a biologist” answer this week. We all know the answer. In a serious country, the leading political satire show would be merciless about this.

A Senator should ask her if 2+2=5 and then riff on Orwell.

Humperdink said...

AA said: "I didn't say the video was doctored. I'm saying the seeming transcript isn't a verbatim transcript."

OK I'll accept that. Change the word to doctored to "edited", my point remains the same.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

A great answer would have been, “Can I provide a definition? Dammit, Marsha, I’m a judge, not a lexicographer.”

BUMBLE BEE said...

Evasive response is a disqualifier for a security clearance. The bright side? Bill Clinton and his Lolita Island cohorts will have a representative on the Supreme Court, and she's helping women.

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

I don't like omissions of context either.


The left do it all the time.

Sebastian said...

"the right answer is: It would depend on the relevant facts and legal texts in the particular case or controversy before the court, and multiple areas of professional expertise may very well come into play"

OK, let's go with that: then she gave the wrong answer. So: not ready for prime time as a professional.

Of course, even Althousian defensive sophistry doesn't work here. By saying that she's not a biologist, Jackson claimed that the core meaning does not in fact depend on context or "multiple areas of expertise" but on certain characteristics only the particular expertise of biologists can decode.

But of course, we don't have to go with that, or take the claim at face value. The judge ain't Althouse. She celebrates Derrick Bell as coffee table material (the obvious falsehood of the relevant anecdote reinforcing the rhetorical gesture).

As Tim said above: "it is still problematic for Brown that her answer sounded exactly like the evasiveness you would expect from someone who wants to promote trans ideology without admitting that they are promoting trans ideology." I go with Occam.

Of course, as a cynical conservative I despise the theater. Dems choose a vote for prog opinions. Jackson will happily oblige. She will even discover the meaning of words she had forgotten. The "relevant facts and legal texts" will invariably steer her to the right outcome, to be rationalized by future Althouses.

Achilles said...

"It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is," wrote Justice John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison. "Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret that rule."

Lawyers and judges are mediocre talents with a will to power.

The people who wanted to be judges and unelected were just mad they were not given legislative powers to go with their desired career of telling people what to do.

So they seized legislative powers.

And activist judges have been one of the most corrosive elements in our society.

It is activist child porn fans like Jackson that have undermined the rule of law the most.

But Ann thinks she is clever.

Good job Ann.

You are clever too.

You deserve what is coming. You caused it.

Václav Patrik Šulik said...

Several thoughts.

First, in defense of the tweet - there's a 240 word limit, so it's not necessarily "intentionally" false. But your point about the missing ellipses is a good one.

Second, this is a good alternative look at the response (I was going to type "spin," but that has negative connotations). I will think about this. My initial view of KBJ was positive and supportive.

Third, it still comes off as someone who is afraid to disclose too much. She could have added something along the lines of "In normal conversation, a woman is considered to be an adult female." Responding with "Can I provide a definition - No." to me (as someone predisposed to support her) was almost disqualifying, If you are not able to provide a definition, do you really have the intellectual capability to serve as a judge - at any level?

This is not a Robert Jackson -type judge. She comes across as someone who might hope to achieve write opinions as clearly as Harry Blackmun.

Breezy said...

If she can’t provide a definition for woman, it seems she cares more about protecting the progressive ideology than protecting women as a group. I would think this is disheartening for most women who care about womens sports, among other things.

mccullough said...

Since KBJ says “I’m not a biologist,” the ellipses is fair. That’s the context. She can’t provide a definition because she’s not a biologist.

AlbertAnonymous said...

I think she’s evasive as hell and the media and lefties (BIRM) will give her a pass, or even praise her for weathering the astonishingly unfair and inappropriate grandstanding questions of the crazy rightwing Q-anon Nazi sympathizer white supremacy GOP “senators”

We jumped the shark and I don’t know how we get back. Really sad what a strange “unreal” world we’re leaving our kids.

Kevin said...

I understand why someone who was a law professor would answer this way.

What it would mean is that the only way to have any real knowledge of what a judge's or justice's attitude toward a case would be would be to lay out an entire case before them and see what they do with it.

Which of course these kinds of soundbite-bait hearings could never come close to doing, which would mean that they are just pointless jacking off.

Which of course they are. The bottom line is: Justices nominated by the left vote in a block for leftist causes. Justices nominated by the right look at the law and don't always vote in a uniform block.

Those are the only facts that really matter, and you're either going to endorse that path or toss up a futile vote against it

TaeJohnDo said...

"...but it's obvious to me that the right answer is: It would depend on the relevant facts and legal texts in the particular case or controversy before the court, and multiple areas of professional expertise may very well come into play."

And she came no where near close to that answer.

What is your take on her sentencing record regarding pedophiles?

rehajm said...

I find these omissions quite deceptive, though the video is there, so the deceptions stare you in the face.

If you're concluding deliberate deception I find your analysis deceptive. Brevity and strong edits happen on Twitter. You are character limited. What you conclude as deceptive could be merely practical...and it wasn't like the tweet didn't embed the video. How much more lack of deception could there be?

...and if you don't like that, and the left are entitled to what he meant to say, the right are entitled to brevity, even if you don't like it....

rehajm said...

Is there a whiff of transphobia?

It reeks of it but Democrats cant smell their own...

MT said...

Sometimes context is irrelevant.

AlbertAnonymous said...

The honest answer would have been:

“We’ll Senator, it depends. First I would look at the text and see if I find the answer I’m looking for. If not, then I will resist the natural urge to conclude I’m wrong. Instead I’ll find the answer I’m looking for “emanating from the penumbras” of the text. That’s how we do it…”

rehajm said...

Amadeus 48 said...
Gosh. I guess the point of all this is Althouse for SCOTUS. You are certainly working hard to "provide" answers that Jackson Brown never "provided".

3/24/22, 6:42 AM


(boldface added)

This was one and done, really...

holdfast said...

The first part of her answer was a little bit weaselly, but not out of line with answers in these sorts of hearings. And not nearly as blatantly fabricated as her answers regarding critical race theory.

But her quip about not being a biologist was moronic on a galactic level. Because the Left maintains that womanhood doesn’t relate at all to biology. It’s all psychology. Or feelings, or whatever. It has nothing to do with chromosomes or reproductive organs. You know, the stuff biologists might study.

Night Owl said...

I can't read that type of spin. As other's mentioned it immediately reminds me of the Clinton "depends on what the word "is' is." It's offensively evasive.

Just answer the question. If she really thinks it has to do with biology then answer it in that context. A smart middle-schooler knows enough to define what a woman is in biological terms. Claiming "I'm not a biologist" is immediately mockable.

I'd respect Jackson if she stated that she can't and won't answer the question because we live in a world where Lia Thomas just won the woman's swimming events.

Quaestor said...

Woketown USA is a very confusing place to live. It's full of intersections, and none of them are marked.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann: What’s the case name for an Indian is a White person?"

I can't remember. It was the case of a black person being a white person within the meaning of a statute that was about protecting Indian tribes. So white really meant not Indian and so white included black.

Lurker21 said...

Just a few years back the radical-moderate distinction in the Democratic Party was real and meant something. It doesn't anymore. Kyle Smith has a column about that in today's Post. I'd say that there's still a radical fringe when it comes to actual socialism, but on social and cultural issues the party's representatives in Congress and its most vocal and influential supporters don't easily divide into radical and moderate wings. Affluent white suburban Congresswomen support things that were fringe ideas even a few years ago.

Saying Ketanji is a radical and that Biden could have appointed someone more moderate doesn't quite work for me. She's where the party is and anybody he appointed would have similar views. Even if their earlier decisions indicated some deviation from the party line, they'd probably fall into line after taking office. There are differences in temperament. Breyer being more scholarly, and Sotomayor less scholarly. Brown Jackson might be in the middle. But Biden wasn't going to pick anyone most people would call a moderate, assuming that there were any in the selection pool.

There seems to be some confusion about what to call her. "Jackson"? "Brown"? "Brown Jackson"? "Jackson Brown"? "Ketanji" could be seen by censors as racist or sexist and demeaning, but if you have dull last names and an uncommon first name, people are going to use it.

KLH said...

Forget the lawyerly navel gazing. What has happened to common sense?

Ann Althouse said...

"OK I'll accept that. Change the word to doctored to "edited", my point remains the same."

No, the video wasn't edited. The transcript was edited!

mtp said...

This post illustrates why the professor is the very best of a very bad lot--the lot being lawyers. Lawyers disappear up their own rears in the mistaken belief that they are the caretakers of some higher level of logic and reason.

Redefining common English words is not sophisticated--it's sophistry. The meaning of "woman" and "is" are not in dispute, and pretending they are is just Humpty-Dumptying-up the argument in the belief that, as our betters, lawyers will let us know what it is we voted for.

tommyesq said...

Cruz asked Brown how, if she cannot determine what a woman is, she would determine whether a plaintiff had standing to challenge a gender-based restriction. She refused to answer. Edited, doctored, or otherwise, Brown is deliberately hiding both her beliefs and how she would approach this question from a judicial standpoint. Seems like one (or both) of two reasons for this - (a) she knows the truth would hurt her here; and/or (b) she intends to use whatever definition is needed on a case-by-case basis to get to the result she desires.

Kay said...

If the meaning of words are so objective then why does language change so drastically over time?

Howard said...

“I have reached the conclusion . . . that under the First and Fourteenth Amendments criminal laws in this area are constitutionally limited to actual women. I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of people I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the person involved in this case is not that.”

wendybar said...

IF she were a biologist, she would tell the world that Lia Thomas is NOT a woman, and SHOULDN'T be competing with women, since she has the DNA of a man. But she didn't say this for THAT reason. She is avoiding this, so she can vote to let trans men take over womens sports...leaving women in the back of the bus....AGAIN!! How will she blame Republicans then???

Iman said...

How many times over the course of these proceedings has the judge invoked “woman”? It has been numerous times, that I can tell you. So historic… Janice Rogers Brown… so “feel good”…

And Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson can’t come up with a definition?

Sad.

Václav Patrik Šulik said...

This all remind me of Regina v. Ojibway. ["The learned magistrate acquitted the accused holding, in fact, that he had killed his horse and not a small bird. With respect, I cannot agree."]

(True story - I put a reference to that in a footnote in a brief in an early draft. Somehow, it made it's way into the final. I was horrified, but relieved no one ever caught it.)

Iman said...

Transcript was boiled down to its essence.

tommyesq said...

Also, on the edited v. doctored issue, the tweet provides distinct lines, each separated within their own set of quotation marks - it does not on its face purport to be a complete transcript of every word said. It is not a Further, Jackson's remarks do not end with a period, and therefore do not suggest that either were offered as a complete sentence. It is not a "distorted transcript" because it does not purport to be a transcript at all. It is merely pulling out the parts that the author chose to highlight.

You yourself often pull a discrete portion of a linked quote or article, and then react with anger when someone mistakenly comments on something else that was contained in the article without having gone and read it.

wendybar said...

BUMBLE BEE said...
Evasive response is a disqualifier for a security clearance. The bright side? Bill Clinton and his Lolita Island cohorts will have a representative on the Supreme Court, and she's helping women.

3/24/22, 8:20 AM

THIS. 100% THIS!!!!! Billy boy sure is a lucky man.

Elizabeth Kantor said...

Ann Althouse: Ted Cruz did follow up precisely along the lines you suggest, asking her how she would define a woman for purposes of a lawsuit under a particular part of the Federal Code (Article 3 maybe?). She refused to answer that either. He said what if he declared himself a woman to qualify for protection under that provision of the law. She would not answer that.

Butkus51 said...

I will nominate a black WOMAN

Joe doesnt lie now, does he?


Elizabeth Kantor said...

". . . Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson wouldn’t say whether Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) could have standing to sue as a woman."

https://www.theepochtimes.com/supreme-court-nominee-wont-say-whether-cruz-can-change-gender-or-race_4358964.html?utm_source=newsnoe&utm_campaign=breaking-2022-03-24-1&utm_medium=email2&est=m%2BgWeOS9FwltIqcI3t12C7YTthYOsu4eGeQLKufEnwvIFPIKaTQLSl1FhibBn7GnhBE64DOiLQI%3D

Michael K said...

Pretzel logic, Ann. She is hiding her opinions.

MikeD said...

That this entire hearing is a disaster for Judge Jackson is sad.She seems more concerned with not alienating the loony left wing of her party. As she's previously adamantly stated she does NOT believe in a "living" Constitution I think she's as good as we can get from this feckless Administration.

Night Owl said...

If the meanings of woman and black are really so fluid as to be undefinable, then would a white man who identified as a black woman have made Biden's list of Supreme Court nominees? And if not, then why not?

Narayanan said...

At one point during his failed confirmation hearings, Judge Bork famously told the senators that he looked forward to the “intellectual feast” of being on the Supreme Court.
------------
will it also be a moveable-feast or has it been always?

Narayanan said...

then would a white man who identified as a black woman have made Biden's list of Supreme Court nominees?
========
why could not Federalist Society make such a list of contenders to put before the nation ---- if the country has become farce why not reductio it to absurdum?

Lem Ozuna from the Braves said...

Senator, let me speak to your supervisor. 😯

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Sorry, Professor, but I call "bullshit!"

"Can I provide a definition? No. I can't... Not in this context I can't."
The "context" is her confirmation hearings. It's not a judicial ruling, she's not speaking from the bench. There's no legal precedent that she's setting.

I find these omissions quite deceptive, though the video is there, so the deceptions stare you in the face. I suspect that if you're rooting for the GOP here, you think this is a fabulous gotcha and you won't absorb what I'm about to say. If you're rooting for the Democrats, keep reading an you might find a new perspective on this troublesome clip that's delighting your antagonists.

There's nothing deceptive here. There's just an arrogant jerk being a snot, because she thinks she can get away with it

Blackburn asked "Can you provide a definition of the word 'woman'?" And Jackson's response — listen to the video — stressed the word "provide": "Can I provide a definition?" Jackson shows a judicial temperament: Instead of jumping to giving an answer, she inspects the question, its precise wording. What does it mean to provide a definition?

"Can you provide a definition of the word 'yes'?"
"Yes, I can, it means 'a statement in the affirmative'."

I know I'm restraining myself from looking up the words "provide" and "definition" and spending the next 10 minutes contemplating whether providing a definition of a word is substantially different from saying what a word means. And then, can you ever really say what a word means?
Well, if you can't say what a word means, then you can't make any judicial rulings, because if words have no meanings, neither do laws, and neither does the US Constitution.
Which means what your'e saying is that she's going to be a black robed dictator unconstrained by anything other than what she thinks she can get away with
As such, she shoudl be voted down, because she's a domestic enemy to the US Constitution, and every single member of teh US Senate swore an Oath to "protect the US Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic."

"It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is," wrote Justice John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison. "Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret that rule."
Which you can't do, if words ahve no meaning

Judges say what words mean when they have particular cases — concrete disputes to resolve — that require the understanding of words. Their powers of understanding unfold within a real context. They don't — like a dictionary — yield instant definitions of words. They refrain from giving answers in the abstract.
She's not a member of SCOTUS, she's an individual seeking confirmation to the bench.
So she's not, in this context, speaking as a judge

Thus, it was entirely appropriate for Jackson to expand with "Not in this context I can't." I think that means: As a judge, I wait until I am presented with a real dispute that can only be resolved by determining what the word "woman" means. What would that context be?
Bzzt, wrong. The "context" is "nominee", not "judge"

If I'd been in the Jackson's position, I wouldn't have made myself vulnerable by saying "I can't," and I certainly wouldn't have laughed at Blackburn in a manner that can read as contemptuous.
That's because it WAS contemptuous

Night Owl said...

The hypocrisy of the left is on full display. The term woman can be defined or not as it suits their purposes. And they expect the rest of us to play along.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Continuing:
I'd have turned the questioning back on Blackburn: When would a real case depend on finding the meaning of that word? As a judge, I need a concrete and particularized dispute to resolve. I have no expertise in defining words outside of that judicial role.
A real case would be a Title IX case where a woman swimmer is suing, saying she's being deprived of her Title IX rights to compete in women's swimming because a man is being allowed in the competition.
So if she'd done that, it would have blown up in her face.
Because her problem is she can't give an honest answer

Jackson gestured at that when she said "I'm not a biologist." Would it have been better to say "I'm not a lexicographer"? Yes, because she was asked to "provide a definition." By saying "I'm not a biologist,"
She was being an arrogant snot to the Senator. because she's an entitled Leftist, racist, and sexist, who believe that those three things means she's above anyone who doesn't also possess those three traits.

Is there any Senator who would would want to follow up with a question like "Biologist?! You're saying that biology determines who is a woman and who isn't?" It never rose to that level of sophistication, but it's obvious to me that the right answer is: It would depend on the relevant facts and legal texts in the particular case or controversy before the court, and multiple areas of professional expertise may very well come into play.
Yes, Blackburn dropped the ball there

Daniel12 said...

Thanks for this excellent analysis Ann.

I have a question for commenters. How would YOU define a woman? One answer from upthread;

"A woman is an adult human female.

What's a female?

Humans who can bear offspring or produce eggs.

I don't understand the left's seemingly constant desire to obliterate objective truth."

So, by this definition is an infertile woman a woman? Well, maybe she still produces eggs. Ok, so is a woman who's had her ovaries removed a woman? Should a court have to confirm that a woman has ovaries that produce eggs before adjudicating a case where her status as a woman is relevant?

For those (also upthread) who would say a woman has XX chromosomes -- what about those with Swyer Syndrome? And should a court conduct genetic testing to confirm a person is a woman?

I think most people's practical definition of a woman is a variation of I know one when I see one, which isn't very helpful for a court.

So my challenge to you -- if it's so obvious, please provide a definition of a woman that includes everyone you want to include and excludes everyone you want to exclude. And I do mean everyone, since the context is the Supreme Court and therefore it matters if even one individual -- the one involved in the case! -- does not fit.

Narayanan said...

"It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is," wrote Justice John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison. "Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret that rule."
=========
but if the 'rule' is not mere procedure which could arguably be province of the judicial department but "law that has been legislated" then Marshall is insurrecting against against the legislative department. Also legislatures have failed in properly expounding ...

thence lies all your country's woes to date in failure of "rule" of /law/

Bruce Hayden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Skeptical Voter said...

Snarkiest chryon I've seen (on Fox) "I'm not a veterinarian, but I can recognize a dog".

I think Joe Biden is proud of authoring or at least promoting something called "The Violence Against Women Act". Now let's suppose--as a hypothetical-- that somebody beat the living bejabbers out of Rachel Levine--our new four star admiral (and transgender) Public Health Director. I may have Rachel's title wrong. Would or could the thug who beat up Rachel be prosecuted under the Violence Against Women Act? Inquiring minds want to know.

I'll ride along with our host's careful parsing of words and arguments. But it's definitely possible that some judge somewhere will have to wrestle with "what is a woman" to apply a law. And indeed that question might ultimately reach the Supreme Court.

Narayanan said...

Is there any Senator who would would want to follow up with a question like "Biologist?!
=======
so who provides definition for who is biologist ? by vote of nine+ Humpty Dumpty

as written by someone some time ago
“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

Iman said...

Democrats are trying to pull what’s known as a “dirty Howard” as Durbin glares and presents his backside…

Dave Begley said...

Daniel2.

Women have vaginas. Men don't.

Women can bear children. Men can't. The fact that some women are infertile proves nothing.

Women have two X chromosomes. Men don't. The fact that there are a tiny number of women with Swyer Syndrome proves nothing. There are a tiny anomaly. I'd never heard of this before. Do these women have vaginas?

Achilles said...

Daniel12 said...

So my challenge to you -- if it's so obvious, please provide a definition of a woman that includes everyone you want to include and excludes everyone you want to exclude. And I do mean everyone, since the context is the Supreme Court and therefore it matters if even one individual -- the one involved in the case! -- does not fit.

This is garbage and you know it.

Joe Biden knew she was a women when he picked her. That was a specific requirement he had for the choice.

You want to have it both ways and in this effort tear our society apart.

You know the difference when you want to.

You are here in bad faith just like Ann and the democrat party.

Elliott A said...

The word "woman" exists in every language on the planet. With modern knowledge we know that it all boils down to this: A physically mature human with two X chromosomes. (A non-mature human with 2 X chromosomes is a girl) Fakery and alteration cannot change this simple, elemental and unarguable fact. At least she is smarter than Justice Sotomayor who participates in questioning about abortion issues with zero knowledge of embryology or neonatology and made idiotic and false statements. Lastly, anyone with an elite education should know about X and Y chromosomes, She does not need to be a biologist to answer the question.

Bruce Hayden said...

“That's a plausible interpretation and maybe it is simply a matter of Jackson not being ready with a careful answer to a question her handlers should have anticipated, but it is still problematic for Brown that her answer sounded exactly like the evasiveness you would expect from someone who wants to promote trans ideology without admitting that they are promoting trans ideology. In my own scoring system, this is the first blow that actually hit the target.”

I think that it was an inept response. She gave away the high ground by using the “not a biologist” response. A biologist would likely agree that someone with a vagina and without a Y chromosome was a woman, and someone with a penis and a Y chromosomes was a man instead. Similar for bulls and cows with bovines, dogs and bitches in domestic canines, Toms and queens in domestic cats, etc. The remaining <1% is up for grabs, depending on circumstances. The number of X chromosomes is mostly irrelevant since it is the presence of the Y chromosome that really determines most sexual characteristics. What it seems to do is act somewhat like a master breaker switch, turning on or off different genes throughout our chromosomes. Anyone with HS Biology should know this much. Did she fail HS Biology? Did she get an Affirmative Action pass instead? It suggests that she maybe giving Justice Sotomayor a race to the bottom of the pack on the Supreme Court.

Admitting to a biological distinction between men and women as being definitional, also cuts the support out from under the transgender movement. It means that, in most cases, you are stuck with the gender of your birth, and even if you dig a hole or build a pole, you would only move yourself to the middle category, between men and women, where no one is going to fight that much, and where arbitrary distinctions under the law can be justified. For example, it would make it much easier helping untransitioned trans women out of women’s prisons, and off the women’s winner’s podium in sports.

This is a problem for her, because her evasiveness here was very clearly an attempt not to be nailed down in the area of transgendered rights. If she hadn’t been evading in this area, then she would have stated the obvious. What distinguishes a good attorney from a mediocre one, in many cases, is his ability to see what is missing. We were watching “The Closer” recently and there was a scene where the attorney for Brenda (the main character) tore up a very generous settlement agreement, because it essentially required that she admit fault. There was nothing keeping the other side from refiling a lawsuit later, and that suit would have been slam dunk for that other party with her admission. That is what was missing. This side of lawyering is one of the things that drives non lawyers crazy about living with lawyers. For one thing, we are innately careful about any admissions that we make. Ok, maybe as a patent attorney, I am overly sensitive to this, with so much of our practice involving avoiding inadvertent admissions. And Judge Jackson wasn’t careful here. In trying to be clever, while still being evasive, she made a major concession, or admission. This is the sort of thing that Mr Nuance, CJ Roberts, never would have done. Probably the only Justice who might not have seen this is Sotomayor.

wendybar said...

Her silence is about this....and Caitlyn Jenner is the voice of reason, over this nominee...https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10647445/Caitlyn-Jenner-says-Lia-Thomas-not-rightful-winner-NCAA-swimming-championships.html

hombre said...

Althouse: "Jackson shows a judicial temperament: Instead of jumping to giving an answer, she inspects the question...."

Oh bullshit, Professor! The "context" is a straightforward question in a judicial confirmation hearing. There are no judicial nuances here. The answer is "an adult female person," period.

Jackson ducked the answer to avoid any follow-up questions.

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

If I'd been in the Jackson's position, I wouldn't have made myself vulnerable by saying "I can't," and I certainly wouldn't have laughed at Blackburn in a manner that can read as contemptuous.

The laugh was not contemptuous, it was a Kamala laugh: I'm lying, so I have to laugh. That's Kamala's tell; it looks like it's also Justice-nominee Jackson's tell.

LA_Bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Narayanan said...

What distinguishes a good attorney from a mediocre one, in many cases is his ability to see what is missing.
=========
but evasion is raison-d'etre for politicians [= uni-Party] and boyo how well is each party [D and R] stocked up in that department?
and why corruption/bribery under rubric = lobbying
and capture of regulation by agency thrives

West TX Intermediate Crude said...

"Kaitlyn" Jenner is a man who has been treated with strong medications and mutilating surgery.
"Lia" Thomas is a man.
"Rachel" Levine is a man who has been malpracticed upon by any number of physicians (I don't know the extent of Levine's medical intervention).
Don't call me trans"phobic."
I don't have an irrational fear of any of these unfortunate people. I have sympathy for them, for their mental disorder. A surgeon who does a gastric bypass on an anorectic teenager who believes that she is fat despite weighing 80 lbs. would, and should, lose his medical license. A surgeon who cuts the feet of a girl who sees a Disney movie and thinks she is a mermaid would, and should, be imprisoned.
Humanity will one day look back at 21st century America and ask why the same fate did not befall those who practice what is ludicrously called "gender affirming" treatment. It's delusion affirming.
Better to be delusional than delusional and mutilated.

Richard Dolan said...

Haven't read the 100+ comments upthread, so may just be repeating what others have said better.

AA's analysis strikes me as unconvincing because it starts from the premise that Jackson is approaching the question as if she were acting in a judicial capacity -- "in this context" and acting judicially, so AA suggests, she can't provide a "definition". If that was her intention, she would have been better off using the usual dodge employed by nominees of both parties since at least RBG -- "can't comment on an issue that is likely to come before the court." She didn't take that tack.

Here, of course, the actual "context" is a confirmation hearing, which is very far from any judicial proceeding. What struck me about the question is how it picked up on a viral moment when Lia Thomas won a race at the NCAA finals in women's swimming. There is a clip of a British feminist in the stands engaging with a trans activist, who suggests that she isn't a biologist and so should try to limit the definition of a "woman." The feminist's response was that she's not a vet either but knows what a dog is. Jackson's response about not being a biologist was both weak and beside the point, in much the same way as the trans advocate's comment was at the NCAA match.

The senator's question to Jackson at the hearing was assuredly looking for a gotcha moment -- cross-examination is like that -- but not in any way unfair. Like the back-and-forth at the NCAA match, it was also designed to (and in fact did) highlight one of the key issues that is likely to come before the SCOTUS as trans advocates seek to push last term's rulings on trans rights even further.

And, given her prior answers where Jackson has said her "methodology" is to start with text, I don't see why -- starting from the "text" of the question, and in the "context" of a confirmation hearing -- the senator's question was beyond her power to "provide" a definition.

Narayanan said...

@ LA_Bob said...

Become "common understanding" is being uprooted by supporters of a profoundly tiny minority of people whose "thoughts and feelings" trump all else.
=======
even you use "" so how is "common understanding" different from social construct?

wherein lies the secret of the purpose of social constructors?

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

Bruce Haydon:

My sympathy for being a patent attorney. A friend and I invented a new, improved method for stall protection for airplanes and received a patent for that method. Going over the patent application was excruciating. Having to do that as a job for 40 (60?) hours a week would drive me to the loony bin.

LA_Bob said...

Reposted with corrections.

"I'm not a biologist" strikes me as a decent answer. If thoughts and feelings trump chromosomes, hormones, and morphology, well, thoughts and feelings are biologically generated, too. So a biologist could "reasonably" declare a woman to be what she thinks she is, even if I disagree.

But these questions lead to such convoluted arguments. I'm curious to know, from the lawyers here (including Althouse), does law provide a definition of male and female other than what we have long taken to be "common understanding"?

Because "common understanding" is being uprooted by supporters of a profoundly tiny minority of people whose "thoughts and feelings" trump all else.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

even you use "" so how is "common understanding" different from social construct?

It is "common understanding" that 1 + 1 = 2, 2 + 2 = 4, and 1 = 1 doesn't equal 3
Those are not "social constructs", because if even if everyone agrees those things are wrong, they're still correct

Joe Smith said...

I'm with Scott Adams.

I am going to start identifying as black, and I won't even try to do that stupid pencil mustache thing that Shaun King resorts to.

But I will change my name to Jamal Smith just in case.

That and start smoking menthols.

It's a bullet-proof plan (rubs hands in glee and gives an evil laugh)...

Narayanan said...

Ann Althouse said...
My favorite example of they way it depends on the case was the one where the right answer to the question is a black person a white person was yes.
=======
unfair to tweak my curiosity >>> cite please [for my education]

Bruce Hayden said...

“ I gather a big concern of trans activists is if a person gives off a lot of female affect, and a date or social evening goes very well, lots of of laughing and kissing, then things go further: if at some point an unexpected penis is revealed, the other person, male or female, is not allowed to object. To do so would apparently be transphobic. The great Kinks song "Lola."”

Essentially they want a pass on suckering heterosexuals into homosexual sex through fraud. Or the opposite. That isn’t going to work, because dates (etc) typically involve implied contracts, and part of that contract is typically the type of sex you expect when you go off together somewhere. Both the Restatement and the UCC talk about normal expectations filling in for omitted terms in contracts. In my experience, and very likely of most heterosexuals here, the expectation for first sex with someone is vaginal, then followed by other types, as you become more comfortable with each other. If they don’t have the equipment for that, and don’t disclose that in advance, then they are acting fraudulently, and if they are males, expecting penetrative sex, then they should not be surprised if the defrauded male reacts violently. That is within the normal expectations of many, if not most, guys.

TheOne Who Is Not Obeyed said...

That's a lot of verbiage to fail to prove your point.

The context is simple: She is at a hearing as to whether she is disqualified to sit on the United States Supreme Court. That context is simple - provide the definition of the word "woman". There is no other context, there is nothing particularly difficult about it. Any other person asked for a definition of the word "woman" in any other context would have a definition ready to hand.

Unless, of course, they are a pro-trans ideologist and can't dare utter what everyone else knows is true empirically, philosophically, morally, and emotionally.

Her inability to use the ready to hand definition in this context tells us she is indeed unqualified to sit on the United States Supreme Court.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Daniel12 said...
So my challenge to you -- if it's so obvious, please provide a definition of a woman that includes everyone you want to include and excludes everyone you want to exclude.

Do you have a penis? Do more than 1/2 your cells that have human DNA in them have a Y chromosome? If yes, you are male
Do you have a vagina? Do less than 1/2 your cells that have human DNA in them have a Y chromosome? If yes, you are female

Are you genetically male, but you've had a sex change operation so you no longer have a penis, and now have something that acts like a vagina? Then by curtesy we will call you female

Are you genetically female, but you've had a sex change operation so you now have a at least somewhat functional vagina? Then by curtesy we will call you male

For purposes of this definition, "has a Y chromosome" mean s"has that part of the Y chromosome that determines sex", since you can actually have a crossing over event that puts that chunk on an X chromosome, in which case you will be male, even though someone staining your cells for DNA will find two X chromosomes and no Y chromosomes.

If you're a genetic mosaic and have some cells that are XX, and other that are XY, you're really screwed up, and we'll go with presence or absence of a penis to determine male or female.

Any other questions?

You will note that "your feelings" aren't anywhere in the definition, because your feelings don't matter

walter said...

The context is her nom because she's a woman. A black woman.
Innee/outee, black/white...

Christopher B said...

Daniel12 said...

So my challenge to you -- if it's so obvious, please provide a definition of a woman that includes everyone you want to include and excludes everyone you want to exclude. And I do mean everyone, since the context is the Supreme Court and therefore it matters if even one individual -- the one involved in the case! -- does not fit.


A good read, from a biologist

It is common to claim that an individual’s sex is a statistical property that can only be hinted at (and never determined absolutely) by observing many traits simultaneously. This, however, is based on an inversion of a somewhat esoteric fallacy known as the univariate fallacy. This fallacy can be summed up as the insistence that categories must be cleanly separable and reducible to a single essential factor in order for them to be considered real or “natural” categories. The ACLU (he was responding to a series of tweets by the ACLU) is suggesting that biological sex can’t be reduced to a single (univariate) factor, but is instead composed of many (multivariate) phenomena.

While it may be true that some phenomena, such as sex differences in neuroanatomy, facial features, and hand morphology are multivariate phenomena that can’t be reduced down to single factors, biological sex is not a multivariate phenomenon. There are many properties associated with one’s sex, such as hormone profiles and chromosomes, but these do not define an individual’s sex. Rather, we identify an individual’s biological sex by their primary sex organs (testes vs ovaries), as these organs are what form the basis for the type of gamete (sperm vs ova) an individual may potentially produce.


So essentially, a woman has ovaries and a man testes, and the size, shape, color, and functional ability of those organs has no bearing on their designation as male or female. In regard to the tiny tiny number of individuals, if any, born with neither, statutory construction of the type Ms. Althouse referenced with "when is a black man white?" is capable of producing a reasonable answer.

Joe Smith said...

If Helen Reddy sang, 'I'm not really sure who I am, hear me roar,' I don't think it would have been a hit...

Josephbleau said...

Where the trend is headed is that woman is the idealization of the yin aspect of humanity as a whole. The soft, nurturing, home building nature. This cannot be construed to apply only at the individual level, but womanness is identifiable within the individual. Some actions or properties of an individual, physical or mental, are abstracted as “woman” and some are not. So a statistical score can be computed by various methods to scale a particular individual as one who is greater than a specified percentage of woman to any interval of confidence. Such a score can certainly change over the individual’s lifetime, or even day to day. This more correctly seen under the behavioristic paradigm, however an expressed identification of absolute womanness absent of pertinent behavior by an individual is possible, but scientifically indeterminate.

Woman is not an absolute, as in less enlightened times, but merely a shifting scale in which all humans are woman, but to variable degree. And to know this, in fact, destroys the false concept of woman.

hombre said...

Daniel 12: "So my challenge to you -- if it's so obvious, please provide a definition of a woman that includes everyone you want to include and excludes everyone you want to exclude."

So here's your problem, Daniel, what I "want" is no more relevant than what you "want." Definitions are intended to reflect objective reality, not the personal preferences of moral and other relativists. Moreover, we have not yet reached the point of societal absurdity that requires a debate about the acceptable common understanding of what a "woman" is although a relatively small, aggressive number of us would have it so.

Humperdink said...

OK, substitute “transcript” for “video”, my point remains the same.

Daniel12 said...

"This is garbage and you know it."

I know garbage when I see it!

"Women can bear children. Men can't. The fact that some women are infertile proves nothing."

It certainly proves that a definition of a woman that requires the ability to bear children excludes some people -- quite a few -- that you know are women. Anyone post menopause for instance!

"Women have vaginas." If a woman has her vagina surgically removed, is she still a woman? And should the court check between her legs?

"The fact that there are a tiny number of women with Swyer Syndrome proves nothing."

It certainly proves that not all women have XX chromosomes.

"The answer is "an adult female person," period."

A woman is a woman is a woman!

"There is no other context, there is nothing particularly difficult about it. Any other person asked for a definition of the word "woman" in any other context would have a definition ready to hand."

Ok, go for it.

Greg the Class Traitor, that is quite an elaborate definition with various exceptions. Also, unlike anything I said, it definitely includes feelings, since you mention courtesy. And it might be challenging to use that definition in practice, without medical testing and since there seem to be some difficult loopholes and thresholds. Indeed your definition only justifies Judge Jackson's careful response.

Look, there is the Platonic Ideal of a woman and a man and there is the application of that ideal in law and in real life, which is where court cases operate. I think this is precisely Ann's point (including that sometimes the law considers black people to be white!).

Trans rights proponents are most assuredly attempting to change the fundamental platonic definition of woman and man. I can certainly understand disagreeing with this. That said, it is obvious that defining "woman" in a way that includes all the diversity of real world women but excludes trans women is not actually so easy. (This is why some commenters are screaming about how simple it is without actually defining it.)

Good on the Judge for not trying to make something complicated super simple (and wrong).

Daniel12 said...

"Definitions are intended to reflect objective reality."

Let's hear yours.

"Moreover, we have not yet reached the point of societal absurdity that requires a debate about the acceptable common understanding of what a "woman" is although a relatively small, aggressive number of us would have it so."

Are you referring to Martha Blackburn here? Also interesting that you write this on a thread that is discussing precisely this issue.

Christopher B said...

Daniel12 said...

Good on the Judge for not trying to make something complicated super simple (and wrong).


See above for an actual biologist explaining why you (and the rest of the trans-fanatics) are wrong to make determining biological sex seem like it's complicated. It's not.

To extend my answer above a bit with an example, if Will Thomas actually goes through with a whackadickoffme then he still isn't eligible to swim in the women's division. "Not having testes" is not the same as "having ovaries", and our social and legal regime is that people with and without testes are free to compete in the divisions and sports traditionally called "men's". Other edge cases can be decided in a similar manner.

Joe Smith said...

(Actual) women are being devalued and erased, and liberal women seem to be OK with that.

wendybar said...

Joe Smith said...
(Actual) women are being devalued and erased, and liberal women seem to be OK with that.

3/24/22, 11:53 AM

With Progressives...it is ALWAYS "the end justifies the means"

SAGOLDIE said...

As I commented on another blog . . .

I don't like it when our side goes overboard on their reaction to stupid remarks like KBJ's . . . .

Anybody remember Republican Justice Potter Stewart admitted that he couldn't define pornography "but I know it when I see it?"

Key word, IMO, is Blackburn's "define." Point is that I don't blame KBJ for punting - she know that whatever she offered, Republicans would pounce.

Having written this,I would like to point out Blackburn's missed opportunity . . . .

Her rejoinder should have been something like, "Hmmmm. Then you do agree that being a woman is determined by biology and not psychology? Right?

Anyway, that's what I think.

robother said...

Somehow, though, (as pointed out in the Federalist) Jackson Brown had no problem using the term "woman/women" 14 times in the context of her own remarks before the Senate Committee. I don't think it unfair of Blackburn to ask her how she defines a term she herself is using in sworn testimony. Her legalistic refusal can be legitimately seen as Clintonesque "depends on the meaning of is" (i.e., lying in the common sense of that term).

Daniel12 said...

"See above for an actual biologist explaining why you (and the rest of the trans-fanatics) are wrong to make determining biological sex seem like it's complicated. It's not."

Are you referring to Greg the Class Traitor's definition? It did not seem simple to me at all (especially when it comes to applying it to a given person, and where courtesy fits in). And by the way Judge Jackson seemed to be happy to defer to biologists.

"Other edge cases can be decided in a similar manner." So a judge may have to decide on a case by case basis?

"you (and the rest of the trans-fanatics)"

You definitely don't know where I stand on that issue. And it's not especially relevant since my comments are for the most part not actually about trans people.

Gahrie said...

If the meaning of words are so objective then why does language change so drastically over time?

When has "woman" ever meant anything other than "human with a vagina" or "Human with XX chromosomes"?

Bruce Hayden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce Hayden said...

“My sympathy for being a patent attorney. A friend and I invented a new, improved method for stall protection for airplanes and received a patent for that method. Going over the patent application was excruciating. Having to do that as a job for 40 (60?) hours a week would drive me to the loony bin.”

Much of the practice of law is very routine, and, thus, boring. My father practiced law for 47 years. Much of his first decade involved examining real estate titles, before much of that was automated by title insurance companies. Maybe half of his last couple decades involved foreclosing on residential real estate. I would have been bored silly. I like real property law, but not that much. It is a detail oriented profession, which very often means that it requires you to be methodical. Yes, there are interesting jobs for attorneys. I would put appeal court judge or Justice in that category, as well as law professor. Some litigation is that way, but don’t try telling that to the army of big firm associates involved in document discovery in a big case. Dozens of associates beavering away 60 hours a week, for a chance in a decade of making partner and sitting first chair. Of course, it isn’t just law - I had enough hours to sit for the CPA exam, but never did, for very similar reasons.

I liked patent law because when you got bored with the law (which doesn’t change that quickly in most facets of the law), you had the technology, and when you got bored with the technology, you had the law to study. I got lucky to have had the experience of dealing with bleeding edge microprocessor and computer technology for awhile. High point of every month were the patent committee meetings where one or two patent attorneys, along with maybe a dozen of the top engineers, all PhDs, determined what patents to write. Part of the fun was that we all would race to understand the inventions the fastest, and then ask the key questions first.

That gets into another facet of the job - understanding the inventions. To do the job right, you had to understand how the invention works, and why it is important, in order to write good claims. Many patent attorneys didn’t really do this, and ended up with crappy patents. They just paraphrase what the inventor tells them. But they almost inevitably have tunnel vision. A good patent attorney will typically understand the invention, and the important art surrounding it, as well, if not better, than the inventor, but has to do this in a very short time - usually less than a week. And that was a big part of the allure to me of the job - jumping into an art area and coming up to speed as quickly as I could, so that I understood an invention well enough that I could write valuable claims that were allowable. One of the biggest compliments I could get from a client was when he said “That was a great question. Why didn’t I think of that?”

Are patent attorneys weird? Very. I keep telling my kid, with their engineering PhD, that if they were to just get a law degree, within a decade they would probably be making twice what they make in their current job. But they grew up with family discussions about law around the table at family dinners, and, worse, discussions shifting back and forth between technology and patent law, with some of my good friends. They’d rather go to Medical School instead (which they don’t have any interest in). Even if I paid for it? Esp then.

Readering said...

I agree that saying that she is not a biologist was wrongfooted. In another era a Senator from Tennessee could have asked a nominee what is a black person. (Maybe not another era if Cruz can ask about declaring himself Asian.) But in that era the legal issue would have been racism, not biology, and today the legal issue is transphobia, not biology. Looking forward to the end of this era.

Daniel12 said...

"When has "woman" ever meant anything other than "human with a vagina"..."

Just FYI if this were the definition then a woman who had a vaginectomy (for instance, say, a trans man) would indeed no longer be a woman. And you're not the only one on this thread who's given a definition of a woman that unintentionally requires agreeing that people can alter their sex.

Gabriel said...

Suppose a biological woman sues under Title IX because she lost a scholarship to one of the biological men who got women's scholarships in that sport at that institution that year. She's suing because the people who were awarded those scholarships are not "women" so she's being discriminated against under Title IX.

That's going to be a case soon so I hope Ketanji Brown Jackson can figure out how to tell what a "woman" is between then and now.

Bruce Hayden said...

“So here's your problem, Daniel, what I "want" is no more relevant than what you "want." Definitions are intended to reflect objective reality, not the personal preferences of moral and other relativists. Moreover, we have not yet reached the point of societal absurdity that requires a debate about the acceptable common understanding of what a "woman" is although a relatively small, aggressive number of us would have it so.”

I would have to respectfully disagree. We are talking language here, which means, by its very nature, consensus. The trans movement is trying to change the consensus definitions of male and female, man and woman, etc. The left is backing them in order to destroy our current system, and replace it with their Maoist utopia. As is constantly pointed out, 1984 was supposed to be a cautionary tale. The left has taken it as an instruction manual.

Robert Cook said...

It seems pretty clear to me. The question as to how she would define a "woman" would be entirely in the context of any given legal case that might be brought before the Supreme Court. Lacking a specific case to discuss, there is no context in which she can provide such a definition.

Cruz wasn't interested in a real discussion; he was hoping she might say something with which he could make hay with the moron segment of his constituency, in order to create a false idea of her as a "radical lefist." If he had wanted a substantive answer, he could have provided some cases that have been decided by lower courts, or put forth some hypothetical or actual situations and asked her to discuss the meaning of "woman" in those contexts.

Real American said...

A woman is an adult human female. She has XX chromosomes. This is determined at conception. You don't need to be a biologist to be able to answer that. The answer is biological, and Ketanji is deferring to biology because that's the only way to honestly answer the question. There is no context on earth where there's a different definition.

She's apparently unwilling, however, to directly upset the radical trans activists that pushed her the nom in the first place, so she's playing word games. That she won't answer may be the lawyer's answer, but it's not the right answer. If anything, she's tipping her hand on how she'd rule in future cases as she is siding with the liars, bullies, censors, and authoritarians who don't want the definition to be clear because it upsets their political applecart.

Amy Welborn said...

What is a woman?

From the Ovarit message board (TERF space):

Male and female are basically (and unromantically) just the bodies that house one of the two gametes required for sexual reproduction.

That covers all your non-childbearing/infertile, etc. cases.

To say that "woman" is defined by feelings or emotion is to essential remove human beings from the class mammalia.


Daniel12 said...

"Male and female are basically (and unromantically) just the bodies that house one of the two gametes required for sexual reproduction.

That covers all your non-childbearing/infertile, etc. cases."

What if a woman has her ovaries, which house her gametes, removed?
What about women who no longer have any gametes remaining?
What about women born with no gametes?

David Begley said...

Q: Are you a woman?
A: Yes
Q: Are you a biologist?
A: No
Q: How do you know that you’re a woman?

farmgirl said...

Then let’s do this:

https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/semantics

Honestly- XX/XY

Not difficult in any context.
The rest is simply shade.

Kay said...

Gahrie said...
If the meaning of words are so objective then why does language change so drastically over time?

When has "woman" ever meant anything other than "human with a vagina" or "Human with XX chromosomes"?
3/24/22, 12:06 PM


What’s the point of your question? Are you arguing that language never changes over time?

Robert Cook said...

"'Rather, we identify an individual’s biological sex by their primary sex organs (testes vs ovaries), as these organs are what form the basis for the type of gamete (sperm vs ova) an individual may potentially produce.'

"So essentially, a woman has ovaries and a man testes, and the size, shape, color, and functional ability of those organs has no bearing on their designation as male or female."


This defines males and females strictly on physical attributes. What about those "men" who have felt from childhood they were girls/women and those "women" who have felt from childhood they were boys/men?

One can try to dismiss them as delusional or otherwise wrong, but...how can we be sure? Our "gender" is part of our self-image, our sense of who we are. Is this self-image developed only through looking at ourselves and behaving as others do who look as we do? Or is it an innate aspect of our consciousness from birth? If so, how can it be that a "man" can be convinced he is a woman, and vice versa? Just as we cannot know why some people are heterosexual and others homosexual, we do not know how our innate sense of our gender is formed. In the womb, fetuses are asexual up to a point; is it not possible that the physical body develops male or female sexual organs while their consciousness develops to the contrary?

Given the number of trans people in the world, the answer seems to be "yes."

Gahrie said...

What’s the point of your question? Are you arguing that language never changes over time?

First I am saying that the meaning of the word "woman" in English has never changed. It's pronunciation may have changed, its spelling may have changed (standardized spelling is fairly new to English) but the definition hasn't. (Despite current attempts to do so) Every human being on Earth, when hearing the word for woman in their language immediately understands what is being spoken of. There is no language without a word for woman.

Secondly, not all language changes with time. While it is true that modern English speakers have trouble reading English from Elizabethan times, modern Spanish speakers can easily read Don Quixote, which is much older.

Kay said...

Gahrie said...
What’s the point of your question? Are you arguing that language never changes over time?

First I am saying that the meaning of the word "woman" in English has never changed. It's pronunciation may have changed, its spelling may have changed (standardized spelling is fairly new to English) but the definition hasn't. (Despite current attempts to do so) Every human being on Earth, when hearing the word for woman in their language immediately understands what is being spoken of. There is no language without a word for woman.

Secondly, not all language changes with time. While it is true that modern English speakers have trouble reading English from Elizabethan times, modern Spanish speakers can easily read Don Quixote, which is much older.

3/24/22, 1:02 PM


Nothing you’ve written so far contradicts my quoted statement. Do you understand what I mean if I say “I’m buying a bag of pot?” Would someone 300 years ago understand what that means? When the ladies refer to Shaft as “bad” in the theme to the movie Shaft, what exactly are they saying?

Narayanan said...

Asked when does life begin, she said, "Senator, um... I don't know."
=========
dear Professora/ commenters on this blog >>> hope you can provide context with video and academic and erudite analysis

Gahrie said...

This defines males and females strictly on physical attributes. What about those "men" who have felt from childhood they were girls/women and those "women" who have felt from childhood they were boys/men?

1) Feelings aren't facts. I feel like the emperor of the universe, but the universe doesn't give a shit.

2) No one denies that masculine women and feminine men exist. But that's how we describe them.

One can try to dismiss them as delusional or otherwise wrong, but...how can we be sure?

300,000 years of human history, 6,500 years of it recorded.

Our "gender" is part of our self-image, our sense of who we are. Is this self-image developed only through looking at ourselves and behaving as others do who look as we do?

Only in every human society that has ever existed. Do you think all of the males in tribal societies dress the same and wear their hair the same on accident? Take "sagging" for instance. How did it come into being? How was it transmitted to wider society? How quickly did it become adopted by a particular demographic and why?

Or is it an innate aspect of our consciousness from birth? If so, how can it be that a "man" can be convinced he is a woman, and vice versa?

Mental illness.

Just as we cannot know why some people are heterosexual and others homosexual, we do not know how our innate sense of our gender is formed. In the womb, fetuses are asexual up to a point; is it not possible that the physical body develops male or female sexual organs while their consciousness develops to the contrary?

If so, I would describe this as a birth defect due to improper development in the womb. It would certainly be deviant development by definition.

It would also seem to suggest that unborn children are conscious beings with the right to life long before the Left is willing to admit.

Gahrie said...

When the ladies refer to Shaft as “bad” in the theme to the movie Shaft, what exactly are they saying?

I give up. But when you call them "ladies" I know you mean women, and I know what a woman is, just like everyone else who speaks English whether they're willing to admit it or not.

Kay said...

Gahrie said...
When the ladies refer to Shaft as “bad” in the theme to the movie Shaft, what exactly are they saying?

I give up. But when you call them "ladies" I know you mean women, and I know what a woman is, just like everyone else who speaks English whether they're willing to admit it or not.

3/24/22, 1:24 PM


I agree with this.

I’m not familiar with the history of the word “woman,” so I can’t say how it may have changed over time. But if the meaning of “bad” can change, I don’t see why any other word might be safe. It’s easier to just accept this than to police the usage of words (not saying that’s what you’re suggesting or trying to do, by the way).

Narayanan said...

Blogger Robert Cook said...
It seems pretty clear to me. The question as to how she would define a "woman" would be entirely in the context of any given legal case that might be brought before the Supreme Court. Lacking a specific case to discuss, there is no context in which she can provide such a definition.
===========
to be clearer and more correctly context based : would she not be asking from the bench/dais/high chair of the parties before her : to provide their definitions for the term and flipping her finger/coin at one or the other?

Biff said...

Ever since the RNC started sending fundraising letters that are formatted to look like they're from the IRS, I've ignored everything I see from the RNC. The RNC treats actual conservative voters with contempt, and I like to think the feeling is mutual.

Narayanan said...

does/would this help ? chapter on definition in INTRODUCTION TO OBJECTIVIST EPISTEMOLOGY

A definition is a statement that identifies the nature of the units subsumed under a concept.

It is often said that definitions state the meaning of words. This is true, but it is not exact. A word is merely a visual-auditory symbol used to represent a concept; a word has no meaning other than that of the concept it symbolizes, and the meaning of a concept consists of its units. It is not words, but concepts that man defines — by specifying their referents.

The purpose of a definition is to distinguish a concept from all other concepts and thus to keep its units differentiated from all other existents.


farmgirl said...

“dear Professora/ commenters on this blog >>> hope you can provide context with video and academic and erudite analysis…”

Pretty sure we could, in illustration.
Oh, darn. All those images of limbs, torsos &little featured heads are to graphic to display publicly…

Robert Cook said...

"Only in every human society that has ever existed. Do you think all of the males in tribal societies dress the same and wear their hair the same on accident? Take "sagging" for instance. How did it come into being? How was it transmitted to wider society? How quickly did it become adopted by a particular demographic and why?"

WTF is "sagging?"

Do not think that girly-men and manly-woman have not been present in every society throughout history, or their propensity to dress and groom accordingly. What is new is our capacity to use surgical and chemical means to transform the physical exterior to match the internal being.

"Mental illness."

That's not an answer or an explantation; that's a dismissal.

"I would describe this as a birth defect due to improper development in the womb. It would certainly be deviant development by definition."

A birth variant, to be sure; to call it a "defect" is, again, merely a dismissal. By definition, it is "variant," yes.

"It would also seem to suggest that unborn children are conscious beings with the right to life long before the Left is willing to admit."

That depends, I suppose, on when "the Left" believes children become conscious beings.

Scotty, beam me up... said...

KBJ says that she’s not a biologist when asked about what a woman is. When a case of a M-F transgender person gets to the court against Title IX asking to be defined as a woman for whatever legal reason that benefits that person (and it will during KJB’s time on the high court; it’s only a matter of time), will KJB recuse herself because she is not a biologist and feels she is not competent to rule on the case?

Robert Cook said...

"KBJ says that she’s not a biologist when asked about what a woman is. When a case of a M-F transgender person gets to the court against Title IX asking to be defined as a woman for whatever legal reason that benefits that person (and it will during KJB’s time on the high court; it’s only a matter of time), will KJB recuse herself because she is not a biologist and feels she is not competent to rule on the case?"

Presumably, she will base her decision on the law as she understands it to be, and she will do whatever reading as may be necessary to inform her decision.

Gahrie said...

WTF is "sagging?"

Seriously? That's almost as absurd as your assertion that you've never read Das Kapital.

If you truly do not know what sagging is, it merely indicates your disconnection from reality.

pacwest said...

You keep dancing, but sooner or later
all those angels are going to fall off that pinhead.

Robert Cook said...

No, Gahrie, I have never heard of "sagging," (other than sagging skin in older people),and I have never read Das Kapital (or any other works of Karl Marx).

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

I've never heard the term "sagging." It's just a short hand for "droopy drawers" and less descriptive. "Sagging" could be wood beam with an 80% limit load applied. Of course, once a 100% limit load is applied, "sagging" would become "shattered."

farmgirl said...

What is the word where everyone intentionally speaks past one another?
Is there a word for that?

A farmer’s guess at sagging- when someone’s pants are practically down around their knees.
I never read das kaput all, for sure.

Robert Cook said...

I just looked up "sagging." I have seen people wearing their pants in that manner, but I have never (previously) heard this term for it.

Michael K said...

Given the number of trans people in the world, the answer seems to be "yes."

A number which is wildly exaggerated by "activists." There is about 0.01% of the population with "gender dysphoria," of whom 90% recover by adulthood./\

farmgirl said...

Haha- spellcheck again

Christopher B said...

I see Daniel12 and Robert Cook continue to throw up sand. I hear we're supposed to be guided by Science, or at least the expert's opinion, and the gentleman I quoted is one. His argument is directly on point to you bringing up issues that have nothing to do with the determination of biological sex in an effort to say "It's complicated" when it's not.

To legal analysis, as in the case Ms. Althouse referenced where "white" also included "black" with respect to indigenous peoples, it is possible to determine the intent of the legislature towards those not having particular, or even any, gonads when that determination is necessary by looking at how the law treats each biological sex in particular.

That you don't like the range of potential outcomes when male and female are determined by standard biological classification does not mean the determination can't be made, and your continued argument about complications is a pretty good indication that what you really want is a pseudo-definition that changes based on your desired outcome of case.

Readering said...

Cook, read Communist Manifesto, it's short. Had it assigned in more than one college course. You will instantly recognize a number of passages, especially at start and finish. Kinda like reading the New Testament for the allusions in subsequent 2000 years of fiction and non-fiction.

Bilwick said...

No doubt about it, this woman will be right up there in the intellectual stratosphere along with the Wise Latina.

Readering said...

Never hear of sagging? Makes me think KBJ should have replied to the Senator from Tennessee, Just a sec, let my daughter google that for you; no point in being inaccurate when you are trying to decide if you want to move my nomination forward, and it's so easy for her.

Chris Lopes said...

"That's almost as absurd as your assertion that you've never read Das Kapital."

Why? A lot of people on all sides of the political spectrum haven't read Das Kapital or Mein Kampf for that matter. Cook has never hid his political affiliations, so I don't see what motive he would have for lying. You can disagree with him (I certainly do) without calling his character into question.

JLT said...

A better answer would have been to paraphrase Potter Stewart and say, “I can’t provide you with a definition of a woman, but I know one when I see one.”

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Daniel12 said...
Greg the Class Traitor, that is quite an elaborate definition with various exceptions. Also, unlike anything I said, it definitely includes feelings, since you mention courtesy.
Bzzt, wrong
"Courtesy" is not about the feelings of the claimant, it's about generosity from the rest of us.

Since if you're so desperate to be a "woman" that you're willing to have your wang cut of, we'll give it to you. But an intelligent person will note here that it's not the person's feelings that matter, but the person's actions, and the actual physical reality.

Here's your simple definition:
Do you have a penis?
If so, you are male, or hermaphrodite
Do you have a vagina?
If so, you are female or a hermaphrodite
If you have both a penis and a vagina, you are a hermaphrodite. Otherwise, you are not

If you have a penis, you may not be an inmate in a women's / girls prisons / jail
If you have a penis, you may not compare in any sporting event as a female / woman / girl
If you have a penis, you may not got in to a women's / girl's bathroom, locker room, restroom, sauna / spa / or any other space generally considered in the 1950s to 1980s as a female space, unless you are a janitor / law enforcement officer / maintenance person going in there as a legitimate part of your duties

That make it clear enough for even someone as pinheaded and willfully dishonest as you?

And it might be challenging to use that definition in practice
"Do you have a penis? You're not a women, get the hell out of here"

Pretty simple and straightforward

without medical testing and since there seem to be some difficult loopholes and thresholds. Indeed your definition only justifies Judge Jackson's careful response.
Bzzt, wrong again.
Because more than 99% of the time "has penis" answers teh question. And, when it comes to biology and / or humanity, having an answer that works easily 99% of the time is more than you can reasonably expect


Trans rights proponents are most assuredly attempting to change the fundamental platonic definition of woman and man. I can certainly understand disagreeing with this. That said, it is obvious that defining "woman" in a way that includes all the diversity of real world women but excludes trans women is not actually so easy.

Sure it is. "We're you born with a penis?" if so, you're male. Solves the problem completely.

and if teh trans activists and their fellow travelers keep on pushing, that's what we're going to go back to. no "sex change." you are what you're born with, and if that makes you want to die you're welcome to suck start a shotgun.

if you don't want that answer, stop pushing

Ann Althouse said...

“ Ann Althouse: Ted Cruz did follow up precisely along the lines you suggest, asking her how she would define a woman for purposes of a lawsuit under a particular part of the Federal Code (Article 3 maybe?). She refused to answer that either. He said what if he declared himself a woman to qualify for protection under that provision of the law. She would not answer that.’

I saw what I believe you are talking about but it’s not about “woman” as a statutory term but as a person having standing to sue.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/23/sen-blackburn-slams-judge-jackson-on-definition-of-woman/

I can see that she declined to attempt to give legal analysis.

PaoloP said...

Don't be silly, Althouse.

Browndog said...

Marbury v Madison set the course for the down fall of America-

change my mind...

Chris Lopes said...

Not being able to define what a woman is in the legal sense sounds more like a political position than a legal one. She knows what a woman is, being one was one of the things that got her the nomination in the first place. So she is being deliberately vague as to not upset the "trans" community. It's a liberal trying to appease a fridge liberal group. That it opens her up to ridicule is just the price she has to pay for their support.

PB said...

Here is where Shakespeare was correct about what to do with lawyers, but I guess it depends on what the meaning of is, is.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Q: Haw many feet in a yard?
A: I don't know, I'm not a Podiatrist.

Marc in Eugene said...

This all reminds me of Regina v. Ojibway.

That was an amusing illustration of lawyerly sophistry, sure enough.

What's emanating from your penumbra said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...

The statute was designed to protect the Indian tribes and the statute used the word white. "White" was properly understood to mean not Indian.

What a pedantic example of the exception proving the rule.

What's emanating from your penumbra said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...

The statute was designed to protect the Indian tribes and the statute used the word white. "White" was properly understood to mean not Indian.

What about Bizarro World? You know, the imaginary place where everything is inverted and things generally mean the opposite of what they normally are understood to mean.

Given that such a place exists, even in someone's imagination, I guess the correct answer to every question is that an answer can't be given because it depends on the context.

This is where your self-serving rationalization takes us.

What's emanating from your penumbra said...

I'm imagining Ted Cruz jumping up from the table and yelling "gotcha!! In some contexts, black means white!!"

Daniel12 said...

Jeez Greg you have at least two definitions in your own comment: have a penis v had at birth, the first one being mutable. (And by the way I presume these are definitions of men not women; for women you only mention have a vagina, also mutable.) Both definitions are entirely different than your previous definitions, as your anger takes over and the insults start to fly. You raised a new qualifier regarding feelings -- I don't recall any specification of whose feelings previously, and the only even tangential reference I had made was in fact not to the claimant.

And to top it off, demonstrating that it's all just driven by anger, you feel so confident in your own certain yet varied definitions that you threatened to change them based on whether others continue to hold their positions!

If you keep let your anger with others drive a chain of reactionary thoughts, you'll keep ending up caught in a web of your own spinning.

By the way, to the extent that it matters, my own personal opinions are not near as complex as the points I have been making in this discussion, which to me is in the particular context of the courts and the legal system and especially what it means to be an individual person dealing with a non-applicable platonic definition someone tries to foist on you. I'll tell you though, I'd have a hell of time giving a simple answer to Blackburn's question, and from what I'm seeing in this thread, so would all of you.

Narayanan said...

in PowerlineBlog

I am seeing this called THE FREEPORT QUESTION OF OUR TIME

learned some history about D party split and Stephen Douglas

Bruce Hayden said...

“It seems pretty clear to me. The question as to how she would define a "woman" would be entirely in the context of any given legal case that might be brought before the Supreme Court. Lacking a specific case to discuss, there is no context in which she can provide such a definition.”

That’s what she should probably have sad, but not what she actually sad.

Bruce Hayden said...

“This defines males and females strictly on physical attributes. What about those "men" who have felt from childhood they were girls/women and those "women" who have felt from childhood they were boys/men?”

Don’t care.

“One can try to dismiss them as delusional or otherwise wrong, but...how can we be sure? Our "gender" is part of our self-image, our sense of who we are. Is this self-image developed only through looking at ourselves and behaving as others do who look as we do? Or is it an innate aspect of our consciousness from birth? If so, how can it be that a "man" can be convinced he is a woman, and vice versa? Just as we cannot know why some people are heterosexual and others homosexual, we do not know how our innate sense of our gender is formed. In the womb, fetuses are asexual up to a point; is it not possible that the physical body develops male or female sexual organs while their consciousness develops to the contrary?”

Don’t care again. Most of us don’t. “Men” and “Women” are shorthand terms with well defined meanings, accepted by almost all of the country. The laws, as written, assumed those common definitions. You are trying to redefine terms on the basis of subjective feelings. Which is 1984 as an instruction manual, and Maoist destruction of our cultural fabric.

That said, I think that much of the country is willing to play along with their fantasies to a certain point. But only where it doesn’t matter. “No” on putting untransitiined trans women with rapable women in prisons, using women’s restrooms, qualifying to continue serving in the military under the lower female standard, or even avoiding the draft (which is what is happening right now in Ukraine). Probably “no” in athletic competitions. But, when it doesn’t matter, then maybe.

“Given the number of trans people in the world, the answer seems to be "yes."”

As Dr K pointed out, overall a negligible number of true transgendered. For the most part, we are talking a psychological problem that is best addressed with counseling. Most ultimately grow out of it, and are fine, as long as they haven’t been permanently mutated or had their development affected by hormones. It’s definitely not something that should be mainstreamed in K-12. But then homosexuality probably shouldn’t be taught or taught about before maybe high school. Why so late for these? Because before this, you aren’t fully sexually mature. Sure, you may be physically sexually mature enough to procreate, but not mentally.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Daniel12 said...
Jeez Greg you have at least two definitions in your own comment: have a penis v had at birth, the first one being mutable. (And by the way I presume these are definitions of men not women; for women you only mention have a vagina, also mutable.) Both definitions are entirely different than your previous definitions

Time for another round of "stupid, or just dishonest?"
The hard core "fuck all those whiners" version is "what did you have at birth?"

The kind hearted version, it's what we're willing to use, but only if you stop trying to push bullshit on us is "what do you have right now?"

The complicated version involves looking at DNA. The simple version just involves looking at your groin. You whined about the complicated one, so I gave you the simple one.

The you whined about that. Because you're a lying sack of shit

None of them, none of anything I've every posted here, relies on the feelings of the person being judged.
If you can't figure that out, you're really stupid.
If you just refuse to, you're really dishonest

And to top it off, demonstrating that it's all just driven by anger, you feel so confident in your own certain yet varied definitions that you threatened to change them based on whether others continue to hold their positions!

Ah, going for "stupid", I see.

Allowing people to use surgery as a "sex change" option is a curtesy, not a right.
Because someone's who's had a sex change operation isn't an actually functioning male or female. Those now "male" don't produce sperm. Those now "female" don't produce egos, don't have an actual menstrual cycle, and can't ever serve as an actual mother.

If you'd like a society where we withdraw the curtesy, where we say "nah, there's no such thing as a sex change operation, you're just a horribly mutilated male or female, rather than an unmutilated one", we can go that route. Just keep on pushing this "we can't really tell the difference between a man and a woman" bullshit