The two women largely considered to be front-runners in the race to replace Justice Souter on the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Elena Kagan and federal appellate judge Sonia Sotomayor, are coming under harsh criticism—not because of their career decisions or stances on important issues, but because of their weight.
Women in power make people uncomfortable. We can all agree on that simple point, but within hours of the news circulating that Sotomayor and Kagan were on President Obama's short list, ridiculous comments began flying about whether or not the president should be concerned about their "health." Paul Campos rounded up some of the most inflammatory comments culled from prominent political websites and discussed why women in power are subject to different kinds of scrutiny than men in a blog post on the Daily Beast:
At The Washington Monthly, a commentator claimed to have employed a
more scientifically rigorous method: “To all the short-sighted libs who
are clamoring for the youngest-possible nominee... Right idea, wrong
methodology. You want someone who will serve the longest, i.e. with the greatest remaining life expectancy—and that involves more than simple
age. I tried assessing their respective health prospects, and ruled out
all who even border on overweight. Best choice: Kim McLane Wardlaw,
whose ectomorphitude reflects her publicly known aerobic-exercise
(Wardlaw’s “ectomorphitude” also gets rave reviews at legal gossip
site Underneath Their Robes, which describes her as "Heather Locklear
in a black robe. This blond Hispanic hottie boasts a fantastic smile
and an incredible body, showcased quite nicely by her elegant
Meanwhile, a letter writer at Salon comments on Sotomayor’s
candidacy, “How do you say 55, overweight, and diabetic in Spanish?” (Sotomayor was diagnosed with Type I diabetes—which doesn’t correlate with higher weight—when she was a child).
Should Obama take weight into consideration when considering people for Supreme Court Justice replacements? Or do you think the comments are thinly veiled misogynistic attacks?