Eugene Volokh Defends Female-Free Federalist Society Events

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Here. No wonder he has to pose all his questions about menstruation on his blog.

–Ann Bartow

Update: A telling exchange culled from the comments:

David Bernstein wrote:

Unlike most Fed Society events, the panels at the Bork event were almost entirely composed of Fed Society people, mostly law professors. I can tell you from attending some Fed Society faculty events that there aren’t many women faculty willing to publicly identify as Federalists, whether that’s because they disproportionately don’t share the ideology or because of other factors I don’t know. So let’s turn the question around on Muller and Dudziak: instead of asking why the Federalist Society doesn’t invite women to speak, let’s ask why either (a) women faculty with Federalist-type views don’t become active in the Federalist Society (peer pressure on women not to be seen as “right-wing”); or (b) legal academia discourages women with Federalist-type views from joining it to begin with. I can see either or both of these things being a problem–female colleagues at George Mason who are quite conservative or libertarian are constantly assumed to be liberals by people at other law schools, and are asked things like, “how do you put up with being around all those ‘conservatives’.”

Eric Muller replied:

David, is it really your view that conservative men have the courage (I shall not say “balls”; that would not be fair) to identify themselves as Federalists, but conservative women do not?

If there is a chilling effect in academia of the kind you describe, then what, in your view, explains its differential operation on men and women?

And then Bernstein again:

I’m sure that there is a lower baseline of women at elite law schools with Federalist-type views than men. But I also think that women “right-wingers” are given a harder time than are men, because women are “supposed” to be left-wing. It’s not a question of “courage,” as such, it’s a question of whether the level of discrimination one faces to get into the academy, and the level of ostracism one faces once one is in the academy, is worth it on a marginal basis. Is there a male-female difference in willingness to be a lightning rod for critics from your own and other faculties (one lone libertarian I know on an elite faculty gets visits from some liberal colleagues whenever they feel the need to vent about Bush Administration policies, even very unlibertarian ones)? I don’t know, but I do believe that a woman, who adopts conservative positions is more likely to be a lightning rod to begin with.

I think Bernstein has just explained why women law profs might have different perspectives and experiences than men, but will he convince Volokh? Finally, Joe Slater trenchantly noted:

… thanks to David Bernstein for explaining how the lack of female participation at least some federalist events is the fault of liberals. I mean, if there’s a problem of any kind, anywhere, who else’s fault could it be?

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