Adele M. Stan

Adele M. Stan is senior editor, digital at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Opening Day

The members of the Senate Judiciary Committee showed up in their Sunday best -- the men in the darkest of their dark suits, the whitest of their white shirts, and their most tastefully understated ties. The only woman on the panel wore pearls. With all of them on their best behavior, the senators played their parts as though they were based on a character sketch provided with the script of a teleplay. The first day of the confirmation hearings for the nomination of Judge John D. Roberts to the top spot on the high court had all the drama of a made-for-TV movie – which is to say, not much drama at all. Here, formulaic predictability substituted for passion. The presidency of John F. Kennedy is widely regarded as the nation's first televised presidency, one played perfectly by a telegenic First Couple. It took another 45 years to get the first made-for-TV Supreme Court hearings with a nominee as telegenic as Kennedy for chief justice, one who appeared, according to Senator Jeff Sessions...

Unfounded Fodder

If you thought that last weekend's simulcast right-wing confab, “Justice Sunday II,” was about the latest nomination to the Supreme Court, you'd be a little bit right. If you thought it was waged to demonize liberals while imparting a sense of aggrieved oppression to the white Protestants assembled in churches across the nation to watch the event on big-screen TVs, you'd be a little more right. In truth, however, the agenda is far larger than either of these; they are simply the means to an end. For the apocalyptic vision of right-wing leaders, a vision they are on their way to realizing, is nothing short of the overturning of Marbury v. Madison , the landmark case decided during the first administration of President Thomas Jefferson that established the Supreme Court's right of judicial review, the means by which the constitutionality of laws passed by the legislative branch is determined. Throughout the “Justice Sunday II” program, speakers from House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to...

Meet John Roberts

It's hard to know what's more disturbing about President George W. Bush's nomination of Judge John Roberts for a seat on the Supreme Court: the man's sparse paper trail or the loose leaves he's scattered along the way. Either way, the nomination should give pause, not just to women or African Americans but to all Americans who hold dear the Bill of Rights. Let's begin with Roberts' women problem. As deputy solicitor general for George Bush Senior, Roberts presented two troubling briefs on matters having to do with abortion. In 1991, he served up the government's case before the Supreme Court in Rust v. Sullivan , arguing for the right to restrict the speech rights of family-planning organizations that receive public funding. The result of that decision upheld a gag rule on such organizations, denying them the right to mention abortion as one alternative to continuing a pregnancy. Note that we're not talking here about whether the organization in question can administer an abortion; we...

A Feminist Folk Hero (Sort Of)

The announcement of Sandra Day O'Connor's resignation from the Supreme Court heralds a dark road ahead for women -- not just because she will undoubtedly be replaced by some reactionary right-winger but because women will lose a genuine advocate and protector on the high court. When, in 1981, Ronald Reagan introduced the nation to Sandra Day O'Connor, his first nominee to the Supreme Court, feminists looked on warily. It figured, we thought, that the increasingly anti-woman GOP would be the first to land a woman on the high court. Would she turn out to be a Margaret Thatcher -- an iron lady sent to do the right's bidding? In fact, she turned out to be anything but, often foiling right-wing justices by joining the somewhat liberal wing in its decisions. It was O'Connor who consistently upheld the rights of women to labor free of sexual harassment in the workplace, joining the majority in the Court's precedent-setting 1986 decision Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson , the case that...

Paper Anniversary

It was a June wedding, in the country fashion -- homemade, outdoors, with neighbors from miles around proudly proffering plates brimming with the fruits of their gardens and ovens. The collection of cakes, some homely but most of them exquisite, occupied a table of their own, with a somewhat artless attempt at the classic tiered wedding cake holding court in the center. Crowned with an approximated take on the standard happy-couple cake topper, the confection featured a bride dressed in white -- and another decked out in blue. That was 11 years ago, and, tasked with finding a bride-and-bride cake decoration for the commitment ceremony of my friends Jackie and Beth, I threw up my hands after walking the length and breadth of Manhattan Island, seeking the illusive tchotchke. So I went to a crafts store in Jersey, bought a couple of doll forms, and made my own damn lesbian brides, smirking all the while at the subversive, voodoo feel of the work. These days, same-sex cake toppers are...

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