The James Wilson Foundation on Natural Rights and the American Founding

“Gorsuch Does Transgenderism: Notes on the Wreckage”: Prof. Hadley Arkes in The Catholic Thing

In a recent essay in The Catholic Thing, JWI founder and director Prof. Hadley Arkes writes about how the majority opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County and Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, will wreck not only our jurisprudence, but also all corners of our society. He focuses on Justice Neil Gorsuch and his implicit acceptance of the predicate of one side of this debate, using the alternative name and pronouns for Anthony Stephens, the former employee at Harris Funeral Homes. Prof. Arkes points out that Justice Gorsuch has opened the door to discrimination cases that could reach as far as women’s entry into boys’ locker rooms and bathrooms and vice versa. Furthermore, Prof. Arkes points out that Gorsuch does not actually grapple with whether Anthony Stephens truly became a woman, but rather that his identification as such was sufficient, legally, to be obligatorily respected by everyone else. 

Some quotes from the essay:

“The man who was appointed, with high fanfare, to take the place of Justice Scalia would now make the decisive vote, and write the opinion, in a case that promises to disfigure our laws and our lives, much in the way that Roe v. Wade has worked to remake the culture.”

“Gorsuch remarked that “Aimee” had “presented as a male” when “she first got the job.”  From the outset, Gorsuch absorbed the predicate of Stephens’ claim: that in his own understanding, he had in fact become a woman.”

“Gorsuch and the Court can preserve their detachment on the question of whether a man can become a woman only if they simply ignore that inescapable, objective truth of what constitutes “sex.”  To admit that truth is to turn the decision into gibberish.  For if the meaning of “sex” was indeed so inescapably true, no one could be obliged to respect Stephens’ claim to be regarded as a woman.”

The full essay can be found here.

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Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge.
— James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1790