Converging Trajectories: Interest Convergence, Justice Kennedy, and Jeannie Suk's 'The Trajectory of Trauma'
Columbia Law Review Sidebar, Vol. 110, p. 63, October 2010
10 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2010 Last revised: 5 Mar 2018
Date Written: October 13, 2010
This essay responds to Jeannie Suk's recent article in the Columbia Law Review, The Trajectory of Trauma: Bodies and Minds of Abortion Discourse. Suk argues that feminists are responsible for legitimizing a paternalistic attitude towards women that came home to roost in Gonzales v. Carhart. This essay argues that Suk's critique of feminist paternalism needs to be supplemented with a discussion of traditional paternalism and its influence on how feminist advocacy enters the law. In particular, it suggests that Derrick Bell's theory of interest convergence provides a useful framework for understanding the cultural, legal, and rhetorical evidence adduced by Suk. This broader framework highlights additional pieces of the puzzle that should be taken into account before we pass judgment on feminist paternalism.
Keywords: abortion, Gonzales v. Carhart, feminist theory, paternalism, Supreme Court
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