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segregation of sports, that we throw boys and girls together. Suppose we have four basketball teams in junior high. Half of those who participate will be boys, half will be girls. If a girl can make the first team, so be it. If the most skilled players are boys, then let them be on the first team. A radical suggestion when we’re just getting girls’ and women’s sports established. But it’s a proposal that challenges our assumptions. And it challenges the practice of segregation based on sex, something that seems even more resilient than segregation based on race. A physical education teacher quoted in McGowan’s paper declared many years ago that girls should not participate in athletic contests because it “might tend to destroy the maidenly modesty that is, or should be, one of girlhood’s greatest charms.” He went on: “We must carefully avoid any tendency to make our girls bold.” While it has fallen out of fashion to worry about “maidenly modesty,” the teacher’s sentiments are not so far behind us. As Austin student Tina Trejo found out when she had to sue for her right to play on the boys’ football team, there are still many obstacles for the girl who is so bold as to demand equal treatment with the boys. DESPITE ALL THE complaining from Judge Robert Bork and his embittered supporters that his Supreme Court nomination was done in by a multimillion-dollar media campaign of “character assassination” and “distortion,” the Bork victory was won at the grassroots level, and there are useful lessons in it. Organizers working to win the hearts and minds of the people would do well to study the campaign against Bork. The first lesson: define the issue in terms which are favorable to your cause and work hard to keep the focus there. Second, do your homework and get the word out early and thoroughly. Third, work with like-minded groups and stress your similarities, not your differences. The emotional and psychological boost that progressives and civil rights advocates have had from the Bork fight ought to help us put these lessons to good use. For President Reagan’s entire first term and much of his second, most of us were demoralized by the “Teflon Presidency.” The Moral Majority and like groups were ascendant, and the country seemed to be moving away from the gains in personal freedom and civil rights of the ’60s and ’70s. We managed to block most of the Reagan social agenda in Congress, but most often through parliamentary maneuvers like filibuster threats. We lacked confidence that our positions indeed, our basic values would be affirmed by public opinion. The Bork fight has made it clear that we underestimated our strength. The Gara LaMarche is Executive Director of the Texas Civil Liberties Union. debate soon transcended Bork himself, and became in effect a referendum on the role of the Supreme Court in interpreting the Constitution. There was a widespread rejection of the Reagan/Meese argument that the Court should protect only those rights explicitly found in the literal text of the Constitution, and leave most personal freedom and equality issues to the will of political majorities. We discovered broad public support for Constitutional values such as privacy and equality. Now what should we do with this new-found strength and confidence? First, it is crucial that everyone involved in the Bork fight understand that the defeat of one right-wing extremist does not mean that our liberties are secure. We don’t like to admit it, but our right-wing critics have a point when they assail our dependence on the federal courts. We believe that abortion rights, free speech, the death penalty, affirma tive action and the like are issues of Constitutional dimension, which ought to be placed beyond the vicissitudes of the political process. But those of us who grew up in the Warren Era tend to have the mindset that rights are something you get from courts, when in fact that has been the case for a relatively brief time in American history. Whoever replaces Justice Powell will be at least as conservative as he was, and for some time to come the Supreme Court is likely to continue eroding the rights of criminal defendants, upholding the use of the death penalty, and expanding the power of the executive branch. We must step up our work on all of these issues in the political sphere. It remains a real possibility that abortion rights will one day be subject once again to the whims of 50 state legislatures. It would be a tragic mistake to assume that our victory in stopping Robert Bork means that we can relax our vigilance. In the coming years, as in the recent past, what rights we have may depend more on us on our activism than on the courts. We need to channel the energy and organization generated by the battle over Bork into a broader campaign to promote and protect the constitutional values affirmed by that effort. We have seen sometimes to our benefit, as in the collapse of 011ie-mania just how mercurial public opinion can be, and we cannot risk losing ground. There are plenty of signs that suggest that even on the most controversial issues, such as pornography and crime, the American people are more supportive of civil liberties than we generally give them credit for. A recent CBS News/Nert , York Times poll found a majority for the proposition that, far from going “too far in protecting the rights of people accused of crimes,” the Supreme Court has “generally done what is necessary to see that the accused are treated fairly.” And what about the whopping margin 71 to 29 percent by which Maine voters beat back a fundamentalist-backed pornography referendum? We should take advantage of the The Post-Bork Challenge By Gara LaMarche 10 OCTOBER 23, 1987