PEOPLE Make a world of difference ! We’re proud of our employees and their contributions to your success and ours. Call us for quality printing, binding, mailing and data processing services. Get to know the people at Futura. FUTUlkA P.O. Box 17427 Austin, TX 78760-7427 389-1500 COMMUNICATIONS, INC wrote. “A lot of lawyers are trying to stick it to the insurance companies by claiming that the situation was negligently caused.” Most policies will pay for negligent damages caused in the home, such as damages caused by the homeowner tripping over a wire, but not intentional damages, such as the owner purposely breaking a door. Piro maintained that Twyman chose negligent infliction for her case in order to have greater access to insurance monies. Spector’s addition to the bench cushioned for Texas liberals the loss of Justice Oscar Mauzy, who was unseated in the 1992 election. From her first dissenting opinions in March 1993, Spector’s inclination has been to join justices Doggett and Gammage on the progressive wing of the Court. Spector’s dissents have favored environmental rights and stronger state regulations over large corporations, but it was by the the Twyman case that she appears to have set her course. After Twyman, Spector dissented in another case perceived to involve women’s rights in Valenzuela v.. Aquino. The Court’s majority in Valenzuela upheld Eliseo Valenzuela and other anti-abortion activists’ right to picket the home of Dr. Eduardo Aquino, a doctor who performed abortions in Corpus Christi and whose family allegedly suffered numerous long-term physical and mental disorders as a result of the protests. Justice Hecht defended Valenzuela’ s right to protest in an opinion that reversed a Nueces County court’s $800,000 award for Aquino and a permanent injunction that banned all picketing within 400 feet of Aquino’s house. Spector, in a dissent, rejected the majority’s logic, claiming that the case focused on the privacy rights of Aquino and his family. Spector argued that the “circuslike spectacle” that Valenzuela conducted every night in the street in front of Aquino’s home endangered the protections contained in Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that established a women’s right to abortions. She wrote, “Increasingly … the ability of women and families to make this deci sion [to have an abortion] has been severely constricted. Targeting doctors as the ‘weak link’ in the provision of abortion services,[anti-abortion-rights groups] have used a strategy of harassment and intimidation to dissuade skilled clinicians from entering this field or convince them to quit.” Spector agreed with Justice Hecht’s reversal of damages but she supported the injunction. Women who play close attention to the legal profession have questioned whether Spector speaks to a particularly female ideological position in her dissents. Certainly most people would agree with Miers that Spector’s gender is important on the Court because “women are a good portion of the population.” Yet many women also agree with Glossbrenner that Spector’s politics are progressively in favor of women’s rights. Glossbrenner applauded Spector for the “consciousness she has brought to the Court on women’s issues.” Barbara Aldave, dean of St. Mary’s School of Law and director of the Court’s Gender Bias Task Force, explained it this way: “Spector [as a woman] has a special sensitivity to [other] women” that men don’t necessarily have. Men might have Judge Spector’s point of view, but they wouldn’t be as likely to make the same decisions,” she said. Whitehead echoed these sentiments, adding that sensitivity to “women’s issues” includes a certain ideological position on “the abortion issue, sexual and economic discrimination and … the issue of whether a cause of action should exist for negligently inflicted emotional distress.” Whether sensitive or not, Spector admits to feeling a “certain responsibility” as the only woman on the bench, if only because “it’s an opportunity that not everyone has.” Spector seems to believe that women do share a common history that sets them apart from men. In her Twyman dissent, Spector cited statistics from Susan Faludi’.s book Backlash to demonstrate that women are disproportionately affected by economic and social inequalities. Spector said that conservative reinforcement of those inequalities is a cm cial element of women’s history, although she opined that women are more aware of societal backlash now than they were two years ago. The turning point, as she sees it, occurred during the Clarence Thomas hearings. “Anita Hill absolutely energized women,” Spector said, because women “can recount similar incidents in their own lives or the lives of their daughters.” Yet even that event has been followed by a tide of criticism from sexist reactionaries, according to Spector. She cited the book, The Anita Hill Story, which explores Hill’s personal sexual history, as another example of backlash against feminism. Perhaps in fear of a conservative reaction, then, Spector has tried not to make too many waves with her opinions. She has refrained from criticizing her colleagues, calling them “cordial and congenial.” , “We disagree on some things but I think there is a respect among the judges, she observed. ” Spector also has laid low on recent Supreme Court decisions that involve women’s rights. In Ex parte Tucci, Spector joined Doggett’ s majority opinion, which validated abortion protesters’ free speech rights to protest outside local family planning clinics during the Republican National Convention. In addition, she did not write an opinion in Massey v. Massey, which, like Twyman, involved the claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress. In that case, Justice Gammage, writing for the majority, allowed the female plaintiff to recover $362,000 in damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, but disallowed recovery for negligent infliction. , Aldave claims that Spector cannot be too radically pro-women’s-rights. “Her stance has been strong enough. I get calls from men already saying that she should be impeached,” Aldave said. Spector is in a uniquely difficult position, according to Aldave, because as the only woman on the Court, her decisions will be the most scrutinized. “She’s in the same position as Sandra Day O’Connor today [before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was sworn in on the U.S. Supreme Court], in that anything she says is followed with more interest than if the Court were more diverse,” Aldave said. Even taking into account the “backlash” documented in the Faludi book of the same title, Spector is optimistic about the slow but sure progress of women’s rights in history. She observes that of all the suffragettes who gathered at the first national convention at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, to advocate voting rights for women, only one woman lived long enough to cast a ballot. “It’s slow, [but] each time you can never really go back,” she said. “Even when there is a strong opposition to women, it’s not what it was 20 or 30 years ago. More and more people accept that women can hold responsible jobs and that women ought to get equal pay.” 10 OCTOBER 15, 1993
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