How About That

Turns out the co-lead counsel on Varnum v. Brien, the Iowa same-sex marriage case, was someone I’ve known for a while: Camilla Taylor, whom I have known since the early 90s (through the good graces of a friend of mine who went to college with me and graduate school with her). That she’s notched a historic court ruling on her belt doesn’t surprise me in the least; she’s always been super-smart. It’s nice to know that I’m one degree of separation from this one. Good job, Camilla.

35 Comments on “How About That”

  1. trailmagick: “She’s easy on the eyes, too.”

    John Scalzi: “Which, of course, is neither here nor there regarding her ability to litigate.”

    Well, yes and no. It doesn’t affect her skills and it *shouldn’t* affect how her efforts are perceived … but it probably does, at least sometimes.

    (Of course, that can cut both ways. There are still lots of people who think beautiful women can’t be smart.)

  2. @ trailmagick: I would totally petition under Rule 34 for some of that.

    I also see that she’s an adjunct professor at Northwestern. I don’t know why, but there are a lot of seriously good-looking adjunct law professors. My Crim Pro class was taught by two Deputy US Attorneys with Harvard and Yale law degrees who looked like Laura Roslin and Boomer from BSG. Yow.

  3. The ruling was quite incredible, she did an outstanding job presenting the case. She made a compelling case to a conservative court. Amazing.

  4. Considering the state of the world, I’d guess that you spend a good deal of your life annoyed Mr. Scalzi :)

    Anyway. Wonderful job, although, that there was a job that needed to be done at all is kinda depressing. Should’ve been this way without anyone needing to think or give a ruling about it. Wishful thinking I know.

  5. John, it’s the Internet. Not saying you shouldn’t be annoyed, but I hope you aren’t surprised. I mean

    JS: Here is a bio and professional picture of Michiko Yamaguchi, a woman who is a friend of my wife’s, who holds six PhD.s, has invented a cure for cancer which she immediately put into the public domain. She also personally saved fifty people from a burning orphanage, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – twice – and single-handedly fixed every ‘known issue’ still outstanding in World of Warcraft.

    Average Internet Guy: Whoa. I’d totally hit that.

  6. Mythago:

    “Not saying you shouldn’t be annoyed, but I hope you aren’t surprised.”

    No, but it would have been nice if it hadn’t have happened right at the top of the comment queue.

  7. Well done, Camilla. A whole lot of people are pretty darn happy with what you helped get done.

  8. Sometimes, I wish I hadn’t decided against going into law, back when it was still an option. Then I hear that there are already awesome lawyers out there doing good things.

    Go her. This whole thing makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, with more faith in my fellow human beings.

  9. As a gay woman, I gotta say, thanks Camilla, I so appreciate all the work you have done.

    And thanks John … women get this shite all the time, no matter how accomplished we are, no matter what we have done, or how intelligent we are, more often than not the first comment will we whether or not we are worthy enough to be f*cked.

    I mean, look at Condi Rice, Hilary Clinton, Michelle Obama and despite how incredibly at the top of their fields they are, what is more often than not discussed is how they look.

    Yay, patriarchy. Not.

  10. Hooray for Ms. Taylor! I’d be pleased to be that degree of separation away, too.

    There was a kerfluffle on a new (well, newly-transferred-over) Discover blog, The Intersection, related to the women-are-first-judged-on-appearance issue recently, described here if you’re interested.

  11. John @ # 8 – can I say how happy I am that you’re the sort of person who gets annoyed at that?

    You knowing so many amazing people is probably because of that sort of mindset, you know.

  12. Great going. Too bad my home state of California, supposedly the liberal and libertine capital of the United States, was sucked in by religious propaganda to believe that “marriage” is exclusive to hetrosexuals. It amazes me that they haven’t said “If you can’t or won’t have kids then you can’t be married” because of course marriage is only supposed to be between two people who can procreate.

  13. Looking at her bio…

    Taylor has appeared before numerous Ohio courts to make clear that Ohio’s 2004 antigay constitutional amendment, while spiteful and discriminatory, does not leave unmarried people broadly unprotected. In numerous appeals from domestic violence convictions, including the Ohio Supreme Court case, State v. Carswell, Taylor authored amicus briefs opposing criminal defendants’ claims that Ohio’s constitutional amendment invalidates domestic violence protections for unmarried individuals.

    1) Solid anti-jerkface credentials.
    2) Wait…wha? Someone’s using that to argue that?

    Wonder if Warren Ellis rents out some of the sp. Proctoanguilliformes* he breeds on his website.

    *Yes, I’m mixing Greek and Latin. I’m a monster cloaked in a classicist’s flesh.

  14. JS: I’m actually becoming rather annoyed that the majority of comments here so far are about her appearance.

    Crap in a can, Scalzi. Then why did you post a photo of her? That’s like putting a catnip toy in front of one of your cats and then, as the cat tears into the toy, saying, “You know, I’m rather disappointed in Lopsided Cat.”

    [The rest deleted because what passes for “reasoning” here is complete bullshit — JS]

  15. Sub-Odeon:

    “Crap in a can, Scalzi. Then why did you post a photo of her?”

    Because she a friend of mine, you absolute fucking moron. Her looks have nothing to do with that. There was also nothing in the entry itself that lent consideration to her on her looks. I talked solely about her work on the legal case.

    SO, the idea that because I posted the picture of her that “whoo, she’s hot” responses are both the natural and expected consequence is so completely imbecilic that I’m agog you even attempt to rationalize it. It’s just a hop, skip and a jump from there to the “she shouldn’t have worn that dress” rationalization.

    You and your fucking idiotic line of reasoning here are off this thread, SO, and in fact I’m pissed off enough at you that you’d probably better stay off the site for a couple of days.

    Jesus fucking Christ.

  16. Sub-Odeon #20- women get attention for their looks (or lack thereof) roughly 20 bazillion times more often than men and it is not uncommon for people to assume that an attractive woman must be less competent than an unattractive one. Guys tend not to have that problem. Don’t even pretend that the playing field is even close to level.

    I must say, however, that the recent Iowa and Vermont decisions have ruined part of my fun. I used to delight in pointing out to my less liberal friends that Bush was the best thing ever to happen to gay marriage – that more states legalized gay marriage under Bush than under all other Presidents combined. I’m going to need a new conversation starter. Perhaps neener-neener-neener will work.

  17. AlanM:

    I just booted SO from this particular comment thread, so addressing comments to him will not get a response. Just as an FYI.

    Edit: Heh. I should get used to the fact there will a bit of cross posting.

  18. Seems young to have notched such a significant decision…guess that goes with super smart…

  19. Speaking as a female litigator (though certainly not in Ms. Taylor’s class), you’d better believe that women are judged more on their looks – by men and women – than our male counterparts. I don’t even mean hot-or-not. A male lawyer is just a guy in a suit. Jurors don’t notice much about his appearance unless there is something unusual, like a neon-green tie, or a rip in his suit jacket. But they sure do notice (and comment on) everything from female attorney’s haircuts to the hem length of our skirts. And I live in a “progressive” jurisdiction.

  20. Hey, and I read your blog so I’m a (virtual) two degrees away! Which is way closer than to Kevin Bacon. (Unless you count “has last name of” and “posts pictures of” as a connection, in which case “Hey, I read your blog.”)

    Seriously though, that’s pretty cool. It’s always nice to see your friends succeed. There’s some aphorism about sharing in triumphs or something like that, but my brain isn’t retrieving it intact.

  21. Oops. Now that I think about it, I DID comment about Ms. Taylor’s appearance….

  22. While driving to ASU for my MWF Quantum Mechanics class I happened to have NPR on the radio. (shhh, don’t tell my conservative friends)

    Anyway, Camilla and another attourney were being interviewed on the Diane Rehm’s show. A transcript is likely available.

  23. I bet it’s interesting to read the ruling and the two sides’ briefs in that case.

    Anyway, congrats to your friend for doing a very good job.

  24. My first thought on the story was:

    “Wow. Midwest-ish state passes something non-anti-gay. And it was co-lead by a woman. Parts of the country are finally starting to remove their respective heads from their respective asses. Yay USA.”

    Then I read comments from Sub-Odeon. Looks like I may have had that head vs. ass thing called a little too early.

  25. And since I forgot to put the whole comment in before I posted.

    Yay USA. And congrats on keeping good company Mr. Scalzi.

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