Justices are capable of thoughtful decisions

There’s a weird case going on in Iowa, where the state’s Supreme Court is set to again review a dentist’s firing of his attractive assistant. The court already has ruled (7-0) in the case, saying employers can fire workers they see as an “irresistible attraction,” because the firings are based on emotions, not gender. But the chief justice has resubmitted the case to his colleagues.

Employment law is a pretty tangled up thing to begin with. This case doesn’t help. As government tries to make the workplace “fair,” it carves out privileges that probably shouldn’t exist at all. Fundamentally, we see property as the best basis on which to judge employment relationships. That is to say, if you own a business, you should be free to decide who will or will not work there.

Adding a wrinkle to the dental assistant case is her attorney, who argues that the Supreme Court – all male – misapplied the law, because it did not understand gender discrimination. In other words, none of the judges has ever been a woman in the workplace.

This is a dangerous road. It is an argument that attempts to nullify the premise that (learned!) human beings are capable of objective decision-making. It proposes that you have to have been subjected to something to “understand” the issue. Which is a fallacy aimed at disqualifying a judgment that someone – the lawyer, her client – did not like.