Supreme Court (and Other) Rhetoric: How the Way Powerful Institutions Talk Can Devalue and Marginalize Outsider Groups
This final part considers what happens when reformers persist despite the many obstacles of imagination and reception they face. Their movements gain force. Prisoners clamor for reform in their conditions of confinement. Consumers demand protection from unsafe products. Women insist on access to professions that formerly excluded them. At this stage, many judges and other authoritative speakers depict the reformers in unflattering terms. They are seen as shrill, unreasonable, and extreme, asking for things that they do not deserve. Not only are we entitled to resist such unreasonable demands, we have a duty to do so. The first part of Chapter 9 discusses language of scorn and ridicule in Supreme Court opinions and in popular discourse. The final part of the chapter examines a devastating trope our society deploys against reformers whose movement has gained ground: the figure of imposition.