Opinion

Law Prof Thinks Women Shouldn’t Vote, and That Skirts Are Sinful. He Gets To Keep Teaching Law.

In today’s edition of “I Literally Can’t Even,” it seems that there are law professors out in Oklahoma who don’t think women should vote.

Nope. Not kidding. Brian McCall, who had been the Orpha and Maurice Merrill Professor of Law and Dean for Academic Affairs at The University Of Oklahoma College of Law, resigned this week after some folks realized he might not be a great fit for 2018.

Perhaps he should have been more career-focused when reportedly made statements about how it is a man’s duty to vote, and not a woman’s – although the man may take her beliefs into consideration when casting his vote.

McCall’s opinions aren’t restricted to basic citizenship, either; he’s also got something to say about women’s fashion. According to this tenured law professor, women who wear pants are sinning by refusing to “veil their form” and thereby tempting men with their wicked curves.

In 2014, McCall authored, “To Build the City of God: Living as Catholics in a Secular Age,” which contains a chapter titled, “Modest Contact With the World: Women In Pants and Similar Frauds;” in it, he details his belief that women are obligated to hide their natural curves by wearing skirts – just as the women and girls in his own family are “allowed.”  Don’t worry—this great thinker has an answer for everything, and considered any arguments about the practicality of women’s pants.

Here was his solution:

“… if there is something really impossible to do in a skirt, does this not indicate this is an activity inappropriate for a woman to perform? A simple test of modest and feminine behavior can be summarized: if you can’t do it modestly and gracefully in a skirt, you shouldn’t do it at all.”

McCall also called the radical suggestion of female professionalism, “another false promise of the devil come to pass,” – making no reference to the 40% of OU Law School’s class that happens to be female.

Margaret Atwood called. She wants her wing bonnet back.

He’s also said that African-American studies are “nonsense subjects” that liberals use to distract from tradition. Mmm. Okay. This guy definitely sounds like someone who should be at the forefront of molding tomorrow’s legal minds.

McCall is hardly some provincial yokel, either. He’s a Yalie (narrowly missing hanging with Brett Kavanaugh when he began as an undergrad in 1991), a Fulbright Scholar, and a summa cum laude grad of Penn Law.

Once media began reporting stories about McCall’s umm, viewpoints, the university’s Equal Opportunity Office conducted an independent review to ascertain whether McCall had harassed or discriminated against any one on campus. No such evidence was found and therefore, the school took no action against him—at least not formally. McCall had the good sense to resign on his own before facing whatever shitstorm has to be brewing. Reportedly, however, that resignation relates only to McCall’s administrative positions, and not to his professorship.

Oklahoma Law Dean Joseph Harroz Jr issued a statement on the matter on the school’s Facebook page, which included the following artfully ambiguous as to whether the diversity he purported to celebrate related to students of different races, religions, and genders – or Dean McCall’s inflammatory statements:

“The OU College of Law is a place of inclusion. Beyond ensuring the college is free from illegal harassment or discrimination, the college must prepare tomorrow’s leaders – our students – for the world in which they will serve. It would be a disservice to them if we did not provide an educational experience that presents diverse subject matter, encourages thoughtful conversation and debate, and prepares them to practice in an increasingly diverse world.”

At least a few commenters rushed to McCall’s defense, one writing:

“Brian McCall did nothing wrong. Women don’t belong in College or the government.”

And another suggesting that McCall had been victimized like his SCOTUS-bound brother in bulldoggery:

“I think some might even wonder if an “independent review” needs to be done to see if Associate Dean Brian McCall has been the target of workplace harassment or discrimination. Similar to, I’m sure, a completely different, yet, highly publicized male, Catholic, Yale alum that also seems to have a target on him.”

Follow-up meetings with students and faculty at OU College of Law are currently being planned, as debates rage among the student body over First Amendment protection of McCall’s writings and remarks. As a public institution, actions taken by the school do constitute government action, and would therefore implicate the First Amendment.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

Elura is a columnist and trial analyst for Law & Crime. Elura is also a former civil prosecutor for NYC's Administration for Children's Services, the CEO of Lawyer Up, and the author of How To Talk To Your Lawyer and the Legalese-to-English series. She is a frequent media contributor, and is Of Counsel to Smedley & Lis, in Woodbury, New Jersey. Follow Elura on Twitter @elurananos

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