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Our legal system's new motto?

In an episode of the Simpsons entitled Bart the Genius, Bart Simpson switches his aptitude test with that of the class genius, causing him to be mistakenly placed in a school for gifted children. All the other schoolkids are real geniuses, and know things Bart doesn't. But he does manage to answer one question:

Ms.M: Bart, what other paradoxes affect our lives?
Bart: [looks around nervously; all stare at him]
Well, you're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't.
For some reason, that little vignette came to mind when I read Overlawyered.com's latest legal horror story. A telemarketing firm attempted to punish a racist employee, but ran into difficulty because a federal court bought the argument that the racism was actually the employee's religion.
A law firm newsletter comments that henceforth employers "may risk allegations of religious discrimination if they fail to protect employees' religious rights to believe in white supremacy. At the same time, they may risk allegations of race discrimination by nonwhite employees supervised by white supremacists.
Damed if you do, damned if you don't.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. If a judge doesn't buy the argument that racism is a religion, trial lawyers can always turn to the racism as mental illness theory, and then the Americans with Disabilities Act can kick in.

Of course, in this instance, we are talking about a telemarketing firm, so they deserve whatever happens to them. But unfortunately, I think the law may not be quite so industry-specific in its application.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 24, 2003 7:38 AM.

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