Bias is a certain attitude, point of view or prejudice that colors different judgments. Gender bias is that type of bias which is based on culturally defined gender roles and sexual stereotypes. Whether unintentional or intentional, gender biases have to be eliminated completely if the government of the country wants to ensure the principles of equity, equality, and fairness.
Due to the fact that gender bias is based on old, frequently unarticulated cultural assumptions, it is very difficult to eradicate. For example, certain common forms of speech and the use of the pronouns “he” or “him” while referencing both men and women, have made women allegedly invisible and reinforced social patterns of fake male superiority (Gender Equality in the Courts, n.d.).
Bias based on ethnicity, race, language, age, disability, economics, and sexual orientation also exists, and is supposed to have no place in the courtroom environment and within the judicial system in general. However, we can observe the different. In this paper I will try to outline the opposite side of our legal court systems, proving that they are biased in many of their actions to the very core.
United States nation has become a very democratic society which protects the rights of everyone who asks for protection and has, at least, the smallest right to have this protection. On this basis, our court system is trying to get rid of any bias possible: against children in families, against women at work, against each of spouses during and after the divorce and the list can be innumerably continued. However, gender bias will always have place in our court system as no system can function perfectly.
Even our beliefs that marriages at the younger age or inter-racial marriages cannot last long add up to the problem. Below there is a graph that depicts the divorce rate for the United States in 1995 and we can double it in order to understand better the ongoing situation.
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Many citizens of our country grow up considering our court system to be the best judicial system in the whole world .Of course, people recognize that it has its flaws but still they are happy to think that their rights are protected by the fairest professionals. However, the multiple researches show that a person in the probate court system may be compared to African American during the movements for the civil rights. The principle “innocent until proven guilty” is just a catch phrase in our times of high democracy. The double standards of judging women and men, which are maintained in our probate court system, can be characterized by one word: Abuse.
The system which has sworn to protect those who are innocent or wrongly accused does not seem to exist nowadays at all. However, what we have is the right which allows women to separate children with their father, frequently a father who can provide those children with better living standards, basing just on vindictiveness and bitterness, and not on the valid legal position.
I realize that there are advocates of purely “father’s rights” who are trying hard to add justice to our system, however, ambitions and traditions are sometimes more important than real position of things. The elected officials are meant to help those citizens who are wrongfully treated by our notable court system. Despite this, the new problem arises that when these people try to get some help from those elected officials, such officials are usually faced with handling political complications of keeping the status and the powers under control. They are rarely inclined to look to the needs of those who have helped them to be where they are now. These officials are assailed by advocates of women’s rights who proclaim accusations and discrimination of endeavors to protect “wife beaters” resulting in very little being done (Harbour, 1998).
I am not saying, of course, that there are no those men who maltreat their wives and children, however, when it comes to the court system, an innocent man can be accused of doings he never can even do in his thoughts, not regarding the reality.
The bitter fact is that there are a lot of studies that report inclination of single mothers to commit physical abuse to their children than are fathers. Moreover, there are piles of studies done across the whole world the results of which are striking as they directly conflict with the ongoing opinions and practices in our courts; unfortunately, they are not taken into consideration as many other facts.
It is clear to me that there is very little justice or truth in our legal system. As was once said by a well-known comedian, “We go to courts searching there justice and that is just what I can see, just us!”
Men are trying to promote their legal rights, seek justice, and protect their children. But instead they are faced with a court system that possesses extreme gender bias. Moreover, this bias is overwhelmingly admitted to by professionals in this field and also by observers from the outside. It looks like whatever the desire and possibilities of the fathers to be with their children are, the right will be still given to the mother even if she cannot provide a decent life for her them.
I understand that there are such people that could say that the system errs when talking about its safety. That if one truly dangerous man slips through without a punishment, the result could be a death or life situation for the woman and even children.
I understand very well that everyone should have the chance to be protected by the court system, but, on the other hand, the protection should be affordable to anyone and not just those who can spend uncountable amounts of money to assure their safety. I do not find it fair that a large number of men should have their lives ruined and children suffer from moral problems by being brought up only by mothers only because the system leaves itself open to manipulation and abuse by vindictive and bitter people.
Such misdoings started in our family court system in the 1960s when women fought hard to promote laws to protect women from domestic violence. Many painful years needed our legal system in order to recognize women as real victims of domestic violence. Sexual harassment, domestic violence, stalking laws were adopted and enforced to protect these "true victims" (Harbour, 1998). So many women survived domestic violence; many died, too. Some of them went to jail for committing homicide; some, however, were later pardoned. And eventually women made the society to recognize violence against them.
No one can eliminate the importance of this achievement and no one should even try to do so but, for some reason, the female population started to use these improvements of their rights in the wrong ways causing sometimes more harm to the whole family than one can even imagine. It seems like some of the female representatives simply enjoy seeing men being brought to their knees by court systems. Unfortunately, few of them realize that children without fathers’ care can easily develop serious neurotic problems or subconsciously ruin their own families in future.
False allegations by women of domestic violence, child abuse, and stalking are almost never or very rarely questioned by judges who fear too much of being accused in political incorrectness.
Women, who feel like doing the right thing in punishing men, apply these false charges indiscriminately. Usually, children are forgotten in this vengeful swirl of emotions, becoming in such a way our newest victims that fully cooperate with our Family Court system. But no one pays attention to the vital fact that children definitely need fathers too.
The rights of women are a great achievement as they have become educated in everything even in the ways of functioning of our legal system. Unfortunately, many women use this knowledge to cause more problems to the family units. A new study shows us that nowadays women are filing over 70 % of divorces. And in our court systems an interesting rule exists: The first individual, who files a suit, usually has more chances to win and eventually wins in most cases. The unlucky person who is facing false allegations must prove their falsity while a plaintiff is trying to prove nothing.
In addition, false allegations of child abuse, presented by an ex-wife, devastate not only fathers, but also harm children. The wife files first in order to take an advantage of all the laws adopted to protect true victims of violence and abuse. And then the wife charges everything from stalking to child abuse to domestic violence. Courts, for some reason and without proper investigation, almost always believe women over men these days (Harbour, 1998).
On the other hand, this problem has the other side.
Beginning in the 1980s, a lot of state court systems have established certain task forces to trace the existence of gender bias in our courts. The reports of such task forces have showed sex discrimination, where the victims are oftener women than men. These task forces have investigated that much gender-biased behavior is usually unconscious and that the loud manifestations of bias, which is often subtle, are very deeply ingrained into the state judicial systems. For instance, the conducted studies have outlined the existence of stereotypes about victims of sexual assault and domestic violence; most of the judges stick to the opinion that women who are raped or beaten by a spouse have provoked the attack intentionally (Sex Discrimination, n.d.).
These studies also have revealed that judges do not always treat women and men equally in the courtroom. For instance, judges may identify women standing in front of them by their first name, however, use "Mister" or professional titles when addressing men (Sex Discrimination, n.d.).
In addition to these findings, states have established judicial educational programs concerning dangers of gender-based biases and have modified lawyers' and judges’ codes of conduct to explicitly forbid gender-biased behavior. The task forces have recommended that more women have to be appointed to the bench, too (Sex Discrimination, n.d.).
The court’s role in the proper child support services is vital, however, we can often encounter many gender biases linked to it. The main problem arises from the inability of most women to provide needed financial support for children after the divorce. When the woman appeals to the court, she often finds a hostile and unresponsive system which does not want to help her to fix the issue. Moreover, courts are not uniform in application of possible tools to establish child support. Ex-husband’s non-payment is usually not sanctified as is predicted. Effective court system must use jailing for not performing the part of the obligation. In addition, the court never designs child support awards with the prognosis of inflation or other predictable changes that may occur with time passing by. Usually, women who are looking for the child support have to meet with all possible difficulties of the plaintiff in the civil action (New England Law Review, 1990).
When we talk about the Supreme Court, federal and appellate courts, and even the court of military appeals, we can face the following examples of gender-biased behavior. It is abnormal to understand that the courts are not just enough in general, but realization that even the U. S. Supreme Court cannot be fully trusted makes you rethink the values of the nation (Gender Equality in the Courts, n.d.).
Nowadays it is a proved case that the biased conduct is a common thing in such high institution of justice as the Supreme Court of the United States, however, studies which would address and solve this problem are absent. It is not even clear whether the gender of an attorney significantly affects the probability of litigant success in most appellate courts together with the highest court of the nation. Although the practice shows that the Supreme Court is less likely to recognize the litigants presented by women and, therefore, more cases with female attorneys can be lost. Moreover, conservative jurists are more inclined to vote against litigants with more women than liberal jurists.
Some judges are prone to treat female lawyers with much greater courtesy and deference than male lawyers. Most male lawyers are prone to see this behavior as a form of favoritism towards their female counterparts. On the other hand, female lawyers often think of this behavior as of paternalistic and condescending.
I would like also to mention the lack of sensitivity in those types of questions which are applied to victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse. Questions to a miserable spouse about how she could provoke a beating, and why she returned back home afterwards, reflect very biased assumptions. Judges should be more sensitive to these types of questions concerning the juror’s work while impaneling jurors, in such a way the nature of that work will not be demeaned. Work at home is not less significant than work outside the house (Gender Equality in the Courts, n.d.).
We can often observe a situation when judges look less attentive and alert, do not take notes, or allow a bored expression across their faces when a woman speaks. With such behavior the judges convey in a powerfully disrespectful way the message that presentations by women are less important for those of men.
In the Supreme Court, federal and appellate courts, courts of military appeals as also in many other judicial instances, some judges can hesitate to respond assertively to gender-biased behavior that happens in their presence. In case of male attorneys being engaged in subtle or blatant forms of gender bias towards female witnesses or attorneys, it is vital that the judge intervenes to stop such misconduct. Statements or behaviors which are humiliating to women must be totally excluded from any courtroom. An assertive reminder by the judge at the first moment of inappropriate behavior has to stop it at once, without embarrassment to the woman or serious disruption to the proceedings (Gender Equality in the Courts, n.d.).
When talking about the bias which exists in the admiralty law (maritime law), the first thing which I want to mention is that courts where this law is usually exercised, frequently function far from the principles of equity. This bias comes to us from the historical times of colonies when a flag on the ship determined by which laws the crew on board could be judged. The similar situation can be observed nowadays.
The correct exercise of the admiralty law is crucial as it distinguishes all shipping and navigation procedures of our country. Now this law extends to al the waters being navigable by the United States for foreign or interstate commerce. Usually, the court systems are in favor of the American ships and can frequently undermine the evidence by foreign or of other states’ (if it is interstate case). This easily leads to disputes between states which can exercise different maritime laws (Admiralty, n.d.).
Bankruptcy laws have a very important impact on the investment and financing decisions of firms, and therefore, the suits in the courts must be exercised with a great deal of equity and fairness.
For the direct implementation of the optimal bankruptcy outcome, the bankruptcy court should try to establish two types of effective mechanisms: application of the “restricted auction’ and the direct restrictions implied on the bargaining game itself between the claimants. These mechanisms will provide the truthful revelation of all the information available and will prevent from the strategic application of bankruptcy by firms which are not in the financial distress. This will help to efficiently allocate resources afterwards, and will allow to avoid a bias that managers in reorganizations usually face.
However, in our courts, as the practice shows, the problem does not end with even this. Racial discrimination against African Americans is widely observed in the bankruptcy courts. The results of the research reveal that the colored population is often led by the attorneys into even worse financial process than the one they had before encountering bankruptcy.
This happens due to the biases, both unconscious and conscious. Furthermore, the minorities often pay the higher interest rates while having the same loan conditions as the white population. In the picture we can see the percentage of bankruptcy rate due to the biased problems against the blacks. The point is that the majority of debtors use chapter 7 to file the problem, and it typically allows them to figure the problem out within a couple of months. African Americans, however are recommended to use the Chapter 13 which requires debtors to send their disposable income to pay back the debts during several years (Bernard, 2012).
To conclude, I would like to say that the courts of United States of America are all in the state which is far from exercising equity, equality, and fairness. Unfortunately, the constant talks of high democracy and fights for human rights only remain talks in certain instances. If the legal system is not performing its initial tasks of protecting the society truthfully and faithfully, it is not quite smart to demand the fair, explicit actions from the government. The sooner our court system will be revised and changed, the better rights of human beings will be protected.
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