Catharine A. MacKinnon is a lawyer, teacher, writer, activist, and expert on sex equality. She has a B.A. from Smith College (1968), a J.D. from Yale Law School (1977), and a Ph.D. in political science from Yale University Graduate School (1987). She has been Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School since 1990, and Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School since Fall 1997. She has taught at Yale, harvard, Stanford, Minnesota, UCLA, University of Chicago, Osgoode Hall (Toronto), and the University of Basel (Switzerland).
Beginning in the mid 1970s, MacKinnon pioneered the legal claim for sexual harrassment as a form of sex discrimination. Beginning in 1983, with Andrea Dworkin, she conceived and wrote ordinances recognizing pornography as a violation of civil rights. The U.S. Supreme Court accepted her theory of sexual harassment in 1986. The Supreme Court of Canada adopted, in part, approaches that she created with the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) to equality (1989), pornography (1992), and hate speech (1991).
Professor MacKinnon is involved in litigation, legislation, and policy development on women's human rights domestically and internationally. She is currently representing pro bono Croatian and Muslim women and children victims of Serbian genocidal sexual atrocities seeking remedies under international law.
Sex Equality (legal casebook on U.S. law in comparative, international, social, and theoretical context) Foundation Press, Fall 1998.
Women's Lives, Men's Laws (collection of writings, speeches, and briefs from 1980-1997) Harvard University Press.
In Harm's Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings. edited and introduced (with Andrea Dworkin), "The Roar on the Other Side of Silence" (introduction). Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997.
Only Words. Harvard University Press, 1993.
The Case for Women's Equality: The Federation of Woman Teachers' Associations of Ontario and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, with M. Eberts, F. Henderson, K. Lahey, S. McIntyre and E. Shilton. 1991.
Toward a Feminist Theory of the State. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989.
Pornography and Civil Rights: A New Day for Women's Equality. (with Andrea Dworkin) Organizing Against Pornography, 1988.
Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987.
Sexual Harassment of Working Women: A Case of Sex Discrimination. (with Thomas I. Emerson) New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979.
"Freedom from Unreal Loyalties": On Fidelity in Constitutional Interpretation Fordham Law Review LXV (1997): 1773.
"Gender Literacy in Law," in On the Bias. Ed. Kathleen Mahoney and John K. Wilson. New York: New York University Press, 1997.
"Sexual Harassment" and "Feminist Jurisprudence," in The Reader's Companion to U.S. Women's History. Ed. Mankiller, Smith, Steinem, et. al. (at press)
"Comment: Law's Story as Reality and Politics," in Narrative and Rhetoric in Law. Ed. Paul Gewirtz and Peter Brooks. Ithaca: Yale University Press, 1996.
"Pornography as Defamation and Discrimination," in Group Defamation and Freedom of Speech: The Relationship Between Language and Violence. Ed. Monroe H. Freedman and Eric H. Freedman. Greenwood Press, 1995, p. 253.
"Speech, Equality, and Harm: The Case Against Pornography," in The Price We Pay: The Case Against Racist Speech, Hate Propaganda, and Pornography. Ed. L. Lederer and R. Delgado. Hill and Wang, 1995, p. 301.
"Vindication and Resistance: A Response to the Carnegie Mellon Study of Pornography in Cyberspace." The Georgetown Law Journal 1959 (1995): 83.
"Pornography Left and Right" (book review of Posner, Sex and Reason, and DeGrazia, Girls Lean Back Everywhere) Harvard Civil Rights - Civil Liberties Law Review 143 (1995): 30.
"Auf dem Wegb zu einer neuen theorie der Gleichheit." Kritische Vierteljahresschrift fur Gesetzgebung und Rechtswissenschaft 363 (1994): 4.
"Prostitution and Civil Rights." Michigan Journal of Gender and Law 13 (1993): 1.
"Rape, Genocide, and Women's Human Rights," in Mass Rape. Ed. A. Stiglmeyer. University of Nebraska Press, 1993.
"Crimes of War, Crimes of Peace," in On Human Rights: the Oxford Amnesty Lectures 1993. Ed. S. Shute and S. Hurley. Basic Books, 1993, pp. 83-109.
"Turning Rape into Pornography: Postmodern Genocide." Ms. (July/Aug. 1993): 24-30.
"Preface" in Back Off!: How to Confront and Stop Sexual Harassment and Harassers. (Martha J. Langelan) New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993, pp. 13-17.
"Comment: Theory Is Not a Luxury." American Journal of International Law (1993): 83-92.
"Testimony on Craig Bill (Protected Speech and Harassment Codees on Campus)" Law Quadrangle Notes 24 (1993): 36.
"Fur Eine 'Neue Gleichheit,'" (Equality Remade) in Test the West: Geschlechter-demokratie und Gewalt. Ed. H. Bendkowski, A. Buchele, E. Fischer and Ilse Konig. Vienna, 1993.
"Law in the Everyday Life of Women," in Law in Everyday Life. Ed. A. Sarat. 1993, p. 109.
"On Torture: A Feminist Perspective on Human Rights," in Human Rights in the Twenty-First Century: A Global Challenge. Ed. Mahoney and Mahoney. 1992.
"Feminist Approaches to Sexual Assault in Canada and the United States: A Brief Retrospective," in Challenging Times: The Women's Movement in the United States and Canada. Ed. Backhouse and Flaherty. 1992, p. 186.
"Pornography as Discrimination and Defamation." Boston University Law Review 793 (1992): 71.
"Reflections on Sex Equality Under Law." Yale Law Journal 1281 (1991): 100.
"From Practice to Theory, or What is a White Woman Anyway?" Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 13 (1991): 4.
"Does Sexuality Have a History?" Michigan Quarterly Review 1 (1991): 30.
"Sex Equality and nationbuilding in Canada: The Meech Lake Accord." Tulsa Law Review 735 (1990): 25.
"Feministische Rechtspolitik Heute," in Menschenrechte Haben (K)ein Geschlecht: Differenz und Gleichheit. Ed. U. Gerhard. Ulrike Helmer Verlag, 1991.
"Liberalism and the Death of Feminism," in The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism. Ed. J. Raymond and D. Leidholdt. Pergamon Press, 1990.
"Graduation Address, Yale Law School." Yale Journal of Law and Feminis. 299 (1990): 2.
"Sexediscriminatie," in Ongewenste Intimiteiten, Gewenste Rechten. Clara Wichman Instituut, 1990.
"Sexuality, Pornography, and Method: 'Pleasure Under Patriarchy'" Ethics 314 (1989): 99.
"Feminism in Legal Education." Legal Education Review 85 (1989): 1.
"Commencement Address, Reed College." The Looking Glass. 1989.
"Das Kalte Hertz." EMMA Oct. 1987.
"Unthinking ERA Thinking" (book review of J. Mansbridge, Why We Lost the ERA) University of Chicago Law Review 759 (1987): 54.
"The Civil Rights Approach to Pornography," in Contemporary American Speeches. Ed. Richard L. Johannesen, R.R. Allen and Wil A. Linkugel. Kendall/Hunt, 1987, pp. 259-265.
"Preface," in A Dark Science: Women, Sexuality, and Psychiatry in the Nineteenth Century (Jeffrey Moussaieff masson). New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1986, pp. xi-xvii.
"Difference and Dominance: On Sex Discrimination," in The Moral Foundation of Civil Rights. Ed. Robert K. Fullinwinder and Claudia Mills. Rowman and Littlefield, 1986.
"Not a Moral Issue." Yale Law and Policy Review 321 (1984): 2. Reprinted in Women's Studies International Forum 9 (1986): 63-78.
"Pornography as Sex Discrimination." Law and Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice 38 (1986): 4.
"Making Sex Equality Real," in Righting the Balance: Canada's New Equality Rights. Ed. Lynn Smith, et. al. The Canadian Human Rights Reporter, Inc., 1986.
"Pornography, Civil Rights, and Speech (The Biddle Lecture)" Harvard Civil Rights - Civil Liberties Law Review 1 (1985): 20.
"Feminist Discourse, Moral Values, and the Law -- A Conversation." (with Ellen C. Dubois, Mary C. Dunlap, Carol J. Gilligan, and Carrie J. Menkel-Meadow) Buffalo Law Review 11 (1985): 34.
"Roe vs. Wade, A Study in Male Ideology," in Abortion: Moral and Legal Perspectives. Ed. J. Garfield and P. Hennessay. University of Massachusetts Press, 1984.
"Feminism, Marxism, Method and the State: Toward Feminist Jurisprudence." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 635 (1983): 8.
"Feminism, Marxism, Method and the State: An Agenda for Theory." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 515(1983): 7.
"Excerpts from MacKinnon / Schlafly Debate." Law and Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice 341 (1983): 1.
"Complicity." Law and Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice 89 (1983): 1.
"Toward Feminist Jurisprudence" (book review of Ann Jones, Women Who Kill) Stanford Law Review 401 (1982): 34.
"Violence Against Women: A Perspective." Aegis: Magazine on Ending Violence Against Women 33 (Winter 1982).
"Introduction, Sexual Harassment: A Symposium Issue." Capitol University Law Review 1 (1981): i.
"Incidents of Domestic Political Violence, 1965-1970," (with Peter A. Lupsha) in Violence as Politics: A Series of Original Essays. Ed. H. Hirsch and D. Perry. Harper and Row, 1973.
"Moral Development and Political Ideology" (with Kenneth Keniston and James Fishkin) Journal of personality and Social Psychology 27 (Spring 1973).
"Unit 1 -- Politics (with others) and Unit 31 -- Women: Public Policy (primary author)," in American Government. Dushkin Publishing Group, 1973.
Catharine A. MacKinnon was admitted to the Connecticut Bar in 1978 and the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1986. Here is a closer look at her participation in litigation.
Litigation in the 1990s
K. v. Karadzic, 866 F. Supp. 734 (S.D.N.Y. 1994), 70 F. 3d 232 (2d cir. 1996)
Lead counsel, filed 1993 under Alien Tort Claims Act and Torture Victim Protection Act, (NOW LDEF, local counsel) pro bono representation of named individuals and women's groups of Bosnian Muslim and Croat survivors of Serbian sexual atrocities seeking international justice for genocide. Dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, won Second Circuit appeal and denial of certiorari. Moving toward default judgment and hearing on relief.
United States v. Lanier, 73 F. 3d 1380 (6th Cir. 1996), 117 S. Ct. 1219 (1997)
Wrote Brief Amicus Curiae for Vivian Archie and the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault for survivor or roal rape by judge, arguing that her equality rights were thereby violated, in federal criminal prosecution under sec. 242 for substantive due process liberty violations. Reversed and remanded by U.S. Supreme Court, brief on remand in process.
United States v. Alkhabaz (aka Jake Baker), 890 F. Supp. 1375 (E.D. Mich. 1995); 104F. 3d 1492 (6th Cir. 1997)
Advised Jane Doe, victimized by Baker's snuff pornography of her by name on Internet, wrote Brief Amicus Curiae for the Victim Jane Doe and the national Coalition Against Sexual Assault, arguing that the pornography of jane Doe and other evidence constituted a threat to her and other women under federal First Amendment law and sec. 18 U.S.C. 875 (c). Lost in Sixth Circuit' cert. decision by Solicitor General pending.
R. v. Bernardo, No. 274/94 Ontario Court (General Division) (10 Feb. 1995) (LeSage, J.) and Estates of French and mahaffey v. Ontario A.G., (Feb. 1996) (Gravely, J.)
Expert witness on effects of showing videotapes of sexual assault of Leslie Mahaffey and Kristin French, 14 and 15 years old, at trial of perpetrator accused of their murder, on behalf of families of girls; legal consultant to counsel for families. (Result: videotape heard but not seen; defendant convicted of first degree murder.) Oral expert testimony in civil action against Crown for control of future availability of videotapes. Appeal in process.
Kane v. Church of Jesus Christ Christian - Aryan Nations, Board of Inquiry Decision (Edmonton, Alberta), Feb. 28, 1992.
Expert testimony for LEAF against white supremacists on harm of discriminatory symbols (swastika and crossburning) in support of human rights statue prohibiting them, before Board of Inquiry in Alberta (won). (Defendant fled jurisdiction.)
The Queen v. Butler, (1992) 2 W.W.R. 577 (S.C.C.)
Affidavit and factum in Supreme court of Canada for intervener of Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) arguing sex equality as basis for obscenity provision challenged as violation of freedom of expression under charter of Rights and Freedoms (won, approach largely adopted).
Thoreson v. Guccione, 584 N.Y.S. 2d 506 (1992)
Expert brief arguing that punitive damages are available for sexual harassment in case involving woman used in pornography, in new York Appellate Division (lost).
Keegstra v. The Queen, (1991) 2 W.W.R. 1 and Regina v. Andrews and Smith, (1991) 77 D.L.R. (4th) 128, and Taylor v. Canadian Human Rights Comm'n, (1990) 75 D.L.R. (4th) 577
Affidavit and factum for interveners Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) in Supreme court of Canada arguing that criminal provision prohibiting promotion of group-based hatred does not violate guarantee of free expression because it advances constitutional equality (statue upheld in part on equality grounds) and that human rights provision restricting telephonic hate speech outweighs expressive violations (won, approach largely adopted).
Queen v. Seaboyer and Gayme, (1991) 83 D.L.R. 4th 193
Affidavit and factum for intervener LEAF arguing that exclusion of victim's sexual history and reputation does not violate fair trial rights and promotes sex equality under the Charter of Rights (lost, new legislation followed).
Queen v. Sullivan and Lemay, (1991) 63 C.C.C. 3rd 97
Affidavit and factum for intervener LEAF arguing that women's equality right to reproductive control determines constitutional approach to successful criminal negligence prosecution of two midwives for death of baby during delivery (midwives not liable, some recognition of equality).
R.A.V. v. St. Paul, 112 S. Ct. 2538 (1991)
Brief Amicus Curiae for National Black Women's Health Project in U.S. Supreme Court supporting statute prohibiting crossburning on equality grounds against free speech attack (lost).
Litigation in the 1980s
Robinson v. Jacksonville Shipyards, 760 F. Supp. 1486 (M.D. Fla. 1991), 118 F.R.D. 525 (1988)
Consultant to National Organization for Women Legal Education and Action Fund (NOWLDEF), arguing that pronography on these facts constitutes hostile environment sexual harassment in employment prohibited under Title VII (won; settled after Eleventh Circuit argument).
Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia, (1989) 1 S.C.R. 143
Affidavit and factum in Supreme Court of Canada for intervener LEAF arguing necessity of rejecting "similarly situated" test and adopting substantive critique of disadvantage as equality standard under Charter of Rights (approach largely adopted, won 9:0).
Borowski v. A-G. Canada, (1989) 1 S.C.R. 342
Affidavit and factum in Supreme Court of Canada for intervener LEAF arguing that to accept the fetus as a person under section 7 of the Charter would violate women's sex equality right to reproductive control, and that case was moot (won on mootness grounds).
Daigle v. Trembley, (1989) 2 S.C.R. 530
Factum for Supreme Court of Canada for intervener LEAF arguing that putative father enjoining woman having abortion violates sex equality rights of woman under Charter of Rights (won result without reaching Charter issues).
Dworkin v. Hustler, 867 F. 2d 1188 (9th Cir. 1989) cert. denied 493 U.S. 812 (1989)
Amicus brief for Gloria Steinem and Susan Brownmiller to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that Andrea Dworkin's complaint of libel through pornography should go to trial (lost, cert. denied).
Tomen v. Ontario Teachers Federation, 61 D.L.R. (4th) 565 (Ont. Ct. App. 1989)
Consultant and expert witness for Federation of Women Teachers Assns. of Ontario (FWTAO), arguing that all-female public teachers association does not violate Charter's sex equality rights because it pomotes sex equality (won; now before Ontario Human Rights Comm'n; on appeal).
Assisted LEAF: (in Supreme Court of Canada) Brooks, Allen and Dixon v. Canada Safeway, (1989) 1. S.C.R. 1219, pregnancy discrimination is sex discrimination (won); Janzen v. Platy Enterprises, (1989) 1 S.C.R. 1252, sexual harassment is sex discrimination under Manitoba Human Rights Code (won); Canadian Council of Churches, taking an equality approach to standing under Charter (lost); In re. M., statute of limitations in proven incest case violates sex equality (won, Supreme Court of Canada); Norberg v. Wynrib, equality arguments support civil recovery in tort damages for woman sexually abused by doctor who kept her addicted to drugs (won). (in other jurisdictions) In re D.P., convicted child molestor should not be permitted to be called to the bar in Ontario (won); Jane Doe, 40 O.A.C. 161, 740 R. 2d 225, 72 D.L.R. 4th 580 (1990), woman raped by serial rapist suing Toronto police for violation of sex equality rights and for negligence in failing to warn (won; going to trial); A.L., battered women's sex equality rights violated by decision not granting her victim compensation (lost, appeal pending); Nielsen, arguing discrimination against lesbians in benefits violates Charter sex equality (stayed for ruling in another case); Prison for Women, attempt to eliminate sex discrimination against incarcerated women (prior to litigation).
Village Books v. Bellingham, No. C88-1470 D (W.D. Wash.) (Feb. 9, 1989) (unreported)
Amicus brief for Linda Marchiano in federal court First Amendment attack on civil rights anti-pornography ordinance; assisted counsel for intervenors Washington Women for Civil Rights (lost; no appeal taken).
Queen v. Canadian Newspapers Co., (1988) 2 S.C.R. 122
Affidavit and factum for Supreme Court of Canada on Intervention for coalition of groups including LEAF, arguing that prohibition on publishing names of sexual assault victims does not violate Charter expression rights and is protected by Charter-based equality rights of women and children (statute upheld unanimously based on rights of sexual assault victims).
Pennsylvania NOW v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 122 Pa. Commw. 283, 551 A. 2d 1162 (1988), 522 Pa. 592, 561 A. 2d 744 (1989)
Consultant to Pennsylvania National Organization for Women arguing that uniform rates by sex for auto insurance constitutes sex discrimination under the Pennsylvania ERA and U.S. Equal Protection clause and that using miles driven as a rate base satisfies sex equality requirements (lost).
Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57 (1986)
Co-counsel in U.S. Supreme Court, wrote brief for Mechelle Vinson, arguing that environmental sexual harassment is sex discrimination under Title VII (won 9:0, remand for new trial; settled).
Hudnut v. American Booksellers, 711 F. 2d 323 (7th Cir. 1985), 475 U.S. 1132 (1986)
Advised Indianapolis on legislation and litigation; in 7th Circuit, wrote Amicus brief for Linda Marchiano and the Estate of Dorothy Stratten arguing same (lost); drafted U.S. Supreme Court jurisdictional Statement arguing that ordinance defining pornography as sex discrimination does not violate First Amendment (lost by summary affirmance).
Litigation in the 1970s
Alexander v. Yale, 459 F. Supp. 1 (D. Conn. 1977), aff'd., 631 F. 2d 178 (2d Cir. 1980)
With Anne E. Simon and Phyllis Crocker, arguing sexual harassment in education violates Title IX (won on law, lost at trial).
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