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Supreme Court says some of Lord Sumption’s comments ‘appear to have been misunderstood’

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Highest court moves to quell Twitter storm

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The UK’s top court has been forced to come to the defence of one of its own, stating that controversial comments made by Lord Sumption regarding female judges “appear to have been misunderstood”.

During an interview given to the Evening Standard yesterday Lord Sumption — who is one of 12 Supreme Court justices — suggested that there would be “appalling consequences for justice” if more women are rushed into the judiciary.

Naturally — as Legal Cheek reported earlier today — it all then kicked off on Twitter, with many legal heavyweights quick to point out just how wrong they thought Sumption’s views were.

With comments gaining widespread media coverage, the Supreme Court has moved to clarify where Sumption stands by issuing a statement. In the tweet posted from the court’s official Twitter account it mentions “apparent misunderstandings”:

The statement in full reads:

Some of Lord Sumption’s comments appear to have been misunderstood. The full quotes make clear that he believes that increasing diversity at all levels of the profession is important, and that the range of hidden barriers to improving diversity – particularly of the judiciary – present a very complex problem. Nowhere did he try and reduce this to a simple question of ‘lifestyle choice’. The concern he expressed was against introducing any form of positive discrimination to the judicial appointments system without careful analysis of the full range of potential consequences.

Straight to bed with no supper for his Lordship tonight.

Previously:

Lawyers are furious about Lord Sumption’s claim that more women judges ‘could have appalling consequences for justice’ [Legal Cheek]

17 Comments

Not Amused

There are plenty of amazing female silks. They don’t need positive discrimination. But we might want to fast track them (the way he was fast tracked).

It seems deeply offensive to try to manipulate the terms of the debate by concentrating solely on ‘positive discrimination’. Merely mentioning positive discrimination implies that these women who are silks now are not good enough – they are.

He is the only living fast tracked judge in our country. Why not at least accept that if we just fast tracked one female silk the way we fast tracked him then it would be a start? They really can’t stand behind the suggestion that only one woman is good enough to be in the Supremes in 2015 – it wants for plausibility.

(16)(6)

Not Amused

This is not me.

(1)(0)

Not Amused

This is not me.

(1)(0)

Not Amused

This is not me either.

(0)(0)

Not Amused

Nor the comment above. That is not me either.

(0)(0)

Not Amused

Nor is that. This is getting weird. How many Not Amuseds are there?

(1)(0)

Not Amused

Nor is that. Wow, my brand is in tatters.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

“The concern he expressed was against introducing any form of positive discrimination to the judicial appointments system”

Translation:

Maintain the status quo of positive discrimination in favour of Old Etonian dinosaurs

(6)(9)

Jerkinthegherkin

So, it boils down to this: it’s OK to be fast-tracked if you’re Sumption, but not OK if you’re anyone else.

(17)(4)

Anonymous

That’s what all the Oxbridge lot are like fact

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Positive discrimination is a gravely adverse effect of putting feminism to the extreme. It is wise for Lord Sumption to state this out, facing the risk of suffering from acrimonious criticisms which are strong on emotion but weak on facts.

(5)(5)

Jerkinthegherkin

He was fast-tracked into the Supreme Court. That’s a fact, not an emotion.

(6)(0)

Satin Cut

As a judge/lawyer he should know by now that one needs to be very careful conversing with non-lawyers.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

That’ll learn him for talking to journos and thinking they wont spin his words.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

It’s almost as though people who spend a disproportionate amount of time dealing with legal technicalities can be a bit socially awkward.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

He does love the limelight does ol’ sumpy

(1)(1)

Mr Pineapples

So tired of these feminsta types. The bloke was having a bash at positive discrimination i.e. of slotting females into jobs to meet the quota. What a ridiculous approach to life.

(1)(0)

Comments are closed.