This is something special, and you can take that any way that you like. It’s not that teenagers (and, most assuredly, their parents) aren’t inclined to imbue high-school cheerleading with a bit more drama than it deserves: it’s just that usually people don’t make a literal Title IX federal case out it.
In a recent decision, the stately jurists of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit recount a cross between Mean Girls and Bring It On, in which former Creekview High School cheerleader Samantha “Sami” Sanches seeks Title IX relief against the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District for retaliation and sex discrimination. Those are big guns to brandish over the fact that Sami didn’t make the varsity squad, and you can practically see the judges’ pinched noses and thinly veiled contempt in the opinion‘s otherwise dry legalese.
“It’s a petty squabble, masquerading as a civil rights matter, that has no place in federal court or any other court,” the opinion begins. You can see where this is headed from there.
Oh, yes, you can. Read the whole thing: the footnotes in particular* are not to be missed. And how train-wreck hysterical is this decision? Let me put it this way: somebody went to law school, passed the bar, and became a Federal judge, and what’s his/her reward? Having to make observations like this:
Being constantly called a “liar” and a “slut” after having been raped is undoubtedly more severe than being called a “ho” once for nabbing one’s friend’s ex-boyfriend.
And that’s not the only place where the judge felt the need to gently introduce the plaintiff to the concept of objective reality. There’s more. A lot more: you get the feeling from reading this decision that the judges on the Fifth Court of Appeals were really, really wishing that they could have settled this case on Day Three of the appeals process via gratuitous use of tasers on selected individuals (and I don’t mean the kid)…
*“Usually we do not comment on technical and grammatical errors, because anyone can make such an occasional mistake, but here the miscues are so egregious and obvious that an average fourth grader would have avoided most of them. For example, the word “principals” should have been “principles.” The word “vacatur” is misspelled. The subject and verb are not in agreement in one of the sentences, which has a singular subject (“incompetence”) and a plural verb (“are”). Magistrate Judge Stickney is referred to as “it” instead of “he” and is called a “magistrate” instead of a “magistrate judge.” And finally, the sentence containing the word “incompetence” makes no sense as a matter of standard English prose, so it is not reasonably possible to understand the thought, if any, that is being conveyed. It is ironic that the term “incompetence” is used here, because the only thing that is incompetent is the passage itself.”