In Print: Volume 89: Number 6
By Susan Frelich Appleton
89 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1423 (2012)
John Inazu’s impressive book, Liberty’s Refuge: The Forgotten Freedom of Assembly, interweaves two projects. First, it critiques the Supreme Court’s development of the freedom of association. Second, it makes the case for reviving the freedom of assembly in order to strengthen constitutional protection for the rights of groups, in particular, groups’ “right to exclude.” Many aspects of Professor Inazu’s arguments no doubt strike some readers as promising, while other readers will find them provocative.
A thorough review of Liberty’s Refuge lies beyond the scope of this essay, which has a very limited objective: to consider a few examples illustrating the additional insights that a feminist lens might bring to the analysis. Consistent with my modest agenda, the lens that I use is a very elementary one, without refractions reflecting the many variations in feminist theory. Instead, this essay undertakes merely what Katharine Bartlett once called “ask[ing] the woman question.”
With this objective in mind, I have selected three specific issues: Professor Inazu’s treatment of the always-contested divide between public and private, his overly narrow reading of the Supreme Court’s intimate association doctrine, and his failure to distinguish exclusion from subordination. Although asking the woman question illuminates some of what is absent from Professor Inazu’s analysis, I offer these comments with both collegial enthusiasm for his scholarship and commitment to “engaging” with the ideas that Liberty’s Refuge sets forth.