Weird Establishment Clause Case Dismissed

Weird Establishment Clause Case Dismissed November 7, 2011

A federal court in New York has dismissed one of the stranger lawsuits I’ve ever seen. Roy Den Hollander represented himself in the case, which argued that the women’s studies program at Columbia University was a violation of the Establishment Clause because feminism is a religion.

The court based its ruling on collateral estoppel, which prevents a person from bringing a suit that was already decided. Den Hollander had filed the same lawsuit in 2008 making the same arguments, but that case was dismissed on standing grounds. The appeals court upheld that ruling.

Den Hollander is quite a piece of work. He’s a men’s rights activist who made a name for himself by suing bars that had ladies nights because they discriminate against men. Here’s video of a Colbert Report piece on him.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Difference Makers – Roy Den Hollander
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Actually, “ladies night” does seem a bit troubling to me. A few years back, a local quick oil-change shop, had a prominently advertised, weekly “ladies day” offering an oil-change discount to women, but not men (a sign on the parkway, outside the building).

    Would it be okay to have black day, or white day, offering discounts to people based on race?

    I understand that the motive for ladies day in bars is actually intended to serve the perceived interests of men (and the bar owner), but bars are public accommodations and it seems inconsistent to oppose gender discrimination and dismiss the idea that different prices for men and women presents a problem.

    Hollander is a pig, but even a pig can have a position I agree with on occasion, even if the deeper motivation isn’t one I share.

    I would at least expect people who reject gender discrimination to have mixed feelings about gender-based discounts.

  • danielrudolph

    Even if feminism were a religion, I don’t see how this suit is supposed to work. Plenty of public universities have programs to study a specific religion. It’s not like they’re endorsing it.

  • d cwilson

    Roy Den Hollander represented himself in the case

    Ding! Ding! Ding! Crackpot alert!

    Den Hollander comes across as a combination of misogyny and too much free time. I don’t get his argument at all. Feminism is a religion? So, is he against all religious studies programs?

    A quick look at the Columbia University website indicates that they offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in religion. Is he going to sue to block those as well?

    http://www.columbia.edu/content/areas-study.html

  • slc1

    Re Danielrudolph @ #2

    Columbia Un., the last time I heard, was a private school; thus they are perfectly at liberty to offer courses in religion and theology. Just like Liberty, Un. and Notre Dame.

  • Cleanliness is more of a religion than feminism. After all it is next to godliness and many people practice it religiously!

  • Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    Den Hollander is quite a piece of work. He’s a men’s rights activist who made a name for himself by suing bars that had ladies nights because they discriminate against men.

    I think I hear a giant whoosh sound given such marketing gimics discriminate only against those men not looking to socialize with a lot of ladies.

  • dave

    I think I hear a giant whoosh sound given such marketing gimics discriminate only against those men not looking to socialize with a lot of ladies.

    See?! Den Hollander is being discriminated against.

  • d cwilson

    @dave: I suspect that Den Hollander’s problem is the opposite: Most ladies don’t want to socialize with him. Hence why his ex-wife was a mail order bride from Russia.

  • d cwilson

    Columbia Un., the last time I heard, was a private school; thus they are perfectly at liberty to offer courses in religion and theology. Just like Liberty, Un. and Notre Dame.

    Apparently, his argument is that because these schools receive federal funds indirectly through student loan programs, they are subject to the Establishment Clause and the “religion” of feminism is a violation of it.

    Oh, and public universities also offer courses in religious studies. Universities belonging to New York’s public SUNY programs have a number of majors and minors in religious studies.

    Here’s the religious studies program at SUNY Albany, for example:

    http://www.albany.edu/undergraduate_bulletin/program_religious_studies.html

  • Abby Normal

    From a purely ethical/logical perspective I’m not entirely comfortable with gender based discounts. The same goes for separate-but-equal public restrooms and locker rooms. But from an emotional perspective I do prefer those arrangements. So I let it slide. I wonder what it is that drives Roy Den Hollander to try and make a federal case out of it, a commitment to ethics or an emotional drive to seek power over women. Given the quality of this feminism as a religion suit, I know what my money’s on.

  • dave

    @d cwilson:

    One does not socialize with ones inferiors. Whether one’s inferiors wish to socialize with one is immaterial. Im sure Den Hollander thought that a Russian woman would know her place.

  • LightningRose

    Despite understanding the marketing reason, as a feminist, I agree that “Ladies Night” at bars is discriminatory towards men.

    At least one bar I’m aware of has avoided the discriminatory aspect by sponsoring “Skirt Night” – anyone wearing a skirt gets a discount/whatever.

  • d cwilson

    Im sure Den Hollander thought that a Russian woman would know her place.

    And I’m sure that Den Hollander has never had any interaction with a woman that did not include a transfer of a cash payment.

  • Aquaria

    Actually, “ladies night” does seem a bit troubling to me.

    Why? It’s strictly business.

    If you get the women to come, you get men to come = lots of men buying drinks, for themselves AND for women (despite how women get drinks for free or half off) = Mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

    A few years back, a local quick oil-change shop, had a prominently advertised, weekly “ladies day” offering an oil-change discount to women, but not men (a sign on the parkway, outside the building).

    Have you even asked if you could get the special? I’ve seen men get it if they’re not so worried about their masculinity to ask for it.

  • sceptinurse

    –At least one bar I’m aware of has avoided the discriminatory aspect by sponsoring “Skirt Night” – anyone wearing a skirt gets a discount/whatever.–

    So, do lots of guys in kilts show up?

  • lofgren

    I’m just impressed to see an MRA out actually doing something rather than just whining on the internet about the skanks who won’t date them.

  • Aquaria said:

    Have you even asked if you could get the special? I’ve seen men get it if they’re not so worried about their masculinity to ask for it.

    Good point. I’ve worked in the service industry for far too many years now, and I’ve rarely seen anyone who asked for one denied a promotional price. If an employee says “no,” ask to talk to a manager. Not many are willing to lose a customer just to deny you a price they are already offering to other customers.

    And Ladies Nights in clubs and bars are for the men, not the women. Same thought process applies to frat parties where women get in free and non-frat brother males need to be on the guest list. Provide your regulars with an assortment of intoxicated females to “choose” from, attempt to score with, and more than likely annoy.

  • dingojack

    So, this clown belongs to a “Mens rights” group. Isn’t that a discriminatory/’religious’* organisation?

    He needs to sue himself, stat! Hell, he could play at being judge, jury and executioner too! @@

    Dingo

    —–

    * apparently these terms are interchangeable (and who am I to argue?)

  • Wes

    These MRA assholes have got to be some of the most pathetic bozos on the planet.

  • I’d never go to a “ladies night” at a bar. As said about facebook and commercial TV: “If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”