Strike that from the record:According toThe New York Times,the American Bar Association ruled on Monday that language singling out fellow counsels based on their race,sex,or religion (among other things) qualifies as discrimination and harassment.And for women practicing law who are all too often addressed as "honey" or "darling" in the courtroom,this is a much-welcomed change.
Though individual state bar associations will determine penalties for violations—depending on the gravity,these could range from fines to suspension from practice—the ruling covers any "harmful verbal or physical conduct that manifests bias or prejudice toward others." This means any type of sexual harassment or language that is deliberately derogatory or demeaning would qualify as a violation.
Prior to the decision earlier this week,some opponents argued that this measure could potentially limit free speech,but no counsels actually spoke up against the ruling ahead of Monday's vote.
Many states,as well as Washington,D.C.,have already put forward similar motions to curtail this type sexist language—language that is often used by opposing counsels to undercut women in the courtroom—and this recent ABA vote is a step toward making it more uniform in practice.