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Ann Noyes wanted to join the local country club women’s organization. Her qualifications in terms of age and socio-economic status were equivalent to those of the other women who were members. This she’d found out from one of them, her neighbor.
Ann’s membership was refused.
Ann called and respectfully requested the reason.
The response in a terse note stated: “Our community’s standards for propriety are the more stringent in our club proprieties. One of those is that in all respects, members conduct themselves in genteel, even subdued, manner. Pleasant conversational volume must be part of this limitation – and it would be in violation of our standards to allow Noyes which would fracture our finesse. That’s why we ban you from membership.”
Although she realized that her accent might convey her spoken words in a somewhat shrill way, Ann Noyes sensed that the actual reason for the ban might be other than that “noise” and the “Noyes” really represented an “editorial Freudian slip”. For in the little close-knit evangelical right-wing mid-west community, Ann was the only foreigner. All others were so very Caucasian and had tried to ban her from even moving into the town.
Ann Noyes, Buddhist, was from Cambodia.
Ann Noyes sued for racial discrimination.
In a lower court, the decision supported the country club’s right to ban her.
Ann Noyes decided to appeal that decision. She hired a prominent attorney, Abe Goff.
Abe Goff had an almost super-star reputation. No matter the depths of an apparent abyss represented by his client’s guilt, somehow he had always been able to achieve a “not guilty” verdict. No matter the precipitous ascent through investigative legwork and legalistic maneuvering, Abe’s cross examinations and concluding arguments had always resulted in decisions for his client.
And based on Abe’s reputation, and the regional notoriety of the Noyes case, the court-room was packed, the throng including many prominent lawyers. They’d all come to see another masterful manifestation of Abe tripping up the opponent-counsel to fall on his face.
For Abe Goff had never lost a case, so no chance he’d lose this appeal for Ann.
The decision of the trial was for the defense!! (The country club.)
The lawyers were astounded, horrified that the appeal failed.
Later, commiserating with Al Goff, they noted how, on every contour of every case, he’d always been on such firm footing.
“What the hell happened?” they asked.
And Al Goff replied, “I slipped on a ban Ann appeal.”