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COURT: Lack of diversity claims ring hollow

Letter by Timothy E. Williams, Gig Harbor on May 13, 2010 at 10:21 am with 5 Comments »
May 14, 2010 9:04 am

Re: Elana Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Both Kathleen Parker and Patrick O’Callahan weigh in on Kagan’s “lack of diversity” (columns, 5-12). Parker notes that if Kagan is confirmed, all three women on the court would be New Yorkers (urban, sophisticated, Ivy League). O’Callahan writes that there would be no Protestant justices.

The Supremes were, until quite recently, white Protestants with a “designated” Jewish justice. No women or minorities need apply. But hasn’t the most recent hue and cry been for the “best” justice, diversity be damned? Especially from the right? It is a bit disingenuous to now complain of the lack of diversity.

Parker’s concern for too many New Yorkers is just silly. Geographic diversity is important?

O’Callahan’s concern for the evangelical/mainstream Christian no longer finding a place at the table is likewise misplaced. While he cites studies that show evangelicals are not well received in academia, this is almost certainly not about evangelicals per se, but only that subgroup who base their beliefs only on faith, as they know it, and not on law, science, logic nor with any respect for the real diversity in the country.

Justice requires faithfulness to the law and to the Constitution. Notions of justice based on “faith” are no more legitimate than those based on “empathy.” Only when we have an atheist, Moslem or Buddhist justice, and no designated “seats” for evangelicals, Jews or anyone, will we be able to experience real diversity. And real justice.

Leave a comment Comments → 5
  1. APimpNamedSlickback says:

    I agree that there needs to be more diversity, but to say that geographic diversity is just plain silly is, well, just plain silly.

    These justices have to hear cases that originate in every corner of our nation, and if empathy was such an important quality for Obama to find in his last appointee, geographic diversity is absolutely a necessity. People who have lived every day of their life in a major metropolitan area have absolutely no idea what life is like in rural areas. Most of America is still fairly rural. Stocking the Court with people who’ve never set foot on ground that wasn’t paved virtually ensures that the Court will be deaf to real life issues facing Americans who do live in such places that appeal their cases to that level.

    And let’s face it, when was the last time you met a New Yorker that didn’t believe the world started and ended within the five boroughs? Geographic diversity is important. It’s far from the only thing to consider, but it is an important aspect and shouldn’t be dismissed.

    Also, there should be some academic diversity. Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are all amazing schools, but serving on the Supreme Court shouldn’t require you to have attended them. I’ve known a lot of attorneys, including some from the Ivy League and some from “lesser” schools. The better attorneys often times come from third and fourth-tier toilets, and the completely incompetent ones often from the Ivy League. The reason? Generally because the Ivy League teaches its students that a degree from their school automatically makes them the greatest legal scholars of all time, where as the 4th tier reminds its students every day that they have to earn their accolades, and that good lawyers can only be developed over time, not just spat out of an expensive school on the east coast.

    The overwhelming majority of lawyers, and judges for that matter, in the US come from “lesser” schools. The Supreme Court should better reflect that.

  2. donjames says:

    Great points, pimp.

    I might also add that the broad-brushed backhand the benighted Mr. Williams applied with his rationalization for the fact that religious affiliation for roughly 71% of the voting population (Protestant) warrants no consideration in the selection of a SCOTUS judge, given the present make-up of the court, is a bit revealing.

  3. LuckyCharm says:

    Has it occurred to anybody that there just might not be “a strong tradition of lawyering among evangelical Protestants,” as reported by CNN, quoting religious experts?

    “Evangelicals have put more effort into getting elected than in getting onto the bench,” said Michael Lindsay, a Rice University professor who has studied evangelical elites. “Electoral politics is more similar to the style of rallying of around revival campaign than it is to the arduous journey of producing intellectual giants that could be eligible for the Supreme Court.”

    Maybe if more evangelicals went into law as a profession, more of them would rise to the level needed to be considered for an appointment to the high court.

  4. Elen kegan does not think we ahould be able to sue the people whop gave money to the 19 who hit us 9-11-2001. She says that is we let them sue the royal family of Saudia then it could hurt or foregin opolice and they have alot of oil we need.

    She is one sick puppy , as bad as all the Bin Ladin’s, Obama’s and Bu$h’s of the world…………….

  5. LuckyCharm says:

    erk, have you actually read the cases you’re talking about? You are seriously misstating the facts. Please reread the cases again, because at some point you must have fallen asleep or something.

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