Merit And The Supreme Court

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on May 6, 2009

My latest article for the New Ledger is up. It discusses the danger that merit may not play as strong a role as some of us would like in determining the eventual nominee for the Supreme Court. A sample:

Now that we are in the throes of selecting a new Justice to replace the retiring David Souter, we are confronted anew by demands that the next Justice satisfy a multitude of diversity requirements. These demands concern the next Justice’s gender, race, and religion, as per usual. But they also concern the next Justice’s sexual orientation, girth, and outlook on life. One shudders to think how President Obama is going to satisfy all, or even most of these diversity requirements; this may be one of the few times in the immediate aftermath of the Presidential election that John McCain is glad that he lost.

It would, of course, be far easier if the President could simply have a free hand to choose the smartest, most learned, most conscientious and most honorable Justice, and let bean counting come second. It would also be better for the country. Alas, instead of discussing the quality of the next Justice’s mind, we find ourselves mired both in the swamp of identity politics, and by the inapt qualifications the President himself has said will drive his selection of the next Supreme Court Justice.

Read it all.

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