More Diversity Please !

I read Bob’s recent post on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the United States Supreme Court and I was quite happy to see the president nominate another woman to our highest court in the land.

Bob’s post mentioned that there is diversity of race and gender on the court, but I guess I don’t feel that there is enough diversity on the court. Women make up 51% of the population of the United States, yet on the Supreme Court there have been no more than two women serving on the court at one time and currently there are seven males. That just doesn’t sit right with me and that’s one of the reasons I am supportive of the president’s nominee.

The other reason I am supportive of Elena is because of the fact that she is a single person and her sexual orientation shouldn’t be an issue as to whether or not she sits on the court. I happen to be a single person and like being single thank you very much. I have to say I have a sense of what she must feel like though.

I found this article which I think touches on what it means to be a single person in America today. The comment Elena’s mother made to their neighbor after Elena was appointed Dean of Harvard Law School particularly hit home with me because rarely does a holiday pass where my mother doesn’t make a comment like  “I would find someone and get married”.

So I hope that Ms Kagan’s personal life isn’t made to be an issue by the Republicans during the hearings and that she is quickly confirmed. If they do I think their making a big mistake.

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You Don’t Have To Be A Judge . . .

. . . to be on the Supreme Court, and therefore it doesn’t bother me one bit that Elena Kagan hasn’t served on the bench.  Over the years, many Supreme Court Justices, including some who had an enormous impact on the Court and its jurisprudence, had no prior judicial experience.

No, what bothers me is that the Court is populated exclusively by graduates of elite law schools and universities who have never had a private law practice.  Although there is diversity of race and gender on the Court, there really isn’t much diversity of perspective.  The Court can take only a small handful of cases each year, and it seems to devote an inordinate proportion of those cases to narrow constitutional issues, like whether World War I veterans’ erection of a cross on federal lands in the Mojave Desert violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.  That may be an interesting academic question, but it doesn’t have much to do with the vast majority of Americans, or the vast majority of lawyers.

I’d love to see a President nominate a practicing lawyer who cares about resolving uncertainties about application of the rules of civil procedure and the rules of evidence, or the drafting of disclosures in SEC filings by public corporations.  We really don’t need another decision that revisits how Roe v. Wade applies in some specific factual scenario — but it sure would be nice to get a definitive ruling on how district courts should apply class certification standards.