Aside from intelligence and experience, we are told that one of the best things Sonia Sotomayor will bring to the Supreme Court is diversity.
To which I say: Baloney. She brings no diversity at all.
I offer the following as proof. Here are the justices of the Supreme Court and the law schools they went to:
John G. Roberts, Harvard.
John Paul Stevens, Northwestern.
Antonin Scalia, Harvard.
Anthony Kennedy, Harvard.
Clarence Thomas, Yale.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Columbia.
Stephen Breyer, Harvard.
Samuel Alito, Yale.
David Souter, who just retired, Harvard.
Sonya Sotomayor, who is due to replace him, Yale.
True, there is one justice not from an Ivy League school. But Northwestern is the only private school in the Big Ten. And there is a cookie-cutter similarity to the law schools the justices attended.
Harvard’s motto is: Veritas (Truth).
Yale’s motto is: Lux et Veritas (Light and Truth).
Northwestern’s motto is: Quaecumque Sunt Vera (I Couldn’t Get Into the University of Chicago).
This is not change we can believe in. Why didn’t Barack Obama (Harvard Law) cast his net more widely? He certainly could have. He didn’t even have to choose a lawyer. The Constitution sets no qualifications for Supreme Court justices.
That’s right. None. The person does not have to be any particular age or a citizen or even live in the United States. In theory, Obama could have selected from any of the 6.77 billion people on the planet.
So, who does he come up with? A Yalie.
I have nothing against Yalies. And they have nothing against each other. One Yalie, George H.W. Bush (Yale undergrad; he didn’t go to law school) appointed Sotomayor to the federal district bench. Another Yalie, Bill Clinton, Yale Law, appointed her to the federal appeals bench.
I assume that when Sotomayor is confirmed, the three will get together and sing the Yale fight song, written by Cole Porter and containing the immortal words, "Bulldog, bulldog, bow wow wow." (It took Cole Porter to write that?)
While it is true that a president can appoint anyone to the court, the Senate can reject that person, which did limit Obama’s choices somewhat. But only somewhat.
I think it is wonderful Obama chose a Latina for the job, but he could have been even more daring and appointed a Latina who doesn’t have an Ivy League degree. That would have shown real diversity. And it would not have been that risky. After all, Democrats hold a comfortable 12-7 majority on the Judiciary Committee and a comfortable 60-40 majority in the Senate.
Further, Sotomayor is assured an easy confirmation because she is not a game-changer. She is a liberal replacing a liberal. So with her appointment, the court stays the same, ideologically.
That is why the Judiciary Committee hearings have been so dull and pro forma so far. Republicans know they don’t have the votes to block Sotomayor, and they know that approving her will not change the makeup of the court anyway.
There are Republicans opposed to her, but they are not very passionate about it. Which is not to say the White House didn’t prepare Sotomayor for each and every possible question.
A White House official recently told ABC’s Jake Tapper, "We’ve spent most of the past two weeks in extensive mock hearings, so she gets a good feel for the questions and can hone her answers."
And how she has honed. Faced Tuesday with her first "hostile" questioner, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Sotomayor was forced to hone way back on a very controversial statement she made in 2001.
Sotomayor had said, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."
But on Tuesday, Sotomayor said: "I was using a rhetorical flourish that fell flat. … It was bad."
Sessions, by the way, went to the University of Alabama law school. And he got a Yalie to admit she had used a bad flourish.
Bow wow wow.