Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Kagan

In general, I like what I read about her. As a centrist, I think that she seems like a good choice. But it is undeniable that the SCOTUS does not even come close to representing America generally. Despite some gender and racial diversity on the Court, it cannot reasonably be considered to be a truly diverse institution. When Stevens leaves and Kagan is confirmed, every single justice will be an alum of either Harvard Law or Yale Law.

And then there is this regarding the lack of geographical diversity in the backgrounds of the justices:

If the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court is confirmed, she would join three others in a distinct bloc. For the first time in the court’s history, said William Treanor, the dean of Fordham Law School, it would have four justices who grew up in New York City.

About 3% of the US population lives in NYC, and it is fair to assume that a substantial percentage of that 3% actually grew up somewhere else. This is not healthy for either the SCOTUS or the country. I'm not suggesting that anyone should vote against Kagan because she grew up in NYC and went to Harvard Law. What I'm suggesting is that, next time, an arbitrary condition that the nominee grew up and went to law school at least 500 miles from Boston, New Haven, NYC and Washington would not be inappropriate.