The absurd decision written by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act warrants a closer look at the institution. At present a picture of the nine justices gathered together in their black robes outwardly suggests a diverse group of judicial peers. Pictures can be deceiving, however. Truth be told there is precious little diversity on this Court and the next president must take issue with it.
There can be no argument that the academic diversity of the Supreme Court is absolutely barren. Do not subscribe to the mainstream notion that the “best and brightest” lawyers come primarily from Harvard or Yale. The American Bar Association (ABA) recognizes 202 accredited law schools in the U.S. Out of those 202 law schools it seems that only two — Harvard or Yale — qualify you to be appointed to the Court. Justices who attended Yale include: Alito, Sotomayor, and Thomas. Justices who attended Harvard include: Breyer, Ginsberg, Kagan, Kennedy, Roberts, and Scalia. Ginsberg may have graduated from Columbia law, but she was a last minute Harvard transfer. I urge you to look at the recent Roberts ruling. Can one say, with a straight face, that his opinion is from the “best and brightest” this country has to offer? After I read the Roberts opinion I wondered what kind of jurisprudence these universities produce. It certainly is a question worth asking since they seem to have a monopoly on Supreme Court appointees. The Roberts decision wasn’t written by a brilliant jurist. Only a fool would dare write and make such a mockery of the law. Read the law, know the law, and apply the law. We are not looking for someone to split an atom; it is a straightforward process.
We have nine lawyers who attended two private, New England Ivy League universities. This, coupled with geographic origin and religious affiliation, has led to a narrow representation of America. Seven of the nine grew up in New York or New Jersey. Breyer grew up in San Francisco. This leaves only one being raised outside New England or a place as foreign as San Francisco: Clarence Thomas, who was raised in Savannah, Georgia. As a whole, is this really representative of the American populace? The answer is an indefatigable, unambiguous, and unequivocal “no”. What does a Harvard or Yale law degree say to me? Primarily that someone had a lot of ambition. This is the last quality we should want in a Supreme Court Justice.
How about the President Romney spice it up by appointing a Protestant or even a Mormon from the midwest to the Court next? Perhaps even cause the media to explode into hysterics by nominating someone who went to a state university?! At present we have six Catholic justices and three Jewish justices. I have nothing against my Catholic brothers and sisters or our Jewish cousins, but we have to ask how representative of America this is. According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, Jewish people constitute 2% of the US population. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 24% of the US identify as Catholic.
Although religion, geographic origination, race, or certain alma mater are not prerequisites for an appointment to the Supreme Court it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taken into consideration. It’s time for diversity on this homogenous Court.