Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Diversity of Supreme Court as a reason to block a nominee

In what may signal a swing toward more substational issue-based discussion, I want to put out an idea, have the Page 132 community kick it around and we'll see where it lands.

I know that the Senate won't be voting on the Alito nomination until after the New Year, but I got my third e-mail today urging me to call my senators and tell them to vote no. I'm not anti-Alito as long as he passes my litmus test, but I'd like to talk about his nomination in the more theoretical.

Would the lack of diversity on the SCOTUS be a good reason to reject a nominee?

SCOTUS with Alito would have 8 men and 1 woman. 8 whites and 1 African-American. Alito would be the 5th Catholic jurist.

That is quite different than America at large. Women make up 51% of the US population, but only 11% of the Court. Latinos make up about 14% of America, but have no representation on SCOTUS. African-Americans make up 13% of the US population and have an 11% reprensentation on SCOTUS. 56% of SCOTUS is Catholic. Even Boston doesn't boast that kind of percentage! Add to that those of Asian or Native American who have no representation and SCOTUS starts to look like a good ol' boys club.

How can a court of predominately white men relate to the experiences of woman and minorities in our society? The life experiences of women and minorities are different than those for white men, but equally valid. These different, but valid experiences could change the discussion the justices have behind the scenes. Justice and laws are the same for all Americans. Wouldn't it be better if those intrepreting the laws had a better understanding of all parts of our society?

I'm not arguing for tokenism. That is offensive to everyone involved.

I'm also not arguing for a lower of standards either. From what I've read, there are lots of qualified, conservative leaning women and/or minorities out there.

Also, I'm not saying this to defeat Alito in hopes that will bring about a more liberal nominee. According to my new standard, Janice Rogers Brown would fulfill the criteria. This may not be what is best for progressives, but it might be what is best for America.