May 30th, 2009

I’ve got an article at PJ today: judicial diversity and identity politics

Please read my PJ article about identity politics, diversity, and judicial nominations.

You’ll be glad you did. I’ll be glad you did. PJ will be glad you did.

24 Responses to “I’ve got an article at PJ today: judicial diversity and identity politics”

  1. TexExec Says:

    Great job there, Neo. Your logic and the articulate way you express it is always excellent. I am proud to be counted among your regular readers.

  2. dane Says:

    Well thought out and expressed. Possibly one of the most difficult things to do is to put our “experiences” and self interest aside when making decisions. But if it were not possible there would be no recovering addicts. Nor would there be any heroic deeds. If everyday people can do it then surely someone who has risen to her heights should be capable of the same.

    Once again it is arrogance that tells many liberals that the world would be a better place if they can mold it to their ideals. They see us as mentally challenged children.

  3. Nolanimrod Says:

    OK. Early & often.

  4. Oblio Says:

    Nice article, Neo.

    I saw a commenter talking about “reverse racism” and “reverse sexism.” These were always an ungainly constructions.

    Then is occurred to me: what we are seeing should properly be called “neo-racism” and “neo-sexism.”

    These terms have two great features: 1) that they deny that there is anything directional about racism or sexism; 2) it will make liberals’ hair catch on fire when they hear it.

  5. Oblio Says:

    oops… “were ungainly constructions” Went from singular to plural but didn’t check for agreement.

  6. E Says:

    Oblio, your ungainly constructions were ungainly!

  7. Oblio Says:

    I’m just built that way.

  8. Mr. Frank Says:

    I’ve always wondered how liberals fail to see that the view that sex, race, or ethnicity determines how someone thinks is a fundamentally racist world view.

  9. physicsguy Says:

    Nice job Neo. However after reading some of the material that the Princetonian has released of her wrtings in her undergraduate days, I reach the conclusion that she is nothing more than yet another radical Baby Boomer. And, like many others of her ilk that I deal with on a daily basis in academia, she never grew out of her youthful political views.

    The Baby Boomers (I’m one myself) are a plague on the country.

  10. Americaneocon Says:

    I linked to it at my post, “The Left’s Racial Double Standard”:

  11. Primordial Vegetable Says:

    But, but…the Republican-appointed Supreme Court justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said at his confirmation hearing that his immigrant roots played into his consideration of cases:

    “When a case comes before me involving, let’s say, someone who is an immigrant — and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases,I can’t help but think of my own ancestors because it wasn’t that long ago when they were in that position.”

    Neo, did you miss that?

  12. Baklava Says:


    Look on previous threads before you sit on your mighty horse.

  13. Primordial Vegetable Says:


    Well, I just searched for “Alito” — this comment for Alito was never mentioned in previous threads, from what I can see.

    So I again have to ask, how is this comment by Alito different from what Sotomayor said:

    “When a case comes before me involving, let’s say, someone who is an immigrant — and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases,I can’t help but think of my own ancestors because it wasn’t that long ago when they were in that position.”

  14. br549 Says:

    Thanks for the article. I “guffawed” my way through some of the comments.

    Primo, perhaps we shouldn’t let just anyone in here without a background check. I fail to see what’s wrong with that.

  15. Oblio Says:

    Primordial Vegetable, you are late to the party.

  16. SteveH Says:

    I fail to see the wisdom gained by any person who is advanced by who they happen to be a descandant of. If anything, a lack of wisdom seems the default position for such a pampered existence.

  17. neo-neocon Says:

    Primordial Vegetable:

    I wonder whether you really don’t see the difference, since it is so clear. Also, the sort of argument you mount here, including the quote, has been already been discussed ad nauseam on many boards throughout the blogosphere; I would imagine you have seen the responses there, and know exactly what they are. Nevertheless you thought to put the Kos talking points here as well and hope for the best.

    Or perhaps I’m misjudging you (after all, since I’ve never been a primordial vegetable, maybe I can’t understand where you’re coming from). So, just in case you haven’t seen the response a hundred times, I’ll give it a go.

    This is what Alioto said, in response to a query during his confirmation hearings from Senator Coburn of Texas when asked to counter criticism that he’s uncaring as a judge (emphasis mine]:

    Alito:…when a case comes before me involving, let’s say, someone who is an immigrant — and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases — I can’t help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn’t that long ago when they were in that position.

    And so it’s my job to apply the law. It’s not my job to change the law or to bend the law to achieve any result.

    Shorter Alioto: I care, I’m human. I think about those people. But I never let it affect my actual legal judgments, despite that.

    It’s a completely different kettle of fish from Sotomayor. In response to a direct question, Alioto was trying to say that, despite the fact that he is unbiased in his decisions, he’s not a cold and uncaring human being. The context, background, and what the person actually is saying about empathy and the law, could not be more different from Sotomayor.

    Also, I missed the part where he said he hoped that, as a white man, he would make better decisions than a latina woman. Maybe you could do a search and find that quote as well, because that is the pulsing heart of the Sotomayor matter.

    You say you can’t? Pity.

    But as I said before, my guess is that you already know all this.

  18. nyomythus Says:

    It was a little stiff compared to the fluidity and clarity that comes through on your blog neo, not that I could do any better by a long shot.

  19. Primordial Vegetable Says:

    Neo, in the link you posted, Alito says:

    When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account

  20. Oblio Says:

    Primordial Vegetable, what exactly is your point? Neo gave you the money quote. I’ve read the transcript and the whole thrust of his confirmation testimony is a tenacious defense of the rule of law. We know, and you should know, that Alito answered this question on Day 3 of the hearings to get to the issue of whether he has feelings at all. And Neo has already addressed the essential difference between what Alito said and what Sotomayor said. So where are you trying to take this? I am presuming that by now you had a chance to read the thread you couldn’t find before.

  21. Baklava Says:

    Primo is being obtuse.

    Alito said again, “And so it’s my job to apply the law. It’s not my job to change the law or to bend the law to achieve any result.

    Primo has an issue with reading comprehension.

  22. Alex Bensky Says:

    Oddly enough, no one seems to notice that a court which is supposed to look more like America is chiefly made up of graduates of elite, expensive private universities and law schools, as is Sotomayer.

    I wouldn’t suggest anyone run out and nominate someone from my entirely unknown undergraduate school, then a branch campus of Michigan State, but apparently no one with a degree from, say, the University of Illinois or Oregon State is qualified, and neither is someone from a law school like Minnesota or the U. of Washington, both fine schools.

    But I don’t see a rush to nominate people whose college and law school experience is “more like America.” I wonder why.

  23. IGC Blogger Says:

    Good insight from Neo at PJ. And Alex Bensky, excellent point about the lack of “law school diversity” on the high court. At my blog at, I am compiling a list of questions that someone should pose to the judge during the confirmation hearings.

  24. neo-neocon Says:

    Alex Bensky: I wouldn’t say that no one seems to notice.

    Robert Barnes noticed it, and then I noticed that he’d noticed it, when I wrote this:

    And, as Robert Barnes points out in today’s WaPo, although diversity could have been furthered on the Court by appointing someone who had graduated from a public university (a mindboggling eight of the present group attended either Harvard or Yale), or someone who didn’t come from an appellate court background (all the present Justices have that history, the first time this has ever been the case), that type of diversity is not considered important. Appealing to women and Hispanics most definitely is.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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