Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

So much whining about diversity in the USSC!! (Wittes editorial in WaPo, talkings heads on teevee)

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
 
Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 11:26 AM
Original message
So much whining about diversity in the USSC!! (Wittes editorial in WaPo, talkings heads on teevee)
Edited on Sun May-03-09 11:32 AM by Sparkly
I was miffed to hear this point of view on Scarborough the other morning, but I guess it's a wider stance than I realized. (So to speak.)

The idea is that Republicans have an advantage in making fair, "best-person-for-the-job" judicial appointments, because they aren't saddled with the limitations of diversity. That's right, diversity means limitations. It's always been complete coincidence, or a fact of natural superiority, that tends to put white men in such positions so often -- nothing to do with "identity politics" or "limitations!"

Here is Benjamin Wittes in WaPo today:
While both parties feel pressure to keep the bench diverse, Democrats have less latitude for bucking these expectations in judicial nominations than Republicans do. The core constituency that Republicans must satisfy in high court nominations is the party's social conservative base, which fundamentally cares about issues, not diversity, and has accepted white men who practice the judging it admires. By contrast, identity-oriented groups are part of the core Democratic coalition, so it's not enough for a Democrat to appoint a liberal. At least some of the time, it will have to be a liberal who also satisfies certain diversity categories.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...

Now it's "bucking" something to nominate white men. Conservatives supposedly don't "care" about diversity, which means they "care about issues" (especially, as it just so happens, about issues negatively affecting women and minorities)!

No group is monolithic, of course -- Clarence Thomas, Phyllis Schlafly... But there's not a thing wrong with taking life experience into account, and race and gender matter. If there were a fantastic minority lesbian deaf atheist potential judge out there, wouldn't either party be "limited" by excluding her?

There's not just one easy, obvious "best person" who's a white male -- that's a strawman -- nor is there a big pool of "the best" who are white males yet somewhere beneath them a "diversity" candidate is picked. That's the image being pushed here, and I for one say it's BS.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
1. In fact, women are SO diverse, they're not a voting bloc. Nearly half voted for GWB in '04. nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
2. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Wow.
That's almost as good as "gay marriage = marriage with box turtles."

"Valuing diversity = having to represent every single human characteristic possible which can't be done so don't bother."

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
QC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Yeah, diversity suddenly becomes highly controversial around here
when the queers get involved.

Funny how that works, isn't it?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FLAprogressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 11:36 AM
Response to Original message
3. I'd rather have 9 liberal white men than Clarence Thomas
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. False dichotomy. nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 11:50 AM
Response to Original message
7. The presumption that only a member of a demographic minority can fairly adjudicate issues ...
... impacting that minority is buying in to the "identity politics" of conservatism. It's NOT a liberal (or progressive) viewpoint at all. Implicit in such a posture is the notion that "identity politics" is somehow valid and worth embracing. It's NOT. Do liberals and progressives REALLY want to send the message that whites should "vote white" and straights should "vote straight" and males should "vote male"????? That's EXACTLY the message being sent when it's presumed that ONLY a black can represent a "black perspective" or ONLY a gay can represent a "gay perspective" or ONLY a female can represent a "female perspective." Indeed, the more such messages are sent then the more such messengers are implicitly validating the conservative posture of "special rights" and "narrow interests" ... instead of human rights and human interests.

I'm a liberal. I'm an independent liberal. I support equal rights for women, even as a male, because I'm a liberal. I support equal rights for gays, even as a straight, because I'm a liberal. I support equal rights for all human beings because I'm a liberal. Period. There's NOTHING inherently 'liberal' about women supporting equal rights for women, gays supporting equal rights for gays, or blacks supporting equal rights for blacks. That's just self-serving "identity politics."

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. I am not making that presumption.
Edited on Sun May-03-09 11:55 AM by Sparkly
There is nothing "inherently liberal" about assuming that diversity means limitation, or that straight white Christian men hold majorities in positions of power because of coincidence or sheer superiority.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 11:59 AM
Response to Original message
9. Well, if there were no discrimination...
...statistically, one should expect that 4 or 5 justices would be women and that one each would be Black and Latino. Well, we have the statistical racial diversity on the court, but gender remains an area where the average person accepts discrimination as somehow normal.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Yes, it's a RESULT. Forcing the appearance of a "result" is what creates Potemkin Villages.
:shrug:

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Why assuming it's "forcing the appearance?"
When someone other than a white man is selected for something, why is it so often assumed that a superior white man was unfairly passed over for the sake of diversity or "forcing the appearance" of it?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. It's called "politics" and nobody (here) is assuming a fucking thing.
Edited on Sun May-03-09 12:35 PM by TahitiNut
:shrug:

Why do *some* seem to think the MOST qualified candidate ISN'T white male?? I think I've indicated my own SCOTUS preferences, based solely on qualifications, quite adequately. (Clue: None are white males.) Why is that? Do others arrive at the same preference for the same reason??

I've seen/heard people assert the "we need another woman" independent of whether a male might have greater qualifications. I've seen/heard similar assertions from other demographic perspectives. This is not some job where any qualifications above and beyond the minimum required for the job are irrelevant. All qualifications are relevant. So are ideology and character attributes. Yes, ideology. I DO NOT want another Clarence Thomas ... no fucking way and no fucking how.


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #12
19. Who said that?
:shrug:

The only disagreement I have is that there isn't one objective measure of "qualifications." There are many, many people "qualified" for high-level positions. Of course ideology and character matter.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. When a self-identified member of a demographic proposes another member of that same demographic ...
... for some position, such as the Supreme Court, and then makes that demographic some 'card' in preemptively challenging disagreement, I suspect the 'race card' or 'gender card' or 'whatever card' may be being played as a tacit assumption that qualifications just aren't a sufficient argument. It's no secret (i.e. it's obvious) that there are 'Democrats' (and DUers) solely active and outspoken in the identity politics of their own demographic, demonstrating little or no advocacy for interests not particularly their own. If, under fire, I have a choice of foxholes in which to plunge, I hope it's not one occupied by someone such as that. I'd like someone as willing to fight by my side as I am theirs for justice and survival.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Do you agree with what Benjamin Wittes wrote?
You keep talking about "Qualifications" as though they are measured with a single yardstick. The idea of one "Most Qualified Person" can be a canard, let alone the idea that we are talking about having people in positions for which they're unqualified, or rooting for people who wouldn't "fight by your side for justice and survival."
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. No, I DON'T talk about qualifications as though there's a single yardstick.
Edited on Sun May-03-09 01:43 PM by TahitiNut
I'm quite candid in presenting what I personally regard are the "qualifications." You see, there are NO established and agreed-upon 'qualifications' for the Supreme Court other than being an adult. There's nothing that requires the person to be a lawyer, let alone a judge.

Thus, I present a (hierarchical) list of 'qualifications' when I present my preferences. Among the qualifications I regard as important are judicial experience, litigation experience, age (under 60, and preferably under 55 but old enough to actually have experience), a track record of recognizing civil rights as pre-existing and superior to the Constitution (and the very basis of its legitimacy), community service and activity in professional organizations, and a non-privileged family background. (Yes ... I regard a diploma from the School of Hard Knocks as a qualification.)

In my view, there's a set of additional qualifications, too ... all in a bucket called "confirmable." That means the individual can actually be confirmed by the Senate ... with a minimum of "going to the mattresses." That includes a small number (NOT zero) of controversial (reversed or dissenting) published opinions ... and what exist are defensible. That includes a personal history free of criminal conduct and paying taxes ... including payroll taxes for household employees.

That's the point. People can morph their 'qualifications' according to their biases. Indeed, advocates for a Potemkin Supreme Court can assert no substantive qualifications whatsoever or only those their preferred candidate possesses ... and only to that degree. That's Clarence Thomas - an appalling choice.


That said, I think Wittes make a number of good points, worth considering. It's worth emphasizing the the judiciary (and the legal profession) is overwhelmingly conservative. This is the result of many influences. The affluent are better positioned to go to Law School. Republicans HAVE appointed the huge majority of judges. And law is an inherently conservative vocation.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. You've argued about qualifications in your replies
including a point about the "most" qualified.

Appointments like this, as you say, go way beyond "qualified" (and yes of course, able to be confirmed). There are all sorts of other factors that are taken into account. Historically, being straight, white, Christian and male have been so highly weighted as to be the norm. Anyone not fitting those criteria is "other" -- a "diversity pick," or now, an example of "identity politics."

I turn that on its head and say that straight, white Christian men have been examples of "identity politics" forever! Talk about "morphing" toward bias -- our culture is loaded with it.

(I also noted in my OP that no group is monolithic, and cited Thomas specifically -- I am not talking about "tokens." I've also pointed out that I'm not talking about unfairly appointing people who are unqualified. I'm not talking about appointing anyone who isn't liberal. These are all straw men.)

Out of the hundreds (at least) of "qualified" liberals, there are many factors to consider. I see nothing wrong in adding life experience as a minority or woman to that mix. I've held that view on presidential candidates as well (even while my overall favorite of favorites has been a straight white Christian male, as it happens!). It matters, I've always said, that Obama isn't white and that Clinton isn't a man. It is a truly positive thing that they ran, a truly positive thing that we have our first non-white president. There was never a question of bias in the sense of cheating anyone else, promoting someone unworthy, etc. -- but to pretend it's nothing but a neutral issue is to pretend no bias exists in our culture, and that is flat out WRONG.

There is also a view that bias should be met with lack of bias -- that if we pretend all things are equal, they will be. That's the basic argument against affirmative action, and I disagree with it. When all things are equal, then it won't matter. As it is, it does matter. It matters a lot.

I grew up female, and it matters to me. The tears in Jesse Jackson's eyes (and those of many, many others) watching the Obamas walk forward as our first family, show you how it matters. It's not just about qualifications and policy -- it IS personal. It IS about identity. It is knowing that children now have an example of their identities in positions of power. Because when you grow up without that, you get a message. When you grow up with that, you get a message.

The feminist movement of the 1970s had a slogan: "The personal is political." No matter how we may want to wish everything were neutral and equal, because WE see things as such, it isn't so -- not yet. It still matters.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. Because that is what people are proposing in this case
That looks/color/etc matter more than whether or not the most qualified person gets the job.

And in some sense the article is correct - we have so many different groups in our tent and each one thinks that someone from their group has to be represented, versus having someone who represents the entire group on it's liberal principles.

Instead of focusing on our core goals and ideals people can get lost in a subset of them - ie, they represent more something inside the tent than the tent itself.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. Not necessarily.
"That looks/color/etc matter more than whether or not the most qualified person gets the job."

I think "looks/color/etc." have been taken into account for centuries to put white men into positions of power.

I don't think there's necessarily one clearly "most qualified person."

I don't think considering so-called "diversity candidates" is a limitation on choosing "the most qualified person."

I think the notion that every possible human characteristic has to be represented is a strawman.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:21 PM
Response to Original message
13. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. You mean like Obama?
This white guy voted for him because he was the candidate for the job, I didn't see him getting it as affirmative action :)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. Maybe you have a better answer to why there still exist quarterbacks...
and then *black* quarterbacks. Lawyers, and then *black* lawyers. Etc. ad nauseum.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:44 PM
Response to Original message
20. you must put on your shit-waders to get thru the mourning joe show
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 06:42 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. And some DU threads, it seems.
:(
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Tue Oct 21st 2014, 03:28 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC