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July 25, 2005

Feinstein and the Robert's Nomination

-- by Thomas Leavitt

I open up my inbox today, and happened to glace at the Sacramento Bee's email update... and what are they leading with?

Feinstein complimentary after meeting nominee Roberts WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., met one-on-one with Supreme Court nominee John Roberts on Monday, emerging to compliment him as modest, thoughtful and impressive.

... do I need to read anything more? What the hell is she doing?!? (please give me your best guess in the comment section)

Want more?

Feinstein [is] the only woman on the 18-member Senate Judiciary Committee that will hold hearings on the nomination. (empahsis mine, TL)

Doesn't it seem as if there is something wrong here? The first woman appointed to the Supreme Court, still only one of two women on it in a profession where women have acheived near parity in numbers, is retiring and the U.S. Senate can only muster one single solitary woman to assist in the evaluation of her proposed male replacement?!? 17 men and 1 single woman.

... and not a very "good" woman at that, it appears. :(

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at July 25, 2005 2:55 PM

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Comments

Feinstein, even by demcorat standards, is a disgrace. I've voted green against her for years. Next time, I think I'll vote repug. She HAS TO BE PURGED. As do all demcorats like her.

Posted by: richard at July 25, 2005 5:33 PM

Feinstein also endorsed The Patriot Act last night on MSNBC's Whiffleball. The differences between the Joe twins and Feinstein are a distinction without a difference.

Posted by: GaryBoatwright at July 26, 2005 6:56 AM

The first woman appointed to the Supreme Court, still only one of two women on it in a profession where women have acheived near parity in numbers

Has parity been reached in the field of constitutional law? Or with trial lawyers? Or through out the law field in general? This is an important question since: 1) SCOTUS nominees are preferentially picked from the first field and because 2) the style of the supreme court (with it's emphasis on random questions and interrogational style by the justices) is very unusual and is a style that the field in general does not teach. It would be useful to get a break-down on the ratio of men:women in each specialty before making this statement.

Posted by: Pericles at July 27, 2005 4:37 AM

First of all, what is the point of bringing this question up, in the context of my post (which was really about Feinstein's baffling behavior and secondarily about the Senate's huge gender skew on the Judiciary Committee) - are you seriously trying to argue that there wasn't a sufficient pool of women from which to draw a nominee?

No reaction to my point that there's only one women among the 18 members of the U.S. Senate who are going to be evaluating this nominee - especially given that he will be replacing a woman, and reducing the representation of a 50% of the U.S. population by half, down to 1/9th of the Supreme Court?

Would having the answers to your questions (even if they were readily available [something I define as under 10 minutes of search via Google]) really matter, Pericles? If it turns out that women represented only 10% of each of these categories, would that justify reducing their representational percentage on the Supreme Court equivalently?

It was a rhetorical point - women no longer represent a tiny minority of the graduating classes of the nation's law schools - and they haven't even going as far back as when Roberts probably got his J.D. (20-25 years ago).

Points:

a) you can pick and choose among statistics all day long - do you take the baseline for representation to be today's graduation rates... or those prevailing in the 1970's?

b) in terms of picking "the most qualified" candidate available - everyone knows that, outside of exceptional cases in professional sports (Michael Jordan, Barry Bonds, etc.), picking and choosing among the top performers in any profession is entirely subjective

c) is there any question as to whether a significant number of women exist who are qualified and competent to hold the post?

Let's back this up and look at it another way:

A hypothetical President, with a hypothetical opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court nominee to replace one of two women on the court after she announces her retirement, is presented with a list of potential nominees... the list consists of 85 men and 15 women, all clearly at the top of their field, any one of which an objective observer would have no problem contending could serve more than adequately.

Why wouldn't you practice affirmative action here, and drop all the white males in the selection pool? Is that really discriminatory - or is it just acknowledging that there's a premium to be placed on diversity, up to a certain point (that clearly has not been reached with the Supreme Court).

Posted by: Thomas Leavitt at July 27, 2005 11:54 AM

A hypothetical President, with a hypothetical opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court nominee to replace one of two women on the court after she announces her retirement, is presented with a list of potential nominees... the list consists of 85 men and 15 women

Usually a president is presented with a short list which includes less than five people, usually two or three.

And I don't agree that a woman necessarily has to be replaced by a woman. It is not about proportional representation, it is about interpreting lower court rulings in light of Federal law and the Constitution; a person's gender plays no role in that.

And I do not place a "premium on diversity", I place the premium on competence; and while there are obviously competent women (though the two on the court now disprove that statement) they should not be given preferential treament because they are women.

And I ask you: what crucial, critical role does diversity play in the stated job of a SCOTUS justice?

Posted by: Pericles at July 27, 2005 5:28 PM

"And I do not place a "premium on diversity", I place the premium on competence; and while there are obviously competent women (though the two on the court now disprove that statement) they should not be given preferential treament because they are women."

The Georgia State Police problem. No blacks, so telling them the MUST start to hire blacks was "a quota."

Posted by: Dave Johnson at July 27, 2005 6:52 PM

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