Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Friday, February 19, 2016

Diversity on the Supreme Court

Justice Scalia continues to amaze me.  I always thought of him as a right wing conservative curmudgeon.  I found it interesting that before his death he had expressed some changes he'd like to see come to the court and I think his suggestions have merit.

1) The court today is too similar, giving the court the insular quality of a private club or a faculty lounge.

To be sure there is some diversity, it has three women, one of whom is Hispanic.  It also has an African American member.

2) Before the death of Justice Scalia there were nine successful lawyers who studied at Harvard or Yale Law School, all of them.

3) There were three Jews and six Catholics on the court.

4) Four of the nine justices are natives of New York City. "Indeed, every borough but Staten Island was represented.  Justice Scalia was from Queens, Justice Ginsburg is from Brooklyn, Justice Kagan is from Manhattan and Justice Sonia Sotomayor is from the Bronx."

5) "Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States.  Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., is from Indiana. Not a single Southwesterner or a genuine Westerner (California does not count) he said.  Justice Kennedy was born in Sacramento and Justice Breyer in San Francisco."

It will be interesting to watch as President Obama makes his selection for a new Supreme Court Justice.


  1. Extremely interesting facts here, Linda. Needless to say, I had never given any thought to the religions represented, let alone the areas of the country represented or the colleges from which they graduated. You're raising some thought-provoking considerations. The Supreme Court, if it's to represent all of America, needs to be more diversified. (I've even heard mention of a judge who hails from Maine as being a possible candidate. Now that would be something!)

  2. I'm not sure that geographical diversity is as important and whether or not a person has traveled, across this country and internationally. And we probably need to look at diversity in legal training, law schools and so on.
    But mostly we need great legal minds with a diverse range of experiences and interpretations on constitutional issues.

  3. Very interesting thoughts here. I hope President Obama is able to find some good names and that the conservatives give each candidate an honest and fair hearing.

  4. Interesting facts here. Did not know that NY city had such a presence on the Court. I will be interested to see how the vacancy will be handled and if Congress will act like grown ups with the nation's interest at heart.