July 25, 2005
But when history called President George W. Bush recently, it got a busy signal. In a single day, with a single inexcusable action -- tapping a white man to replace the retiring O'Connor -- Bush turned back the clock on women's progress.
In the decades since Reagan elevated O'Connor, six new justices have joined the court -- all but one of them male. Now, if Bush nominee John Roberts Jr. is confirmed, eight of nine justices will be male, eight of nine will be white. The lone woman -- Clinton appointee Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- is a 72-year-old with a history of cancer.
Surely, Bush understood the special symbolic importance of the person chosen to succeed the first female justice. O'Connor calls Roberts "good in every way, except he's not a woman," a Washington state paper reported. She went on to doubt that Bush would replace Chief Justice William Rehnquist with a woman. "So that almost assures there won't be a woman appointed to the court at this time," she added.
Bush could have secured a place in history alongside Reagan by nominating the first Hispanic. At the very least, Bush ought to have kept the court as diverse as it's been since 1993 -- with two women.
That's what his wife recommended. So did the public: 78 percent of Americans told the Gallup Poll this month that picking a woman to follow in O'Connor footsteps would be a "good idea." Giving yet another white man a turn was a very bad idea, regardless of the kind of jurist Roberts might become.
Roberts can never be another O'Connor. She's a permanent symbol that, in our great democracy, power is meant to be shared.
This is what happens to your brain when you start identifying people by a particular group, rather than as an individual. You no longer judge somone on his particular background or credentials, but rather by whathever group he can be associated with. Woman in the position? Only another woman can replace her. Black man? Only another black man can fill the spot, unless we're talking about Clarence Thomas, of course. And everyone knows that only other Hispanics(and God, how I hate that term, which lumps together disparate groups of people related solely by the language which they speak) can replace one of their own.
Ms. Price doesn't seem to recognize that, using her own brand of logic, Bush would be obligated to nominate a man. Obviously, O'Connor was an interloped occupying a position that men had held since SCOTUS was founded.
As an aside, I wonder what her take was on the nomination of Clarence Thomans to SCOTUS. I'm certain that she was wholly in favor of it, seeing as how Justice Thomas replaced another black Justice. Yeah, sure she was.
Posted by: Dean Esmay at July 26, 2005 01:50 PM (Fs6IG)
Posted by: Billy D at August 02, 2005 10:14 AM (idoXH)
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