Ivy League nepotism and the Supreme Court
Jamelle Bouie identifies a problem with the current make-up of the Court:
The overrepresentation of Ivy League graduates on the Supreme Court (and on appellate courts) has little to do with ability and everything to do with personal and institutional relationships. Great legal minds aren’t exclusive to Harvard and Yale, and I think we’re doing ourselves a real disservice by restricting our “nomination pool” to the usual group of elite East Coast law schools. Even if the Court is otherwise diverse, justices from extremely similar educational backgrounds will carry similar habits of mind and similar ways of seeing the world. A justice from outside the Ivy League might see the legal landscape in ways significantly different from her peers, might find different cases compelling, and might take a different approach to legal reasoning.
In any case, as long as powerful politicians continue receive their educations from the Northeast corridor, it’s likely that the Ivy League will continue to dominate high court nominations. Hopefully though, some future president will find it worthwhile to reach out to talented justices from outside the 223 mile stretch between Harlem and Cambridge.
I think this is right on the money. Too often we think in purely ‘conservative vs. liberal’ terms, and don’t take into account things like educational background. This is just one of many unfortunate side-effects of our current obsessions with political dualism.