In Dicta

Sunday, September 25, 2005

"Diversity" for the Supreme Court

Diversity for diversity's sake is not a good idea.

"As John G. Roberts Jr. sails toward almost certain confirmation as the 17th chief justice of the United States, President Bush faces conflicting pressures about how much race and sex should factor into his deliberations for filling the second vacancy on the high court.

With Bush poised to make another nomination as soon as this week, he is hearing growing demands to name a woman or minority to the vacancy created by the pending retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Republican political and legal strategists said.

Laura Bush twice has said that she would like to see a woman succeed O'Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court. A number of Latino group officials have publicly urged the president to name the first Hispanic to the high court.

But the pressure is also self-imposed by a president and White House that have made outreach to the Latino community among their most visible political priorities.

Many of the women and minorities mentioned as possible candidates for the high court are regarded as committed conservatives. They include federal appeals court judges Janice Rogers Brown, Consuelo Maria Callahan and Priscilla R. Owen and Michigan Supreme Court Judge Robert P. Young Jr., and Larry D. Thompson, general counsel of PepsiCo Inc., who served as the top deputy to then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft.

Speculation continues to swirl around the question of whether Bush will name Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. Bush and Gonzales, the former White House counsel, have a close relationship, dating back to their days in Texas. But conservative groups have expressed opposition to Gonzales on ideological grounds, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) publicly recommended that Bush not appoint Gonzales.

Some Bush advisers believe the opposition to Gonzales makes his nomination a nonstarter, but in this case Bush's relationship with the attorney general -- not to mention the political dilemma that he would present to Democrats -- may outweigh the groups' opinions.

Name a qualified candidate Mr. Bush, no matter if that candidate is a minority or not.

From The Washington Post.

Full disclosure: Both my mother and father are latinos.


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