Why I’ll Never Be A Supreme Court Justice

As the Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss points out, the U.S. Supreme Court is packed with graduates of Harvard Law and Yale Law:

Assuming President Obama wins confirmation of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, that august body will be exclusively filled with judges who earned their law degrees at Harvard or Yale.

Strauss thinks such exclusivity is a bad idea and, as you can tell from this limerick, so do I:

Why I’ll Never Be A Supreme Court Justice
By Madeleine Begun Kane

It appears that Supremes have to hail
From the law schools of Harvard or Yale.
My law school’s St. John’s.
That’s just one of my “cons.”
Plus I’m sixty — I might as well bail.

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6 Responses to “Why I’ll Never Be A Supreme Court Justice”

  1. jesse levy says:

    I’ll never be on the Supreme Court
    For one thing I’m simply too short
    I’m 4-8 you see
    And it depresses me
    I’ll think I’ll try some St. John’s wort.

    (Really I’m 5-8 but I thought 4-8 was more appropriate)

  2. madkane says:

    Jesse and Rob, it looks like all three of us are out of luck. :)

  3. jesse levy says:

    I want to be on the highest Court
    But they say my leanings are just too “Port”
    So I’ll never make it
    But at least I can fake it
    You see, I’m really an actor sort.

  4. Steve Bates says:

    Hey, Mad, if you listen to Patrick Buchanan, your problem, like Kagan’s, is that you’re Jewish, not Catholic… more specifically, Buchanan wants a Polish or Irish Catholic. There just aren’t enough Catholics on the Court (six, I believe, at present) to satisfy him… it must be discrimination, right? /snark

  5. hjp says:

    Being a graduate from an Ivy League school is not a negative. The negative is that the Supreme Court is losing Educational Diversity amongst its members. A very simple example could be vanilla ice cream. Everyone likes vanilla ice cream. The problem arises when you limit your diet exclusively to vanilla ice cream. You get lots of calcium, but you lose out on all of the other needed vitamins and minerals to live a healthy productive life. The same can be said about losing the diversity of knowledge and diverse perspectives that people from other institutions can provide. The majority of the Supreme Court Judges should not be Ivy League graduates.

    I am of the opinion that the Supreme Court is setting itself up for a challenge, as to whether or not 1) their opinions are in fact biased due to their common Ivy League education, and 2) they are engaging in discrimination, by limiting the Court to Ivy League Graduates.

    The following applies to Kagan, just as it did to Sotomajor.

    This editorial was created by 160 Associated Press readers under a Creative Commons Share-Alike Attribution License 3.0 using MixedInk’s collaborative writing tool. For more about how it was created, see here. It can be republished only if accompanied by this note.

    Obamas Appointment of Sotomayor Fails to Offer Educational Diversity to Court.

    Sotomayor does not offer true diversity to our Supreme Court. The potential power of Sotomayor’s diversity as a Latina Woman, from a disadvantaged background, loses its strength because her Yale Law degree does not offer educational diversity to the current mix of sitting Judges. Once she walked through the Gates of Princeton and then Yale Law School she became educated by the same Professors that have educated the majority of our current Supreme Court Justices, and our Presidents.

    Diversity in education is extremely important. We need to look for diversity in our ideas, and if our leaders are from the same educational background, they lose the original power of their ethnic and gender diversity. The ethnic and gender diversity many of our current leaders possess no longer brings a plethora of new ideas, only the same perspective they learned from their common Ivy League education. One example of the common education problem is that Yale has been heavily influenced by a former lecturer at Yale, Judge Frank, who developed the philosophy of Legal Realism. Frank argued that Judges should not only look at the original intent of the Constitution, but they should also bring in outside influences, including their own experiences in order to determine the law. This negative interpretation has influenced both Conservatives and Liberals graduating from Yale. It has been said that Legal Realism has infested Yale Law School and turned lawyers into political activists.

    A generation of appointees with either a Harvard or Yale background, has the potential to distort the proper interpretation of our Constitution. America needs to decentralize the power structure away from the Ivy League educated individual and gain from the knowledgeable and diverse perspectives that people from other institutions can provide. We should appoint Supreme Court Justices educated from amongst a wider group of Americas Universities.

    Harvard –

    Chief Justice John Roberts
    Anthony Kennedy
    Antonin Scalia
    Stephen Breyer
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Harvard, Columbia)


    Samuel Alito – Yale JD 1975
    David Souter
    Clarence Thomas – Yale JD 1974
    Sonia Sotomayor – Yale JD 1979

    Northwestern Law School.

    Justice John Paul Stevens

    The Presidents we have elected for the last twenty years, have themselves been Harvard or Yale educated. This has the potential to create an even more closed minded interpretation of our laws.

    Yale – Bush Sr. – 4 years
    Yale Law – Clinton – 8 years
    Yale – Bush, Jr. – 8 Years
    Harvard Law – Obama – 4 – 8 years

    When we consider that our Nation has potentially twenty – eight years of Presidential influence from these two Universities, as Americans, we should look long and hard at the influence Yale and Harvard have exerted on our nation’s policies. Barack Obama promised America Change, but he has continued the same discriminatory policy by appointing a Yale graduate over many qualified candidates that graduated from other top Colleges and Universities in America.

  6. madkane says:

    LOL! Steve, you’re right of course. And yes, I read Patrick Buchanan’s outrageous commentary. What a despicable human being!

    By the way, I have yet another strike against me: I’ve been hearing negative comments about Kagan being short. Well, talk about short — I’m just five-foot-zero.