Saturday, May 15, 2010

Gay people are better justices?

Ruth Marcus informs us that gay people make better judges than straight people:
[A gay nominee would improve] the court because -- as with any additional perspective -- an openly gay justice would add to the richness of the court's understanding of cases, particularly gay rights cases, that come before it.
If that sounds like it made sense, then you've been victimized either by groupthink or a manipulative commentator.

After all, she surely doesn't mean what she says--that any additional perspective would be good. If a former member of the KKK got nominated for the court I'd hope that the "perspective" (read: anti-black bigotry) he'd add wouldn't be celebrated in a major paper of record. There are clearly good points of view and bad points of view, so how do you tell them apart?

It seems to me the only way is to know how they will influence a justice's votes. To the extent a perspective makes judge likely to vote for gay marriage, constraints on corporations and affirmative, a liberal will say it's a healthy, necessary perspective. Mutatis mutandis for conservatives. So, in translation, Ruth was saying "a gay person will make a good judge because gays tend to be liberal and liberals are good justices." Now suppose you were a conservative, do you find that argument convincing?

So my question is "how do smart people end up writing such tripe?" Was she a victim of groupthink in D.C. or did she know she was just jerking people around?

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