When asked about potential successors Justice O’Connor said she would prefer a woman, but she also mentioned a favorite quote: “a wise old man and a wise old woman will reach the same decision” (by former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Jeanne Coyne). This makes sense, we really are looking for wisdom. But wisdom is gained through experience, so maybe we want a diversity of life experience on the court. Then again how narrow could the experience of nine individuals be?
To see I collected a few demographic statistics that might affect the experiences one has growing up in America and applied them to the court. If the court looked like the US it would have:
- 5 women and 4 men justices
- 6 White, 1 Hispanic, 1 Black and 1 Asian justices
- 7 Christian and 2 non religious justices
- 8 native born and 1 naturalized citizen justices
- 1 justice that grew up in poverty
- 5 justices that voted for Bush and 4 that voted for Kerry (actually 4 that did not vote, 2 for Bush, 2 for Kerry and 1 really split but leaning toward Bush…)
- 4 registered Democrats, 3 registered Republicans and 2 registered non-partisan justices (okay actually 3 Democrats, 2 Republicans, 2 non-partisan & 2 not registered to vote)
- And finally… 3 justices that have used illicit drugs
I don’t know what these nine people should look like in reality, but they really don’t look like us. Maybe it would be wisest to pick very qualified candidates that make the court a little more like us.
A Madman has spoken…