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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pat Buchanan, Multi-Culturalist

A lot of people are upset about these lines in Pat Buchanan's column, Are Liberals Anti-WASP?:

If Kagan is confirmed, Jews, who represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, will have 33 percent of the Supreme Court seats.

Is this the Democrats' idea of diversity?

The reaction has been that Buchanan thinks "there are too many Jews on the Supreme Court," or some variation on that theme.

But read the sentences in the context of the column, and it is clear that Buchanan was both mocking and elucidating standard multi-cultural dogma, that the Supreme Court (and Congress, and schools, and everything else) should "look like America."

Although the line about Jews seems to be the only line which generated a reaction, Buchanan moaned about other diversity imbalances on the Court, including geography, life experience, and law school. Buchanan is not alone in raising these issues.

If the Supreme Court should look like America, then why will there be no Protestants after John Paul Stevens retires?

Granted, with only nine slots, it is hard to have perfect diversity according to national demographics, but how is it fair that we tolerate a majority population being excluded from the Court while decrying the exclusion of minorities?

The point is not that I agree with Buchanan or the multi-culturalists, but that the whole outcry over Buchanan's column reflects the profound hypocrisy of the multi-cultural movement which has us all engaged in a zero sum game.

Whether it is the Supreme Court, a university, or an NBA basketball team, there are a limited number of spots. For each person who gets a spot, someone else is excluded.

Not surprisingly, the result is a grievance like that expressed by Buchanan.

Law professor Eugene Volokh recently analyzed a federal court case in which the allegation was made that the City University of New York conspired to hire only Jewish candidates in a particular department. Quoting a line from the District Court opinion, Volokh commented:
“Simplistic data showing the percentage population of an ethnic group does not paint a picture of disparate treatment when qualifications for hiring are not equally shared among the population at large.” The contrary position — that underrepresentation relative to population is itself proof of discrimination, or that groups are entitled to proportional representation regardless of proof of discrimination — would require caps on the number of Jews, Asians, and various other groups that for various reasons have ended up having higher qualifications in certain fields (or just more interest in those fields) than other groups.
If demographic diversity is the litmus test, then you have to admit that it serves as both a floor and a ceiling in the zero sum game which is the Supreme Court nomination process.

In this age where everyone seems to be entitled to express a grievance based on identity politics, why not Pat Buchanan? You know, Pat Buchanan the multi-culturalist.

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  1. It is such a dreary way to look at the Court -- as if it were a politically appointed city commission of some sort -- and that's why it's right for Buchanan to deride and lampoon the whole idea of racial or ethnic "balance."

    Besides, it should be more than a little obvious that most of Court's modern decisions that liberals love the most were decided by a Court that had not yet become a target of identity politics. The Warren Court that decided unanimously in 1954 to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson and outlaw segregated schools was composed of nine white men -- eight Protestants and one Jew (Frankfurter). (Justice Minton is sometimes erroneously described as having been a Catholic Justice but he was a Protestant while on the Court and converted to his wife's RC Church after retiring.) No one objected to the imbalance then.

  2. Nothing can be nailed down by race, religion, national origin or viewpoint.

    There have been justices that have been approved as liberal and have become more conservative and vice versa. These days, everything but race may be changed!

    Happily, you cannot assign talent and judgment according to race, religion, etc. I'm a WASP but I am not insisting that there be WASPS in proportion to my demographic profile.

    I think I can trust 3 persons of the Jewish faith to decide issues. Of course their backgrounds MAY color some of their decisions but the bottom line is that they are fellow travelers down the highway of human experience (the essence of most of the cases that come before the court or are they only 33% human - I'm confused, LOL) and cannot be asked to pull over to the side of the road because on arriving home, they kiss their fingers and tap the mezuzah on the lintel of their doorway. How can anyone object to a practice that reminds the faithful of God's presence and commandments? They have respect for the law on all levels.

    No, just keep the Bloods and the Crypts off the court. That should be sufficient.

  3. Maybe the reason that people picked up on Buchanan's Jewish remark is because he is a died in he wool Nazis and everyone with half-a-brain knows that that SOB isn't thinking from a fairness issue, he's thinking from a Jewish-conspiracy-nut-case-moron level.

  4. IP

    Even assuming that Buchanan is some sort of Nazi, what difference is that from some nut who says the same thing from a Liberation Theology perspective? Or how about from a La Raza perspective? In other words, Buchanan was mocking the diversity nonsense whether he knew it or not.

  5. Mike T...
    Point taken, just don't think mocking diversity is what Buchanan's purpose was. As far as Liberation Theology and La Raza are concerned they are a whole different bunch of loons, albiet all with the same end game.

  6. In the context of the article, Buchanan is indeed making the point that the Liberal Leftist Democrats are hypocrites. It is all too predictable that they would be snatching the few sentences out to decry, "anti-Semite" and try to smear him. Alinskyites are well-trained to find these exact phrases to exploit, after all. What did Sarah Palin say? "....[S]o predictable it is almost boring."

    What ever happened to the real litmus test for a Supreme Court appointee - strict interpretation and adherence to the US Constitution, ensuring the balance of powers? Yeah, I know. That went out waaaaay back in the 1900's with Progressivism. It died in 2008 when the House, Senate and Executive branch became one big oligarchy of Leftists.

    I can only hope and pray the Republicans will do their job and evaluate this woman on her qualifications (or lack thereof) until after the November elections, when we will hopefully see a shift in the House and Senate majorities. Perhaps then this appointee will have a thorough questioning on her stands on all the issues, rather than a rubber-stamp of Liberal Left approval.

    I can dream, can't I?

  7. The president has said he wants the Court to represent America, but it is also his discretion to define what America looks like, I guess. It is not about religion or culture, but governance. He has not been shy about his lifelong appreciation of collectivist views. That is why he can appoint a Jewish woman with socialist views and snub historic ally Israel without apparent conflict.

    I have also noticed that Jews are typically not pro life, so that is more significant in defending Roe v Wade in the future.

  8. "At the arguments in January, Ms. Kagan said the power to confine such prisoners was implicit in the government's duty 'to run a responsible criminal justice system.' The law aims 'to make sure that sexually dangerous, mentally ill people don't fall through the cracks between federal custody and the re-establishment of state control," she said.'" -- Jess Braven WSJ 5/17/10

    Off topic, but related: What in the US Constitution makes this acceptable?! And, Ms. Kagan, what "implicit" part of the US Constitution was used to justify this argument? Does this represent the average American? A ruling 7-2 is shocking, to me, as this type of argument can be made now for anyone at the federal level, if they are considered "mentally dangerous" by the federal government and/or courts. Outrageous!

  9. What ever happened to the real litmus test for a Supreme Court appointee - strict interpretation and adherence to the US Constitution, ensuring the balance of powers?

    You could have written that just after Lincoln attempted to jail the Chief Justice...