• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Courting trouble

The Muncie Star Press, stuck in a "the court must look like us" group identity rut:

Quick. Can you name any justices on the Indiana Supreme Court?

If you can't, don't feel bad. Just do a Google search and you'll get the answer. And you'll notice one other thing: There are no females sitting on the five-member high court.

Gov. Mitch Daniels missed an opportunity, his second, to rectify that oversight last week, when he appointed Mark Massa to the seat vacated by Chief Justice Randall Shepard.

[. . .]

Why does that matter?

The answer lies in life experiences. A woman, or a minority, has a set of experiences no white male can ever have. And those experiences can have a profound effect on rendering decisions, especially in social issues such as family law.

So is there women's law and men's law? Minorities' law and whites' law? Isn't asking justices to render decisions based on their "life experiences" rather than a rational interpretation of the law asking for trouble?


Tim Zank
Thu, 03/29/2012 - 9:44am

Oh please....Judges need only be intelligent enough and educated enough to be able to read and comprehend  specific "rules" or "laws".  Like all other forms of "affirmative action" the end result is placing unqualified people in positions they should not be in.


Thu, 03/29/2012 - 9:55am

So if I follow you, Tim, you would be just fine with a state Supreme Court made up entirely of black lesbians, assuming they all were intelligent and well-educated. Do I have that right?

Harl Delos
Thu, 03/29/2012 - 10:17am

There are a lot of laws that depend on what "a reasonable man" would do.

An appelate judge's job is different than the court of original jurisdiction, but I see no benefit in having multiple judges if they are all going to be naive.  Ideally, I'd have a judge who spent five years working at Dana, a judge who spent five years runnung a restaurant he owned, a judge who spent five years as an outside salesman, etc, and having a judge who was a mother to teenagers would add to the breadth of the court's expertise as well.

We have too many judges who are book-smart but street-stupid.

Tim Zank
Thu, 03/29/2012 - 12:05pm

Absolutley Littlejohn. If the pool of applicants (for this job or any other job) is overwhelmingly populated by black lesbians, it would stand to reason you'd you'd end up picking the most qualified black lesbian candidate from that "pool"...That's the whole point, you pick the most qualified candidate for the job from the pool that is available, instead of dismissing the more qualified black lesbians in favor of say, a deaf, black lesbian amputee, for instance with less experience.

Elevating people to positions they are unqualified for solely because of their ethnicity and not their qualifications is what perpetuates the mediocrity affirmative action produces.  

Thu, 03/29/2012 - 12:28pm

OK, I'm with you so far, Tim. Now, do you think Clarence Thomas was the best-qualified person for the U.S. Supreme Court when he was nominated?

Tim Zank
Thu, 03/29/2012 - 1:14pm

As to the Thomas question Littlejohn, I honestly have no idea. Rehashing an appointment from 21 years ago simply to reinforce the fact you don't like conservatives in general seems an excercise in futility from my point of view.



Thu, 03/29/2012 - 1:17pm

Nice dodge, Tim. By the way, I don't dislike conservatives. I'm fond of you, for example.

Let me ask you this: If our hypothetical black lesbian justice were to hear a case regarding affirmative action for black lesbians, do you think she should recuse herself?

Tim Zank
Thu, 03/29/2012 - 2:02pm

It's not a dodge Littlejohn,  I don't remember who else was in contention at the time and I'm not going to research it now just so you can copy and past some other candidates you deem were more qualified at the time, it doesn't matter now, this is 2012.

As for the black lesbian justice, no recusal necessary at all. If she doesn't follow the law, the remedy is an appeal and if she doesn't follow the law repeatedly there is impeachment. The system will take care of itself if nobody tinkers with it...it was set up that way, so that anybody with a lick of common sense could be a fair judge.  

Thu, 03/29/2012 - 3:18pm

No one else was "in contention," Tim. You don't run for Supreme Court justice. Bush said he was the most qualified person in the country. The ABA disagreed. He was replacing a retiring black justice. Your memory cannot possibly be that bad. He was an affirmative action pick, but finding an ultra-conservative black judge is tricky, so Bush had settle for Thomas.

Thomas's wife lobbies against the health care law that Thomas is now considering. That, I gather, doesn't bother you. You and I both know that Supreme Court justices don't get impeached, so don't pretend that option is available.

Anyway, I now know what you're willing to say in order to sound reasonable. Thanks.

Thu, 03/29/2012 - 9:07pm

LittleJohn, did I hear that right?  Are you arguing that Elana Kagan should have recused herself?  You are correct, sir!