By J. DeVoy
While the initial furor over Elena Kagan’s nomination for John Paul Stevens’s seat on the Supreme Court has died down, lingering questions remain about the desirability of a high court comprised entirely of graduates from Harvard’s and Yale’s law schools. Normally I disagree with Elie Mystal, but he articulated the need for elite legal minds on the Supreme Court fairly well in this post. Whether or not Elena Kagan is one of those elite legal minds is an open question, as much of her career was spent as an administrator rather than an academic or practicing attorney — and never as a judge.
The fact that she, or anyone else, attended top universities and law schools should not preclude them from being on the bench, nor trigger some heightened scrutiny of their experience. The admissions process for legal education, which is more numbers-driven and meritocratic than programs centered on soft factors and “fit” should be enough to determine their raw intellectual capacity. What remains to be seen from there is how it is applied. Even if Kagan is unremarkable, the sentiment articulated by some is that a court of Harvard, Yale and Stanford lawyers is a bad thing, and the justices are out of touch with average Americans.
To the contrary, elite minds with elite credentials are exactly what the court needs. While there’s a funneling effect from top schools to top jobs in the private and public sectors as well as top clerkships at the district and appellate level, it is not without exceptions. Supreme Court clerkship hiring is more egalitarian than one might expect, as Thomas has had to defend his hiring from “TTT’s” and even my alma mater, a lowly school from the perspective of Supreme Court clerkship placement, produced one of Stevens’s clerks for October Term 2008. Still, the top law schools are overrepresented in such ranks because its students are among the smartest in the nation upon both entry and graduation, irrespective of potentially becoming bad lawyers once in practice. Their intellectual horsepower is essential in shaping the future of jurisprudence on difficult issues, especially for justices like Alex Kozinski, who are known for working their clerks into the ground.
This ivy-phobia stems from a different source: class, or, more specifically, class insecurity. The commoners feel shut out from a process and want their perceived just due, but without the requisite diligence, intelligence or ability. Nevermind that the average person knows less about the law than the elite jurists they malign; the common slack-jaw mongrel, who graduated from an expensive school you’ve never heard of with a 2.8 in history and wears his white crew-neck undershirt so it peeks out from his unbuttoned VanHeusen dress shirt collar, spent his life being told he’s special – brilliant, even – and refuses to believe that some nerds from Harvard and Yale know better than he. Like his friends, he believes the Supreme Court justices should have the same real world experiences he’s had, such as slaving away at a job with oppressive internet controls so that unproductive dullards won’t spend the day watching infants doing the “stanky leg” on YouTube.
As this essentially a class issue, I’ll invoke Paul Fussell and go the upper-class route of brevity. What these people mean when they talk about “real-world experience” can be reduced to one word: mediocrity.
The masses earnestly believe that other people are no better than them, even when all evidence leads to an opposite conclusion. While that statement may be true as to legal rights, egalitarianism is bullshit. This handy graph from Amerika.org explains why the masses want the Supreme Court to be from the lowest common denominator, just as they are.
Indeed, the prole group wants everything and everyone to be just like its members so they can swaddle themselves in the illusion of superiority — or at least obfuscate their profound deficiencies. Their role in the graph is fully explained as well:
The proles are counterproductive decision makers, they will always include every human and not in the intelligent way of actually organising, but equalising. They will provide for ghouls – because they are ‘humans’ too! Therefore, even though they are abusing everyone else for their own game, the proles acting as a collective hive-mind will not speak out against them, because ‘they’re poor, it was their upbringing, it’s not their fault’ – yeah right, bullshit.
Proles should be mindless labourers and stick with that, ancient societies would trim them from time to time or just feed them to the lions. Their opinions are not their own, they are dumb and cannot make decisions, they are your everyday average joe and jill that tolerates stupidity. Anyone who speaks anything against their ‘individual’ decisions collectively implanted into their vacant heads, they auto-respond with ‘racist’ – they are mediocre.
Elites do not and should not need to be defended. Instead, their roles as the curators and standard-bearers of civilization should be self-evident and embraced by everyone. At least they should, if one’s true agenda is advancing society and civilization.
Elites in this sense are true elites, they are all round intellects, cyclic thinkers who think holistically and can adapt to different tasks as they happen. They are the leaders who drive civilization forward, and the sooner they take back their divine right of intelligence for leading our nations, the sooner we can dispose of mental pollution.
Members of the masses reside there because they are unremarkable in any way. They reside toward the very center of the bell curve because they are indistinguishable from one another and incapable of making decisions to either elevate themselves or become so debauched that they become society’s most notorious scum. Problematically, they consider the implications and, worse, feelings of every person to ensure that everyone is represented in every facet of society, giving them a voice in places where they should have none, including the Supreme Court, legislature and executive branch. The inevitable result is a dumbing down of culture so that the lowest common denominator feels empowered by it, at the expense of everything else. In sum, society would look like this:
An unintelligible mess of bright colors, brands, products and meaningless cultural memes. Really, LOOK AT IT. Sonic the Hedgehog, ensconced by the word “OBAMA” and a bed of roses, is depicted on a bag that says Harry Potter in colors that make a bag of Skittles look dull. This is the end sum of idiot culture, which we cultivate by heeding people who have no value or knowledge outside of knowing that crying “etlitism” engenders their superiors’ outgroup altruism. If taken to the levels these people want, our society, including our courts, will resemble the .5-second attention span mentality represented by this backpack.
To say that outcome would be a disaster is an understatement. No, it would be the end of Western Civilization as we know it.