The justices’ all-Ivy background —
Presidents of both major parties have been choosing nominees of similar professional and educational experience for decades because the stakes have risen so high in filling
“With virtually guaranteed opposition from across the aisle, presidents are pushed to nominate individuals with cookie-cutter ‘elite’ qualifications and extensive federal appellate experience. This is unfortunate,”
For the court’s first 178 years, all the justices were white men. That changed when
By sex, race and ethnicity, the court is more diverse than ever. White men have a bare majority on the nine-justice court. There are three women — one of whom is Latina — and an
But the court has moved in a different direction by other measures of diversity. Kavanaugh would be the fifth justice who worked as a law clerk at the high court early in his career, the first time a majority of the justices would share that experience.
Kavanaugh would join three other justices who served on the D.C. Circuit before relocating to the
A lengthy paper trail of appellate opinions often makes clear how a high-court candidate is likely to vote on a range of issues.
But that means other kinds of experience get less emphasis, or none at all. No justice has significant experience defending criminal suspects or working in state courts, Adler noted.
And the court has a strong
There has been no one with experience in elected office since O’Connor, who had been a state senator and judge in
Kavanaugh also would be the sixth Roman Catholic among the current bench, and the second, along with Gorsuch, to graduate from the same elite boys’ Catholic high school in suburban
The one would-be justice who would have brought a more diverse background to the court was
One possible explanation for the disappearance of geographical, academic and professional diversity is the people who are doing the screening. “The networks of lawyers who focus on these issues, and who can influence the nomination process, are often based in
Ambitious young lawyers who might someday see themselves as justices also know what it takes to be considered for the plum jobs atop the federal judiciary, Kerr said. “So top nominees are credentialed at a young age in the same way to get them on the list later,” he said.
In announcing Kavanaugh’s nomination Monday night, President
The biggest problem for Roberts in the short term could be coming up with new ways to put down his colleagues from