“Diversity” in college admissions, and the racial preference necessary to produce it, is defended because … because … well, because everybody whose opinion counts knows that “diversity” is a Good Thing. Something about whites and Asians learning from others who are “different.”
But what is the value of “diversity” on the federal bench? Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, writes that President Obama “deserves substantial credit” for nominating “large numbers and percentages” of minority judges.
Yes, but why? (Not why did He do it; why does He deserve so much credit for doing so?) According to Tobias,
Expanding ethnic and gender diversity in the federal courts will afford numerous benefits. Many minority and female judges can assist their colleagues in understanding and resolving complicated issues that relate to discrimination and abortion, which the bench confronts while helping restrict prejudice in the federal justice process. Citizens also have more confidence in a federal judiciary that reflects the nation’s diverse population.
Really? Are non-minority judges really incapable of dealing “with complicated issues that relate to discrimination and abortion” without the assistance of presumably wise Latina and black colleagues on the court to explain the finer points to them?
If so, if it really takes a member of a group that has experienced discrimination to understand and resolve all those “complicated issues,” do we then have to take care that no white or Asian plaintiff complaining of affirmative action discrimination ever has to go before a black or Hispanic judge, who simply couldn’t understand? Appellate courts would also have to implement rules to ensure that no three judge panel was ever made up entirely of minorities or non-minorities, since no racially or ethnically homogenous group of three judges could be expected to understand and resolve those “complicated issues” produced by discrimination.
And as for the swelling national confidence in a judiciary that “reflects the nation’s diverse population,” let us finally, after all these years, implement “diversity” appointment policies to reflect the wisdom of Sen. Roman Hruska’s 1970 defense of the failed Supreme Court nomination of Harold Carswell:
Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they, and a little chance?
One can readily understand why those advocates of identity politics and the “diversity” on which it thrives, coming as so many of them do from the very “underrepresented” group Hruska was vainly trying to protect, are so concerned to have judges that reflect the nation’s diversity. But for the rest of us the “judges as reflections” argument is not so persuasive.