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.