Commenter ECM sent me an article from a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, written by a professor at the Naval Academy. The author is a professor of English, and he doesn’t think that affirmative action provides taxpayers with good quality service. Quality of service is very important because the Navy keeps us safe from harm. They have an important job, so shouldn’t we be hiring the best candidates?
Midshipmen are admitted by two tracks. White applicants out of high school who are not also athletic recruits typically need grades of A and B and minimum SAT scores of 600 on each part for the Board to vote them “qualified.” Athletics and leadership also count.
A vote of “qualified” for a white applicant doesn’t mean s/he’s coming, only that he or she can compete to win the “slate” of up to 10 nominations that (most typically) a Congress(wo)man draws up. That means that nine “qualified” white applicants are rejected. SAT scores below 600 or C grades almost always produce a vote of “not qualified” for white applicants.
Not so for an applicant who self-identifies as one of the minorities who are our “number one priority.” For them, another set of rules apply. Their cases are briefed separately to the board, and SAT scores to the mid-500s with quite a few Cs in classes (and no visible athletics or leadership) typically produce a vote of “qualified” for them, with direct admission to Annapolis. They’re in, and are given a pro forma nomination to make it legit.
Minority applicants with scores and grades down to the 300s with Cs and Ds (and no particular leadership or athletics) also come, though after a remedial year at our taxpayer-supported remedial school, the Naval Academy Preparatory School.
By using NAPS as a feeder, we’ve virtually eliminated all competition for “diverse” candidates: in theory they have to get a C average at NAPS to come to USNA, but this is regularly re-negotiated.
Try and reflect on the fact that when quality goes down in an area where performance means life or death, the consequences for NOT hiring the best could be disastrous.
“All of the legal defense funds out there, they’re looking for people with Court of Appeals experience. Because it is — Court of Appeals is where policy is made. And I know, and I know, that this is on tape, and I should never say that. Because we don’t ‘make law,’ I know. [Laughter from audience] Okay, I know. I know. I’m not promoting it, and I’m not advocating it. I’m, you know. [More laughter] Having said that, the Court of Appeals is where, before the Supreme Court makes the final decision, the law is percolating. Its interpretation, its application.
Verum Serum’s May 5th post has some quotes from a speech she gave at UC Berkeley, at a conference sponsored by the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal.
Here’s one of the quotes from Verum Serum:
Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases…I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor [Martha] Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life. (emphasis added)
Nice Deb comments: “Imagine the hue and cry if a white male had said that about a Hispanic female.”
And one more from Verum Serum:
I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies, and prejudices are appropriate.
There is always a danger embedded in relative morality, but since judging is a series of choices that we must make, that I am forced to make, I hope I can make them by informing myself on the questions I must not avoid asking and continuously pondering. We…must continue individually and in voices united in organizations that have supported this conference, to think about these questions and to figure out how we go about creating the opportunity for there to be more women and people of color on the bench so we can finally have statistically significant numbers to measure the differences we will and are making.
You need to click through and read the rest of the quotes. Heritage Foundation has more quotes from the same speech, and some other quotes from her published papers.
Here’s one of the additional quotes from her published work:
The constant development of unprecedented problems requires a legal system capable of fluidity and pliancy. Our society would be strait-jacketed were not the courts, with the able assistance of the lawyers, constantly overhauling the law and adapting it to the realities of ever-changing social, industrial and political conditions; although changes cannot be made lightly, yet law must be more or less impermanent, experimental and therefore not nicely calculable. Much of the uncertainty of law is not an unfortunate accident: it is of immense social value.
And what about her judicial temperament, which is of critical importance?
John Lott has this quote on his blog from the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary:
Sotomayor can be tough on lawyers, according to those interviewed. “She is a terror on the bench.” “She is very outspoken.” “She can be difficult.” “She is temperamental and excitable. She seems angry.” “She is overly aggressive–not very judicial. She does not have a very good temperament.” “She abuses lawyers.” “She really lacks judicial temperament. She behaves in an out of control manner. She makes inappropriate outbursts.” “She is nasty to lawyers. She doesn’t understand their role in the system–as adversaries who have to argue one side or the other. She will attack lawyers for making an argument she does not like.”
The most complete effort so far to evaluate federal appellate judges is this paper by Stephen Choi and Mitu Gulati. Choi and Gulati use data from Lexis to measure three aspects of the judge’s performance—productivity, opinion quality, and independence.
…To determine how Sotomayor would do in the ranking, I had some research assistants collect her data for the years 1999-2001. To address the “freshman effect” (the possibility that her statistics are worse for her earliest years because of inexperience), we also looked at her data from 2006.
…Productivity. Judges write opinions, which provide guidance to lawyers and the public. All else equal, a judge who writes more opinions is more productive, and provides a greater social benefit. Over the three year period from 1998 to 2000, the most productive judge published 269 opinions, the least productive judge published 38 opinions, and the mean was 98.1. For the comparable period from 1999-2001, Judge Sotomayor published 73 opinions. She would have ranked 68th out of 98.
Quality (1). Choi and Gulati measure quality by counting citations to a judge’s top twenty opinions… The range is 96 to 734, with a mean of 277.9. Judge Sotomayor’s statistic is 231, which would place her 59th.
Quality (2). Judge Sotomayor’s opinions from 1999-2001 were cited 289 times in law reviews and other legal periodicals through May 31, 2004… Sotomayor would have ranked 65th.
Quality (3). Choi and Gulati also check what they call “invocations”—the frequency with which opinions written by other judges refer to the judge in question by name… Invocations range from 0 to 175 (excluding two outliers, the highest is 23), with a mean of 32. Judge Sotomayor was invoked 0 times (tied for last).
Independence. Judges should decide cases in a non-partisan way… A score of 0 means that a judge is just as likely to disagree as agree with a co-partisan (or opposite-partisan). Negative scores mean that a judge is more likely to agree with co-partisans. Judge Sotomayor’s score is -0.153 …which would have placed her 55th.
Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important that the law as written. She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one’s sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.
She reads racial preferences and quotas into the Constitution, even to the point of dishonoring those who preserve our public safety. On September 11, America saw firsthand the vital role of America’s firefighters in protecting our citizens. They put their lives on the line for her and the other citizens of New York and the nation. But Judge Sotomayor would sacrifice their claims to fair treatment in employment promotions to racial preferences and quotas. The Supreme Court is now reviewing that decision.
She has an extremely high rate of her decisions being reversed, indicating that she is far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal activist Supreme Court.
Isn’t there are word to describe a person that discriminates against people based on their race?