Of Cucumbers and Kings
...and the Supreme Court
Thanks again to American Thinker for running this piece. You can visit the website at: https://www.americanthinker.com/
So you need a cucumber, and not just any cucumber – it must be the best cucumber in town. The boss is coming over for dinner and everything – even the salad – has to be perfect.
Off to the store you go and into the produce section where you spend the next twenty minutes making your selection. Admittedly, there are some rather concerned stares aimed your way from other shoppers as you prod, squeeze. measure, and sniff your way through your options but at last you have found it! You march proudly to the checkout line, triumphantly swipe your debit card, and stride from the store supremely confident in your selection – you have the best cucumber in town.
But do you? Since you did not go to the farm stand a mile past the water tower, or ask your green-thumb neighbor how her garden was going this year, or even go to the other grocery store down the street can you be sure you have the best cucumber in town? Honestly, you cannot.
You definitely have the best cucumber from the choices you considered and it is possible that, when actually compared to the other stores and gardens around, you may actually have found the best cucumber available in town that day – but, by definition, you can never know for sure because you didn’t look at every cucumber.
Welcome to the current state of the selection process for the United States Supreme Court.
Whether or not President Biden’s selection to fill Justice Breyer’s seat - Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson – will be a good Supreme is not yet known, nor is it even a certainty she will get the job. Obviously, strict constructionists and other conservatives abhor the choice and she has had some significant rulings overturned on appeal, but, at this point, it appears doubtful that she will morph into the intellectual abomination that is Justice Sotomayor of “human machines spewing virus” fame.
It should also be noted that presidents do try – appropriately so – to put ideologically-aligned justices on the court and that Brown Jackson’s elevation does mean another appointment (a two-fer, if you will) to the very important DC circuit appeals bench so there were other political factors in play. (And it should also be strongly noted that saying only parsnips, for example, should ever be considered for selection is not a good idea at all).
But the above analogy is not solely based on Biden’s much-maligned, field-narrowing decision to only consider Black female candidates (note – how the trans community let this one slip by we’ll never know), but also refers to the continuing pattern of Acela Ascension – the picking of justices who went to school in Cambridge or New Haven. While not an attorney, it is my understanding that decent law schools (and lawyers and judges who don’t ride Amtrak every day) actually exist somewhere else out there.
While Brown Jackson has at least been a judge for a few years, her resume of high-powered clerking gigs and various board and commission stints brings to mind an episode of “Yes, Prime Minister” – the greatest political sitcom ever created – in which the appointment of a new bishop is the issue (no church/state separation there, remember).
The prime minister’s aide points out that the candidate most favored by the establishment appears to have held numerous important clerical positions, but has never been “an ordinary vicar in a parish.”
“Good heavens, no,” the aide replies to the Prime Minister’s question. “Clergymen who want to be Bishops try to avoid pastoral work.”
Here is the clip; feel free to watch the whole thing and definitely find the show on any number of streaming platforms,, but the salient bit for this article’s purposes begins at 1 minute, 50 seconds.
In his stinging reaction to the announcement, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham took issue with the seemingly never-ending Harvard-Yale train. Now it must be said that another finalist for the position was fellow South Carolinian J. Michelle Childs and that Graham did not bring up the Ivy=Gravy issue during previous appointments of people with similar academic histories, but the DC denizen vortex of pressure to “keep it in the family” must have been overwhelming as Childs was also the strongly favored pick – possibly even as a condition of support in the state’s determinative primary – of South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn – the man who, without question, made Joe Biden president.
So in the end, Biden didn’t even really look at all of the cucumbers in that one store – he just picked the one specialty cucumber – probably labeled organic - that had been placed front and center before him.