Two lawmakers say the Supreme Court shouldn’t be covered in Ivy

Washington (AFP) – Enough of Supreme Court justices with undergraduate degrees at Harvard and Yale is already enough. This is the message from one of the top Democrats in Congress to President Joe Biden, and a prominent Republican senator agrees.

Eight of the nine members of the current court have gone to Harvard or Yale Law School. But it would be good if the person named to replace retired judge Stephen Breyer did not have an Ivy League degree, according to Representative Jim Claiborne, D-Democrat, and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. The bipartisan message from South Carolina lawmakers aligns neatly with the background of a South Carolina judge who has praised him as a good candidate for the seat.

Biden, a Democrat, has vowed to make history by nominating the first black woman to the Supreme Court. Claiborne, the highest-ranking black member of Congress, says Biden should worry about the court’s lack of educational diversity, too.

“We risk creating an elite society,” said Klipburn, a South Carolina State University graduate. “We have to realize that people come from all walks of life, and we shouldn’t exclude anyone because of that.”

“I’d like to see the court have more balance, and some common sense in that,” Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee, which will hold hearings for the finalist, said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Harvard and Yale. It’s okay to go to a public university and get a law degree.”

Claiborne is a particularly prominent voice in the debate over who the candidate should be. In Biden’s lowest moment in the 2020 presidential campaign, Cleburne proposed her pledge to name the first black woman justice if she had the opportunity as president. Biden’s final promise and endorsement of Claiborne helped Biden decisively win the South Carolina primary. The win revived his campaign and helped propel him to the White House.

Claiborne explained his first choice for the open seat: J. Michael Childs. The 55-year-old federal judge holds a law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She also holds a master’s degree from the university and another law degree from Duke University. Klipburn said that educating Childs outside the Ivy League and raising her in a single-parent home would make her more representative of Americans. Graham Childs called him “a very fair and talented jurist”.

Other women I’ve talked about a lot as potential candidates are Ivy League alumni. Leondra Krueger, a California Supreme Court justice, graduated from Yale Law School. Ketanji Brown Jackson, a federal appeals court judge, went to Harvard University.

Lawrence Baum, a professor emeritus at Ohio State who has studied the backgrounds of Supreme Court justices, said there is a gradual turnover of candidates with elite backgrounds in law school. The fact that the candidate attended a school “considered to be the best, or at least among the best,” he said, might affect senators on the sidelines. But he said that going to a prestigious school can also connect one person to others moving into politically important positions, making them known in elite legal circles.

Judith Brown Dianis, executive director of the Advancement Project, a racial justice organization, said the current nomination was “an opportunity for the legal profession to have further discussions around the term ‘qualification.'” The qualifications that have been used in the past are “based on a career path traditionally reserved for white men,” said Dianes. And some white women.” She said, “There are very few people of color and black who have this path because there is a lot of discrimination that happens along the way.”

While the overwhelming dominance of Harvard and Yale law degrees on the court is a recent phenomenon, about a third of all judges who have sat on the court attended Ivy League law school. Education is not the only way in which the backgrounds of current judges are similar. All but one of the current judges are a former Federal Court of Appeals judge. Six of them worked as legal clerks before justice, a highly desirable position that often put young lawyers on their way to other senior positions.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the court’s first Latina justice, said diversity can play an important function.

She said in 2019 in 2019: “The advantage of diversity, whether it’s because of gender, race, ethnicity or even professional work, regardless of diversity, gives people who don’t otherwise believe there is a chance, and aspire to believe that it might be over there”. An event to honor Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the Court’s first female member.

Currently, the court is split 4-4 between Harvard and Yale law graduates. Breyer attended Harvard, as did Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch. Sotomayor and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh attended Yale University.

The new court member, Judge Amy Connie Barrett, is the displaced. Barrett, a Notre Dame Law School graduate, stated this fact at her 2020 confirmation hearing. “I am confident Notre Dame can retain its special place,” she said. “And maybe I can even teach them a thing or two about football.”


Associated Press reporters Padmananda Rama and Meg Kennard contributed to this report. Kennard reports from Columbia, South Carolina.

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