Saturday, September 20, 2008

Worst. Column. Ever.

Newsweek's Dahlia Lithwick has authored an excruciatingly bad column arguing, I kid you not, that Sarah Palin should be on the Supreme Court. I read it twice, to make sure she wasn't joking, and she doesn't appear to be.

First, she starts by noting that the Supreme Court is "wildly overrepresented by insider lawyers with identical resumes." Well, from a simple statistics perspective, with a sum total of 9 people, I would argue that it is difficult for any particular group to be wildly overrepresented. Second, it takes a bit of hyperbole to look at John Roberts and Ruth Bader Ginsberg and see no difference.

Lithwick then takes the mandatory dig at Ivy League schools, saying that too many members of the Supreme Court were educated at them (Lithwick has a BA from Yale...). Yeah, god forbid that the nine most important judges show an aptitude for acquiring and analyzing knowledge. But according to Lithwick, the Supreme Court really "is in need of a mother of five who likes shooting wolves from helicopters."

Lithwick points out that "the Supreme Court has been the lone defender of the rights of women, gay couples, and athiests" and as such, having Sarah Palin in there "would do far more to undo these things than getting her into the White House." Okay, I guess we know Lithwick's political philosophy now.

But the end of the column is what got me out of my chair and to the computer. Allow me to quote these two sentences in full:
No fair arguing that Palin isn't experienced enough to sit on the highest court in the land. What matters -- far more than experience -- is one's unyielding moral certainty, relatability and gender.
Okay, the first sentence, on its own, I'm fine with. Ideally, you'd want the 9 wisest people in the land on the Supreme Court, whether they happened to be a lawyer, a scientist, a caddy, whatever -- no particular work experience should disqualify one. But no, that's not what Lithwick wants. Unyielding moral certainty? What does that mean, someone who has figured out what he or she believes in at some age and hasn't thought about it since? I'm not entirely sure what relatability means -- perhaps empathy? And gender -- not intelligence, not wisdom, not flexibility of mind -- gender. That's how we should pick our Supreme Court justices.

But most importantly, the best reason to pick Palin for the Supreme Court is that she has "already proven that neither the courts, nor precedent, nor even the Constitution itself will be a match for the force of her will [emphasis mine]."

This column was meant to be a joke, right? Someone please tell me it was and I just didn't get it.