Five reasons that Elena Kagan is bad for Black people and AmericaFeatured, Politics — By Dr. Boyce Watkins on May 18, 2010 at 09:10
I don’t have an agenda other than one which represents the people who support me. My supporters are typically black and brown people across America who simply want the truth (although I appreciate support from people who are not black or brown). So, without the political spin, demographic juggling or calculated strategy to protect connections in Washington, I am going to tell you exactly why this is the first time in my life that I’ve fought so strongly against a Supreme Court nominee.
Elena Kagan is bad for America, bad for black America, bad for academia and represents the very worst of what we stand for as a nation. If this sounds exceedingly dramatic, then please note that I do not consider myself to be a dramatic person, especially when it comes to the relatively boring world of American politics. Here are five reasons that Elena Kagan is bad for America and black people alike, and why the left won’t ever talk about it:
1) A lack of educational diversity.
With the confirmation of Elena Kagan, Harvard and Yale graduates will hold 8 out of 9 of the Supreme Court seats. The other seat belongs to Ruth Bader Ginsburg (set to retire soon), who graduated from another Ivy League institution, Columbia University. Even Ginsburg started her legal studies at Harvard and transferred to Columbia when her husband took a new job. All of our nation’s presidents for the past 28 years have also been from Harvard or Yale, creating a dangerous aristocracy that threatens to destroy our nation’s commitment to freedom and opportunity.
2) A lack of religious diversity.
I am not a bible-thumper, but I couldn’t help but notice an interesting fact: With the confirmation of Elena Kagan, the court will have no Protestant representation. This is odd, given that over half our nation is Protestant. Additionally, the Jewish community will have 1/3 of the Supreme Court seats, although they represent only 2% of our nation’s population. Catholics, who are 24% of our nation, will hold 66% of the seats. Yes, there is supposed to be a separation of church and state, but give me a break, politicians are always in church, the protection of Israel is always at the top of the president’s agenda and there are often Supreme Court decisions which affect the way we worship. Not that any of this is wrong, but it should be considered for what it is. Once again, I am not a bible-thumper, so I’ll let the various religious factions fight that one out.
3) A lack of ethnic diversity.
Before she died, the late Dorothy Height told our first black president, Barack Obama, that black women deserve to be represented in all chambers of government, including the Supreme Court. In its 221-year history, the Supreme Court has never had an ounce of African American female representation. Once again, black women were passed over in favor of a Caucasian with connections. Insult is added to injury when we consider the fact that during her tenure as dean of the Harvard Law School, Elena Kagan hired 29 tenure track faculty members, with 28 of them being white. This just happened to change in the middle of the controversy, when Harvard Law School hired only its second black female tenured professor in history. I am sure the Harvard Law faculty are patting themselves on the back for this one: two black women in nearly 300 years of existence. Great work Harvard University, you’ve had two more black female members than the Ku Klux Klan.
4) Is cronyism much different from corruption?
When the army of black male Harvard Law Professors came out to support the nomination of Elena Kagan, I noticed that a) the one black female in the Harvard Law School at the time (Lani Guinier) didn’t follow suit, and b) nearly all of the men defending this ambiguously-qualified woman were from Harvard University. Given that our President also went to Harvard and taught at U. Chicago (like Kagan), one can see that this is a very public exercise of intellectual inbreeding that starts and ends in the cozy section of Martha’s Vineyard. We the people are not being represented by this nomination. This part of the dog and pony show is all about maintaining disproportionately powerful social circles and helping them to control the world. Neither “hope” nor “change” is being represented in this move by Obama, since being non-Ivy means that you can never hope to be on the Supreme Court, and the elitism isn’t being changed in the least by our nation’s first black president.
5) Kagan is simply not the best person for the job.
Elena Kagan’s weak litigation experience made her a poor choice for Solicitor General. During her tenure at Harvard, she was unable to find creative ways to diversify the tenured or tenure-track faculty. She wasn’t able or willing to include under-represented minorities on her staff as Solicitor General (not hiring a single black or brown person during her time there). She has also shown little evidence that she possesses the intellectual fire power and/or cultural competency to fill the large shoes of retired Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens. She is a bad choice for the Supreme Court and all the liberals know it. Since they are afraid to say it out in public, then perhaps my words can be liberating. Kagan will probably be confirmed, since these decisions are usually made long before the rest of us get involved. But it doesn’t hurt to fight like hell anyway.
Author: Dr. Boyce Watkins (5 Articles)
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and the initiator of the National Conversation on Race. He is also the author of the book, "Black American Money. For more information, please visit BoyceWatkins.com.
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