Several recent articles have been published about the parochial character of the members of the United States Supreme Court. The themes of these articles have centered around political orientation (conservative vs. liberal), religion, and the fact that there are no longer any WASPs (white, anglo-saxon protestants) on the court. Historically, the entire Court was composed of WASPs.
These factors don’t concern me as much as the extraordinary concentration of the Court in terms of geographical background and education of its members. Let’s briefly look at its members:
1. Roberts-Harvard Law School; Harvard undergraduate; New York native
2. Alito-Yale Law School: Princeton undergraduate; New Jersey native
3. Scalia-Harvard Law School; Georgetown undergraduate; New Jersey native
4. Kennedy-Harvard Law School; Stanford undergraduate; California native
5. Breyer-Harvard Law School; Stanford undergraduate; California native
6. Ginsberg- Columbia Law School (transferred from Harvard Law); Cornell undergraduate; New York native
7. Thomas-Yale Law School; Holy Cross undergraduate; Georgia native
8. Sotomayor-Yale Law School: Princeton undergraduate; New York native
9. Kagan [pending]- Harvard Law School; Princeton undergraduate; New York native
As you can see, only one out of the nine justices graduated from a law school other than Harvard or Yale. And six out of the nine are from either New York or New Jersey. I believe that Harvard and Yale have excellent schools of law. Plus as someone born and raised in New York, I have an affinity for the Northeast.
But aren’t there other law schools of high caliber which produce myriads of legal scholars? Why aren’t there any Justices from outstanding public universities such as The University of Texas, or The University of Virginia, The University of Michigan or The University of Florida? In fact every Justice on our Supreme Court went to a private undergraduate and private law school. Talk about parochial! I find it hard to believe that people, no matter how brilliant they are, are not influenced by the elite academic surroundings they experienced during their formative years.
I don’t think that any of these Justices have walked in the shoes of the typical millionaire next door. Most never owned a business; most never took entreprenurial risks, and most never sweated trying to” make payroll.” Also, none of them attended a public college or university as most millionaires next doors have. And, as Robert, a millionaire from Sand Spring, OK, told me. . .” you’ve got to have horse sense. . . you get a lot of it when you walk the floors at night as most business owners have done wondering if you and your family are going to survive.”
I study geographic differences among our population (especially the affluent). I mentioned in Stop Acting Rich that the Midwest followed by the South produces a disproportionate share of the millionaire next door types. No midwesterner serves on our Supreme Court. And only one, Justice Thomas, is from the South.
The elitist press based in New York and Washington has historically sensationalized the differences among the Justices along the lines of political orientation, gender, and religion. I call it “boiler plate.” When is it going to open its eyes to the fact that most of America’s qualified and successful people were born, raised and educated outside the Northeast corridor?