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Button Up. Your Sexism is Showing.

So now it’s Sotomayor. According to Jeffrey Rosen, who spoke to some law clerk, she’s not fit to be a judge on the Supreme Court because she has opinions, she expresses those opinions, she expresses those opinions forcefully and at length.

(Shows you how much I know about the law. I thought that was practically the description of the Supremes.)

Greenwald does one of his usual masterful takedowns, and adds a very interesting update at the end:

Jeffrey Rosen’s brother-in-law is Neal Katyal, the current Deputy Solicitor General in the Obama administration. If Sotomayor’s prospects are torpedoed, that could clear the way for one of the other leading candidates to be named to the Court: current Solicitor General Elena Kagan. The selection of Kagan (rather than Sotomayor) would almost certainly result in Rosen’s brother-in-law (Katyal) becoming Solicitor General. Additionally, Katyal himself was once a clerk for a Second Circuit judge, obviously raising the question of whether he was one of the anonymous sources for his brother-in-law’s hit piece disparaging Sotomayor’s intellect and character.

One can question whether this Rosen/Katyal relationship should have been disclosed by TNR (on balance, it was probably unnecessary), but at the very least, these are illustrative of the types of problems that inevitably arise when anonymous sources are used so casually in a political culture rife with incestuous relationships and conflicts of interest.

However, what’s a boring potential conflict of interest? Let’s talk about Sotomayor. She talks! She’s forceful! How awful!

And apparently that’s been enough to get the “keepers of conventional wisdom” (to use Greenwald’s words) riled up about the potential horrors of affirmative action. “Good God. You can’t waste such a vital job on some politically correct nonsense. The only criterion should be the best, um, person for the job. Why should a woman get it?”

As I said, button up. Your sexism is showing.

There isn’t one shred of evidence that women have inferior mental capacity to men. (Insofar as there is evidence, it’s actually on the other side. On average girls show earlier verbalization in infancy, better school grades, and higher test scores until, for some reason — possibly they talk too much and they’re too loud — they hit the job world and start getting paid less and promoted less.) So, in a reality-based context it’s safe to assume that women are at least the equals of men in ability. And yet the overwhelming preponderance of powerful positions are filled by men.

Yes, there’s affirmative action. And, yes, it does lead to less competent people being given jobs that are beyond them. It’s time to end that. We should find the best person for the job. Why should it be given to a man?