Kagan Kerfuffle Exposes the Subtle Class Bias of Military Recruiting

John McCain’s editorial on the Kagan nomination got me thinking.  At issue, her move as dean of Harvard Law School denying military recruiters access to the campus Career Services Office.  McCain cites one beleaguered recruiter complaining that without this access, they were “relegated to wandering the halls in hopes that someone will stop and talk to us.”

Funny, recruiters have no problem meeting recruiting targets by wandering the halls (or streets, parks, gas stations, malls, and Wal-Marts) in low-income communities cruising for teenagers to sign on the dotted line.  Of course, there is less competition in this arena than in the post-grad job market of a Harvard law student, whose student body emerges equipped with a world-class education, awesome earning potential, and is still majority white, almost 70%.  McCain bristles at the thought of “white-shoe law firms” recruiting students, but not “one of its great institutions, the U.S. military.”

The damage done to military recruiting efforts by Kagan’s decision is a chimera, but the opportunity to resurrect a tired (and frankly a little pathetic) narrative of God & Country was too hard for Senate conservatives to resist.  When the best and the brightest (read: richest and whitest) don’t roll out the red carpet for military recruiters, it is an insult to the pedigree of military-political careerism and chickenhawks everywhere.  And John McCain won’t stand for it.

Will Sotomayor’s Religion Influence Her Supreme Court Decisions?

ap_sotomayor_090528_mnSupreme Court hopeful Sonia Sotomayor may be the first Latina to be nominated to the high court, but she’s certainly not the first Catholic. Five other justices are Catholic – Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Chief Justice John Roberts. In the history of the Supreme Court there have been a total of 11 out of 110 justices who have been Catholic. It’s hard to say how much influence a person’s religion has on their decision making process, but it certainly poses an interesting question for pro-choice advocates who are concerned about Sotomayor’s record on abortion.

Tom Goldstein at SCOTUS Blog predicts that Sotomayor’s nomination is pretty much a done deal. In his opinion, Sotomayor is unlikely to receive the same kind of grueling confirmation hearing that Justices Roberts and Scalia received when the Democrats were in the minority.

The phase of defining a nominee in the public’s eye now lasts around forty-eight hours. In that time Harriet Miers was pretty much done – finished. By this point, there has been a huge amount of press coverage and opponents have had the opportunity to make their case. It’s a shockingly short period (unfortunately so), but it reflects (a) the ready availability of research materials, and (b) the rapid turn-over of news cycles. [Read more...]