The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion The only way to know we aren’t picking a justice for the wrong reason is to choose a White man

The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington. (Mariam Zuhaib/AP)

Here is my best impression of every preemptive dismissal of President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee:

I don’t see color, ideally. Especially not in my nominees. That is why I am so disappointed to hear that the nominee to the highest court in the land will definitely be a Black woman.

Such “incidental characteristics” as race and gender should have absolutely nothing to do with who gets a job! White men are notably famous for not possessing the incidental characteristics of race and sex; they are blank slates that lack attributes entirely, except, of course, for “excellence” and the absence of an asterisk. An asterisk only follows you around when you possess discernible traits, which, again, White men don’t. They are not a choice. They are a default. And this is not because we have structured society this way on purpose; it simply is. Everyone else possesses attributes; they simply possess merit.

No, this isn’t an Escher-esque nightmare of hoops and hurdles, a Catch-22 I have designed to keep my institutions of power homogenous to the last. I simply want what is best. And how can I know that someone has chosen what is best when their choice possesses CHARACTERISTICS or is in some way HISTORIC? Impossible!

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People keep saying that the point of a pledge of the kind President Biden made is not to treat people differently because of the group they belong to but to stop treating people differently because of the group they belong to. But to them I say: Hush!

I’m disgusted that we would settle for anything less than picking the most qualified candidate for the job! And that’s what I fear we’re doing, because we aren’t picking a White man. Astonishingly, every other possible selection is just there for reasons of enforced diversity, whereas White men are there because they deserve it! It’s odd how this happens, but it’s science, I think.

Every time anyone has ever said, “We don’t have to pick a White man for this job,” it has been a betrayal of the values of this country’s founding. When we rule out people because of who they are, we get the composition of the court for hundreds of years! an unthinkable result! No, no, we must pick the most qualified person, and the only way we can be sure we aren’t influenced by traits is if this person is a formless mind floating in a void. Or the next best thing, a White man.

It just stuns me that we are contemplating doing anything other than picking the best person for the job. That’s something that objectively exists, and I know it won’t be a Black woman. Not for reasons of racism, of course. When I opined that "when Biden starts out by saying he has a quota system, he diminishes the achievements of those African American women,” it was just fine. Actually, it was the opposite of racism. Actually, YOU are racist (and sexist!) for suggesting that the system has discriminated against many qualified candidates for centuries and that we’ve probably missed out on a lot of great jurisprudence.

Listen, there are millions of people in the country. What are the odds that the only qualified people could come from one particular group? It just doesn’t add up. That’s why we need to fight against it. (To be clear, I am not talking about the centuries when White men were the only ones on the court; I am talking about the attempt to fix that.)