Appearance doesn't matter for male Supreme Court justices
by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux
I've been under a rock for the past day finishing a paper, and so I'm a little late with this. But I am really pissed - maybe it's the sleep deprivation, or too much coffee - or wait, maybe this is just totally screwed up! We all heard that David Souter is resigning from the Supreme Court, and immediately people began speculating about a female replacement. I was excited - until I remembered that I always get optimistic and forget that we have a little test for female candidates for anything in this country, and I'll tell you right now, you don't need a pencil to take it. The Daily Beast reports that the two women widely considered to be frontrunners for the position, former Harvard Law School dean and current Solicitor General Elena Kagan, and federal appellate judge Sonia Sotomayor, might be too fat for the position.
Because I know that I'm in a bit of a grouchy mood, I'm not going to start discussing the attractiveness of the male justices of the Supreme Court bench (that would not end prettily). Some people have attempted to justify this absurdity by saying that we don't just want the youngest justice (who will presumably live the longest), we need the healthiest justice - and that excludes Kagan and Sotomayor, who don't seem to spend as much time at aerobics class as another possible choice, Kim McLane Wardlaw (who was, as a side note, described by legal gossip site Underneath Their Robes as "Heather Locklear in a black robe").
Paul Campos, the author of the Daily Beast article, hits the problem right on the nose. "For some men," he writes, "the only thing more intolerable than the sight of a powerful woman is the sight of a powerful woman they don’t want to sleep with." I can't believe that these nominations are already turning into such a shitstorm, or that people are already saying such bigoted, idiotic things about these very qualified women. But then again, it's also easy to forget that we've only had 2 female Supreme Court justices, which is a rant I'll save for another day. Let me just say though - there were far more serious issues with the last nominee, Samuel Alito, who during his time at Princeton was a member of a group which sought to limit the number of women who were admitted (and opposed affirmative action, as a pleasant side note). Nobody commented on whether Alito was sufficiently attractive for the job - perhaps because there were actual reasons to doubt his qualifications.