A note on Judge Childs

In writing about Lindsey Graham’s confusion about affirmative action, I discussed Graham’s favorite candidate for the Supreme Court, U.S. District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs. I looked at her credentials compared to those of the current Justices at the time of their nomination and of Judge Sri Srinivasan, a highly qualified Asian-American jurist who has been excluded from consideration because he isn’t a black female. I concluded that, if selected, Childs would be an affirmative action nominee.

This doesn’t mean, however, that Graham and his South Carolina colleague Tim Scott are wrong to prefer Childs over the two other black females said to under serious consideration for the nomination — Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the D.C. Circuit and Judge Leondra Kruger of the California Supreme Court. In fact, there’s a case that Childs is a better candidate than those two.

On paper, the credentials of Brown Jackson and Kruger seem superior to those of Childs. Unlike Childs, both have court of appeals experience and have held important positions in the U.S. government. However, a friend who follows these matters closely writes:

Of the three [black female judges], I would take Judge Childs because she is the only one of the three who has experienced the United States outside the coddled world of [well-off] parents and Harvard and Yale.

Judge Brown Jackson and Justice Kruger share elite, affluent backgrounds and have spent their lives in elite leftist-dominated institutions and urban centers that are bastions of liberalism. They are practically certain to join Justices Kagan and Sotomayor to continue the Court’s three-Justice reliably leftist voting bloc.

Judge Childs may do the same but she has the benefit of actual life experience outside of leftist enclaves like Cambridge, Massachusetts, New Haven, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Pasadena, California, and Sacramento, clerkships for lefty judges and justices, etc. Judge Childs’ experience as district judge in South Carolina also provides some normal experience that may give her an understanding of litigation beyond the realm of orthodox liberalism.

I’m not optimistic about her as a justice, but I am particularly pessimistic about the other two.

I want to know more about the opinions and rulings of these three candidates before formulating a view as to which selection would be the least unfortunate. However, my friend’s point is a valuable contribution to the discussion, it seems to me.

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