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Bench Memos

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Justice Ginsburg as Chatty Cathy—Part 1



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Justice Ginsburg has become quite the Chatty Cathy. In her recent interview with the National Law Journal’s Marcia Coyle, Ginsburg somehow sees fit to offer her views on all sorts of matters.

It’s amusing to learn that Ginsburg imagines that disparate-impact theory—which invites inferences of racial discrimination to be drawn from mere statistical disparities in employment and which thus drives employers to embrace hiring quotas—would help solve our country’s racial problems. After all, in her 1993 Supreme Court confirmation hearing, it was revealed, much to Ginsburg’s visible embarrassment, that in her 13 years on the D.C. Circuit she had never had a single black law clerk, intern, or secretary. Out of 57 employees, zero blacks. So Ginsburg perhaps ought to be less ready to impose on other employers a standard that would have branded her as racially discriminatory.

Ginsburg may well be right that our racial problems “will remain … for a long time as long as where we live remains divided.” But if she wants to walk the walk, the longtime resident of a posh Watergate apartment could shorten her commute by finding new lodging in southeast D.C. Then again, given her peculiar comment (in the context of abortion funding) about “populations that we don’t want to have too many of,” perhaps Ginsburg would be better off keeping to herself her views on racial matters.



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