A couple of readers have written in response to my Moral Accountability piece–on Joyce Appleby’s suggestion that Catholic justices should recuse themselves in some cases–with an interesting thought about how this fits with the apparent views of President Obama and Judge Sonia Sotomayor. The fullest statement was from the reader who said that Appleby’s notion was
really the natural result of the identity politics that underlie the nomination of Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. The unstated presumption (except in criticisms of “conservative” Justices) is that judges can be counted upon to vote in line with their interest groups. Thus we need “diversity” and “balance” on the Supreme Court – not just of philosophy, but of color, background, and belief. If one abandons the notion of a rule of law set out through comprehensible writings, and resigns oneself to the notion that the Court is essentially a superdemocratic institution, it all makes sense.