Kagan’s Jewish Quotient
The nomination as ethnic moment
This felt a little different, right? Sorta “Our Nominee”? New York Upper West Side (probably liberal) Jewish, the socialist summer camps and the father with the Ben Shahn drawings … (OK maybe not all of that).
Anyway, a quick look at how some of Kagan’s “cultural cues” were covered.
• Yesterday’s New York Times profile of Kagan was full of all sorts of cultural markers. [NYT]
• The National Jewish Democratic Council; the Anti-Defamation League; and the Reform movement all expressed their excitement. [Haaretz]
• J.J. Goldberg wonders whether certain folks will make an issue of the fact that Kagan’s accession would mean three Jews on the court. [Forward]
• No, she’s not one of those Kagans. [Slate]
• A Kagan confirmation would result in a Supreme Court that is New York-centric and, for the first time ever, WASP-free (three Jews, six Catholics). [Ben Smith]
• “The names of the justices read like a New York phone book—Scalia, Kennedy, Ginsberg, Sotomayor.” [Negev Rock City]
• Got an email yesterday with the following passage from Stephen L. Pease’s Golden Age of Jewish Achievement: The Compendium of a Culture, a People, and Their Stunning Performance:
As of mid-2008, seven of the 110 justices (6.4 percent) have been Jewish. The 6.4 percent statistic exceeds the expected 2 percent but understates the magnitude of the change since Brandeis. That is, there have been 44 appointments in the 92 years since Brandeis. Seven of those 42 (16 percent) were Jews. In the 46 years since Arthur Goldberg was appointed in 1962, four of 15 appointments (27 percent) were Jews. And, two of the last four appointments (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1993, and Stephen G. Breyer, 1994) were Jews. That two of our nine Supreme Court Justices (22 percent or 11 times their percentage of the U.S. population) are now Jews indicates just how remarkable their achievement has been.
And, of course, those stats don’t include Kagan.