With the almost-certain nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) looming, judicial analysts are working overtime. Perhaps that’s why Jamelle Bouie, a political correspondent for Slate and analyst at CBS News, is arguing that the Supreme Court needs justices with no legal experience.
Here are the details. Bouie posted this tweet:
for what it's worth i do think SCOTUS needs a justice or two who doesn't have a legal background. https://t.co/cU76CNLUBj
— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) March 21, 2017
“for what it’s worth,” he tweets, “i do think SCOTUS needs a justice or two who doesn’t have a legal background.”
The statement struck many as odd. As Bouie is paid for his opinions on these matters, and his opinions and judgement are passed of as expert advice by both Slate and CBS, Bouie must be taken seriously.
So why the call for judges with no legal experience? Perhaps to shake things up? Bouie is never crystal clear on his reasoning. He’s arguing (at least in the lengthy chain of responses to his original tweet) that the Supreme Court would benefit from some diversity. Just what he means by diversity is also never articulated.
The commenters picked up on this and blasted him. Eventually he gave up, and simply wrote off the whole argument: “okay. well, glad to know that i’m a moron & an idiot for thinking SCOTUS may benefit from different modes of expertise.”
Different modes of experience. Perhaps a plumber would be a good choice. A plumber could clear out the clogs in the court system. Or maybe an old-school elevator operator on the bench; that way, cases that really matter could get a fast ride all the way to the top.
And then we could implement this same system in other systems. Out of work cab drivers could go to work as referees in the NCAA March Madness tournament, you know, to get “different modes of expertise.”
Those looking at Bouie’s strategy for a model of success don’t have to look far. We now has an avowed business tycoon in the White House, and he’s appointed numerous individuals to cabinet positions who provide numerous “different modes of expertise.”
Yet Bouie isn’t pleased with the results of that experiment, either. “White voters hope Trump will restore the racial hierarchy upended by Barack Obama,” he tweeted last week. Bouie once characterized Trump’s “different modes of expertise” as “divisive [and] ethno-nationalist.”
Perhaps he was hoping for something different from his rank reliance on abstractions.