The Harvard-Yale habit is hard to break

May 18, 2010

While the lock on Supreme Court nominees by Harvard and Yale is to be deplored ("A supremely limited pool of high court candidates," May 16), it will be hard to break. For over 130 years there was not a Jewish justice on the Supreme Court and very few Catholic ones. However if Elena Kagan is confirmed, there will be six Catholic justices and three Jewish ones.

For many years the WASP establishment controlled our government, and now that is a scenario of the past. For about the same time, entry into elite universities was restricted for minorities, and this too has changed.

For the time being, the Harvard-Yale scenario is self-perpetuating, with even presidents who did not attend those schools bowing to the convention of choosing Supreme Court candidates from those universities. Are these the best qualified? Probably not, but old habits die hard, but do eventually die.

Nelson Marans, Silver Spring

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