For Supreme Court, it's not what you know

May 19, 2010

I read with great interest the commentary on Supreme Court nominations written by Professor Jonathan Turley that appeared in the Baltimore Sunday Sun on May 16 ("A supremely limited pool of high court candidates"). What struck me most about this essay were the professor's great erudition and naiveté.

Professor Turley has outlined the vision of a utopian Washington wherein credentials and merit are the sure paths to a nomination to the Supreme Court. It's a beautiful fantasy, an idyll for academicians who live and work in a different reality.

In our more politically rigorous times, Washington is a dystopian world of distorted morals, ethics and laws. In this Orwellian society, merit and credentials are twisted into weapons with which to attack any candidate for the court who appears not to be able to pass the minority political party's scrutiny.

Credentials and merit count for nothing positive anymore. All that matters now is not what a candidate has written, but rather, what they have not. The process is now one of finding candidate that can be nominated and confirmed with as little political infighting as possible. The cliché of government is that it is not what you know but whom you know that counts, and so it is with nominations to the court. It has clearly been this way for some time.

Rudolf B. Lamy, Catonsville

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