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kinda feel bad for clarence thomas

not b/c his life was hard, but b/c he clearly did not handle it well. is it just me or does it seem like he’s blaming everyone and everything else for all his problems?

For Sotomayor and Thomas, Paths Diverge at Race

Ms. Sotomayor and Mr. Thomas missed each other at Yale by only a few years, but they might as well have studied at entirely different institutions.

Given her standout record at Princeton, said James A. Thomas, a former dean of admissions, Ms. Sotomayor’s background had little role in her acceptance to the school. Again, she immersed herself in Puerto Rican issues, winning a spot on the law review with an article about Puerto Rico’s rights to resources in its seabed, leading the minority students’ association and urging the administration to hire a tenured Hispanic faculty member. (A quarter-century later, she is still pressing the school on the issue.)

Mr. Thomas, though, felt out of place from the moment he arrived and only became more disaffected. He had listed his race on his application and later felt haunted by the decision.

“I was among the elite, and I knew that no amount of striving could make me one of them,” he wrote. He ran into financial troubles and applied for scholarship money from a wealthy Yale family, a process he found humiliating. Friends recall that he insisted on dressing like a field hand, in overalls and a hat.

Shared Rejection

Mr. Thomas and Ms. Sotomayor did have one experience in common: law firm interviewers asked them if they really deserved their slots at Yale, implying that they might not have been accepted if they were white.

Ms. Sotomayor fought back so intensely — against a Washington firm, now merged with another — that she surprised even some of the school’s Hispanics. She filed a complaint with a faculty-student panel, which rejected the firm’s initial letter of apology and asked for a stronger one. Minority and women’s groups covered campus with fliers supporting her. Ms. Sotomayor eventually dropped her complaint, but the firm had already suffered a blow to its reputation.

Mr. Thomas was more private about the experience — even some friends do not recall it — but he took it hard. With rejection letters piling up, he feared he would not be able to support his wife and young son.

The problem, Mr. Thomas concluded, was affirmative action. Whites would not hire him, he concluded, because no one believed he had attended Yale on his own merits. He felt acute betrayal: his education was supposed to put him on equal footing, but he was not offered the jobs that his white classmates were getting. He saved the pile of rejection letters, he said in a speech years later.

“It was futile for me to suppose that I could escape the stigmatizing effects of racial preference,” he wrote in his autobiography.

thank you tina brown

i don’t read daily beast, but this singular contribution justifies its existence.

sotomayor: the movie (slideshow)

which actors would play the supreme court justices? i couldn’t think of a better scalia.

GOP and the supreme court

granholm for supreme court justice?

jenny “from the block” granholm has shown up on the short list of people who could end up on the supreme court if obama is elected president.

three of the justices are pretty old and could retire in the next term. one guy says that obama would likely pick a woman, especially since ruth bader, the only female justice, is one of the more geriatric ones.

this would be ridiculous because 1) granholm was born in canada. have we ever had a foreign-born justice? and 2) have we ever had a governor-turned-supreme-court-justice? maybe both of these things happened way in the past, but how about 20th century? or even late 19th century.

one thing that’s nice about granholm if this happened: her confirmation hearing wouldn’t be too scandalous since she’s already been raked through the coals at least twice as governor. no surprise illegitimate children or sexual harassment allegations. but i suppose her political views are obviously well-known and may embolden the GOP. either way, this is cool.

thanks to sean for the tip

supreme court: back in session

oral arguments started this week, and justice scalia is back at being hilarious and awesome (in a “i disagree with you on every contentious issue” sort of way). in arizona v. gant, the two sides argue whether it’s ok to search the car of a person who has just been arrested for a minor violation and is already cuffed and secured in the back of a squad car.
the main justification for the search was that it was pragmatic; a safety measure. scalia went a step further.

Justice Scalia similarly asked both sides whether there was any historical – as opposed to pragmatic – justification for the rule. “If you stopped Thomas Jefferson’s carriage to arrest Thomas Jefferson and you pulled him off to the side of the road, could you – could you then go and search his carriage?” No one seemed to know.

the thought of thomas jefferson being thrown onto the side of his carriage, “cops”-style,” is hilarious to me.