Brett Kavanaugh didn’t take Columbus Day off – he’s already hard at work getting settled in as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. And one of his first acts just exposed the hypocrisy of fellow Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Ginsburg is a revered icon among liberal activists, particularly among the LGBTQ community and feminists, who affectionately dub her “RBG.” In her public speeches, Ginsburg champions the rights of women and minorities. And yet, in his first day, Kavanaugh did something for women and minorities that Ginsburg could only wish for.
Kavanaugh hired four law clerks today, to assist him for the upcoming term. All four of them are female, a first in the history of the Supreme Court. One of his clerks is also black, which matches the number of African American clerks Ginsburg has hired – in 25 years on the high court.
Allow me to repeat that fact, just to drive it home: Ruth Bader Ginsburg has only hired one black law clerk to work for her. In 25 years.
Since she was first appointed to the Supreme Court by Bill Clinton in 1993, Ginsburg has hired over 100 law clerks, and yet could only find one suitable African American to work for her during that entire time. In one day, Kavanaugh was able to match her hiring of black law clerks.
This abysmal record on minority hiring is glossed over by her supporters, and will likely not be covered in the upcoming movie that will lionize her career. Actress Felicity Jones (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) will portray her in the film, likely with a more open mind toward African Americans than Ginsburg actually demonstrates in real life.
Ginsburg has a bit of a reputation when it comes to minority hiring – it was even an issue during her confirmation hearing.
Ginsburg’s hiring practices have been criticized for decades. During her 1993 confirmation hearings, GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah asked Ginsburg if a court might reasonably conclude that a small business in a majority black city that hired 57 white employees and zero black employees over a period of years was discriminatory. Ginsburg dodged, before Hatch pointed out that was in fact her own record of clerkship hiring in her 13 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
“I will try harder, and if you confirm me for this job my attractiveness to black candidates is going to improve,” Ginsburg replied, to much laughter throughout the hearing chamber.
A recent study shows that equality is still an issue among Supreme Court justices.
A 2017 study published in the National Law Journal found that 85 percent of all Supreme Court clerks between 2005 and 2017 were white, and approximately two-thirds were male.
For the record, Kavanaugh’s new clerks are Shannon Grammel, Megan Lacy, Sara Nommensen and Kim Jackson.
The hiring of all-female law clerks may have been a deliberate move to counter the controversy Kavanaugh endured during the confirmation process. However, in his career as a judge, Kavanaugh has had a documented history of hiring women and minorities as clerks and staff in numbers above the norm. And yet, none of those individuals accused him of misconduct over the years, it should be noted.
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