The reaction to the appointment of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court in 2010 was a case study in how taboos are maintained in our society regarding the 600-pound gorilla of Jewish power. It is not just that little was said about the fact that she would be the third Jewish justice on the nine-member court in a country barely two percent Jewish, leaving the majority-Protestant country without a Protestant on the high court. It is not just that she was generally lacking in qualifications for the appointment and for pretty much every other job she has ever gotten. What was really interesting was how the Jewish media diverted attention from the phenomenon of Jewish power and privilege by raising the specter of White privilege. And when I say specter, I really mean ghost, because White privilege for all intents and purposes is dead and gone, as the Elena Kagan nomination “controversy” illustrates.
When Obama was set to make his second nomination for the Supreme Court, Kagan’s selection was neither a surprise nor ever seriously in doubt. She had already been on the short list of candidates to fill the first vacancy, which eventually went to Sonia Sotomayor. There were some voices raised, mostly on the “right,” regarding Kagan’s complete lack of judicial experience and her relative lack of courtroom experience. However, the truly interesting objections were raised by observers on the “left” regarding the lack of “diversity” in her recruitment of professors while she was the dean of Harvard Law School.
The liberal on-line magazine Salon published an article by four law professors from less prestigious schools noting that all but one of the 32 tenure-track professors hired while Kagan was dean were White. These professors, two of whom were black, one south Asian, and one with a half-Hispanic hyphenated surname (Luis Fuentes-Rohwer), make seven references to Whites in their 1679-word piece, yet never once use the word “Jew.” Read more