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October 05, 2005



Cardozo was one of the greatest common law judges of all time, and would have been a greater SCt judge had he lived longer. He never married and may very well have been a virgin. But that doesn't seem to affect his place in the pantheon. (Of course, the Court dealt with far fewer social rights issues in the 1930s, but it's not like it didn't deal with them at all: cases like Meyer v. Nebraska and Pierce v. Society of Sisters came before the SCt in the 1920s, and dealt with an area of life (family) that Cardozo had no personal experience with, but had he been on the Court in those years, should he have recused himself, or would his opinions have been any less persuasive (either way) simply because he had never had a girlfriend?)


obvious implications for abortion debates...people on the left have long talked about the importance of letting female jurists weigh in on _Roe_, but a portion of that special female perspective is tied to having at some point needed to face the possibility of getting pregnant. women who aren't heterosexually active [self included] are at something of an empathy disadvantage.

Lapsed Catholic

Doesn't your point really just boil down to the intensity of someone's views? You say that just being a Catholic isn't a legitimate subject of inquiry. But what about, say, being a member of Opus Dei?

If yes, isn't that unfair? Doesn't it penalize people who happen to have strong views (e.g. the Opus Dei member), and give people who don't (e.g. lapsed Catholics) a free pass?

The Duck Hunter

I see what you're saying about not just taking the nominee's say-so. But the interesting this is: Once someone is ON the Court, isn't that basically what we're stuck with, in terms of the "honor system" approach to recusal? Justice Scalia can say that the duck hunting with Dick Cheney didn't affect his impartiality, and there's not much we can do about that.

Not-So-Virgin Mary

A3G, sorry, nice try, but I don't buy it.

Do you really think that being a virgin could affect a judge's views? If so, then what's the difference between the votes and opinions of Justice Souter, who's probably a virgin, and those of his fellow liberal (but non-virgin) justices?

(There's something sort of virginal about Justice Ginsburg too. But we know she's not a virgin because she has two kids, including Columbia law professor Jane Ginsburg.)

Michael Wasserman

Vis-a-vis the Catholic question, I think it is appropriate to ask a nominee whether he or she would feel obligated to exercise the powers of his or her office in conformity to the command of a religious leader. That is not necessarily a matter limited to Roman Catholics. Such a question seems particularly apt regarding Roman Catholics given the recent threats of excommunication made by some American bishops.

Vis-a-vis virginity, I think that both the primest virgin and the most lascivous fornicator could appreciate the freedom to choose how to conduct his or her sexual life--if they are satisfied with their choice or able to take responsibility for it. On the other hand, either sort could wish that some authority had saved them from themselves, if they are unhappy with the consequences of their choice.


Harriet's so busy that she probably had to do without kok today! (see link)


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