I'm going to go out on a limb here: John Roberts is a great candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court. Ok, I guess that's not going very far out; the man has impeccable credentials, he's young, he has a compelling story, and he's both affable and serious. By all accounts, he is everything one would look for in a Supreme Court nominee.
I also think Bush made a brilliant strategic move in choosing him. His resume is impenetrable, he's respected among the conservative base as well as within moderate circles, he doesn't come off as being extreme, and I personally doubt he is as extreme as either Thomas or Scalia. Also, unlike those two opprobrius justices, he doesn't wear his politics (or his religion) on his sleave.
To be perfectly candid, I think he's a nominee Democrats can live with, especially considering that Clinton nominated and eventually swore in justices Breyer and Ginsburg, who are far more offensive to the right than Roberts may be to the left.
There's only one problem, though. He's a white male. On a court that already has seven white males.
So what? Conservatives will argue: Look at his credentials! He's qualified! Give him a fair up-or-down vote! There the lefties go trying to be "multicultural" and "PC"!
It's a common argument, and also a simplistic one. John Roberts is not the only person in this country qualified to be on the Supreme Court. Sure, he has a fantastic resume. But so do many other judges, lawyers, and lawmakers...who happen to be women, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, et al, or some combination of the above. John Roberts does nothing to advance the Court forward. He's a step back.
Look at the facts: Approximately 51 percent of U.S. citizens are women. Minority populations, particularly Hispanics, are booming, and many are advancing in their educational status. Women outnumber men in the nation's law schools. And yet, assuming John Roberts' nomination to the court, 88 percent of those deciding cases on issues that matter most to Americans are men. Just 11 percent - all in Clarence Thomas' hands - are non-white.
Despite its sometimes nativist tendencies, this is a country that by and large celebrates its diversity. We like to consider ourselves something of a melting pot, though I understand that definition has somewhat passed its prime. The executive and legislative branches are already dominated by white men, but with the judicial branch, particularly the Supreme Court, our executive is offered the choice of what it looks like. So why is it so hard to make it look like the rest of the United States?