Saturday, May 1, 2010

Obama and The Rooney Rule

We all know that Obama is a big sports fan. And with the Supreme Court vacancy, I think he's going to steal a page from the NFL by using the liberal version of the Rooney Rule.

Under the Rooney Rule, when there is a head coaching vacancy in the NFL, teams must interview at least one minority candidate for the job. Ideally, its supposed help minority candidates get more exposure to the powers that be in the NFL, and that exposure/contact will result in minorities getting coaching jobs.

While the Rooney Rule sounds good on paper, many minorities have complained that the process can be demeaning in certain circumstances. For example, when a team wants to hire a big name coach --say a Bill Parcells -- the process calls for a team to interview a candidate who has no chance at getting the job. And that candidate feels that he is just being called in to fulfill a quota, which is flat-out wrong.

Which brings us to how Obama will use the liberal version of the Rooney Rule to fill the vacancy created by Justice Stevens' impending retirement.

Obama will fill the seat with someone who is a member of a racial/ethnic minority group, or a woman, or both.

But he will interview a white male candidate-- who despite excellent liberal credentials--, has no chance in getting the job.

And that candidate looks to be Merrick Garland. Check this out, from this week's New York Magazine:

Concerning the third front-runner, however, there has been precious little hubbub. The candidate in question is Merrick Garland, a Bill Clinton appointee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Garland is well known, well respected, and tremendously well liked in Washington legal circles; even Republicans have nice things to say about him (which has both advantages and disadvantages, about which more shortly). Yet Garland also happens to possess certain qualities that are, shall we say, politically suboptimal. He is white. He is male.

Think about the significance of that paragraph. The fact that the man is qualified is not enough. For liberals,-- and it is always this way with them-- Garland's skin color and gender make him a poor choice, regardless of his qualifications.

And why do I think Obama will trot Garland in for an interview, with no real intention of considering him for the job? Past performance is a good indication of future action.

Look at the Sotomayor selection process. Check out this from The New Yorker:

(Nydia) Velázquez gripped Obama by both hands. “Mr. President, you have an opportunity, here in your hands, to shape the United States Supreme Court for years to come.” Obama whispered into Velázquez’s ear and smiled. “I know—there’s a Puerto Rican woman.”

Obama did not know Sotomayor's name-but he knew her ethnic background. And that background was considered a plus.

And for liberals, Garland's background is a negative.

Which is why he has a better chance of getting an NFL coaching job than getting nominated for the Supreme Court by Obama.

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