I obviously had a pretty strong case of insomnia last night because I was pondering how the arguments over Arizona’s draconian immigration law were going before the Supreme Court. I suspect it will probably be upheld, at least in part. My issues with the law are many but my 3:00am epiphany wasn’t about that. It occurred to me, that there is not a single WASP on the current Supreme Court. The irony of Gov. Jan Brewer appearing before a 100% non-WASP Supreme Court is one of those little “only in America” moments I love. Pretty much every surname on the current bench would have at least raised an eyebrow of curiosity in the days of the Know-Nothing Party. In its heyday there was serious concern that the USA was losing its identity as an Anglo-Saxon Protestant country. Kennedy? Breyer? Ginsburg? Kagan? These surnames would have all had a vaguely alien-sounding tone circa 1845 when the Germans and Irish were only just beginning to come en masse (too much “Native US” consternation). No Roman Catholic was appointed to the Supreme Court until Taney in 1836, to say nothing of Jews who currently number three on the highest bench. Scalia? Alito? An Italian surname in American government would have seemed very exotic and foreign and, again, the Catholic thing would have been suspect. Roberts? Okay, his name would not have been odd or noteworthy to Millard Fillmore, but he is a Roman Catholic so still not truly within the WASP fold. Sotomayor? Hehe. Which leaves us with Justice Clarence Thomas, and that one goes without saying! Although I’m sure Fillmore would have found comfort in finding a perfectly respectable English name there amongst all those exotic “foreigners”.
Arizona “show me your papers” immigration law & the SCOTUS
Posted on May 1, 2012