Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Too Fat To Fit On The Bench?

The Daily Beast (via feministe) tells us that only thin women should be on the SCOTUS:

Consider the two women widely considered the frontrunners for the nomination: former Harvard Law School dean and current Solicitor General Elena Kagan, and federal appellate judge Sonia Sotomayor.

Within hours after the news broke that Souter was resigning, concerns arose that Kagan and Sotomayor might be too fat to replace him. A commentator on the site DemConWatch.com noted that of the three most-mentioned candidates "the oldest (federal judge Diane Wood) is the only one who looks healthy," while Kagan and Sotomayor "are quite overweight. That's a risk factor that they may not last too long on the court because of their health."

At The Washington Monthly, a commentator claimed to have employed a more scientifically rigorous method: "To all the short-sighted libs who are clamoring for the youngest-possible nominee... Right idea, wrong methodology. You want someone who will serve the longest, i.e. with the greatest remaining life expectancy—and that involves more than simple age. I tried assessing their respective health prospects, and ruled out all who even border on overweight. Best choice: Kim McLane Wardlaw, whose ectomorphitude reflects her publicly known aerobic-exercise habits."

(Wardlaw's "ectomorphitude" also gets rave reviews at legal gossip site Underneath Their Robes, which describes her as "Heather Locklear in a black robe. This blond Hispanic hottie boasts a fantastic smile and an incredible body, showcased quite nicely by her elegant ensembles.")

Meanwhile, a letter writer at Salon comments on Sotomayor's candidacy, "How do you say 55, overweight, and diabetic in Spanish?" (Sotomayor was diagnosed with Type I diabetes—which doesn't correlate with higher weight—when she was a child).

All this is related to the ideal Supreme Court nominee: Someone with steel constitution and still in diapers. That way the next wingnut administration cannot replace our candidate with theirs.

But there's more to this story, as usual, because men are not screened through the same lens having to do with looks and fuckability, really. (If they were we'd get a completely new Supreme Court, heh.) And as Paul Campos notes at the end of his post:

Still, nonsense about women, weight, and "health" is particularly pervasive and destructive. Indeed, if we were really concerned about medical risk factors that actually do have a significant negative correlation with a candidate's life expectancy, the most relevant is one that has afflicted 108 of America's 110 Supreme Court justices: being a man.

That has to do with the average life expectancies of men and women, by the way.