March 23, 2006

Way Out West

"On the [Western] frontier, there was no social status," he explained. "People were treated with equality, then you measured one's talents from there." — US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy speaking nostalgically of his "western roots", as reported recently in the San Jose Murky News.

Unless, of course, you were Chinese, or Native American, or Latino, or black, or … it's hard to believe people still say things like this with a straight face. It's also worth noting that Kennedy was one of three justices simultaneously serving in the same supreme court who had been to Stanford, not exactly known for its equality in the way it treated people with different backgrounds, ethnicities, gender, or skin colour, at least until fairly recently.

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