High And Low: Supreme Court Vs. Eviction Court

Sonia Sotomayor's rise from public housing and life story as a Latina from the Bronx are seen by many as excellent reasons to put her on the court--facets of her life that have led her to pragmatic fair-mindedness as a jurist. They're seen by others as flimsy reasons to nominate anyone.

But James Warren, at his Atlantic Correspondents blog, sees some disconnect between the debate over Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the highest court and what's going on in one of the lowest ones--Chicago's eviction court, where the everyday struggles of trying to keep a roof over one's head, paying a mortgage despite delinquent residents, property scams and system-gaining tenants are laid bare:

There's no debate here over affirmative action, abortion, legislative redistricting, or whether a Latina judge of a certain pedigree can reach smarter conclusions than white males. There's no inspiration for cable television duels, like those over Sonia Sotomayor. There are only the quotidian matters of mostly little people in trouble, with a distinctly primal element at stake: the roof over their heads.

It's an assembly line of pathos unknown to the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, who've never been trial judges of this sort and live in a comparatively rarified sanctum where they need not look a litigant in the eye each day, change that person's circumstances in a heartbeat and must sleep with the consequences. If this is mixed martial arts, the Supreme Court is lawn bowling or badminton (with America's longest summer vacation).
Presented by

Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

A global look at the hardest and best job ever

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open for 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

More in Politics

Just In