Since Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement in early April, pundits have crunched the political calculus surrounding the Supreme Court nomination. With topics from abortion to sexual orientation permeating the national conversation, potential nominees like Elena Kagan and Diane Wood have come under intense scrutiny.
As court-watchers continue to weigh the merits of various front-runnerst, L.A. Times columnist Meghan Daum finds the debate over the "many prisms" through which to evaluate a new justice somewhat inane. "We can look at how they hire their nannies," scoffs Daum. "We can take certain remarks (like 'wise Latina') out of context and paint the nominee as a mystical narcissist. We can elevate questions like 'Who has put pubic hair on my Coke?' to matters of national debate."
Daum waves all of these irrelevant considerations away and instead offers an easy solution: the next justice should be Diane Wood, simply because she plays the oboe.
This is no minor detail. The oboe isn't just an instrument; it's a way of life. ... Playing the oboe means living your life entirely at the mercy of tiny wooden double reeds that crack at inopportune moments (weirder and more awful yet, you're supposed to make them yourself as though you were a 19th century artisan). ...
And speaking for myself and so many others in the oboe community, I don't think it's an overstatement to suggest that even if Wood had no judicial experience at all, even if she'd never even gone to law school — heck, even if she were a fifth-grader squawking out "Ode to Joy" on a plastic Bundy — she'd still probably be more qualified for the Supreme Court bench than anyone else in the pool. Why? Because oboists may vary in talent, discipline, ethnicity, gender and taste in unfashionable clothes, but we all have one thing in common: We're just about the most judgmental people on the face of the Earth. Ergo, one of us should sit on the highest court in the nation.