On August 29, 2008, in a column entitled “Celebrating Racial Diversity is Pointless” Jordan Rothman, Justice of the Union Judiciary wrote in the Hoot:
Celebrating racial diversity does not accomplish its stated mission of bringing greater perspectives and experiences to intellectual discourse. One way in which it fails is that not all members of racial minority groups have different backgrounds simply due to their race. Blacks as well as Whites can come from the inner city, just as members of all races can hail from differing walks of life. It is therefore unfair and inaccurate to believe that minorities have a different perspective simply due to ethnicity. Furthermore, even if an increased perspective was present, I have no idea how it would benefit the community. It is not like open debate on monumental issues occurs regularly in the classroom or around campus. Nor is it as if cultural values and perspectives make an impression upon our intellects through osmosis. I fail to recognize any benefits from interacting with people of different racial backgrounds, as I have little to gain and do not see how this benefit can be conveyed.
I think he’s wrong, but that’s beside the point. As a Justice, Jordan will have the power to cast a deciding vote on the issue of whether or not the positions of Racial Minority Senator and F-Board representative can exist. Though I cannot find any public comment from Jordan on the positions themselves, his Hoot columns clearly show that he believes ‘racial diversity is pointless.’ He has already made his beliefs obvious and public and thus should recuse himself from the case.
8 responses to “Jordan Rothman Must Recuse”
Your logic seems to be that because Mr. Rothman has expressed an opinion on something related to a case he might hear, he must recuse himself.
More to the point, because he expressed an opinion you don’t agree with, he must recuse himself. I find it hard to believe that you would be saying anything if he had written an article praising the merits of promoting diversity even though, by your logic, that would make him equally biased, just in the opposite direction.
This wouldn’t be a completely awful point if Mr. Rothman’s job in the case was to share his public policy opinion and make it law. Instead, his job is to interpret law. If he had commented on how the Union Constitution is violated by such a policy, recusal would be a reasonable option. This radical notion that courts interpret law of course also annihilates the intellectually lazy point about the lack of racial minorities on UJ. Interpreting law has nothing to do with skin color.
Oh and as for the actual point, recuse, don’t recuse, I don’t care, obviously he and the rest of the justices are allowed to have opinions. Just because he has expressed his prior to this case does not mean he is biased or anything. “Unable to be convinced of anything” is not a conflict of interest requiring that kind of action.
Jordan Rothman is a nice guy but kind of a windbag when it comes to his opinion columns, which are generally puerile, awkward, and ultimately vacuous attempts at discourse. To me, and likely to many of The Hoot’s readers, it seems he is merely trying to be controversial by taking unusual positions. I can only tolerate so much of it in good spirit. Someone should tell him to man up and think up honest, interesting ideas before spewing his craziness all over the place.
A quick thought about the tag: I that tag will always have that problem in any context its used. I meant in the sense of powerless, not because racial minorities are powerless, but because this case gives no power to anyone but these five justices. No one really knows about this case unless they are hooked into the Union system already. But, the tag doesn’t have those connotations, it will always have a very demeaning one.
You have a point Scott.
As for the tag, you may be right too.
With Jordan, I sort of feel like its clear that his mind is made up and given his history (this isn’t the only article in that vein) and is highly unlikely to be convinced of anything. I can guess where the other four justices stand, but I don’t know about it for sure. Does that make him a fair justice?
also, and separately, i feel that the ‘protect the powerless’ tag on this post is ill-fitting and ultimately demeaning to racial minorities.
it is obvious that he doesn’t share your opinion on the topic…but i am unclear how having opinions on an issue creates a conflict of interest or any situation demanding recusal. indeed, in practice, people that put judges in their positions solicit as much information as possible about their opinions before putting them on the bench.