Skip Navigation
NPR News

BMI As SCOTUS Pre-Req... For Women

May 5, 2009

Share this


Explore this

Reported by

Sarah Handel

Related Topics at NPR.org

I try not to get all agitated and riled up and, you know, position-y on this NPR blog. It's not really what we're about, you know, being journalists and all. But this? This, Scott assures me, is OK to get royally ticked off about, in public. From Paul Campos at the Daily Beast, who's been trolling judicial watch websites and seeing some disgusting comments about the women considered frontrunners...

Within hours after the news broke that Souter was resigning, concerns arose that [Elena]Kagan and [Sonia] Sotomayor might be too fat to replace him... a letter writer at Salon comments on Sotomayor's candidacy, "How do you say 55, overweight, and diabetic in Spanish?"

And Campos found plenty more where that came from. It's awful. I understand being concerned about a possible justice's longevity, but, as Campos points out, with these women, it's a moot point. "Based on photographic evidence, Kagan's and Sotomayor's current weights almost certainly do not even correlate with any increased mortality risk, let alone one that ought to be considered in the nomination process." And Campos points out there's a bigger predictor of mortality:

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.

I hesitated to call more attention to the vicious commentaries Campos ferreted out, but it's just so infuriating. Do a woman's qualifications ever get top billing, or is it always, still, about her appearance?

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR

Visitor comments

on:

NCPR is supported by:

This is a Visitor-Supported website.