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Remembering Roman Hruska

By Michael J. Smith on Friday February 22, 2008 10:28 PM

This crossed my e-desk today:

They were the kind of kids companies fall over each other trying to hire--smart, personable, hardworking, well-groomed. That they went to Harvard didn't hurt, either. So it was no surprise that by April, most of the seniors in the discussion sections I was leading as a graduate student had jobs lined up after graduation. Nor was the roster of firms: Arthur Andersen, IBM, Morgan Stanley, CBS, Aetna . . . the usual suspects. What was strange was that one company--the country's biggest, in fact--didn't make the list: the federal government.....

If government is to meet our basic expectations, let alone go beyond that to better our lives, it needs creative, intelligent, dedicated people to develop and run its programs.

Man, that's all we need, isn't it? -- more hypercompetent, overachieving bright young sparks from the Ivies in government. As if the US government weren't menace enough already.

Back when Dick Nixon was trying to get the schlubby G Harrold Carswell onto the Supreme Court, the immortal Roman Hruska defended the Presidential choice: "So what if he is mediocre? There are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they? We can't have all Brandeises, Cardozos, and Frankfurters and stuff like that there."

At the time I laughed as loud as everybody else about this, but with maturity comes the intimation that maybe Hruska was onto something. Thought experiment: would we be worse off, or better than we are now, if the members of the Supreme Court and the Congress were chosen by lottery? Show your work.

Comments (7)


Like jury duty! "I'm sorry Mr. Speaker, but, uh, I have, like, to pick up my kids from school, and also, um, my car is in the shop, so, you know, I think I need to be excused from Congress Duty."

Actually, better than jury duty; in Congress, or in the Supremes, you'd actually have some friggin' power for a change.


why if i recall properly
the republic of florence was run
along such lines

till that clan of forgers frauds counterfeiters quislings and papal shylocks
the fuckin medici
corn holed the set up


speaking of venerable stste practices
i thinbk the prez needs
to battle a rodeo bull
once in a blue moon or somethin
like pharoah done


and of course
not studio effected up
there'll be no putting
rubber horns on ole daisy
no madame
a real snort and stomp menace
straight from the bull ridin' circuit
6 foot horn spread
a neck like an oak stump
and meaner then a mother in law

no way ought it to be symbolical
like that purblind bovine
the greatest piece of
squalidity in a thousand years of politics
took on in "mortal combat "
you know
that preposterous profile in
pusilanimous fraudulence
benito M


Brandeises, Cardozos, and Frankfurters

Brandeises, Cardozos, and frankfurters

Brandeises, Cardozos, and Frankfurters


A brief list of ways in which we could choose a better Congress:

Spelling Bee
Gunfight between incumbent and challenger
Drinking contest
Round up some homeless dudes
Use Congress as an alternative to probation
Hot or Not polls

Ways in which we could choose a worse Congress:

I've got nothing

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