The usual ‘cookie cutter’

THE USUAL ‘COOKIE CUTTER’…. Digby watches Chris Matthews’ broadcasts so we don’t have to. In this exchange, the “Hardball” host ponders diversity on the Supreme Court.

Matthews: Will [Obama] go to the usual cookie cutter. He’s supposed to pick a Latina, a Hispanic woman, would be a woman. Would he do that just because that’s sort of the unfilled void in his patronage plan so far?

Robinson: I don’t know. I doubt it.

Matthews: Sonya Sotomayor from New York.

Simon: He wouldn’t do it just because, but if you’re asking if there was a qualified Latina out there would he …

Matthews: Well, there is one.

I haven’t the foggiest idea what Matthews is talking about. What “patronage plan”? It’s one thing to hear rich white guys complain about additional diversity on the high court, but to characterize it as some kind of political-payback scheme is just nutty.

But the “usual cookie cutter” line is even more bizarre. Adam Serwer noted last week, “There have been 110 Justices on the Supreme Court. Of those, two have been women, and two have been black. The other 106 have been white men. That means that around 96 percent of Supreme Court justices have been white men.”

I’m reading the transcript, rather than hearing the audio, so perhaps Matthews’ inflection hinted that he meant “usual cookie cutter” in some other connotation. It seems more likely, though, that Matthews is just confused and hung up on the idea that the next Supreme Court justice might not look like him.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.