So you want to be a Supreme Court justice (PART 2)

It's always a party in the Supreme Court lobby

It's always a party in the Supreme Court lobby

Earlier this week, we gave you some helpful advice on what not to do if you plan on becoming a Supreme Court justice. But what sorts of things should you do as a Princeton student if you want a lifetime appointment to the nation’s high court?

An exhaustive (i.e. cursory, superficial, dumb) examination of the Princeton careers of both Justice Sonia Sotomayor ’76 and leading contender (and Solicitor General) Elena Kagan ’81 reveals some startling similarities between the two. (We, um, conveniently ignored Justice Samuel Alito ’72 because he was just too different.)

Here are some important steps to take before you walk out of FitzRandolph Gate:

  • Be a woman
    • Although if you’re unmarried, like Kagan and Sotomayor are, people will just assume you’re lonely and/or lesbian.
    • But seriously, there are only like two men on President Obama’s list of candidates, so make sure you’re a woman.
  • Be from New York City
    • Kagan’s from the Upper West Side and graduated from Hunter College High School.
    • Sotomayor grew up in the South Bronx and was valedictorian of Cardinal Spellman High School.
  • Major in History
    • Thank God Kagan switched from Woody Woo to History after three weeks, because then our “analysis” would be even more irrelevant.
  • Write a long senior thesis (ugh, toolish!)
    • Kagan: 156 pages
    • Sotomayor: 178 pages
  • Find a white male professor to be your thesis adviser
    • Professor Sean Wilentz was Kagan’s thesis adviser.
    • Sotomayor’s adviser was former Princeton professor Peter Winn.
  • Win cool prizes
    • Kagan was a Sachs Scholar (studying at Oxford with future-WWS dean Anne-Marie Slaughter ’80).
    • Sotomayor was a Pyne Prize winner.
  • Be anything other than Protestant (retiring Justice John Paul Stevens is the lone one left on the bench)
    • Kagan is Jewish
    • Sotomayor is Roman Catholic
  • Smoke lots of cigarettes
    • Okay, so we don’t know for sure whether Kagan and Sotomayor smoked while they were at Princeton, but…
    • …while Kagan was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, a classmate recalled:
      • I remember wandering around Gannett House late at night and opening the door to the room at the very top of the building, and you’d just see Elena all by herself with a cigarette and a pen, editing late into the night.
    • …and Sotomayor was crazy about cigarettes as a young New York City prosecutor, smoking a pack and a half a day (!)

Click here for Part 1.

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