If Judge Sonia Sotomayor is confirmed, the US Supreme Court will consist of six Catholics, two Jews and precisely one white Anglo-Saxon Protestant in the form of Justice John Paul Stevens, who is 89 years old and boasts of two important WASP insignia: inherited wealth and a bow tie. He also thinks that Shakespeare’s plays were written by the Earl of Oxford. But then, so does Antonin Scalia. The other WASP among the nine, until he announced his retirement — thus paving the way for Sotomayor’s nomination — is David Souter. The two WASPS have been the most liberal members of the court.
There were desultory calls for President Obama to preserve the WASP quotient on the court by picking another white Protestant, but Sotomayor fulfilled other, more pressing quota requirements, being a woman and of Puerto Rican ancestry — prospectively making her the first Hispanic member of the court (unless you count Benjamin Cardozo, a Sephardic Jew of Portuguese ancestral background), thus delighting America’s fastest-growing ethnic group. Hispanics are the great brown hope of the Democratic Party and the real-estate industry (more or less coterminous), since they represent 14 percent of the population but 25 percent of the live births, thus responsible for the fact that the United States is the only Western industrialized nation with a fertility rate above the 2.2 percent replacement rate.
Since WASPs are allegedly busy running America from their clubland bastions in Manhattan and the Skull and Bones premises, they haven’t had time for procreative duties and scant opportunity either, since their leathery spouses spend their evenings going to charity balls and their weekends in the Hudson Valley or outside Philadelphia and Washington, DC, pruning their roses. The WASP replacement rate is abysmal and their traditional claim of being America’s ruling class is under relentless pressure from Jews, whom all WASPs, after a couple of dry martinis, invoke as running not just America but the entire world. So these days, WASPs sit resignedly in their libraries reading histories of WASP clans like the Whitneys, the Rockefellers and the Harrimans, or watching reruns of CIA movies — the last genre dedicated to the thesis that ruthless white upper-class Protestants run America.
Actually the WASPs fought their decisive battle for power early in the last century, when they realized that the streams of immigrants pouring into the New World from Czarist Russia or Catholic countries like Italy and Ireland would in the not-so-long term alter the nation’s ethnic balance and challenge their supremacy. WASPs fought back with the program of population management known as the Eugenics Movement, eloquently defined by a great WASP hero, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell