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Thursday, July 25, 2024 | Back issues
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The obvious replacement

February 7, 2022

Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring from the U.S. Supreme Court. It's perfect timing for a replacement.

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

Courthouse News columnist; racehorse owner and breeder; one of those guys who always got picked last.

I know what you’re expecting of me and it’s not unreasonable. Normally, you’d be correct: Justice Stephen Breyer has announced his retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court and it’s my job to suggest replacements (after offering myself as the best candidate).

But something is different this time. There’s been another historically significant retirement announcement — Tom Brady is giving up his lifetime appointment to the National Football League.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Stephen Breyer must be appointed the next quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s Kismet.

I know some of you think this is a terrible idea. You may be thinking that the Buccaneers should be looking for the best possible quarterback candidate. The process shouldn’t be politicized. Perfectly qualified quarterbacks shouldn’t be eliminated simply because of their youth.

That’s nonsense. Representation matters. How can we have confidence in a football team that doesn’t recognize the diversity of our nation?

After all, past appointments have been based on exclusive narrow criteria whether anyone has announced it or not. Before Brady, all quarterbacks were large youthful males who held specific beliefs coinciding with the people choosing them. Exclusion of candidates was built into the system whether we realized it or not.

The concept of “best possible candidate” makes no sense. Do you actually believe there’s one person out there who is demonstrably the absolute most capable and deserving choice for the job? Even if there was such a person, how are you supposed to find them? How do you determine what being the best candidate even means?

The reality is that there are a large number of people who are roughly equally capable of doing the job — and some of those people are going to be elderly. It makes sense to pick someone from the pool of best candidates who also brings a much-needed diverse experience to the job.

I know some of you are not convinced. Your bias leads you to believe that Breyer is not up to the job. An 83-year-old has never served on a football team before.

But that of course is all the more reason to appoint Breyer. He will be an inspiration to octogenarians everywhere. This is a glass ceiling that needs to be sacked.

Breyer brings wisdom the huddle. His experience with clerks shows he can delegate the football. He is resistant to pressure. What more do you want in a quarterback?

Write your sports columnist.

Menacing flowers? Check out this website. Looks nice, doesn’t it?

If you haven’t clicked, the link goes to the home page of the Atlanta Botanical Garden. “Orchid Daze” is coming up soon there and so is an annual camellia show and a garden flower show.

It looks lovely, doesn’t it?

Here’s a description from the website: “The Garden is an ever-evolving destination where the horticulturally-minded, nature-inspired and fun-seeking families come together to feel human again.”

Could there be a dangerous, dark side to this flowery paradise?

No, probably not. But that hasn’t prevented the Garden from being embroiled in litigation since 2014 over whether some guy can carry his guns in the garden.

I have no idea why the plaintiff and something called GeorgiaCarry.org Inc. feel the need for weaponry in a botanical garden. Maybe they have allergies and need to shoot down attacking pollen.

I guess it’s a matter of opinion whether a day among flowers is more enjoyable and calming with or without people around you carrying guns. Perhaps someone should open a gun garden and see how that works out.

A Georgia Court of Appeals panel issued a ruling against the gun people last week. I suspect it’s not over. In the meantime, watch your back when you stop to smell the roses.

Categories / Op-Ed

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