Much has been made of the fact that Elena Kagan's ascent to the Supreme Court means that for the first time in American history there will be three women on the high court. But beyond the fact that the court will be slightly more representative of the American people, and the possibility of yet more white lacy scarves from on high, what does the difference between having one, two, or three women at the court really signify?
Kagan and Roberts will be worth watching in the coming years precisely because they are two sides of the very same coin. As Kagan proved at her hearings, she isn't one to defer to authority; she'd rather punch back and win or lose her case on the merits. That may have been a recipe for disaster when Kagan and Roberts were on opposite sides of the same bench.
Appearance bias is a massive societal problem with tangible economic costs that most of us--perhaps especially women--perpetuate each time we buy a diet pill or sneer at Elena Kagan for not dressing like Miley Cyrus. Can a law stop us from discriminating against the overweight, the aging, and the imperfect?
We have no right to exoneration.