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Knee-Jerk Identity Politics Assumptions:

The Toronto Globe and Mail writes (thanks to OpinionJournal's Best of the Web for the pointer):

Activists who oppose abortion rights are hoping Mr. Bush's choice of two conservative, white, middle-aged male jurists -- John Roberts, the court's new Chief Justice, and Samuel Alito, who replaced the centrist, swing-voter Sandra Day O'Connor -- will herald the end to all legal forms of abortion in the United States.

Roberts' and Alito's being conservative does indeed provide some basis for guessing their position on abortion. But their being male strikes me as not terribly probative; the gender gap on abortion is rather slim (see, e.g., here and here). Likewise, the age gap on abortion seems small or nil.

Finally, that Alito and Roberts are white would suggest that they'd be more supportive of abortion than blacks or Hispanics (see here and here). Of course, these general demographic indicators are useless in predicting the judgments of particular judges. But that's my point: The "white, middle-aged male" qualifiers (and especially the "white, middle-aged" part) are pointless for understanding the issue; the only reason to include them as if they were genuinely relevant seems to be an obsession with identity politics.

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