Dr. Boyce Watkins and Other Black Scholars Speak Out Against Supreme Court Nominee, Elena Kagan

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Dr. Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University and Marc Lamont Hill of Columbia University, along with several other leading African American scholars, have taken a very strong stance against President Obama's most recent Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan. In articles written on various sites across the Internet, the scholars have questioned her track record for refusing to hire African Americans, Native Americans and Latinos during her tenure as Dean of the Harvard Law School. They also cite her poor hiring record as Solicitor General, where she hired no under-represented minorities during her time in the post.

What really matters in the balance of power at universities are tenured faculty positions

Dr. Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University and Marc Lamont Hill of Columbia University, along with several other leading African American scholars, have taken a very strong stance against President Obama's most recent Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan. In articles written on various sites across the Internet, the scholars have questioned her track record for refusing to hire African Americans, Native Americans and Latinos during her tenure as Dean of the Harvard Law School. They also cite her poor hiring record as Solicitor General, where she hired no under-represented minorities during her time in the post.

Dr. Watkins (that Kagan's hiring record is a slap in the face for people of color, and that African Americans have no reason to support her.

"How low does her total have to be before we call it for what it is?" says Dr. Watkins, Resident Scholar for AOL Black Voices. "If you hire 29 people, with 28 of them being white, that's what they call systematic racism. There's no other way to slice it, since the number can't be any worse than zero. Harvard gets a large number of applications from qualified minorities every single year, but they have a history of always finding a reason that the black or brown person is not qualified."

Dr. Watkins also cites Kagan's history as a Professor at The University of Chicago and Harvard University, and argues that these were the ties that convinced Obama to select her over more qualified candidates. The professor stated that with Kagan's confirmation, the Supreme Court would consist of only Harvard and Yale alumni, leading to a dangerous imbalance of power in America's legal system.

"There are outstanding law schools across our nation which are NOT called 'Harvard' and 'Yale'," says Dr. Watkins. "For some reason, even black Harvard Professors are coming out to defend Kagan, not because she represents equal rights, but because they seem to have an incentive to solidify the political power of Harvard University. Rather than engaging in standard cronyism and choosing your friends to serve on the court, it might make sense to actually seek out the most qualified person for the position."

There are some who argue that Kagan has increased the enrollment numbers of black students, law clerks and visiting professors at Harvard during her time as Dean. Watkins cautions against the public accepting such an explanation.

"What really matters in the balance of power at universities are tenured faculty positions," says Watkins. "Black faculty tend to be offered the scraps and temporary appointments, while white males are often given the most meaningful positions. Temporary appointments are a way to temporarily boost your diversity numbers so you are not called out for your racism. Harvard Law School makes almost no real commitment to people of color."

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and Resident Scholar for AOL Black Voices. For more information or interviews, please call (901) 413-0203 or email info(at)boycewatkins(dot)com.

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