Careers and the Role of Chance

Careers can take unusual turns in life. To think, most didn’t even know who Neil Gorsuch was a year ago. Events were put in motion; Harry Reid changed the Senate Rules (cracking the door for what was to come), Mitch McConnell played a political game of poker for the ages (love it or hate it), Donald Trump became President of the United States (again, who would have thought that ten years earlier), and another nuclear option was triggered by the Republican Party. Think of all the events that had to bounce a certain way for to join the highest court in the land.

Yes, it takes hard work. A little luck doesn’t hurt either.

But this is an unusual role. Appointed for life, ideologies change. I’d like to believe folks put their ideologies and differences aside and analyze the facts of the case. Some folks think the data is distorted, but Clarence Thomas and Elena Kagen agree almost 70 percent of the time. With how the court systems are set up, the law of probabilities holds both Neil and Merrick are both brilliant legal minds. Almost 60,000 folks applied to law school last year. Even if the determining factor of who makes it to the highest court in the land were to be chosen at random, at least the immense talent funnel plays a part.


  • Photo of the Supreme Court borrowed and on loan from the library of David Bradley. Posted with consent.