The Ivy League is the problem

We should want people who do land on the court to recognize their inescapable colossal good fortune, and take it into account when making decisions. What we actually have is an aristocratic conspiracy of privilege masquerading as a talent search — with the side effect of producing elites who have invested vast effort into apple-polishing and networking.

There are two main ways this conspiracy perpetuates itself. First is Ivy Leaguers who got their jobs thanks to connections handing jobs to Ivy Leaguers coming up behind them — disguised somewhat behind a meritocratic veneer and including a few high-achieving children of working-class parents, like Justice Sonya Sotomayor. Second is the ridiculously inflated reputation of an Ivy League education, maintained through the inarguable success of the patronage networks, the schools using their vast resources to game college rankings, and the arrogance of the graduates. This applies especially within the Ivy League itself, where Princeton is regularly denigrated, even by Douthat. (You can’t have winners without losers.)