Tag Archives: mandarinate

What would Benedict Anderson say?

First, there’s the European Court of Justice, the so-called Supreme Court of the EU. Of the 37 members listed on its site, six studied and/or taught in the United States. That’s 16%, including the president of the court. We count four Harvard degrees and a Harvard visiting scholar. Two Fulbright scholars. Several more studied at Cambridge or Oxford, and I would say nearly half studied outside of their country of origin. President of the Court Koen Lenaerts was a Fulbright scholar, and has an LLB from Harvard, as well as a Master of Public Administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government – the gold standard signifier for a true-blue USG man. The ECJ was established in 1952.

Then there’s the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, established in 1951. Of the 16 members of this court, five studied and/or taught in the United States. That’s 31% of the country’s Supreme Court. Do we notice Harvard JFK fingerprints here? Of course! JFK, Harvard Law, Yale, University of Michigan – a number of the usual suspects are implicated.

The Constitutional Court of Austria, in contrast, does not have a single sitting friend or alumnae [sic] of Harvard or Yale. Not one out of 14 members. The president of this court studied in Graz and Salzburg, not even making it to Vienna, the old cosmopolitan imperial capital. We note three instances of foreign influence: New York University, the College d’Europe in Belgium, and the University of Limerick in Ireland. A grand total of 7% who studied or taught in the United States, less than half of the ECJ and less than a quarter of Germany’s supreme court. The one infringement is NYU, not JFK or Yale Law, which might make the one infringement a Trump-tier heresy.

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