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There's a long series of comments under Fact-based arguments for and against President Biden's plan to appoint a black female to the US Supreme Court to Affirmative Action which really trouble me. The topic of affirmative action and supreme court appointees are both "hot" politically, but I felt that the community here could handle a question on it as long as the question asked for answers that are balanced and fair, did not contain any intrinsic premises, presented a couple of sources for background and then asked the following:

Question: What would be the fact-based arguments for and against President Biden's plan to appoint a black female to the US Supreme Court as being like Affirmative Action?

Asking for "fact-based arguments for and against" seems like something that could bring out the best in a scholarly discussion of the topic.

  1. But a few users seem to have decided that I have some hidden agenda, and really go after me with an intensity that I honestly find a bit frightening.
  2. Also, they seem to encourage the idea that all users must be prevented from having an opportunity to post an answer containing "fact-based arguments for and against".
  3. And one user with @uhoh: Best not to talk about cigars to someone who knows as much psychology as I do :-) and you'd have to be incredibly stupid not to be aware of it, and I don't think you're that — so that leaves me thinking you're being disingenuous. Reassure me, or don't. I find downright scary. This user seems to feel they are entitled to examine my thinking in great detail. It's creepy and does not belong in any Stack Exchange site.

I think this question is both perfectly valid and absolutely not pushing any ideas, but perhaps some "muscle memory" from past experience has left some users on edge and they are now reading more into my question than is there, and unfortunately going after me personally to try to engage me in an unhealthy way or discredit me.

Several comments are of the type "I don't know why you say that 2+2=5" which is unproductive for Stack Exchange but can be very effective if you want to trigger down vote by folks who spend more time reading the comments than they do the question.

Question: What the heck (if anything) is wrong with my question asking for "fact-based arguments for and against"? Am I being given a hard time inappropriately for Stack Exchange comments?

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    I've cleaned up some of those comments which had gone completely past requesting clarifications or suggesting improvements to the question. I guess the remaining comments clarify enough the issue some took with the question, specifically the mention of affirmative action, so those might be useful when considering the meta question.
    – JJJ Mod
    Jan 30, 2022 at 12:01
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    I got a bit confused when I wrote an answer here. I stand by the general reasoning, but it seems as if you actually meant: "is this proposal an instance of affirmative action? what is the evidence for and against that being the case?" In which case, the first sentence is probably better rewritten along the lines of "to what extent is Biden motivated by (insert here: affirmative-action type goals), vs. the qualifications of the candidate?". Feb 3, 2022 at 17:15
  • @KarlKnechtel I think you are right, that would be an excellent rewrite of the question. In a calmer SE site one might expect such helpful advice to have appeared without all the fireworks, I could have edited, and perhaps some better answers could have been added. I'm not sure at this point I will touch this particular question post again, but I will look closely at your suggested language here and your helpful answer below before posting the next question of this general type. Thanks!
    – uhoh
    Feb 3, 2022 at 21:16
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    It is naive to expect "a calmer SE site" - or really anywhere, on the Internet or off - to exist for the purpose of discussing politics. Feb 3, 2022 at 21:17
  • @KarlKnechtel oh, the operative phrase being "...for the purpose of discussing politics." Well I would not want underestimate the power of Stack Exchange to elevate the discussion over time. I think it is possible to elevate the discussion even further.
    – uhoh
    Feb 3, 2022 at 21:28
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    @KarlKnechtel The SE model relies on questions have definitive answers that can be universally agreed upon. Politics is the opposite of that. Honestly, I was surprised when this site made it out beta. They should have shut it down or simply split it into Left politics and Right politics. (users can only sign up for one) Feb 8, 2022 at 19:36
  • @SurpriseDog "it is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma" why it works fairly well, could it be that SE model relies on questions that can potentially have definitive answers that can be ranked by voting, rather than universally agreed upon?
    – uhoh
    Feb 8, 2022 at 21:27

8 Answers 8

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As posed, the question is literally just asking about a simile (whether A is "like" B). This is not a question that has a factual answer; metaphor is inherently opinion based.

As such, the protestations (of seeking fact-based responses) appear disingenuous.

Additionally it lacks focus, in seeking arbitrary lists of potential arguments. (It is inviting SE to construct a debate out of whole cloth, concerning the OP's cherry-picked polemic, rather than asking for exposition of a debate that already features in mainstream politics.)

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  • There was one answer before answers were blocked, and it presents a logical argument, not a simile. So I think you need to recon with that counterexample here. Certainly better arguments would have been presented as it is morning in the US if answers were not currently blocked.
    – uhoh
    Jan 30, 2022 at 14:04
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    @uhoh Sometimes bad or off-topic questions can attract good, helpful answers. Sometimes this magically converts the question into a good one, and gives it a pass on the off-topic issue as long as it's not deemed especially problematic. People really do judge a question based in part upon the answers it has. A great answer gives a feeling of "great question" to many when a lack of one would give no such feeling. This is random happenstance in the operations of the site, and allowing it is a compromise made for when someone catches lightning in a bottle, not an explicitly enumerated feature. Jan 30, 2022 at 14:40
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    @zibadawatimmy That one answer was a typical pointless reply to an opinion-based Q. It unhelpfully compared supreme court picks to balancing a ticket with the VP pick. And it ignored the part of the Q about affirmative action. Jan 31, 2022 at 22:09
  • @OwenReynolds I made no statements about the fitness of the particular answer. But for what it's worth I think you're being overly exacting on what "balancing a ticket" applies to, as modern practice in the US makes it abundantly clear that the "ticket" being balanced includes all of the President's appointments, from cabinet to Justices. Feb 1, 2022 at 3:16
  • @zibadawatimmy: also the paltry -1 rep discourages some DVs on answers from users that have little rep. So you can see Qs more heavily DV when they say something remotely objectionable, compared to the same contents in answers. Oct 7, 2023 at 2:03
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I'll add what I said in comments on your post here, rephrased and elaborated.

The specific structure of "What are the arguments for/against X?" is, in my estimation, an invitation to debate and theorycrafting. Which is not what the site is for. It tends to invite a lot of partisan rancor, for one thing, which is probably why you got hit with a surge of downvotes and unpleasant comments. It is a common manipulative and disingenuous rhetorical trick, a la "I'm just asking questions here", to make oneself seem honest, inquisitive, and unbiased, when in fact the opposites are true. Which is not to say I can assert with certainty that you are engaging in that in this particular instance. Though to be frank my knowledge of your activity on this site gives me a powerful inkling that you are, whether you know it or not. But that's not terribly relevant, as the point here is divorced from my opinion of your sincerity and motives.

Point being this is a factual Q&A site. "What has Y argued for/against X?" is entirely on-topic, as we can point to things that Y (be they person, organization, or something else that makes sense) has said or published in various media. "What can be argued for/against X?" is off-topic as it invites people to create their own theories devoid of reference to actual public discourse and facts. It is an invitation to debate, not a query about facts.

As always, there will be a few Q&A's that seem to skirt this divide I'm laying out. I've put this answer here in part so that if the community thinks I'm wrong, they can downvote, comment, and provide other answers to make this clear. But in my appraisal these questions typically received very little attention in the first place, and those that did were typically phrased more as the "What has Y said about X?" form. Or at the very least they attracted good answers to such a phrasing of the question. Good answers have a tendency of making a question palatable on just about every StackExchange site, routinely resulting in "off-topic" questions being left open because they led to good (or at least non-toxically popular) things.

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    A single answer can contain both arguments for and against. In fact that's what objective people do all the time. There does not need to be a debate. However, it may be difficult for a lot of the folks here to be objective and present arguments from both sides within a single answer. So perhaps my question is too hard for this site?
    – uhoh
    Jan 30, 2022 at 14:09
  • @uhoh The question needs to narrow down on what arguments and/or conveyers of those arguments it is concerned with. "Give me something that's relevant" is too vague, and is an invitation to debate and argue in manners not compliant with the site's scope and rules. "What did TV personality X say?" isn't, as someone can in principle look that up and reference it for you. Jan 30, 2022 at 14:13
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    @uhoh As mentioned in a comment on your thread, "everybody else is doing it" is not a defense to misbehavior. And many of those appear to be more focused. The gender-neutral passports is asking what each side has argued, for example. It's very broad, could have been closed for that, but it still invites people to make factual references to what other people/organizations have said and published. It ostensibly shuts the door on those who just want to create an argument or push an agenda, etc. "What has Y said about X" is, I reiterate, different from "What can be said about X?". Jan 30, 2022 at 14:32
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    These are well-received questions that the community has decided are good questions for the site and their answers have passed muster as well. If you have a problem with all of them, now that they're here, if you feel there's an issue why not vote to close all of them then write a meta post about stopping "arguments for and against" questions?
    – uhoh
    Jan 30, 2022 at 14:58
  • @uhoh I'm not sure there's enough activity to support the "community has decided" angle at all. But insofar as the community may have in fact so decided, or is presently willing to so decide, and I am unaware of this decision, I have mentioned that possibility already in my answer. Others in the community may express their opinions on your claim as they wish. Mine is that you are mistaken and you mistake things flying under the radar and other operational realities and shortcomings as a community consensus. Jan 30, 2022 at 15:00
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    You certainly have not cited anything at all to support your position here. Can you present some evidence that anything you've said here about the site is actually as you say it is? Can you link to specific guidelines or other meta posts where some consensus is evident?
    – uhoh
    Jan 30, 2022 at 15:04
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    @uhoh Consult the help center for what's on topic and what not to ask. Jan 30, 2022 at 15:07
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    Asking the background of an existing political debate (regarding the merits of a policy, like flat taxes, that has mainstream debate) is different from asking SE itself to produce a debate out of whole cloth (regarding some cherry of polemic).
    – benjimin
    Jan 30, 2022 at 20:08
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Let's work through the problematic aspects of this question on a few different levels...

First — in the most general sense — the question is leading: it creates an association between two concepts (seemingly out of thin air), and asks people to validate/invalidate that association. This is common tactic within extremist opinion-mongering (propagandizing) from both the Right and the Left (though much more heavily on the Right these days). It doesn't honestly matter that you've tacked on the phrase 'fact-based arguments'. Tucker Carlson does that every night on his show: asking some wild and extremely prejudicial question, then whitewashing it with a phrase like "I'm just trying to get at the truth here". The human mind can make random associations between almost any two things. That's an intrinsically creative act, sure, but this isn't a dramaturgical medium where creativity is desirable in and of itself. MTG can ask whether vaccines programs are like the Holocaust, but the point of such a question isn't to 'seek facts', but to poison the water so that facts die on the vine. If you want to make this question credible, you have to start with someone's reasoned argument that this initial connection is meaningful.

I asked you in comments to clarify that your question wasn't merely an effort to poison the water, and what I got back from you was a string of complaints about your assumption that I questioned your integrity. That kind of non-response leads me to believe that you are in fact trying to poison the water. Sorry if that offends you.

Second, you seem to be sliding through a linguistic loophole. Asking about a simile (whether something is like something) is subtly different from asking a categorical question (whether something is something). Clearly Biden is not constrained by any Affirmative Action laws or policies in his choice; his decision to appoint a black woman to the post is either a matter of conscience or a political decision meant to appeal to his base. If you asked the categorical question, the 'fact-based' answer would be a flat 'No'; you know that as well as I do. But asking it as a simile opens the flood gates to just about anything anyone wants to say.

Third, you've made a category error. Affirmative Action policies are statistical checks meant to ensure that qualified candidates are not excluded on the basis of race, gender, etc. No one in a hiring position will hire someone unqualified for a job just to fill some checkbox, not unless that person is so deeply prejudiced that he cannot imagine that a non-white-non-male could ever be qualified. Affirmative Action does not apply to any single individual or any single position; it only works at scale, where patterns of discrimination become evident.

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    "seemingly out of thin air" your answer leads with a falsehood (again). The comparison between the two is raised in the video and argued against by Professor Browne-Marshall. Such a thing never occurred to me until I saw the discussion in the video. "(Prof. Browne-Marshall) seems to argue against this being affirmative action... while at the same time stating that black women may be underrepresented in the highest courts and certainly in the Supreme Court, and Biden's plan would be in the remedial direction, which to me makes it sound a lot like affirmative action conceptually at least."
    – uhoh
    Jan 31, 2022 at 11:01
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    To me just looks like you just make up stuff - invent things; I've seen enough instances now (in the past day or so) to recognize this. To me it looks like trying to win debates using stack exchange comments under other people's posts as a sort of recreational sandbox.
    – uhoh
    Jan 31, 2022 at 11:09
  • @uhoh: I can't help what things 'look like' to you, and I can control your tendency to personalize. If you want to link Professor Browne-Marshall's video and ask a specific question about her argument, you might find your question gets better reception. You need to remember that the rest of the world has absolutely no idea what 'occurs to you' or what 'you think'. We only know what you write, and if you get pushback on what you write it's because you've expressed your inner thoughts badly. When people criticize your self expression, learn to express yourself better. Complaining is pointless. Jan 31, 2022 at 15:07
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    "your tendency to personalize" my tendency? Count the number of times you use "you" on a page. You've gone after the user, not the post nor the issue. The comments there are now gone (not moved to chat) but we can see what's happening right here! 1) i.stack.imgur.com/rkM3Q.png 2) i.stack.imgur.com/SraAQ.png 3) i.stack.imgur.com/MidZH.png Comments should be used to improve the post, not engage. If the problem were related to not presenting a sufficient case that some had drawn a connection between the two, just say "this can be improved by adding..." in a helpful way.
    – uhoh
    Jan 31, 2022 at 23:45
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    "you'd have to be incredibly stupid not to be aware of it, and I don't think you're that — so that leaves me thinking you're being disingenuous. Reassure me, or don't." is arguing a side issue. This is a stack exchange site, not a political arena nor a debate floor.
    – uhoh
    Jan 31, 2022 at 23:48
  • @uhoh: No, sorry. The issue here is potential bias within your question, and the potential for bias rests solely within you. If you're not intending to ask a biased question, then your question can be edited to remove any impression of bias. It's not always easy, but it's possible. My comments on this potential bias are merely a way of alerting you that you are doing something that you might not be intending to do. Feb 1, 2022 at 0:22
  • @uhoh: On the other hand, you have consistently refused to look at what I've said about your question, and instead focused on perceived attacks against you. Getting up in arms this way is an excellent strategy if your goal is to maintain bias in your question (you can avoid looking at or editing the question by endlessly complaining about how you're being victimized). If that is not your goal, then this victimization thing is a very poor strategy indeed, since I'm trying to give you insights about how to remove bias. Feb 1, 2022 at 0:26
  • @uhoh: You may be unwilling to accept the possibility that you've done something poorly, but I'm not the villain for pointing out what a poor job it is. Feb 1, 2022 at 0:27
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    "you have consistently refused to look at" no user can possibly know what another user hasn't looked at. This is once again an invention or false flag to try to discredit a user. If I haven't criticized other points, isn't it plausible that I don't disagree? The absence of several You're right Ted!'s doesn't imply anything either way. I recommend an exercise; try leaving productive and helpful comments under other peoples' posts without engaging them, and avoid using "you" as much as possible to help you focus on the post which is what comments are for i.stack.imgur.com/4BwO1.png
    – uhoh
    Feb 1, 2022 at 1:43
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    There are of course helpful suggestions in your thoughtful answer here, but by leading in with your overstatement if not falsehood (the question is leading) and constantly focusing on the post author rather than the post you make a sort of "poison-pill" answer. Try rewriting it without focusing on what might be wrong with the author, and just discuss what's wrong with the post. Try it!
    – uhoh
    Feb 1, 2022 at 1:52
  • @uhoh: obviously I can tell what you haven't looked at: those are the things I say you don't mention or refer to. I don't need you to agree with what I say; I need to see some non-distorted reflection of what I say in your comments. Even in this, you haven't made an argument about what I've said; you've spent this entire thread expressing your sense of victimization, over and over, without ever agreeing or disagreeing with any specific point. It's a massive waste of everyone's time. But let's just end this here; I"ve said all I need to say, and I'm bored with navigating this nonsense. Feb 1, 2022 at 3:18
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    I'm trying to be encouraging to stop the use of "you this" and "you that", to reduce the level of pursuit of personal engagement and to focus more on improving posts. There is no "expressing (a) sense of victimization" here. It's an invention to try to go after a user personally. Simply count the number of times "you" appears on the page. It's striking! "I need to see some non-distorted reflection of what I say in your comments" it's not on other users to fulfill anybody's "needs" here, "someone who knows as much psychology as I do :-)" should be able to reach that conclusion.
    – uhoh
    Feb 1, 2022 at 3:26
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A few things jump out about that question. One is that asking for fact-based answers doesn't mean anything. Consider "Would Iowa win a war against Nebraska? Please fact-based answers, either for or against". That's a bad question and asking for good answers doesn't help. One might as well ask "would batman beat superman? Please only answers which conform to the Politics:SE guidelines" and then insist it's a good Q because of the part at the end. Now, some fine Q's use "for or against", but they were good questions to start with. Using that phrase didn't make their question good.

As a to why the question is bad, we said it was Opinion-Based. That's a fancy way of saying we can't find any politicians who ever thought it mattered enough to say anything about, or any place it would ever matter. That means it's not a political Q -- it's political-themed discussion. To rephrase, the Q can't pass the "what difference would this make?" test. Maybe the asker has some follow-up Q where it does, but we can't read minds.

The next problem is that the intro to the question has nothing to do with it. It seems fake, just to make the question feel more important. In the clip, Senator Roger Wicker calls it "Affirmative Racial Discrimination" and says the court is hearing cases about that. The host re-uses that same phrase when he asks the pundit. That seems pretty interesting, but the person asking the Q said in comments that they didn't care. Then why did they add the link? The pundit never mentioned Affirmative Action either. The Q has a link to her Twitter, but all that has is a link to the interview. None us this has anything to do with the Q. It looks more like a smokescreen.

What seemed the worst is if we assume the Q mentions that interview for a reason. The Q said maybe the pundit wasn't actually saying it was Affirmative Action, but maybe she was just trying to hide it. So it feels like the real purpose of the question is to pick some minor fight with a law professor.

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  • I'd just posted an answer as well. I really appreciate the "looks like" and "seems like" language which allows for the possibility that I'm not necessarily actually trying to do those things.
    – uhoh
    Feb 3, 2022 at 3:17
  • +1 yes there is a lot of actionable advice here, thanks!
    – uhoh
    Feb 3, 2022 at 21:07
  • This should have had more upvotes, as it hits the nail on the head. Too bad I can't give bounties on meta. Oct 7, 2023 at 2:12
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I think it's fine to ask if a particular thing meets a certain definition.

I'm guesting that at least part of your trouble actually comes from your attempts to pretty up the question. Things like "arguments for and against" make the question seem more opinion-based. Things like "fact-based" are fundamentally meaningless. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.

I'd recommend removing the non-essential elements and asking as clear and concise of a question as you can.

I.E.:

Is Biden's plan to appoint a black female to the Supreme Court Affirmative action?

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  • Yes, that (certainly might have) would have worked better, and set of fewer fire alarms.
    – uhoh
    Feb 7, 2022 at 21:10
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The same thing that would be wrong with a question asking for "fact-based arguments" about anything else to do with politics.

Everyone thinks their arguments are "fact-based". There are any number of statistics you could quote that have something to do with black people and how they are currently positioned within American society. There are any number of things you could say about the qualifications of the proposed appointee.

None of that actually makes the argument, though. Politics, as the etymology implies, is about policies. It's about what one should do.

Facts and statistics are about what is.

You cannot derive one from the other. Suppose you say that X% of the general population is black, and Y% of the current Supreme Court bench is black, and Z% would be after the appointment. Okay, now what? Why should those numbers have anything to do with each other? Now you're talking about justifying the entire "representation matters" memeplex - and ultimately, you're still going to be stuck with an underlying, unfalsifiable belief. Consequentialism is a fine enough idea, but it still doesn't give you moral axioms (it can't tell you why you should care about the world not being a hellscape) and for something like this it gets ferociously complex (what problem is sought to be solved in this way? If the answer includes the word "representation", it might as well be purely deontological).


I think what you might have meant is "what are some objectively-backed reasons why someone might support or oppose this policy?". But that isn't much better.

If you ask for reasons that are actually personal to the answerer, then you risk missing representation from huge swaths of people who would never think of talking about politics on politics dot stackexchange dot com of all places. But if you invite speculation, you invite wild strawmanning. Everyone who talks about politics on the Internet should be assumed highly partisan to some cause until proven otherwise, and everyone loves taking a pound of flesh from the other guys.

And really, there's a separation that needs to be made, there. There's the first layer of the question: "What goals might one have, that plausibly impact on support or opposition to this proposal?" And then: "What is the evidence that that goal would be fulfilled by the proposal, and to what extent?".

Except there's also an implicit Overton-window limit on this. There are perfectly fact-based arguments for or against this policy that are just blatantly racist, for example: one could say "one goal a person might have is to deny black people political power; SCOTUS judges have political power in the US (insert several paragraphs of evidence here); therefore replacing a white person on the bench with a black person increases the political power held by black people; therefore such a person would oppose the proposal." I rather doubt you would actually be interested in an answer of that form, whether it came in first person from an actual racist or in third person as shown here.

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  • Thanks for your answer, it gives me a lot to think about. In this comment and the one below it I link to several other questions that are basically "What are the arguments for and against..." that did quite well here. Any idea why those all flew but mine didn't? Would you argue that they were all just as problematic? Or did they all do something to clear a certain bar that mine didn't?
    – uhoh
    Feb 3, 2022 at 21:10
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    I think I misread what your actual question was in the first place. Anyway: communities often don't apply their unwritten rules consistently. That said: "what are the arguments for and against X" isn't a bad politics question, as long as honest representatives of both the for and against positions are available in the community. The problem is that adding "fact-based" is loaded (it makes people think about the possibility of someone else's argument being attackable as "not fact based" and therefore irrational, or fear that you want to attack them similarly). Feb 3, 2022 at 21:16
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Answering my own meta question:

"What the heck (if anything) is wrong with my question..."

I wasn't here for most of it, but the Politics SE community has dealt with a substantial "assault" of a particular kind of question for the past several years that while superficially appearing suitable, was in fact a poor fit for Stack Exchange's structure.

While I didn't experience it first hand, I can see the aftermath in the hypervigilance to certain topics, and the vast array of different reasons that my question was not only bad but potentially nefarious in intent. While there was no real coherence to the objections, there was certainly quantity.

So if anything was "wrong" with the question, it would be that I was not sufficiently sensitive to the collective trauma the site has experienced, (whether individual users are aware of it or not).

"...asking for 'fact-based arguments for and against'?"

In Stack Exchange we can't actually prevent opinion-based answers simply by adding that. That's why the close reason is worded as it is; "...likely to be answered with opinions rather than facts and citations..." (whether you ask for them or not)

"Am I being given a hard time inappropriately?"

Impossible to say, probably of secondary concern

What answers were prevented by the quick closing, and will be possible if/once reopened?

I would have expected and probably accepted an answer something along the following lines from a calm, confident, un-traumatized community with better skills at handling borderline questions than was demonstrated in the now-deleted comments, by recommending improvement and providing helpful guidance rather than insta-closing and demonizing them.

note: I won't post this answer, it's not sufficiently developed nor supported, but I'm confident that a skilled Politics SE answer author could do so.

Affirmative action addresses inequities in accessibility to a workplace. Biden's goal of adding a black woman is not about equal opportunity, it's about adding a voice, perspective and lifetime of experience to the court to better inform its decisions which impact American lives.

This is so nicely explained by former US senator Carol Moseley Braun that without further ado I'll simply quote her from this recent CNN video Cruz calls Biden's Supreme Court promise 'offensive' and 'insulting':

Of Senator Ted Cruz's comments her response includes:

Moseley-Braun: He's race-baiting, and this is the voice of white supremacy.

and then she goes on to explore why having a black woman on the Supreme Court is important for the court and for democracy. Note that these arguments do not include discrimination in the workplace where in this case the workplace would be the Supreme Court bench.

Of the 1,850 senators, I was the first black woman elected to the senate, and now we have the chance to put the first black woman on the Supreme Court! And it's not just because she's black, it's because she would have had a series of life experiences that will inform the decisions of the court, in the same way hopefully that Thurgood Marshall was able to influence the Warren court.

So this is called progress, this is called making democracy real for people, and I just hope that we will continue and get a quick confirmation of one of the four that President Biden is considering.

CNN: When you decided to run for senate as you well know and recall, your qualifications were questioned. What was that like for you, and what do you think that's like for this nominee?

Moseley-Braun: Well that's the first place they go by the way. It's qualifications, and quite frankly these women whose names have been floated are at least as qualified if not more qualified than... justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, they've got the credentials, and they've plowed the ground. If you think about it, they had to come through dealing with both racism and sexism, and still were able to succeed so if anything these are people who should be congratulated and commended for their successes instead of taken down and pot-shotted over their credentials.

CNN: Senator Roger Wicker said that whoever is picked will have been a beneficiary of affirmative action, but perhaps one of the more eye-popping things he said was, quote: "We're going to go from a nice, stately left wing liberal, to someone who's probably more in the style of Sonia Sotomayor. Why do you think he sees Breyer as nice and stately, and yet in his opinion the first hispanic female justice is not, and ehe expects that the first female black justice whose identity we don't even know yet will not be "nice and stately"?

Moseley-Braun: I made the point earlier that this is the voice of white supremacy [...] Again, I've got a different set of experiences. When I got to the United States Senate, I brought a different set of experiences to that body, that I hope were helpful. We had had the confederate flag removed over and over and over again, until I stood up and said "Wait a minute, this is offensive to black people, who were held in slavery under this flag. And my colleagues finally got it. And we finally wound up denying the patent thank goodness. And again that was something that passed unnoticed, and undiscussed until I got there.

And so I think that having a black woman on the United States Supreme Court will help to inform decisions there, in ways that will help the country to grow, and to be better, and to fulfill the promise of democracy.

That is what this is really about. Are we going to have a democracy that works for everybody, or just for some people.

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    Funny thing, that proposed answer doesn't really compare Biden's pick to affirmative action. It's not really an answer to the original Q. It's a better answer for "what is the social value of specifically picking a black female justice?" It boils down to the discussion on Diversity -- people have been saying that having a non-white higher-up prevents some stupid decisions for at least a decade. Feb 5, 2022 at 18:19
  • @OwenReynolds which could be an argument for why the question should be reopened and the posting of answers unblocked but it seems that won't happen, and the quick closing has frozen the non-answer as the only answer.
    – uhoh
    Feb 7, 2022 at 0:57
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Thank you for this question!

"fact-based arguments" I consider as illusion on the level "These are facts, and these are opinions, only". You can't force people to agree on a set of statements, which none of the participants can actually trace back to a physical truth. So it is with your example "Mr. POTUS did or did not ..." In most cases, at the beginning of a "factual discussion" there is a decision to trust in certain sources of information.

Not to overhear is your cry for the quality of discussion. And here is an implementation of the "2+2=5"-problem: We see people running away from assessing sources, even rejecting to raise any theses about them; instead occurs an assumed absolute truth and any source not supporting it, is deemed enemy of the revealed truth.

What we can do is re-establishing the codex of scholar debate culture, you mentioned, let's call it the 2+2=4 Codex, which requires a hard protocol of identification of object, pros and cons, before synthesis and conclusion are tackled. This seems to be the only way to escape post-truthers. Someone not registering for this Codex, quite probably cannot contribute to a qualified result, and this lack of qualification can be communicated early.

What you cannot control as regular user in a public place is the influence of anonymous bots. When you scan the Political Exchange Platform, you find many in their reasoning proper contributions, which are down-voted without any comment, so giving the author zero chance to improve his statements and these votes might be seen as implementation of bullying. Well, I don't make the rules, here; else there should be one, that at least negative votes are to be enriched by a comment subordinated to improvement according to a named value.

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