The famous line comes from a speech where she was trying to be entertaining…Have I somewhere along the line said, I’d like to think that bright Jewish kids make the best economists. I probably have somewhere along the line. It doesn’t mean anything. …The judicial record shows nothing of this.
In short, this is bunk. The phrase in question was part of a 4000-word speech, published as a law review article months later. I recommend everyone read the speech in full here. This is not a judge yucking it up; it is a serious — and seriously troubling — description of her views on ethnicity and judging. Did Krugman read the speech? Did he talk to anyone present or the judge herself? More likely he is among the Democrats who haven’t quite figured out “a single coherent line of defense.”
But there is something funny about a fact-challenged economist branching out to new topics for fiction material.