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Sotomayor's Unconvincing Backpedaling

By Eva Rodriguez

I'm surprised and disturbed by how many times today Sonia Sotomayor has backed off of or provided less-than-convincing explanations for some of her more controversial speeches about the role of gender and ethnicity in judicial decision-making.

Sotomayor's most quoted comment is, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male." Under often very effective questioning by Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, she essentially disavowed her statement. She explained that she was trying to play off of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's assertion that a wise old man and a wise old woman should be able to reach the same conclusion in a case. "My play...fell flat," Sotomayor said in response to Session's question. "It was bad, because it left an impression that I believed that life experiences commanded a result in a case, but that's clearly not what I do as a judge."

A fair reading of Sotomayor's record on the federal trial and appellate courts clearly shows that that is not what she's done thus far. But Sessions' questions were aimed at understanding how she would implement this judicial philosophy if she's confirmed to the Supreme Court, where she would be far less restrained by precedent. I found it hard to believe that Sotomayor has now come to the realization that her words left a wrong impression. After all, she delivered similar lines in roughly half a dozen speeches throughout the years. Her explanation came across as dodgy at best and disingenuous at worst.

Here's another disturbing exchange, in which Sessions asks about another of Sotomayor's assertions in speeches that life experiences may affect a judge's view of the facts in a case:

SOTOMAYOR: "It's not a question of choosing to see some facts or another, Senator. I didn't intend to suggest that. And in the wider context, what I believe I was -- the point I was making was that our life experiences do permit us to see some facts and understand them more easily than others."

SESSIONS: "Do you stand by your statement that my experiences affect the facts I choose to see?"

SOTOMAYOR: "No, sir. I don't stand by the understanding of that statement that I will ignore other facts or other experiences because I haven't had them. I do believe that life experiences are important to the process of judging. They help you to understand and listen but that the law requires a result. And it would command you to the facts that are relevant to the disposition of the case."

Sotomayor's initial response (“what I believe I was – the point I was making”) reeks of a nominee who's been prepped exhaustively in how to deflect possibly damaging questions. Most people don't have to recall what they "believe" they meant; they just say it.
As for the second half of her response, I wish Sessions had followed up by asking how a jurist would determine the "relevant" facts in a case in light of Sotomayor's assertion that life experiences can affect how a judge views a case.

On the other hand, Sotomayor was much more convincing when explaining her comment to students at Duke that “the courts of appeals is where policy is made.” Her answer was solid and plausible and it reflected accurately the context in which she made it.


I was focusing on what district court judges do and what circuit court judges do. And I noted that district court judges find the facts, and they apply the facts to the individual case. And when they do that, they're holding, they're finding doesn't bind anybody else. Appellate judges, however, establish precedent. They decide what the law says in a particular situation. That precedent has policy ramifications because it binds not just the litigants in that case, it binds all litigants in similar cases, in cases that may be influenced by that precedent.

By Eva Rodriguez  | July 14, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Rodriguez  | Tags:  Eva Rodriguez  
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Comments

Having listened to her testimony today, the judge knows where to draw the line. In fact, any decent person knows that some battles are just not worth either the fight or the effort. People with such limited understanding as Sen. Sessoms (R-AL) will probably never understand the reasoning that serves as the basis for the judge's very candid and truthful statements.

I was on the edge of my seat saying that justice can never be unbiased and impartial because human beings are in charge. The Bible says that Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived. Yet, even with all of his wisdom, he had a bad family life.

Give Sonia Sotomayor her due, she is a brilliant jurist. Her answers are the best I have ever heard given in a senate confirmation hearing dealing with the Supreme Court.

Remember, it is knowing when and where to fight the major battles that is a true test of character. Using the pettiness of small people to define one's character is counterproductive. The judge, as Senator Feinstein (D-CA) said, is the model of what a judge should be.

Posted by: EarlC | July 14, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Here's a thought: Why don't we change Sonia Sotomayor's statement as if it was stated by a white man?
"I would hope that a wise white man, with the richness of hisr experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman."

There is NO WAY ON THIS PLANET that this nominee would be confirmed, no less even nominated.

Let's get real and honest about the effect of PC behavior and how it seems to only work in one direction. Does America walk the walk of expecting everyone to see other people in this country as equals?

Posted by: jiboo | July 14, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Responding to jiboo--That statement does not need to be made by a white man because most of the decisions made by the courts in this country, including the Supreme Court, have been made by white men based on white men's experiences. That's why it's important that we have diversity at all levels of government especially in our court system.

Posted by: topperale | July 14, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

jiboo

Did you read the entire quote which spawned the "wise Latina" comment? Judge Sotomayor was specifically speaking to areas of racial and sexual discrimination. Here is part of the speech, with nothing edited out in between--
"In our private conversations, Judge Cedarbaum has pointed out to me that seminal decisions in race and sex discrimination cases have come from Supreme Courts composed exclusively of white males. I agree that this is significant but I also choose to emphasize that the people who argued those cases before the Supreme Court which changed the legal landscape ultimately were largely people of color and women. I recall that Justice Thurgood Marshall, Judge Connie Baker Motley, the first black woman appointed to the federal bench, and others of the NAACP argued Brown v. Board of Education. Similarly, Justice Ginsburg, with other women attorneys, was instrumental in advocating and convincing the Court that equality of work required equality in terms and conditions of employment.

Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O'Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

I would say that was a reasonable perspective, never mind the fact that this was a public speaking engagement and not part of any legal decision rendered.

Your premise, and therefore your conclusion, is wrong.

Posted by: Theocracy | July 14, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

another op ed column here describes this perfectly--the myth of white male exceptionalism. remember Sessions is from Alabama--not exactly a hotbed of diverse intellectual thought.

Posted by: bklyndan22 | July 14, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh, you poor stupid people, why would you bother to question this brilliant woman who will look down her nose at you an lie like a trooper to get where she wants to go.

The Latina remark has been made in at least 3 of her speeches. Amazing "shuck and jive" she's attempting here but I'm not buying it and I doubt that many others are either.

I would much rather have had someone (ANYONE) challenge her membership in the racist, tan Klan organization, La Raza!!!

Posted by: OregonStorm | July 14, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Would that a wise Senator of either gender or any ethnicity would ask the nominee her thoughts on the CONSTITUTION!!!

Posted by: OregonStorm | July 14, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Sonia Sotomayor is a died in the wool racist. She has been her entire adult life. The decisions she's handed down are proof she's unable to be an unbiased trier of fact. And that's exactly why Obama nominated her. And why Schumer & Feinstein are pushing so hard to get her confirmed.
The USA has been defeated by the enemy within. In 3 more years it'll be a communist third world slum.

Posted by: bluetalon | July 14, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O'Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
=================================
That being the case, clearly, Sotomayor should be dealing with Latinos and whoever among them that are wise old white folks should be dealing with those cases that affect European Americans.

I no longer feel comfortable with this nominee. Her association with La Raza and its philosophy opens a door to an ugly place. I no longer think it should be left alone.

Posted by: joelwisch | July 14, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Sonia Sotomayor is a died in the wool racist. She has been her entire adult life. The decisions she's handed down are proof she's unable to be an unbiased trier of fact. And that's exactly why Obama nominated her. And why Schumer & Feinstein are pushing so hard to get her confirmed.
The USA has been defeated by the enemy within. In 3 more years it'll be a communist third world slum.

Posted by: bluetalon | July 14, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse
______________________________________

Please support your statement that her decisions handed down have proven she is racist?

If you are going to Ricci v. DeStefano then you also need to state that all the WHITE, MALE judges who agreed with her are racists against whites as well.

Please give at least 3 cases (out of the thousands she has heard and judged on) which point to her decisions being based on racist actions and beliefs.

I believe that if there were any other cases supporting this then the Republican researchers would have found them and we would be hearing about these cases instead of just this one.

Posted by: alysheba_3 | July 14, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Sonia Sotomayor is a died in the wool racist. She has been her entire adult life. The decisions she's handed down are proof she's unable to be an unbiased trier of fact. And that's exactly why Obama nominated her. And why Schumer & Feinstein are pushing so hard to get her confirmed.
The USA has been defeated by the enemy within. In 3 more years it'll be a communist third world slum.

Posted by: bluetalon | July 14, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse
__________________________________________

I assume you'll be leaving before then? Good riddance.

Posted by: LLChazz | July 14, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

bklyndan22: You said "remember Sessions is from Alabama--not exactly a hotbed of diverse intellectual thought." Apparently a wise Brooklyn man named Dan (you), with the richness of his experience, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white Senator from Alabama.

Your scorn for what Alabama represents shows your bias...oops! I guess racism, classism, and xenophobia are okay if directed at rural, religious whites.

Posted by: Okay1 | July 14, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I think her wise latina statement was plumb dumb, but I doubt she's really racist.

As to all those people who are decrying "barack osama", etc etc etc, this is a democracy, and if you don't like it, there's the door. You can go to Canada! Or France! Or wherever it is you kept telling people to go for 8 years.

A better choice would be to make the country better, but I don't see republicans proposing much in the way of steps forward; rather, they're turning towards the know-nothing end of the party, embodied perfectly with Sarah Palin.

Posted by: NobodyInParticular1 | July 14, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I am most disturbed by her decision in the second ammendment case in which she didn't even discuss 100 years of 14th ammendment precedent and cited the Presser case from 1890 to support her decision. Now, one can colorably find that the 2nd ammendment is not incorporated via the 14th ammendment, but to not even discuss the issue is absurd on its face.

Posted by: gwlaw99 | July 14, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

A judge should be an umpire. The best umpires never allow you to guess in advance how they will decide a play. Now picture this. Judge Sotomayor is the umpire behind home plate and a Latina runner is sliding into home. The ball arrives at the same time as the runner and the non Latina catcher tags the Latina runner. Do you think in your heart the Latina runner will be called out by Judge (umpire) Sotomayor?

Posted by: edgar_sousa | July 14, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm just surprised that Obama didn't just bypass the whole nomination farce and make her his Supreme Court czar.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | July 14, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

""The court of appeals is where policy is made," she said, adding moments later, "I know this is on tape, and I should never say that, because we don't make law. I'm not promoting it, and I'm not advocating it. I'm - you know."

Sotomayor said Tuesday that she was trying to distinguish between fact-specific district court decisions and the precedent-setting decisions of appellate courts. There is no dispute that appeals courts interpret laws and regulations, sometimes throwing them out entirely. The difference is that conservative judges avoid the "making policy" shorthand."

puts this in context....

"Sonia Sotomayor for the first time weighs in on her controversial decision against white firefighters in the New Haven firefighters - saying she was following precedent

"You followed the precedent, now they’re accusing you of being biased and racist," said Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy. "How do you react to the Supreme Court decision?

Sotomayor: "You are correct senator that the panel made up of myself and the Second Circuit decided that case on a very thorough 78-page decision on district court and on the basis of established circuit precedent … The issue is not what we would do or not do is that we were following precedent.""

So which is it; does the Appellate Court make law or follow precedent? According to Sotomayor it makes law--except when you happen to be talking about discriminating against white firemen in which case she is for standing on precedent. SCOTUS overturned their racist ruling.

Posted by: illuminati1 | July 14, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, thoughtful article below on Sotomayor's "Wise Latina" comment and the focus on her controversial judicial philosophy. A must read!

"Through the Sonia Sotomayor Looking Glass"

By Matt Semino, Esq.

http://elitestv.com/pub/2009/06/through-the-sonia-sotomayor-looking-glass

Posted by: supreme22 | July 14, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

If it looks like a racist, walks like a racist, and quacks like a racist, odds are it's a racist.

Posted by: JMosesBrowning | July 14, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that the "wise Latina" talk was "girl talk" and should be understood as such. Doesn't bother me a bit. What bothers me is the apparently flippant way (and I am not a lawyer) she dismissed the Ricci case.

Posted by: jwappe | July 14, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

toperale says: "That statement does not need to be made by a white man because most of the decisions made by the courts in this country, including the Supreme Court, have been made by white men based on white men's experiences. "
So abortion and affirmative action are "white male" experiences?
Liberalism is a disease

Posted by: jim_bevan | July 14, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Unconvincing to whom? Unconvincing to a bunch of Republican hacks who can't bring themselves to truly grasp that they're days of infiltrating the judiciary with crackpots, rigid ideologues and judicial sadists is OVER.

The sight of that woman being accused of racism by a Senator Sessions, who has publically expressed admiration for the KKK illustrates perfectly what kind of venal insanity normal Americans are dealing with when having to listen to the ceaseless, yammering lies emenating from the GOP with their Rovian lies and their crackpot conspiracy theories. UGH!!!

Posted by: Dolmance | July 14, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

It is obvious that this "wise Latina" will say anything and do anything to put her plump rear end in a chair with the Supremes. She should be titled the 1984 Candidate whose lack of integrity as demonstrated in these hearings is enough to keep her off any bench. Also, having so little money after so much income argues that she might do anything for a buck . . .

Posted by: Reisrrk | July 14, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

I fail to understand why it is so important to select a woman, hispanic, white, black or any other group member when we need the 'best' jurist.

Posted by: BillyDeKid | July 14, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Brklyndan said "...Alabama--not exactly a hotbed of diverse intellectual thought".

Where's all that "tolerance" you libs are always demanding? Apparently you not only judge people by skin color. You judge them by their accent, geographic location, etc.

Posted by: jeannebee | July 14, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

EarlC,

Not sure where to begin, your ignorance runs deep:

1. Senator Sessions...not Sessoms.
2. He is a lawyer and prosecutor. He also served as US District Attorney (12 freakin years!). He was also nominated for the bench but was derailed in partisan hit job (stonewalled 9-9 in committee using tactics that would derail Sonia were they deployed again). I'm guessing he knows a bit more than you gave him credit for in your perfectly ignorant "Must Have Sonia Because Barack Says So" post. Time to detach from the tit and start to realize your God-given freedoms, Sir. Soto is only your friend if you need to be told what to do.
3. Soto is not a brilliant jurist. She is an affirmative action "baby". She admits same and wears that badge with honor. Her New Haven verdict was overturned with NOT a single justice going as far as she did. Soto found no problem with invalidating the process the city created because the City decided, ex-post, that it did not like the result (DESPITE no finding that the process itself was discriminatory). Not even Ginsy could go this far out on the judicial activism branch. Indeed, no one at Sata's level has done same....ever.
4. Soto's responses to Senator Sessions questions were disingenuous (a big word for lies). For over a decade, despite taking oaths to the contrary, Sata thought it quite alright to claim that a judge, on the basis of their unique "life experiences" could pick and choose which facts to consider and weigh. Think about that for a minute. Would you wish to be in front of judge that had stated this as a life philosophy? It is the very definition of making law from the bench and it will end our country taken too far. I was neutral on her candidacy until she lied about the intention behind her repeated statements (the reference to O'Connor's famous quote was a coached misdirection and reframe...her sponsors know that she did something INDEFENSIBLE).

Look, Soto isn't Satan but after watching the last two hearings (Roberts and Alioto), she isn't even close to being in the leagues. This was a very poor choice when better jurists were available for nomination. If that is enough for you, then I can only assume you were a huge Harriet Mier fan, right?

Last punch to your ribs...and this one may hurt...you do realize the Dems ended a Hispanic's nomination to the US Supreme Court a few short year ago because they didn't want Republicans to make inroads with their enslaved voter base, right (memo found ex-post revealed same)? 10 extra credit points if you can remember who this was.

Posted by: tonyhowe | July 14, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Please identify the writer of this article, including political perspective

Posted by: dudh | July 14, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

It is unfortunate that this judge is so intellectually dishonest. Surely she believes that her ethnic and gender make her more qualified than others (white male judges) because she stated so on at least 7 separate occasions over a 5 year period.

Posted by: Captain_Universe | July 14, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

So you won't identify this writer. The Post is now a goner, isn't it? Sad.

Posted by: dudh | July 14, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

So you won't identify this writer. The Post is now a goner, isn't it? Sad.

Posted by: dudh | July 14, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

She may or may not be racist. The "wise Latina" comment sounds obviously racist, but given Sotomayor's record, it's easier to assume that she's just not that bright. She probably wouldn't want to denigrate white males at all, but she got herself into this mess over the years, and doesn't know how to get out.

Posted by: littlebeartoe | July 14, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Seldom has the Washington Post or Republican Senators disgraced themselves more since they apologized for torture and supported a war on false pretenses. When the Senate Republicans consist almost exclusively of inbred racist descendants of former slave-owners you get the kind of puerile display of arrested adolescent development the Senataurs from the traitor states of South Carolina and Alabama exhibited. Brownback has a bill to prevent inbreeding between humans and animals. It's way too late for Southern white males. They have too much goat in them to ever qualify as fully human.

Posted by: dancinggraywolf | July 14, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

The comments on this blog and the venom with which this woman who has worked her way up from the bottom and has excelled in diverse ways is being attacked is reprehensible. She has been described as everything from a racist to not smart.. .. probably by the same people who thought the economic problems we are having today started on 01/20/09 and their next of kin that are livid that it was not solved on 01/23/09.

I guess we all have our opinions and its a free country, but I must say it is really sad. I am not sure who Eva "Rodriguez" is ... but it is definitely "a convenient cover" from which to launch these attacks. I think the majority of us in this country see the BS for what it is.... but you guys can keep the wool pulled over your eyes.

Posted by: jaggah | July 15, 2009 1:55 AM | Report abuse

Everyone knows that when Sotomayor said latinas are superior to white men she meant exactly what she said and said precisely what she meant. And, again, everyone knows that's PRECISELY what she meant! Whether liberal or conservative, white, black, hispanic, whatever. All this throat-clearing, tip-toeing around, this ongoing charade where people pretend this racist perspective is not completely baked into leftist identity politics is comical. Such ideas are the cornerstone of La Raza, feminists, and every other liberal group in America. The comments of bkyldan22, Dolmance and others above are typical of this mentality.

The left is pushing this country to resemble Bosnia. They deeply believe in racist, identity politics and are going to push it to its "final solution" if they can get away with it. We're still a long from Balkan levels of conflict but each step in that direction makes the next one easier.

Posted by: tweedburst | July 15, 2009 5:42 AM | Report abuse

"When the Senate Republicans consist almost exclusively of inbred racist descendants of former slave-owners you get the kind of puerile display of arrested adolescent development(etc.)....It's way too late for Southern white males. They have too much goat in them to ever qualify as fully human." - Posted by: dancinggraywolf | July 14, 2009 11:15 PM


Setting aside for a moment that the above is boilerplate internet venom, it should be noted that this sort of shrieking hate-filled nonsense is what has completely replaced logic and argumentation amongst Democrats. They see America as an unjust land of racial and class war where anyone white and/or conservative is automatically "bad" and therefore subject to classification as some kind of subhuman. Sotomayor is an ideal jurist for them.

Posted by: tweedburst | July 15, 2009 5:53 AM | Report abuse

Amazing Sotomayor repeatedly makes a racist statement regarding her judicial philosophy and the less wise among us rush to defend it.

So according to those who defend Sotomayor because there might have been White racist on the bench we now need Black racist, and Latina racist to create equitable diversity in the Courts. Sotomayor by her own admission clearly doesn't have the temperament to be a SCOTUS justice.

Posted by: alaphiah | July 15, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

This whole line of questioning is so completely overwrought and politically driven. Basically, it boils down to "judges are human beings, and no human being is 100% objective." Big news flash! As if Justice Scalia's Catholicism doesn't inform his opinions on matters of social justice. What she has made clear--repeatedly--is that the question needs to be asked and examined by any judge so they can adhere to the rule of law as much as humanly possible. That's why the SC is not comprised of one judge. A panel ensures larger perspective and more objectivity, ideally. This whole argument is being stretched well beyond its capacity, but since they have nothing else to criticize her for, they are going to milk it for all it's worth. Then she will be confirmed.

Posted by: franf1 | July 15, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Dancinggraywolf,

I'm so sorry to read the venomous dripping hatred you posted here. I can't even imagine the depth of your feelings for someone who had the misfortune - in your eyes - to have been born white, male, and south of the Mason-Dixon line.

I have to wonder if you truly consider yourself as more compassionate, understanding, and bias free than any individual meeting all three of those criteria? I don't understand how you cannot see the vehemence with which you raise the attack against such individuals is every bit as bigoted and virulent as the very perspective you claim to be against.

I had two problems with Judge Sotomayor's testimony yesterday. First, it was completely irrelevant. The democrats have the votes on the committee and in the full senate to confirm her nomination, and this exercise is a show, and pointless. Second, if the Judge can't write or speak in terms that cannot be misunderstood, such as her parsing of her 'wise latina' remarks, then she's unqualified in my view to be a member of the SCOTUS.

A long time ago and old salesman came into my office and told me that if no one can understand you, and you had to keep explaining what you meant or what you wrote, then you had serious communication skill problems, and I fear that is true with Judge Sotomayor.

Posted by: ken4pyro | July 15, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"But when I look at those cases, I have to say to myself, and I do say to myself, 'You know, this could be your grandfather, this could be your grandmother. They were not citizens at one time, and they were people who came to this country' . . . .

"When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account."

Don't like this quote, Eva Rodriguez and like-minded friends?

Then why weren't you on here whining when Samuel Alito said it?

Posted by: chaos1 | July 15, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Jiboo wrote:

"Here's a thought: Why don't we change Sonia Sotomayor's statement as if it was stated by a white man?"

OK, how's this?:

But when I look at those cases, I have to say to myself, and I do say to myself, "You know, this could be your grandfather, this could be your grandmother. They were not citizens at one time, and they were people who came to this country" . . . .

When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account.

Jiboo wrote:

"There is NO WAY ON THIS PLANET that this nominee would be confirmed, no less even nominated."

Tell that to Samuel Alito.

Posted by: chaos1 | July 15, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

As I read the many pros and cons to the confirmation of Judge Sotomayor I see often the comment that we should allow the president to choose whom he may an simply confirm his/her choice. Or I read comments that we should confirm this nominee based on her record.

If anyone of us were to have a win/loss record such as Judge Sotomayor would be in the position of being promoted or advancing our careers? Her rulings have been overturned four out of six times. How is that being qualified? This is not about women vs. men nor is it about race, etc. It is about qualifications and I don't see where this nominee is qualified to be seated for life on our high court.

dd

Posted by: dd_morrison | July 15, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Let's rephrase "wise Latina woman" and hear the reactions: wise white woman; wise Jewish woman; white black woman; wise black male. The phrase sound semi-cute when uttered by a female and the tone of narcissism is forgiven at the same time. Liberals look upon blacks and latinos with condescension because their votes are so valuable to their party- nothing anyone of them says is ever considered beyond the pale.

Posted by: mhr614 | July 15, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

jiboo wrote:
Here's a thought: Why don't we change Sonia Sotomayor's statement as if it was stated by a white man?
"I would hope that a wise white man, with the richness of hisr experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman."

There is NO WAY ON THIS PLANET that this nominee would be confirmed, no less even nominated.

Let's get real and honest about the effect of PC behavior and how it seems to only work in one direction. Does America walk the walk of expecting everyone to see other people in this country as equals?
----------------------------------------------------

Whether spoken or not, the reverse of Sotomayor's statement (as if stated by a white man, as you've written in your comment) has always been and still is the cultural norm. It may be un-PC for men to actually make sexist remarks (but only since gender harassment laws) but there is a much stronger taboo against women making sexist remarks about men--hence the salience of Sotomayor's "wise Latina" remark.

Men have been protected by that taboo for too long. I'm glad Sotomayor broke it.

Posted by: Boomerang1 | July 17, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

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