Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oh look, an empathetic race pick for the Supreme Court


Ok, I get politics. Get the Hispanic vote, get a woman on the court, blah, blah, blah.

But Sonia Sotomayor?

"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 that I agree with the statement. First, . . . 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."

Wow. Full of Judicial Review, ain't she.

Here is where I differ from those that think cultural diversity is the end-all and be-all trait that will make the world a better place. The job of a Supreme Court Justice is to check the constitutionality of an issue, not use some kind of empathetic argument that she has an advantage over a white male because she's Latina. We are not talking about an elected official that represents a selected constituency, we are talking about a constitutional scholar. Her choices will become permanent precedent within the founding document of this country. "Latina's do it better" is not really what I had in mind when I was reading through her portfolio of work. I might even accept the comment if there wasn't so much evidence that she does use race as a factor in making her decisions, like the elementary school student in New York, or the firefighters in New Haven (read up on her to find the results). I detest racism in all forms, including those that use race as an excuse against superior performance, academic excellence, or to connect race to issues that politicians find uncomfortable (if you don't like illegal immigration, you must be racist). I think Sotomayor's feelings about race might cloud her constitutional judgement, and I have a problem with that for a life-long Supreme Court Justice.

Oh, and there is this too.

"The court of appeals is where policy is made." I checked the Legislative Branch made policy, backed by the vote of the People. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt to explain it in front of the Judiciary Committee, but it still gives me serious reservations about her appointment.

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