Here comes the judge.
That certainly seems to be the case for Judge Sonia Sotomayor who, after the long and racially-charged confirmation hearings, seems on her way to advance to the U.S. Supreme Court.
It’s to be expected that senators are tough on candidates in these hearings. I was extremely disheartened by the way the Right Wing bloggers and some U.S. Senators simply attacked this woman for no better reason than the fact that she is a Latina female.
Right now, many of her harsher critics in the Senate are playing damage control, attempting to blind the American people to the fact that these hearings had nothing to do with Sotomayor’s record and everything to do with her ethnicity.
This decorated judge was labeled a “racist,” “unqualified,” and “a quota appointee.” All this seemed like a Republican strategy to rally as much support from Southern whites as possible. The party of “No” was determined to rechristen itself the party of “No Ethics.” Among their main ammunition was her ruling-which followed precedent-in the Ricci vs. DeStefano case, where 12 white firefighters and one Hispanic sued the city of New Haven, Conn. for discrimination when, after passing a test for promotion, the results were thrown out because no African-Americans would have been promoted based on the results.
After a federal district court judge ruled in favor of the city, the firefighters appealed. The case was heard by a three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals that included Sotomayor. She, along with her colleagues, ruled according to the law in favor of the city. The U.S. Supreme Court recently overturned that decision 5 to 4.
“Even though the Supreme Court ruled 5-4, all nine judges disagreed with the ruling,” said Utah Sen. Orin Hatch during the hearings-a ridiculous, self-contradictory claim.
Republicans argued that her ruling was based on race and not the law in that case, notwithstanding that her entire record shoots that claim down.
Would this committee ever accuse a white male appointee of using his race to dictate his decision-making? And what does it say about the state of race relations in this country when questions about “temperament” and “racial bias” only spring up when appointees are minorities?
Then there were the questions surrounding Sotomayor’s “wise Latina woman” comment in a speech she once gave. A comment taken completely out of context by her critics trying to accuse her of believing that certain races are superior to others. The 4,000-word speech she gave was to empower Hispanic women, declaring her belief that “America is the place where hard work yields success.”
I guess the bloggers were too busy slandering her to read the rest of her text. Kudos to Sotomayor for not actually apologizing for this statement. But spotlighting this one comment was another way for Republicans to uses fear tactics to rally support from whites.
There message was clear: Can you believe that this Hispanic woman would think that she could come to a better decision on the court than a white man? We can’t stand for this. This is our country and we must reclaim it.
The senator most likely to vote against Sotomayor is Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. He’s an ironic choice to be lecturing on personal biases given that when he faced a senate hearing for a federal judgeship in 1986, it was brought up that he seemed to be more upset about Ku Klux Klan members smoking pot than being racists.
I find it so interesting that the Senate Republicans questioned how she viewed race in her judicial decisions while they themselves were displaying racial biases of their own. I am also a bit incensed about the fact that Republicans seem to only get serious about issues of race when it favors them politically.
For example, I would love to see GOP leaders rally against the appointment of Audra Shay for chairman of the Young Republicans.
Shay, favored to become the head of the organization that could spearhead the GOP outreach to young voters, is reported to have made various racial comments, including that the president “deserves a noose around his neck” and the flippant use of the word “coon” to describe black people.
What’s your stance on racially-intensity now, GOP?