Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor and Josey Wales

Regarding the matter of Sonia Sotomayor's likely accession to the Supreme Court, I can't say I'm all that worked up. All that's actually happening is one dull, undistinguished liberal judge being replaced by another: here's the new shlub, same as the old shlub.

What does bother me, though, is the level of dishonesty being played out regarding Sodomeyer's now-infamous "wise Latina" speech. Sodomeyer and her Democrat and media defenders (please forgive the redundancy) have tried to excuse the whole thing with a convoluted argument asserting that Sotomayor was actually expressing a belief in the fundimental ability of all judges to tender unbiased judgements. One needs only to look at Sotomayor's own words, which were repeated several times in several speeches, to see that this spin is errant nonsense:

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.

It's not possible to read those words, in their full context, and not understand that Sotomayor meant precisely what she said: that her own "gender and ethnic origins may and will make a difference in [her] judging," and worse, she was not just pandering to her own gender and ethnic group in the conclusion, but also expressing flat bigotry against "white males."

I have no illusions as to whether that statement will derail Sotomeyer's nomination--it will not, although it should. If it were going to, it would have done so by now. In the eyes of the political and media elite, Sotomayor is an ideologically-compatible member of an approved victim group, and that is simply that. Her bigotry will be excused and ignored, and she will join the Court, because her party has a big majority, and that is what the politics demand. I certainly understand that fact of life.

But like the man said in "The Outlaw Josey Wales," don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining. It's a simple fact that Sonia Sotomayor was entirely comfortable in pandering to one ethnic group and spouting errant bigotry against another. It's a shame that so few in Washington and in the press have the intellectual honesty to admit it.

No comments:

Post a Comment