Archive for the ‘U. S. Supreme Court’ Category

(Soto)Mayor an Elitist

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

OK, bad attempt at a wordplay on the headline (My-you’re an elitist). But as promised, I am bringing you some commentary on happenings outside of Minnesota.

Some pundits who stated a few weeks ago that she’s a racist have now backed off of their original comments. And they probably should. Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh probably don’t know Judge Sonja Sotomayor well enough to know whether she has racial tendencies. Nor do I.

However, based on quotes attributed to her, she has stated that a Latino woman could reach better decisions as a judge than a white male. Her comment was made in response to former U. S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor saying that a wise old woman would reach the same decisions as a wise old man. I’m not sure that Sotomayor’s attitude is racist as much as it is elitist. Regardless, her comments and her attitudes are relevant to her qualifications for the highest court in the land, if they are reflective of her judicial philosophy.

The long held idea that justice is blind, and that we are a nation of laws, not people (meaning no one is above the law), begins to diminish when attitues creep in that certain genders and certain races are more equal or “add value” to the court. An impartial jurist will apply the law and the constitution when judjing cases and coming to conclusions. A judge’s own life experiences, or the races and genders of people involved in the case shouldn’t matter. The law is the law, and the constitution says what it says.

In their attempt to justify Sotomayor’s elitist comments, the Obama administration and others who support her nomination say that she would have said it differently. How a person couches an elitist statement is not the issue, if the person is an elitist. And in their response to Sotomayor’s detractors, Sotomayor’s supporters talk about how her race and ethnicity somehow will “add value” to the Supreme Court. 

It goes without saying that if Bush appointees Samuel Alito or John Roberts had stated during their nominations that their experiences as white males allow them to come to better conclusions than others, they would not have been confirmed. There is a double standard in Washington and in the mainstream media on how these situations are treated, depending on the players involved.

There is also a difference in how Senators of the two parties handle nominees by the President of the opposite party. Democrat Senators have no problem going after a nominee they oppose, no holds barred. Republican Senators tend to be more timid, and fear being labeled racist, sexist, partisan or. . . elitist.

Now President Barack Obama used the political capital at his disposal to nominate, not just a regular liberal to the court, but an extremist that would make the likes of David Souter blush. He is just a few months out from a decisive election that put him in the White House, and his popularity is still fairly high. Democrats in the U. S. Senate have nearly a filibuster-proof majority, which makes it easier to confirm an extre leftist. Obama is not dumb, so just for insurance purposes, and in an attempt to shield his nominee from harsh criticism, appointed a minority woman of humble beginnings. Obama may not have this opportunity again to appoint and confirm a candidate as  liberal as Sotomayor.

How does a woman who grew up in housing projects, the daughter of a single mother end up as an elitist? I can only surmize it was her Ivy Leage education that influenced her. Somewhere along the way she was told that she is more equal and she “adds value” because of her gender and her ethnicity.

Republican Senators should oppose Sotomayor if her elitist attitude is part of her judicial philosophy. They can do it without coming across as partisan, sexist or racist.