A cartoon on the editorial page of today’s Gainesville Sun newspaper compares Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor to the Cheshire Cat.
With what her confirmation hearing is turning into, the comparison seems apt. One would think a wise Latina with lots of time on the bench, and hopefully lots of time assessing the credibility of witnesses, would realize how pathetic she looks when she re-frames questions into straw man arguments to escape uttering an honest answer to a question fairly posed. That strategy would get her kicked off a high school debate team. Unfortunately, knowledgeable pundits think it’s going to get her confirmed.
Heather MacDonald thinks Sotomayor has been blatantly disingenuous, and may be steeped more in the Kool-Aid than in the nourishing lifeblood that came out of the feminist movement.
My old friend and colleague Don Kates, a long time fighter for civil rights on issues of race, victims’ rights, and Second Amendment issues, flatly called her a bigot in his guest editorial in the San Francisco Examiner.
Earlier this week I expressed my very adverse reaction to Sotomayer. Today the San Francisco Examiner printed them in the form of the guest editorial which follows.
Suppose a nominee to sit on the Supreme Court had consistently and repeatedly expressed the considered opinion that the views of non-Caucasian and/or female judges will be inferior to those of male Caucasian judges. Would such statements not plainly show the nominee to be unfit to be a judge? After all, our nation’s jurists are supposed to render decisions based on neutral legal principles rather than on the sex, race or ethnicity of the litigants.
Sonia Sotomayor’s defenders will insist that her racist and sexist sentiments should be evaluated in context. And rightly so. The context here is not just a single off-hand unconsidered and inept statement which is susceptible of multiple interpretations. Her opinion that white male judges will make inferior decisions is something she has expressed over and over again in prepared speeches she has had ample opportunity to phrase exactly as she meant them.
Nor can there be any doubt about what she meant, nop matter how she now seeks to evade the meaning when it is politically disadvantageous. She did not simply make the self-evident point that diversity is important because judges opinions may be shaped by their differing backgrounds. Rather she says the reverse – that the background of Latin females makes them better decision-makers than white male judges.
Note that the necessary implication of her repeated statements is adopting racist and sexist qualifications for the judiciary. The implication of what she is saying is not that diversity is good, but that it is bad; if we want the best judges, all judges should be Latin women. Nor is this necessary inference refuted by the fact that it is nonsense. Racism and sexism are nonsense but many people believe fervently in racist and sexist ideas. And Sotomayor’s considered and repeated statements show that she is emphatically one of them, despite the fact that she is an unusual variety of racist.
This is, of course, consistent with her most famous ruling, the New Haven case in which she held that white firefighters who had passed a promotion test could be denied promotion because black firefighters had flunked the test. Understandably the Supreme Court reversed this racial ruling. What has been missed here is the margin by which the court repudiated this ruling. It is true that four of the nine justices dissented in the case. But that was because they endorsed a different theory Sotomayor had not used. As to the theory Sotomayor used, all nine justices agreed that it was wrong.
When her nomination is confirmed – as the almost worshipful statements of the senators hearing her testimony show she will be confirmed – Sotomayor will be the firsr openly racist and sexist Supreme Court justice in more than 65 years. The last one was Justice McReynolds who was appointed in 1914 and served into the 1940s. A man of limited intelligence, he was a more conventional bigot who despised women and especially blacks and refused to talk to his colleagues Justices Brandies and Cardozo because they were Jewish.
Sotomayor’s defenders will doubtless point out that one of the Supreme Court’s great liberal justices, Hugo Black, was an Alabaman who had been a Ku Klux Klan member in his youth. This may mean no more than that the Klan dominated Alabama politics when Black was a young man. Whatever the reason for Justice Black’s Klan membership, he had long since resigned and disavowed the Klan in 1934 when he was appointed to the Court. Surely Klan membership is not something we would want in a Supreme Court justice who is supposed to render justice equally to all.
Is diversity a good thing? Of course. But not “diversity” to the extreme of bigotry. There is no room in American politics for racism and sexism, especially not on the Supreme Court.
Finally, Robert Heinritz calls out the nominee for her weasel-like response to a simple question about the rights of American citizens to self-protection.
No Constitutional right-to-life, per Judge Sotomayor
Robert G. Heinritz, J.D.
It now appears Judge Sonia Sotomayor will be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Obama administration out-maneuvered the supporters of life and ability to defend life. No one in the major media will bother to mention the NRA’s scholarly objections. (See below.)
When a Senator asked Judge Sotomayor whether the Second Amendment guaranteed a personal right – or as lawyers would say, “a fundamental right” – she said in effect “the Constitution doesn’t give me the right to go home, get a gun, and come back to shoot you.” She actually said that! Not a single Senator challenged her adroit change-of-subject. She was permitted to get away with this. Not one news-reporter called attention to the irrelevancy of Judge Sotomayor’s response, or the evasiveness of her answers. Not even Rush Limbaugh got it. Nothing in the Constitution would ever protect the scenari o Judge Sotomayor used to so deftly dismiss Second Amendment protections. She totally avoided a direct answer to the “personal” or “fundamental” rights issue by changing the subject.
What did the Founders of America mean by “fundamental” or “personal” right-to-life? Among other things: When a gang of hoods corners you on the street, your right to defend your life is a very “fundamental,” very “personal,” right – which no state or municipality may take from you. When armed-intruders break into your house and threaten your wife and children, your right – and for that matter, your entire family’s right – to a weapon for defense is a very personal right. When an armed robber corners you and demands “your money or your life” – reasonable people would consider that very personal. When an elderly grandmother fears going outside and keeps all her doors and windows barricaded, her right to defend against younger, stronger, and sometimes armed intruders – in her home, and on her way to her grocery store – is a very personal right. When my granddaughter is mugged, robbed, raped, and nearly killed at a bank-ATM, her right to defend her life, property, and virtue is a very, very fundamental right. When my wife and20I are traveling across America in our RV, we believe we should treat all strangers as friends. But we also have the free choice, and we demand the ability, to protect ourselves from armed thugs and bullies no matter where we are in the United States.
Judge Sotomayor’s judicial record shows she disagrees that Americans have such rights.
I don’t much care for the bother and responsibility of securing a firearm nearby. But I’ve lived long enough to know the world sometimes presents threats that justify it’s presence. A free person’s right to defend his or her life is a very personal right, a “fundamental right” – pre-existing our U.S. Constitution – which is more important than our property, our ability to speak-out on political issues, our right to vote, or our rights to a Miranda warning when approached by a police officer.
Thro ughout history this has always been true among free people. During the years American Colonists were bickering with Great Britain over taxes, representation, and rights; the one thing that finally provoked a shooting-war with their mother-country was Britain’s use of armed soldiers to disarm free citizens. The Founders were well-read on history and the classics, and well-acquainted with what England did to it’s “subjects” in Ireland; first disarming them, taking over all their lands and resources by force of British arms, and consigning the Irish to virtual serfdom or slavery. The most loyal of America’s Founders knew that government’s disarming of its free-citizens was the first step to slavery. “Slavery” was the word they used. History has confirmed this basic truth countless times in countless countries over the succeeding 200 years. Free, law-abiding citizens do not give up their right to arms.
Judge Sotomayor may turn out OK on the Second Amendment, but her record doesn’t so indicate. I am frankly outraged at the Senators, the press, the NRA, and every other civil rights group for allowing her to get away with her deft sidestepping of the question of the Second Amendment’s confirmation of “personal” or “fundamental”&nbs p;rights.
During the Reagan years, Democrats and left-wingers were infuriated by how effectively Reagan communicated his message. It now appears Republicans have worthy adversaries in President Obama and his strategists. The Founders of America are turning over in their graves. We’ve got to do better than this.
And the NRA’s take on the nominee is HERE
We knew that President Obama would attempt to replace outgoing Justice David Souter with someone of a liberal stripe. At least the 5-4 balance won’t tip…until the next opening becomes available. Still, with a vast pool of candidates with genuine judicial mindset to pick from, surely he could have come up with someone who would at least give straight answers to simple, straightforward questions.