The Cruel Tyranny of Wise Latinas

|

As Damon notes below, my friend Ilya Somin says he is "not favorably impressed" with Sonia Sotomayor's stated 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." This seems completely innocuous to me; being Hispanic in the United States means exposure to both a dominant and minority culture, and one might expect such exposure to favorably affect the process of deciding difficult, marginal cases. But Ilya characterizes the sentiment as left-wing identity politics. Perhaps he would be more impressed if he considered the statement in context. She goes on to say that:

We should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group.

and

While recognizing the potential effect of individual experiences on perception, Judge Cedarbaum nevertheless believes that judges must transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices and aspire to achieve a greater degree of fairness and integrity based on the reason of law. Although I agree with and attempt to work toward Judge Cedarbaum's aspiration, I wonder whether achieving that goal is possible in all or even in most cases.

and

No one person, judge or nominee will speak in a female or people of color voice.

I doubt Sotomayor and I agree on much, but this is a good speech. She aspires to impartiality but isn't deluded enough to pretend that the totality of her life experience will have no bearing on the act of judging. There is nothing remotely unlibertarian about any of this; it's common sense in the face of blinkered, pseudo-religious romanticism about objectivity. And I'd rather not cede common sense to the left.

Advertisement

NEXT: Reason.tv: Morticians Association of America Salutes President Obama's Tough New Fuel Standards

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. There is nothing remotely unlibertarian about any of this; it’s common sense in the face of blinkered, pseudo-religious romanticism about objectivity.

    Except, Kerry, for the inherent collectivism of the statement that Somin quoted. While you make a valid point, I find racial collectivism repellent and she clearly engages in it, as also proven by her racial-quota-demanding activism while at Princeton.

    And I’d rather not cede common sense to the left.

    I really don’t think there’s any danger of that.

  2. 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.

    I cannot judge this statement as I am just a dumb white male who has lived a life devoid of experience.

    I like how this statement must be in context because in the same speech she completely contradicts the above statement…

    Maybe with the two completely contradictory statements they somehow nullify one another so basically everything in the speech should be reduced to garbage.

  3. Kerry,

    You might have a point if she really considered all views equal. I think you mischaracterize her views. Yes she is saying that we all have biases and that it is impossible for a judge to be truly objective. That part is not so objectionable as you rightly point out. The problem is that she didn’t stop there. No only are people inherently biased but also “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.”

    Yes Kerry, everyone is biased. But you missed or ignore the part where she says her biases are better than yours because she is Latin and you are White.

  4. “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.”

    Unless some of that experience involved sneaking across the border or being hailed over by coyotes, your experience has likely been as white bread as any other person growing up in the US.

    Yeah, we all have unique experiences, Epi’s 3 years as a meat puppet in Tijuana for example, but does that alone qualify one for the SCOTUS? My life was richer than my neighbor’s in many ways and his richer than mine in others. He grew up Jewish in a fairly standard home, I grew up godless in a broken family. Does this mean I’m a shoe-in, even though he’s probably better qualified?

    Can we just get beyond pretending that SCOTUS appointments are about getting the “best” person available for the job and instead are really little more than point-scoring political appointments for fellow travelers?

  5. There is nothing remotely unlibertarian about any of this; it’s common sense in the face of blinkered, pseudo-religious romanticism about objectivity.

    According to a Hindu proverb, it takes a thorn to remove a thorn. If I’m romantic about objectivity, I like to think it’s the one romanticism that can cancel out the dangers of all the other romanticisms.

    In its dangerous way of rationalizing individual or group bias, might it not be dangerous to deny objectivity as a romantic ideal in jurisprudence? Just asking.

  6. She aspires to impartiality but isn’t deluded enough to pretend that the totality of her life experience will have no bearing on the act of judging.

    If that’s all she said, that would be fine, but, after noting that life experiences will inevitably affect what a judge does, she goes on to assert the inherent superiority of Latina women’s life experiences as a basis for judging.

    In my mind, that turns a relatively unobjectionable statement about irreducible subjectivity into something truly objectionable.

    As for this:

    No one person, judge or nominee will speak in a female or people of color voice.

    I don’t even know what that means. Its the word “one” that makes it incomprehensible. I think she’s saying that no single person can speak for the entirety of a collective. If so, it betrays an adherence to identity group thinking that I find abhorrent.

  7. …being hauled, not hailed. Stupid fingers.

  8. “While recognizing the potential effect of individual experiences on perception, Judge Cedarbaum nevertheless believes that judges must transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices and aspire to achieve a greater degree of fairness and integrity based on the reason of law.”

    “Fairness” isn’t part of a judges job any more than “empathy”

    Their job is to enforce the law exactly as it is written according the common understading of what the words meant to those who ratified the law at the time they ratified the law.

    Whether anybody today thinks the law is ‘fair” or not is irrelevant.

  9. No one person, judge or nominee will speak in a female or people of color voice.

    “Pardon me stewardess, but I speak jive.”

  10. JW,

    In Sotomeyer’s world, white people cannot have rich experiences in the same way as minorities can. The Obama girls living in gilded gages going to Sidwell Friends experience the reality of oppression. At the same time, a white kid growing up poor in a broken home will always have a status of privelege he will have to live down. He is white. He will never overcome that stigma. And he will always be in many ways inferior and insufficiently undertanding and authentic.

  11. Epi’s 3 years as a meat puppet in Tijuana for example

    It was only 2 years; I spent the other year hunting white tigers in Burma, where I took Kerry upriver for some humanitarian thing she was doing with the Karen people and then had to kill a ton of Than Shwe’s thugs to get her out. It was a bloodbath.

  12. So collectivist-feminist Kerry Holey returns to defend gyno-collectivist supremacy or something.
    Yaaaaaaaaaahwnnnnnn………

  13. Obviously, Ms Howley cannot be a Reason critic, on account of she’s a woman and all.

    Won’t someone think of the white males?

  14. being Hispanic in the United States means exposure to both a dominant and minority culture, and one might expect such exposure to favorably affect the process of deciding difficult, marginal cases.

    I’d really like to know how. That sounds suspiciously like total BS to me.

  15. Episiarch: The Twenty-First Century’s answer to Hemingway.

  16. I am waiting to form an opinion on this judge.

    I want her to confirm the Right to Privacy – a fundamental principle of liberty and libertarians.

  17. Shouldn’t Howley be in summer school?

    P.S. See Sonia Sotomayor: affirmative action nominee for Supreme Court? for more on this topic. Note that Reason and most others will be completely helpless once the Dem counter-attack really begins.

  18. Yeah, sounds like left-wing identity politics to me. Of course, I’m lacking in those experiences a wise Latina woman would have. But I should still be able to understand the values and needs of a different group.

    I’m so confused. WTF is this twunt trying to say, anyway, other than “I got nominated for SCOTUS and you didn’t, neener, neener, neener”?

  19. “This seems completely innocuous to me; being Hispanic in the United States means exposure to both a dominant and minority culture.”

    Barring reincarnation, no one has the credentials to make such a categorical comparison. We each have but one experience. Each experience is unique.

  20. SCOTUS is one of the extremely rare institutions where I think “diversity” is a valid goal. Not to the point that they should make it a high priority, but certainly a consideration. This applies not just to race/gender but to the nature of previous life/career experience, etc.

  21. I think Sotomayor needs to address the fact that this quote is being interpreted in basically two different ways by her detractors and her supporters.

    Her supporters seem to think it means:
    “My life experiences have shaped who I am, and, because of those experiences, I think I may be a better judge than many white males,” which is fairly innocuous.

    Her detractors seem to be interpreting it as:
    “My jurisprudence is allowed to be swayed by my life experience; if I sense a conflict between the interpretation of the law and my identity, I’ll side with what corresponds to my identity,” which would be a bad thing.

    She needs to clear up exactly what she meant and why she said it. I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, although I kind of suspect that her detractors are interpreting her quote more faithfully than her supporters. But it’s up to her to clarify her sentiments.

  22. The religious right might be happy to have Sotomayor on the supreme court.

    After all, it’s some personal “experience”, not the cold hard evidence derived from painstaking research that reveals the facts of nature.

  23. LoneWacko finished working his tiny penis with his fingertips, climaxing with a dribble onto his laminated picture of Kerry Howley. He noted with alarm that he should probably re-laminate it soon, lest he risk damaging it.

    Wiping himself down with the same dirty rag he always used but never cleaned (the smell was terrible, but he didn’t notice because of the stench of impotent rage pervading the room), he turned back to the keyboard. He had work to do; as he had suspected, Obama had nominated a DirtyHispanic for the Supreme Court, and he would expose all of her connections to Vincente Fox. Even if she was Puerto Rican and not Mexican. It didn’t matter.

    Nothing did, except for his picture of Kerry. He was like Kyle Reese with his picture of Sarah Connor, except Kerry had filed a restraining order against him, he wasn’t from the future, and every time he tried to make plastique he ended up with glycerine.

  24. “This seems completely innocuous to me; being Hispanic in the United States means exposure to both a dominant and minority culture, and one might expect such exposure to favorably affect the process of deciding difficult, marginal cases.”

    Why Kerry? What about growing up Amish in Kansas. Wouldn’t that also mean expose to both a dominant and minority culture? Hell in this day and age isn’t nearly any culture a minority culture. What the hell is the dominant culture anymore? Does it ever stop being 1964 for people like you?

    It seems to me for that statement to have any value; you have to think that there something uniquely valuable to being a Hispanic over being white or being Amish or being Italian. After all, everyone is something. In the end, In order for her statement to mean anything, you have to believe that female Hispanics as opposed to white males or white females are some kind of superior race capable of better judgment than the rest of us.

  25. The only perspective I care about is the Constitutional perspective. Jesus, we already have an affirmative action president; can we stop with this crap already?

    Who is the best jurist? Please appoint him or her. Thank you.

  26. Whenever I am starting to wonder why I don’t subscribe to Reason, an article like this comes along and reminds me.

    The fact that she even said “white male” means she is thinking in terms of racial collectivism instead of viewing people as individuals.

    One would not think this would need to be explained to a author of Reason, of all places. Sheesh.

  27. “One would not think this would need to be explained to a author of Reason, of all places. Sheesh.”

    You would think so.

  28. Who is the best jurist?

    Darn good question. How do we decide that? What’s the criteria?

    You just want the lawyers to have a vote and you think you’re more popular than she is. Admit it ProL, you’re cooking up a campaign to derail Sotomayor as we speak. Emperor of Mars, my foot.

    Seriously, I can’t say I’m sorry that Bork was borked, happily avoiding 20 years of his King Tutian glare, but it was clear he was qualified for the post. But, that got us Souter, also qualified, so call it a wash.

  29. Whenever I am starting to wonder why I don’t subscribe to Reason, an article like this comes along and reminds me.

    Drink!

  30. I grew up in a small town where 60% of the population was hispanic. Did I have any exposure to a “minority” culture? Fuck no! As a white male I was kept locked in a closet until I was 18, and only had exposure to others of my dominant culture. It was only during my first week of university that I realized that there were skin colors other than pale pink and painfully sunburned.

  31. Whenever anyone who isn’t white or male goes anywhere, suddenly “identity” is an issue. The real affirmative action in this country is for white dudes. I say that as a white dude – there is no doubt in my mind I’ve landed jobs I wasn’t the best qualified for, simply because I have the right combination of gender, class and race.

  32. Followup: what are the odds 7/9 of the “most qualified legal minds” in the country currently just happen to be white males? Amazing coincidence, that.

  33. I say that as a white dude – there is no doubt in my mind I’ve landed jobs I wasn’t the best qualified for, simply because I have the right combination of gender, class and race.

    If you lived Southern California, you probably would have lost a job to an Asian because every employer here knows that Asians work harder that whites.

  34. JW,

    True, my appointment will help put an end to war and poverty. It will align the planets and bring them into universal harmony. Allowing meaningful contact with all forms of life. From extra terrestrials to common household pets. And, it will be excellent for dancing.

    By jurist, I don’t mean merely an experienced judge or even an experienced legal scholar. It’s a bit in the eye of the beholder, but I think even people on the other side of the political spectrum from libertarians have certain expectations. Sotomayor is certainly qualified to be nominated, but is she really the caliber of jurist we should be seeing on the Court? Probably not. But that goes for most of the current occupants of the nine seats as well.

  35. what are the odds 7/9 of the “most qualified legal minds” in the country currently just happen to be white males?

    [citation needed]

  36. I say that as a white dude – there is no doubt in my mind I’ve landed jobs I wasn’t the best qualified for, simply because I have the right combination of gender, class and race.

    Is that on your resume?

  37. what are the odds 7/9 of the “most qualified legal minds” in the country currently just happen to be white males?

    The statistical probability is over 50%, if that’s what you mean.

    Is it not?

  38. The important thing, as is always the case with SC nominees, is what she says in her decisions.

    The rest of this stuff is ideologues trying to kick up dust, people playing identity politics while at the same time pretending to decry identity politics. Liberals did the same shit over Scalia.

  39. Anyone here is a fool who believes that race/gender/appearance does not affect the life of a person. No shit; the fact that she is Latina means that her life was different than the average white males’. How one looks affects how the world treats you.

    The fact that some people in the world distinguish races in the world means that races exist, just like God “exists” because there are believers in the concept of God. The concept of race is in the minds of people, and that concept will inevitably be projected onto others. That’s why all minorities and whites and people with various distinct appearances suffer from some sort of stereotyping by others. It’s an unavoidable fact of life.

    Sotomayor recognizes that its highly possible that her life was much more different than the lives of the white men on the Supreme Court now. She has some common sense. I say good for her.

  40. And I’d rather not cede common sense to the left.

    Except, this statement:

    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.

    with it’s string of inelegant homilies doesn’t pass the barf bag test which can’t be discounted when talking about common sense.

  41. Wait, everyone hates Kerry now? Is she not hot now or something?

  42. I fucking hate self-absorbed twits that think their own life experiences have anything to do with determining facts and laws. Anyway her hardworking mother deservers all the credit for keeping her out of the misirable situations that might actually emote legitimate empathy.

  43. This is the problem with collectivist thinking.

    Kerry thinks she must defend her fellow vagina.

    Kerry, don’t defend idiots like this, it only makes you look stupid as an individual.

  44. Won’t someone think of the white males?

    Somebody has. Finally.

  45. Just for the record, other than myself, my first choice to fill the vacancy is Janice Rogers Brown. The fact that she’s a black woman is a matter of total indifference to me, but if that’s what is important these days, then why not appoint her?

  46. Waaaaaaa! I’ve got sand in my pussy!

  47. Frankly, until Obama nominates someone who looks like me and comes from the same background as me, it will just be mindless identity politics. White males only making up more than half the court and not nearly the entire court? Outrage. Anyone with a vagina or skin pigmentation beyond “Italian” is clearly not qualified. Also, I read a blog post once on her and boy houdy it said things!

  48. Wait, everyone hates Kerry now? Is she not hot now or something?

    Kerry dumped reason for another job and broke its heart. It’s very bitter, and would key her car if it could find it.

  49. Wait, everyone hates Kerry now? Is she not hot now or something?

    Not at all. She’d make a wonderful spokes-hippie for an organic foods chain.

  50. It’s very bitter, and would key her car if it could find it.

    Dood, keying cars is sooooo a chick thing.

    I knew you had a mangina.

  51. max hats – remind me again why it was that the “hot list” for nominees was all women.

  52. Hmm, did any of those pious folks here who abhor racial classifications comment on the figures she gave about the way out of whack numbers of women, Hispanics and blacks on the bench?

    I mean, I loathe identity politics as much as the next man, but it’s pretty obvious that the game is being played by several sides…

    “As of September 1, 2001, the federal judiciary consisting of Supreme, Circuit and District Court Judges was about 22% women. In 1992, nearly ten years ago, when I was first appointed a District Court Judge, the percentage of women in the total federal judiciary was only 13%. Now, the growth of Latino representation is somewhat less favorable. As of today we have, as I noted earlier, no Supreme Court justices, and we have only 10 out of 147 active Circuit Court judges and 30 out of 587 active district court judges. Those numbers are grossly below our proportion of the population. As recently as 1965, however, the federal bench had only three women serving and only one Latino judge.”

  53. Who is the best jurist

    There is no “best jurist”.

    This isn’t Highlander where there can be only one.

    There is a very very large number of qualified jurists to be on the SCOTUS.

    I have no problem with the president trying to pick someone to give the court some color, or to replace a missing old vagina with a younger vagina. In fact, I do think there is something wrong when there is only one person of color and one woman on the SC — kind of makes one think that white males have had an unfair advantage in the selection process (maybe it’s Ivy League affirmative action???)

    And this statement also doesn’t seem to me too bad a statement — i agree with the sentiment that an old white male who probably had connections hasn’t had to live in the same reality that minorities and even unconnected middle-lower class white males have had to deal with. (Which would go a long way in explaining Scalias “new professionalism” beliefs about the Police)

    It DOES give one a different perspective. And it probably would result in BETTER outcomes (at least better in my opinion). And even if it didn’t there is nothing wrong with holding the opinion that her life experiences probably would result in better rulings than that of a male peer without those life experiences. There is nothing wrong with believing that you’re better at your job than your peers regardless of the why.

    What I care about is:

    Does she have a good grasp of the Constitution and applying laws?

    Is she principled?

    Can she elaborate well and write good clear opinions?

    So far, some of her positions on takings and the firefighters case are troubling. I’ll be very interested in seeing her confirmation hearings to see how she feels about the 2nd amendment, the right to privacy, the limits on executive power and secrecy.

  54. TAO
    Remind me again why women, who made up 50% of the population in 2001 made up only 22% of the federal judges?

    Of course, those that are appalled that a woman would notice gender are certainly outraged by that figure, right?

    No? Huh.

  55. Sotomayor is certainly qualified to be nominated, but is she really the caliber of jurist we should be seeing on the Court? Probably not. But that goes for most of the current occupants of the nine seats as well.

    This goes back to my original questions: What are the criteria and who decides the criteria?

    I still get the heebies at the thought of Justice William Jefferson Clinton.

    At the point you suggest, we’re just back to throwing darts at whoever will vote to enforce your political agenda for decades to come, which is all that this process has ever been. Do they have to be lawyers and/or judges? Of course not. But, they usually are.

    Deciding who is “best” jurist is like judging which hamburger is the best hamburger.

  56. Waaaaaaa! I’ve got sand in my pussy too!

  57. As of today we have, as I noted earlier, no Supreme Court justices, and we have only 10 out of 147 active Circuit Court judges and 30 out of 587 active district court judges.

    Do I need to explain the insidiousness of this statement, or are the bolded parts self-explanatory in that regard?

    What is she, some kind of champion bent on conquering for her “race”? WTF?

  58. This isn’t Highlander where there can be only one.

    Now THAT’s a nomination process I can get behind.

  59. max hats – remind me again why it was that the “hot list” for nominees was all women.

    Cuz that’s what the president wanted?

    Why was GWB’s hotlist only white dudes for the Rehnquist vacancy?

  60. MNG – remind me again: are you in favor of affirmative action or aren’t you?

    Let me take the logic of your statement and train it on academia, eh? Hope I find that academia is a reflection of population statistics, or you’re boned.

  61. You can see where Howley and such are coming from; when you are a part of a group that has been expressly discriminated against for eons and the current positions of power still show your group getting shafted it’s a bit unhelpful to see folks not caring about all that but instead reserving their outrage for when someone complains about it by going “what gender? I don’t see gender, how low of a woman to point out her gender, I mean, can’t we get above that?”

  62. Cuz that’s what the president wanted?

    And why is that, do you think?

    Why was GWB’s hotlist only white dudes for the Rehnquist vacancy?

    You think GWB was playing identity politics by sucking up to white people? Get real.

  63. I’m against affirmative action, but those figures are appalling, and its appalling whatever institution you mention.

    What’s bizarre is to call out a member of the underrepresented class for thinking we’ve got a problem here because it’s THEM that are being sexist, racist, etc.

  64. Let me get this straight: It’s OK for the President to pretty much state “It’s gotta be a woman”…but the reverse (“It’s gotta be a dude”) would be absolutely abhorrent?

    Am I getting this right?

  65. Do I need to explain the insidiousness of this statement, or are the bolded parts self-explanatory in that regard?

    You don’t need to explain. you are just making a a fuss about something stupid.

    She says we because she is Hispanic. There is nothing insidious or harmful about it.

    Just like when most ethnicities talk about their ethnicity they say we. Why exactly do you find that offensive?

    What is she, some kind of champion bent on conquering for her “race”? WTF?

    No, she is merely a Hispanic pointing out the fact that she is Hispanic.

  66. I’m against affirmative action, but those figures are appalling, and its appalling whatever institution you mention.

    So, the numbers are appalling, but you don’t want to legally do anything about it.

    OK. Not sure what your point is then.

  67. Those figures suggest that not everyone seems to have the Colbert-esque ability to “not see race” as many here claim to possess…

    Something is clearly still in a lot of folks way to getting these positions of power…Shame on some of those folks for noting that, I mean, what racists these folks are!

  68. max hats – remind me again why it was that the “hot list” for nominees was all women.

    Well yes, the identity game is being played. But my point is that it always is, but the outraged cries of “identity politics” only come out of the usual corners when it isn’t their identity on the line. White is an ethnicity, male is a gender, and I have a bridge to sell anyone who thinks republicans don’t nominate an almost all-Catholic slate lately for purely political (gasp) identity politics. But for some reason, identity is only mentioned when we deviate from the “safe” white, male line.

  69. Just like when most ethnicities talk about their ethnicity they say we. Why exactly do you find that offensive?

    Because it’s irrelevant. Imagine if I said, in a public statement, that it’s great that “we” (white males) have X percentage of the federal judiciary on lockdown.

  70. We’ve all got sand in our pussies! Waaaaaaaa!

  71. “So, the numbers are appalling, but you don’t want to legally do anything about it.”

    I’m for programs to address those numbers that don’t involve blunderbuss use of racial discrimination themselves, such as anti-discrimination laws, educational assistance, etc.

  72. I “see” race, I just don’t care about it. I have more in common with Clarence Thomas than I do with Stephen Breyer.

  73. Let me get this straight: It’s OK for the President to pretty much state “It’s gotta be a woman”…but the reverse (“It’s gotta be a dude”) would be absolutely abhorrent?

    No one has the guts to actually say “it’s got to be a dude,” but if you think that attitude isn’t common, you’re fooling yourself.

  74. “Imagine if I said, in a public statement, that it’s great that “we” (white males) have X percentage of the federal judiciary on lockdown.”

    Actually, what I think people should find strange in that is that it would be like some tasteless bravado since the group in question is over, not under-represented. Look how much we rule! is not the same as Look how far we are coming (or have to go).

  75. So, it requires an equally collectivist outlook to combat? got it.

  76. And why is that, do you think?

    Because he noticed a lack of representation from certain sectors of the public on the court. Or maybe an over-representation of white males, and decided that the court would be better with a broader group of perspectives than a more narrow one?

    No that can’t ever be it. It’s some kind of DOG WHISTLE!@!!!

    You think GWB was playing identity politics by sucking up to white people? Get real.

    Of course not — identity politics can only be played by “TEH LEFT”. THe right, the home of “real Americans” and “American values and morals” never play identiy politics. No siree. Never.

    I am sure that nominating a minority would never be a problem for a conservative in their power base of the south.

    Someone needs to get real, but it isn’t me.

  77. Because it’s irrelevant. Imagine if I said, in a public statement, that it’s great that “we” (white males) have X percentage of the federal judiciary on lockdown.

    Then you would be stating the obvious, and suddenly you would find yourself public enemy #1 on radio talk shows across the nation.

  78. “I just don’t care about it”

    Yeah, you don’t care when minorities are underrepresented in positions of power, we get it…(sorry, that was a bit low, but makes my point imo)

  79. You think GWB was playing identity politics by sucking up to white people? Get real.

    No, GWB was sucking up to fundie aborto-freaks.

  80. Finally, shriek has arrived to create order out of the chaos that is this thread. Thank the FSM.

  81. Like I said, I have more in common with Thomas than Breyer or Stevens. There’s nothing *inherently* good about having people of a certain race or gender in a given position, an uncontroversial statement that a lot of you don’t seem to grasp.

    Or maybe an over-representation of white males, and decided that the court would be better with a broader group of perspectives than a more narrow one?

    There’s the problem: you’re assuming that, based on her skin color and genitalia, she’s bringing a different perspective. That is not necessarily so. Hence my point.

  82. “So, it requires an equally collectivist outlook to combat?”

    Sigh. Pointing out that some groups are still not making it, and hoping that such a group does better, is not the bad kind of “collectivism;” hoping a group that is not making it continues to not make it, that is the bad kind.

    TAO, you really don’t identify with being white?

    Do you identify as an American? As a member of your family? Does it makes sense to you to say “I hope America does well at the Olympics” or to root for your sister or brother over a non-relative? Do you every say “we” when talking about your family? Certainly you don’t think relation by blood is all that more relevant (in whatever sense you are saying that) than skin color and phenotypical features…

  83. I don’t care about race or gender, and ideology is second to qualification. What’s the qualification, you ask? Ideology. And if the candidate is the right race and gender, then that makes them even more qualified.

  84. Because it’s irrelevant.

    Half the shit people say is irrelevant to someone. What makes it offensive, though?

    So, the numbers are appalling, but you don’t want to legally do anything about it.

    I know the question wasn’t to me, but here goes:

    I would like the president exercise his discretion and appoint more minorities to these positions. And I will petition him to do so.

    And oh look he did. Yet some people find the idea the President exercising his discretion offensive.

    What’s your point, exactly?

  85. Finally, shriek has arrived to create order out of the chaos that is this thread. Thank the FSM.

    Sorry I disturbed your PlayStation universe.

  86. Yeah, you don’t care when minorities are underrepresented in positions of power, we get it…(sorry, that was a bit low, but makes my point imo)

    I am saying it should not be a controversial statement that the only qualifications necessary for any job should be the ability to do that job. Full stop. Again, I don’t see anything controversial here, but apparently I’m missing something.

  87. “you’re assuming that, based on her skin color and genitalia, she’s bringing a different perspective. That is not necessarily so.”

    You’re definitely correct, and it’s a point liberals do miss a bit, but what you’re missing is that there are statistical patterns where certain groups are indeed consistently more likely to have certain experiences.

  88. I would like the president exercise his discretion and appoint more minorities to these positions. And I will petition him to do so.

    Why? Why does skin color matter to you so much?

  89. Sorry I disturbed your PlayStation universe.

    Nothing can disturb my PlayStation universe, shriek.

  90. Half the shit people say is irrelevant to someone. What makes it offensive, though?

    Again, for the same reason it would be offensive for anybody to talk about how “we” have only come so far. Sotomayor doesn’t speak for all Latinos. Only if you share a common goal should you state “we”, and if her goal is to have more justices that look like her, that’s racism.

  91. There’s the problem: you’re assuming that, based on her skin color and genitalia, she’s bringing a different perspective. That is not necessarily so. Hence my point.

    What an argument!

    That’s the problem with nominating anyone. You think they are bringing something worth wile to the table, but that isn’t necessarily so.

    I still don’t see your point. Even if she doesn’t bring a different perspective, the fact minorities will see her on the court will give them faith that our system of justice is in fact equal and that the courtrooms aren’t ruled by rich white males.

    That right there is worth wile.

  92. TAO, you really don’t identify with being white?

    I don’t even know what that means. I’m serious. I put down “white” on forms because that’s what I’m supposed to do, but I don’t have anything but a superficial characteristic in common with other “white” people.

  93. the fact minorities will see her on the court will give them faith that our system of justice is in fact equal and that the courtrooms aren’t ruled by rich white males.

    oh Christ. Are Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas not good enough to prove this yet?

  94. So, in order to demonstrate that the justice system is equal, we have to promote people based on the color of their skin and what sex organs they were born with.

    Amazing.

  95. The lady’s life experience doesn’t include raising any kids, so she’s had it way too easy to feel our pain.

  96. And if the candidate is the right race and gender, then that makes them even more qualified.

    On behalf of MNG and ChicagoTom: please stop being on their side.

    As for Sonia, I’m more troubled by her Kelo ruling on the CVS vs. Walgreen case than her quota obsession.

  97. that was a parody of the right. Again, white is a ethnicity. Male is a gender. And it’s amazing how calm nominating white males makes certain people, the same people who get so outraged at “identity politics.”

  98. CT,

    Agreed. There is no one best jurist for this vacancy. At least, not to the extent that it’s apparent to the country at large.

    I don’t give a rat’s ass about identity politics because I care a whole lot more about merit, and, frankly, proper views about limited government and civil liberties. I also recognize that others–like the current ruling class–disagree about my sense of propriety.

    The pool of qualified judges probably does lean a little white male and white female, but that’s only because the people most likely to be appointed are older. Things have changed in the legal profession, which is quite diverse nowadays. I don’t think basing appointments primarily on identity is a good idea, but I also don’t think it is particularly warranted, even accepting the assumptions of affirmative action proponents.

  99. So, in order to demonstrate that the justice system is equal, we have to promote people based on the color of their skin and what sex organs they were born with.

    See? This is what diversity gets you. No gain – just lots of pain. And restaurants. Won’t somebody please think of the restaurants?

  100. it’s a matter of intent, max hats. I highly doubt GWB sat down and said “I need to nominate a white male”. OTOH, it is very clear that the current President sat down and said “Next SCOTUS nominee’s just got to have a vagina.”

  101. There’s the problem: you’re assuming that, based on her skin color and genitalia, she’s bringing a different perspective. That is not necessarily so. Hence my point.

    Considering that her life story and her upbringing are being brought up as part of what she brings to the table, POV-wise, it’s not just her skin color and genitalia. She’s not exactly an heiress to the Slim fortune.

  102. it’s a matter of intent, max hats. I highly doubt GWB sat down and said “I need to nominate a white male”.

    Do you think it’s a coincidence Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts are all catholic?

  103. I guess we divide into two camps. Both camps think that the new justice should be highly qualified to do the job.

    One camp thinks that given a list of those so qualified, there’s no reason not to pick one based on essentially superficial external characteristics: a female hispanic, for example.

    The other camp thinks that’s just awful.

    I don’t understand why. You have to decide among equals on some basis, right?

  104. Let us cut to the chase and see, from the linked speech, what practical difference the nominee sees from the presence of more women and ‘racial minorities’ on the bench (a linguistic quibble – it is possible to be a Latino/Latina and a white person at the same time – check out the Cubans, not that Obama will be nominating a Cuban-American any time soon).

    The nominee thinks there aren’t enough women and minorities on the federal bench, considering their proportion of the population. If there were more women and minorities, then this would tend to bring about better decisions:

    ‘As reported by Judge Patricia Wald formerly of the D.C. Circuit Court, three women on the Minnesota Court with two men dissenting agreed to grant a protective order against a father’s visitation rights when the father abused his child. The Judicature Journal has at least two excellent studies on how women on the courts of appeal and state supreme courts have tended to vote more often than their male counterpart to uphold women’s claims in sex discrimination cases and criminal defendants’ claims in search and seizure cases. As recognized by legal scholars, whatever the reason, not one woman or person of color in any one position but as a group we will have an effect on the development of the law and on judging.

    ‘In our private conversations, Judge Cedarbaum has pointed out to me that seminal decisions in race and sex discrimination cases have come from Supreme Courts composed exclusively of white males. I agree that this is significant but I also choose to emphasize that the people who argued those cases before the Supreme Court which changed the legal landscape ultimately were largely people of color and women. I recall that Justice Thurgood Marshall, Judge Connie Baker Motley, the first black woman appointed to the federal bench, and others of the NAACP argued Brown v. Board of Education. Similarly, Justice Ginsburg, with other women attorneys, was instrumental in advocating and convincing the Court that equality of work required equality in terms and conditions of employment.’

  105. Again, for the same reason it would be offensive for anybody to talk about how “we” have only come so far.

    Offensive to you? Or offensive to other latinos?

    And what’s offensive about anyone saying “we” have only come so far? Is it inherently offensive to identify with your heritage and your ethnicity?

    Only racists find ethnics identifying as ethnics offensive

    Only if you share a common goal should you state “we”, and if her goal is to have more justices that look like her, that’s racism.

    What if her goal is to get more justices that don’t look like John Roberts or Samuel Alito?

    What if her goal is to get more qualified hispanics into positions of power?

    I guess the problem I am having is that you want to pretend like the status quo isn’t a stacked deck against minorities. You want to pretend like the ONLY reason there aren’t more minorities on the SC or on the Federal Appeals court is because there is a lack of qualified jurists. But that just isn’t true. There are plenty of minorities who are just as qualified as many of the white jurists but didn’t have the right connections/skin color/economic status.

    There is nothing racist about pointing out that the power is concentrated in the hands of the few and wanting to get your people who don’t have very much power better represented.

    There are plenty of qualified minorities who have been passed over for less qualified white males. Less qualified white males have had the benefit of centuries of affirmative action (even if it wasn’t called that) — and now people like TAO want to scream racism because a Hispanic says “we” — as if she needs to pretend to not be ethnic? Or she needs to ignore the fact that there is inherent racism in our politcal system?

    When you can admit that the status quo is nothing but a reflection of the effect of of centuries affirmative action for white males, then maybe your opinions on collectivism and ethnic identities can be taken even a little seriously.

  106. it’s a matter of intent, max hats. I highly doubt GWB sat down and said “I need to nominate a white male”.

    You may be right.

    I am sure he never even thought about nominating anyone but a white male. It was such a given he never had to say it.

  107. Do you think it’s a coincidence Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts are all catholic?

    Nope, I don’t. Is being Catholic the same as being a woman? Are you just born Catholic?

  108. Only racists find ethnics identifying as ethnics offensive

    Fuck off, jack. I find all tribalism offensive.

  109. Identity groups only exist if you’re born into them? I don’t understand what you’re saying.

  110. ‘Do you think it’s a coincidence Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts are all catholic?’

    What, you think Sontomayor is a Buddhist? No, she would be the sixth Catholic on the Supreme Court.

    But I think we can guess what *kind* of Catholic Obama wants her to be:

    ‘an administration official later elbaorated:

    ‘”Judge Sotomayor was raised as a Catholic and attends church for family celebrations and other important events.”‘

  111. What if her goal is to get more qualified hispanics into positions of power?

    Um, that would be racist, just as it would be racist if a white male made it explicit that it was his goal to get more whites “into power”.

  112. “and if her goal is to have more justices that look like her, that’s racism”

    Again, a “racism” by a member of a group that finds itself horribly underrepresented in such positions is hardly the same problem as a “racism” by a member of a group that finds itself horribly overrepresented. The former seems quite natural to me, the latter seems to be the problem.

  113. Identity groups only exist if you’re born into them? I don’t understand what you’re saying.

    There is a set of common beliefs when one identifies as Catholic. Is that true of whites? Of Latinos? Of blacks?

  114. Aren’t the Bushes Methodists? And Reagan a Presbyterian? Why would they have a special need to nominate Catholics?

    Dr Duck,

    That’s not what’s happening. Sotomayor was not considered the best qualified jurist leading up to her nomination. She was picked for her gender and her ethnicity ahead of people who were better qualified. What’s a little weird is that there are better leftwing jurists out there, too, so, in a way, basing a choice on identity politics is not entirely good from the political perspective.

  115. “Um, that would be racist, just as it would be racist if a white male made it explicit that it was his goal to get more whites “into power”.”

    Again, considering Hispanics are underrepresented and whites overrepresented I find that to be goofy as all get out…

  116. there are statistical patterns where certain groups are indeed consistently more likely to have certain experiences.

    If you think statistical patterns are going to show up over nine non-randomly chosen individuals, then you don’t understand statistics well enough to use the word.

  117. Nope, I don’t. Is being Catholic the same as being a woman? Are you just born Catholic?

    For the people mentioned, yes. They all were raised Catholic. None of them converted to Catholicism, AFAIK.

  118. Again, a “racism” by a member of a group that finds itself horribly underrepresented in such positions is hardly the same problem as a “racism” by a member of a group that finds itself horribly overrepresented. The former seems quite natural to me, the latter seems to be the problem.

    Again, this assumes that there is something inherently good and legitimate when one identifies with another based on a superficial characteristic.

  119. Catholics are the easy way out. Protestants these days can’t afford to complain lest they be branded Neandertals.

  120. I don’t think basing appointments primarily on identity is a good idea, but I also don’t think it is particularly warranted, even accepting the assumptions of affirmative action proponents.

    I agree with this 100%.

    But I don’t think ANYONE on this board is advocating basing the appointment PRIMARILY on identity.

    The President has discretion, and if he thinks that he has a number of qualified minority candidates then I don’t see the problem with excluding white males.

    It’s not like there haven’t been plenty of short lists that excluded qualified minorities and contained only white males.

  121. “There is a set of common beliefs when one identifies as Catholic. Is that true of whites? Of Latinos? Of blacks?”

    There are consistent statistical patterns that make it more probable that a given Latino, black or white will share many experiences with others.

    And if you live in a country, say one with a history and current structure that indicates racism and sexism are problems, and you know that there are legal apsects of that (discrimination), then you might think that members of those groups that are the victims in such situations might see them, as a statistical matter, differently than non-members…

  122. There is a set of common beliefs when one identifies as Catholic. Is that true of whites? Of Latinos? Of blacks?

    Based on my experiences, there’s just as much diversity of beliefs among self-identified Catholics as there are among people of various races.

  123. For the people mentioned, yes. They all were raised Catholic. None of them converted to Catholicism, AFAIK.

    At some point, you choose to be Catholic, even if that means you choose to remain a Catholic, and all of the beliefs that (should) follow naturally from following that religion.

  124. There is a set of common beliefs when one identifies as Catholic. Is that true of whites? Of Latinos? Of blacks?

    So picking nominees to satisfy politically critical ethnic identities is bad, but picking nominees to satisfy politically critical religious identities is totally different? You’ve completely lost me.

  125. Do you think it’s a coincidence Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts are all catholic?

    NAY IT IS BY EVIL DESIGN

  126. Certainly Catholics are a favorite of conservatives because conservative catholics play a pivotal role in the conservative movement in America (I’d even say a guiding role in many instances).

    Scalia’s catholic conservtism is pretty evident in some of his jurisprudence (take a look at the Oregon euthansia case).

  127. Um, that would be racist, just as it would be racist if a white male made it explicit that it was his goal to get more whites “into power

    Yeah sorry, that’s not racism. Wanting your ethnicity to be properly represented isn’t racist.

    By this standard anyone who fought for civil rights was a racist.

  128. There are consistent statistical patterns that make it more probable that a given Latino, black or white will share many experiences with others.

    And that tells us exactly zero about Sotomayor.

    Based on my experiences, there’s just as much diversity of beliefs among self-identified Catholics as there are among people of various races.

    Really? So some Catholics don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God? That the Host is the blood and body of Christ?

    There cannot be, by definition, “as much diversity [of thought] among self-identified Catholics” as there is among the races.

  129. to follow up: not saying you personally approve of picking people because they’re catholic. I’m not directly arguing with you. My point here is that identity politics goes both ways, but you only seem to hear about it when the identity in question is something other than white.

  130. ‘”Judge Sotomayor was raised as a Catholic and attends church for family celebrations and other important events.”‘

    Good – she is not soaked in the nuttiness.

  131. My biggest problem with this pick is that she was not the best liberal judicial mind that Obama could get through, she just meets identity politics criteria and helps Obama out electorally. As for Hispanic well being, a white male who would have ruled in ways that would have helped the bulk of Hispanics and such would have been better than a mediocre Hispanic. Policy trumps representation…

  132. Incidentally, I’m not incensed over this nomination. I expected a leftist president to nominate a candidate that shared most of his views. And I expect that nominee to be confirmed. It’s the way the system works. In fact, it’s largely the way the system was designed to work, leaving out for the moment the affirmative action issue.

    Too bad, though, that we can’t get someone just a little more committed to the concept of limited government. However, the truth is that if that quality really mattered to most Americans, we’d have a president and a Congress that reflected that. We don’t.

    max hats,

    You’re not making any sense on this Catholic thing. Don’t you think if religion were the key issue that Protestant presidents would nominate Protestant justices? Wouldn’t their identity biases operate that way? Or is this some Dan Brown-type conspiracy theory?

  133. Yeah sorry, that’s not racism. Wanting your ethnicity to be properly represented isn’t racist.

    Yes, it is, because what you’re saying is “in order for our justice system to function properly, a certain percentage of jurists must be of a certain skin color and gender.” That’s racism.

    By this standard anyone who fought for civil rights was a racist.

    That’s retarded. People fighting for civil rights were fighting for equal treatment under the law. Fighting to get more Latinos on the court merely because they are Latinos is racist.

  134. MNG,

    Exactly.

  135. At some point, you choose to be Catholic, even if that means you choose to remain a Catholic, and all of the beliefs that (should) follow naturally from following that religion.

    I know lots of people, from lots of different religions, that identify as the religion of their birth for no other reason than that was the religion of their birth. There are people that put more thought into a pair of shoes than their religion. And no beliefs follow naturally from religious following. There are all sorts of differences that will come about. I doubt Sotomayer and Scalia have the same views on many things despite both being Catholic.

  136. Fuck off, jack. I find all tribalism offensive.

    And I find your anti-tribalism offensive.

    And I find your ideas on people and their identities to line up quite nicely with the Lou Dobbs set.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with tribalism.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with being proud of your heritage/ethnicity/whatever.

    Don’t want to be confused with a racist? Stop saying racist things.

  137. Does anyone really believe this announcement would have come today had North Korea not been setting off bombs and missiles this weekend?

  138. Lou Dobbs? What the fuck are you talking about, ChicagoTom? Lou Dobbs wants to stop people at the border based on the color of their skin, because “those” people don’t match “his” tribe.

    It’s tribalism that causes racism in the first place.

  139. “And that tells us exactly zero about Sotomayor.”

    That’s goofy, it tells you that it is more probable that she has shared experiences with Hispanics in certain areas than you do. That’s what is meant by consistent statistical patterns.

    For example, for years and years the black median income has been much lower than the white, the black unemployment rate has been much larger than the white, etc.,. Any randomly chosen black is more likely than any randomly chosen white to know what it is like to live in poverty, and if you take that randomly chosen black and another randomly chosen white and another black it is more probable the two blacks share that characteristic than that the white does…Sorry, statistics mean thing, they represent individual realities aggregated…

  140. Really? So some Catholics don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God? That the Host is the blood and body of Christ?

    Yes, I know Catholics that question the divinity of Christ and don’t believe in transubstantiation and that it’s actually a metaphor rather than a change in physical qualities.

  141. Yes, it is, because what you’re saying is “in order for our justice system to function properly, a certain percentage of jurists must be of a certain skin color and gender.” That’s racism.

    Uhmm, no it isn’t. There IS something wrong with a justice system that doesn’t represent the people it is doling out justice over.

    Just like there is something wrong when a black man gets an all white jury in areas where blacks make up almost half the population.

    Sorry that you can’t wrap your mind around it, but it’s true. A justice system that has little to no representation for minorities is problematic and inherently flawed

  142. You’re not making any sense on this Catholic thing. Don’t you think if religion were the key issue that Protestant presidents would nominate Protestant justices? Wouldn’t their identity biases operate that way? Or is this some Dan Brown-type conspiracy theory?

    Catholic voters are to the republican party as latino voters are to the democrats. “If we can just get these guys locked down, booya permanent majority time.” Republicans have made it a habbit (*cough*) to pander to catholics since Reagan.

  143. There is nothing inherently wrong with being proud of your heritage/ethnicity/whatever.

    Yes, there is. Am I proud of myself because most American Presidents were white males? Uh, no, because I’m not a moron.

    Should a black person be proud of himself because Clarence Thomas happens to be black? Is this even an adult line of questioning anymore?

  144. Mo – this Catholic thing is just getting stupid. If a Catholic doesn’t believe in God, he’s not a Catholic.

  145. “Again, this assumes that there is something inherently good and legitimate when one identifies with another based on a superficial characteristic.”

    Does it? Rather it distinguishes between a view that would like to see more justice and one that would like to see more injustice.

    The Latino who would like to see Latino representation in some underrepresented area is just hoping for justice, for a world where racism against their group has less negative effect than it currently does, the white who would like to see even more representation in an overrepresented area wants to see more injustice.

    This shouldn’t be so hard.

  146. Pro Libertate | May 26, 2009, 7:02pm |

    Sotomayor was not considered the best qualified jurist leading up to her nomination. She was picked for her gender and her ethnicity ahead of people who were better qualified.

    There really is no ‘best qualified’, is there, except as a matter of opinion or political persuasion?

    And given that she likely is qualified, as were all the others on the short list (and dozens more), is it so wrong to choose her, whatever the reason?

  147. There IS something wrong with a justice system that doesn’t represent the people it is doling out justice over.

    So, we’ll just pass a constitutional amendment that mandates that the justice system exactly reflect the given demographics of the United States. BOOM INSTANT JUSTICE!

  148. Lou Dobbs? What the fuck are you talking about, ChicagoTom? Lou Dobbs wants to stop people at the border based on the color of their skin, because “those” people don’t match “his” tribe.

    TAO, it’s the Lou Dobbs set that wants people to assimilate and forgo their ethnic identity. That seems to be your objection as well.

    You are bothered because she says “we” when talking about a group of people that she is part of.

    You are offended because, as a Hispanic, she dared to speak for Hispanic people.

    You call her racist for wanting a more Hispanics on the courts where they are currently under-represented.

    These are Lou Dobbsian ideas. The whole concept of throw away your ethnic identity is nonsense and bullshit.

  149. The Latino who would like to see Latino representation in some underrepresented area is just hoping for justice, for a world where racism against their group has less negative effect than it currently does, the white who would like to see even more representation in an overrepresented area wants to see more injustice.

    So, you’re basically saying that underrepresentation must be a product of injustice?

  150. TAO, we could do worse than having blacks being proud of Clarence Thomas being black.

  151. So, we’ll just pass a constitutional amendment that mandates that the justice system exactly reflect the given demographics of the United States. BOOM INSTANT JUSTICE!

    No, instead maybe we can appoint more qualified minorities to the positions that used to be reserved for connected white males.

    So here we are again, where I am trying to understand, if you aren’t just being a racist douche, what is the problem with a president exercising his discretion and wanting to appoint a qualified minority on the SCOTUS, when they are in fact under represented?

  152. For the record, one thing that’s a little odd about this particular situation is the idea that there is a group called “Hispanic.” Don’t say that to anyone in that “group”, because they are hardly monolithic. I guarantee that there are plenty of Americans of Mexican, Cuban, Colombian, etc. derivation who are pissed off that some Puerto Rican got the nod.

    Dr Duck,

    I only meant that there are people generally viewed as more qualified. I do not mean to suggest that she is not qualified enough to be nominated. Her experience as a judge on the Court of Appeals (for over a decade) is more than adequate to qualify her for the gig. In fact, I’ll even say that she should be confirmed, because the reason I would oppose her confirmation–she ain’t libertarian enough–doesn’t matter to the majority or minority parties. Taking that issue out of the mix, there’s no good reason not to confirm her that I’m aware of.

  153. I’m a racist because I don’t think people should be consider a priori qualified based on their race.

    We have gone through the looking glass here, Alice.

    You are offended because, as a Hispanic, she dared to speak for Hispanic people.

    So she does speak for Latinos? So I can safely assume that all Latinos believe as Sonia Sotomayor believes?

    Wait until I tell my Latino friends that I don’t have to engage them one-on-one anymore. SONIA SOTOMAYOR SPEAKS!

  154. Yes, there is. Am I proud of myself because most American Presidents were white males? Uh, no, because I’m not a moron.

    Do I revel in the fact that Greeks sired democracy? Absolutely I do.

    Does being Greek and having ties to all that history/culture seem like an advantage I have compared to many other people? Absolutely?

    Is that racist? Not in the least.

  155. “So, you’re basically saying that underrepresentation must be a product of injustice?”

    What do you think it is indicative of TAO?

    I mean, I asked you this upthread and don’t remember an answer: what do you think about the numbers she quoted, that in 2001 only 22% of federal judges were women? You know that 50% of the U.S. population were women at the time. So what the hell?

    Do you think this is a problem? More of a problem than a Hispanic woman hoping more Hispanics and women become judges?

  156. I’m a racist because I don’t think people should be consider a priori qualified based on their race.

    No, you are racist because you are assuming that the only reason a minority would be considered for the post is because of her race.

    it never even occurs to you that maybe she is qualified and that was the first consideration when making this pick.

  157. She may not speak FOR Hispanic women TAO, but she can speak AS a Hispanic woman. And there is something to that.

    I mean, one thing she can say she’s experienced that you and I cannot is that she has experienced being a Hispanic woman in a world where, for example, very few of the federal judges (or congresspersons, or governors, or CEO’s, etc) are Hispanic, women or both…

  158. MNG – it may be the case that a judiciary that does not reflect population statistics comes from injustice, but it is no remedy to promote a justice because they happen to belong to a race or gender that is *statistically* underrepresented.

    More of a problem than a Hispanic woman hoping more Hispanics and women become judges?

    Why would she hope this? Do all Latinos think like Sonia Sotomayor now?

  159. No, you are racist because you are assuming that the only reason a minority would be considered for the post is because of her race

    No. I am assuming that the first criteria from the Obama Administration with respect to filling this seat were “race and/or gender”. And the fact that the hot list was reflective of that bears me out.

    it never even occurs to you that maybe she is qualified and that was the first consideration when making this pick.

    Now who needs to come back to reality?

    She may not speak FOR Hispanic women TAO, but she can speak AS a Hispanic woman. And there is something to that.

    She can speak for herself and for herself only.

  160. So she does speak for Latinos? So I can safely assume that all Latinos believe as Sonia Sotomayor believes?

    Wait until I tell my Latino friends that I don’t have to engage them one-on-one anymore. SONIA SOTOMAYOR SPEAKS!

    Shorter TAO — no one can ever intelligently speak about the plight of a group unless 100% of the people in that group share the exact same view.

  161. FWIW, I agree with ProL. Sotomayor is qualified. She should be confirmed.

    However, she was picked because of identity politics.

  162. Howley, to hell with what she said, look at her record on 2A, and most recently on the Ricci decision. She is a disaster for the US because she does not obey the law.

  163. “No, you are racist because you are assuming that the only reason a minority would be considered for the post is because of her race.”

    Look, I don’t like her as a pick, not at all. But two things are clear:
    1. The woman is very qualified to be a SCOTUS judge (I think it was said that she has more appellate years than most of the current judges had when nominated)
    2. Being a Hispanic and a woman gave her advantages in this choice she would not have had if she were white or male

    I don’t like her having these advantages because of that, I mean, imagine you are a white appellate judge who would have been just as good, who worked hard and long in law school, at the bar, and as a judge to get that good, how much solace is it to you that your being passed over helped advance racial equality?

    But my outrage at his being passed over is certainly equalled by my outrage at figures like those she cited. It’s people that seem to find outrage only over one or the other that have me worried…

  164. no one can ever intelligently speak about the plight of a group unless 100% of the people in that group share the exact same view.

    Wrong again, ChiTom. You’re the one stating that she can speak on “behalf” of her race, solely based on the fact that she’s a member of that race.

    Racist.

  165. CT,

    I’m not even remotely racist, and I have a problem with that aspect of the appointment. From my perspective, the legal profession has become quite diversified, and unless a president intentionally imposes an identity-based bias to his selection process, we will, overall, have a more diverse Court. It doesn’t require adding an identity litmus test to make that happen, in other words.

    By the way, the Court has had a decent amount of diversity in recent years, with blacks, women, Hispanics, and other groups being represented. I imagine that appointing a woman is a much bigger deal from the identity politics angle of this than her being Hispanic, because, after all, about half of all lawyers are now women.

  166. No. I am assuming that the first criteria from the Obama Administration with respect to filling this seat were “race and/or gender”. And the fact that the hot list was reflective of that bears me out.

    No it doesn’t. This would only bear you out if the short list of people were unqualified.

    but it is no remedy to promote a justice because they happen to belong to a race or gender that is *statistically* underrepresented.

    And thank god, that isn’t happening here. Thank goodness that what is happening here is that the POTUS is looking for a qualified minority to promote rather than just any minority.

  167. “but it is no remedy to promote a justice because they happen to belong to a race or gender that is *statistically* underrepresented.”

    I agree here, but I think one cannot stop here, one must also support something to fight that statistical underrepresentation. Now, you’re a libertarian so you don’t want to support the things I would, such as educational assistance, anti-discrimination laws and enforcement of those laws, etc., I understand that (some people are just crazy or wrong ;)), but that still should not make you passive and accepting of those shitty statistics, because there is very likely some passing over of many individual Hispanics, women, etc., in many an individual situation going on to create that stat. I don’t know wtf libertarians can support to fight that kind of thing (one of my beefs with libertarianism actually, that it is so impotent in the face of so much injustice), but you should at least be outraged…

  168. Wrong again, ChiTom. You’re the one stating that she can speak on “behalf” of her race, solely based on the fact that she’s a member of that race.

    She can speak on behalf of whoever she wants. And people can draw their own conclusions.

    But the fact that it offends you so bad….that’s whats telling

  169. No it doesn’t. This would only bear you out if the short list of people were unqualified.

    Oh, so I am supposed to see race and/or gender inequalities when considering how to fill the spot, but once I see a certain trend with the hotlist, now I’m supposed to pretend that race and/or gender were not considerations?

    Have you lost your mind?

  170. And, as I said above, it just so happens that the person I’d appoint if I were president is a black woman. She was number 45 in my list of things I’d do as a libertarian president, in fact.

  171. So here we are again, where I am trying to understand, if you aren’t just being a racist douche, what is the problem with a president exercising his discretion and wanting to appoint a qualified minority on the SCOTUS, when they are in fact under represented?

    I want a qualified minority who at least pretends to understand and apply the constitution when deciding issues governed by said document… See Ricci!

  172. “a greater degree of fairness and integrity based on the reason of law”

    There isn’t supposed to be “fairness” in law. There’s justice and then there’s everything else.

  173. But the fact that it offends you so bad….that’s whats telling

    I’m offended because it’s tribalistic to state that you can speak on behalf of others just because you happen to share their skin color.

    Which is apparently somehow racist of me.

  174. MNG and ChicagoTom,

    While I don’t have a problem with making the courts representational, you are both skating close to a line you I don’t think you want to cross. Having qualified Latinos and other non-white races on the bench cannot be linked directly to whether or not justice can be served. If the idea that justice is only available by looking in the mirror, you’ve set up a multi-tiered justice system based-on race, gender, class… and chaos ensues.

    For example, a white guy like me could say that I could not receive a fair trial from a non-white judge and/or jury. And it would only be the supposed impossibility of non-white racism to stand in my way.

  175. “She can speak for herself and for herself only.”

    That’s silly. To the extent she has had shared experiences with others then she can speak for them, and as noted a bizziollion times upthread the fact that she is a Hispanic woman makes it statistically more likely she has shared experiences with other Hispanic women.

    And as I said, one thing she certainly can speak about, that you or I could not, is what it is like to be a woman, or Hispanic. And since our nation is currently legally fighting on several fronts to help women get greater equality in their experiences I can see where that would be relevant…

  176. “Cal Lipigian”:
    Wait, everyone hates Kerry now? Is she not hot now or something?

    Who’s asking? Is that you, Kerry?

  177. I’m not even remotely racist, and I have a problem with that aspect of the appointment. From my perspective, the legal profession has become quite diversified, and unless a president intentionally imposes an identity-based bias to his selection process, we will, overall, have a more diverse Court. It doesn’t require adding an identity litmus test to make that happen, in other words.

    ProLib,

    Here is where we differ.

    I believe that unless we make an effort to appoint more minorities in a system that is already very low on minorities, inertia will be too hard to stop and it won’t just naturally occur. Being a lawyer doesn’t get you anything when it comes to judicial appointments/elections. It’s all about who you know and what your network looks like. Judges aren’t appointed on merit. They are appointed becuase of ideology and how comfortable the appointer is to the appointee.

    And again….if she is qualified, I really don’t give a fuck who the president chooses. That’s one of the perks of being president. Getting to choose how you want to shape the court.

    It’s no more offensive for Obama to choose a liberal than it is too choose a woman or a hispanic — as long as all of those choices share one trait: that they are qualified.

  178. SugarFree – good point.

    To carry that out further, if it’s a fact that our justice system was unjust previously (and continues to be) because it did not, nor does it not, proportionately reflect current American demographics, does that mean all black, Latino and female prisoners should be able to get new trials?

    After all, their lack of representation must mean they didn’t get fair trials, right?

  179. SugarFree
    The way I want to get more Latinos, blacks, women, etc., on the bench is to have them be as educated, as brilliant, as competent, etc., as white males. Since I don’t think there is any inherent differences between those groups in ability that means working to change some of the structures and values that currently disadvantage them.

    But I think just picking members of that group, whether the best for the job or not, to get to that state, is counter-productive and wrong to boot.

  180. And again….if she is qualified, I really don’t give a fuck who the president chooses.

    Oh, good, then you wouldn’t care if a white guy advocated that the President choose a white guy because, you know, when one white guy succeeds, they all succeed…or something.

  181. Oh, so I am supposed to see race and/or gender inequalities when considering how to fill the spot, but once I see a certain trend with the hotlist, now I’m supposed to pretend that race and/or gender were not considerations?

    Are you playing dumb? I know you aren’t dumb. So stop playing dumb.

    NO ONE SAID GENDER/RACE WASN’T A CONSIDERATION.

    We are saying it wasn’t THE consideration, nor the primary one.

    You are implying that race/gender MUST have been the ONLY consideration because the list contains only minorities.

    Why is it wrong for the President to want to appoint a qualified minority to a position where they are under-represented?

  182. “After all, their lack of representation must mean they didn’t get fair trials, right?”

    I’m not sure how this is supposed to follow from anything I’ve said, but perhaps you are responding to something someone else said.

    While women and minorities can clearly add viewpoints and experiences at a greater statistical level than some other groups does not mean that in they are necessary to get the requisite viewpoints, experiences and abilities to work justice for all cannot be had.

  183. You are implying that race/gender MUST have been the ONLY consideration because the list contains only minorities.

    No again. I am saying that it was obviously a necessary, though not a sufficient, factor for choosing, and that’s a problem. The President basically said “OK, I need a minority or a woman…preferably both. Who is qualified that fits one or both of those criteria?”

  184. “Oh, good, then you wouldn’t care if a white guy advocated that the President choose a white guy because, you know, when one white guy succeeds, they all succeed…or something.”

    I’m confused as to why you keep missing the disctinction between hoping an underrepresented group becomes better represented (that is, hoping for a move towards less discrimination, barriers, etc., for the underrepresented group and more just results) and hoping an overrepresented group become even more represented…

  185. Oh, good, then you wouldn’t care if a white guy advocated that the President choose a white guy because, you know, when one white guy succeeds, they all succeed…or something.

    I would be offended if a white guy advocated an unqualified white guy. But if he advocated for a qualified white guy, then I wouldn’t care.

    Why do you keep ignoring qualifications?

  186. Why is it wrong for the President to want to appoint a qualified minority to a position where they are under-represented?

    Because race doesn’t matter.

  187. that is, hoping for a move towards less discrimination, barriers, etc., for the underrepresented group and more just results

    So, the more members of a certain race or gender group, the more just results?

    Like I say, it follows then that we should open the prison gates. Clearly minorities in prison right now were underrepresented in the criminal justice system and received something less than “justice”.

  188. I think a black guy that wanted to see even more black guys on the NBA All Star team is being pretty racist, but a white guy who wants to see more white guys on the same is not btw.

  189. The President basically said “OK, I need a minority or a woman…preferably both. Who is qualified that fits one or both of those criteria?”

    And that’s the problem because??????

    This would only be a problem if the answer was “We can’t find anyone qualified” and the Pres said “That’s ok…find me an unqualified one”

  190. ChiTom – that’s a problem because the first criteria should be “Who’s the most qualified?”

    As has been pointed out to you, even liberal legal scholars think this pick is a mistake for liberalism on the Court.

  191. Because race doesn’t matter.

    Says the white guy!

    Race SHOULDN’T matter.

    but it does. Race DOES matter and thats why there needs to be better representation of minorities in the courts.

    Or are you gonna tell me that the judicial system isn’t unfair to minorities ?

  192. Mindless tit-for-tats are so entertaining.

  193. What I want to really know is…..what does she think of Lincoln?

  194. Or are you gonna tell me that the judicial system isn’t unfair to minorities ?

    I’m telling you that appointing people because they match certain immutable birth criteria is fundamentally unjust.

    I am also telling you that appointing more people who happen to be black or Latino is not going to make the justice system more just to minorities. If it did, I expect you to support my constitutional Amendment about percentages.

  195. Again TAO, why were only 22% of women federal judges in 2001? Women don’t want to be judges? They can’t reason legally as well?

    Or are their barriers to women becoming judges that, while of course they do not effect every woman the, seem to hit women as a group more than men as a group (“on average”)?

    And wouldn’t you be happy, wouldn’t it be a more just world, if those barriers did not hit them in that way?

  196. There *were* barriers, MNG. It doesn’t follow that it’s a fix in someway to say “OK, who on the federal judiciary has a vagina? You, you do? Oh, good, appointing you will fix everything. You can speak for all women, right?”

  197. ChiTom – that’s a problem because the first criteria should be “Who’s the most qualified?”

    Dude — Ill say it agian…THIS ISN”T HIGHLANDER.

    There is no “most qualified”

    The first consideration always was qualification.

    It’s a given in the statement “find me the most qualified minority”

    He wanted a qualified minority. And that’s his right as president. And there is nothing wrong or unjust about that. In fact, i find it more than just, I find it necessary and a good idea.

    Let’s agree to disagree and leave it at that.

    And I am done….going home for the day.

  198. There is a most qualified, ChiTom. Sorry, but by definition, someone is better than somebody else. The SCOTUS should be staffed by the best, not the “good enough”.

  199. But you are mad about the barriers right, which have had these negative effects on so many individuals because they have vaginas? Outraged?

  200. “I am also telling you that appointing more people who happen to be black or Latino is not going to make the justice system more just to minorities.”

    I disagree here. Most people identify with racial and ethnic groups whether you do or not (though interestingly your view on race here seems to be one more commonly held by…well…young white males), and it certainly could not hurt minorities’ chances of getting more fair trials/punishments/etc for more of the judges, jury, prosecutors, etc., to be black.

    A great deal of the disparity in the CJ system has to do not so much differential treatment of blacks and whites but those pesky barriers I’ve spoken off hitting blacks more than whites.

  201. John:

    “He is white. He will never overcome that stigma.”

    HAHAHAHAAHHAHAA – I’m a white guy, 33, who grew up in America. Um, if things go poorly for us all then maybe you can say this in 20 years, but right now this just channels the most pathetically fucked up white racist pity party.

    Seriously, um, you can’t be this dumb.

  202. ” *were* barriers”

    Oh my dear Lord, I just noticed this “were.” You don’t think that there “are” currently barriers to women getting into positions of power?

    So there are no sexist bosses, teachers, guidance counselors, etc., that, through their interaction with individual women, work to create barriers to women being better represented in certain areas?

    The disparities certainly exist. WTF, do you think women just massively choose to not be federal judges or whatever, or that they have some inherent deficiencies in areas crucial to that field?

    Amazing.

  203. c’mon, ‘white male’ in her quote is clearly a stand-in phrase for ‘rich princeton fucktard’, and put that way who could disagree.

  204. You can dress that quote up and take it to the prom and spin in it any way you want but unless you speak English as a third language it is a racist statement.

  205. MNG, I think there is a strident, though narrow, streak of pc that informs TAOs views on race.

    TAO, I totally agree with you that just appointing more minorities will not make the legal system more just. In Sotomayor’s case, her judicial record would appear to have made the system less just for minorities.

  206. Chicago Tom said:
    “I am sure he [GWB] never even thought about nominating anyone but a white male. It was such a given he never had to say it.”

    Please tell me someone notices what’s wrong with this.

  207. ChicagoTom, way upthread @ 6:19, but I couldn’t let this pass:

    And this statement also doesn’t seem to me too bad a statement — i agree with the sentiment that an old white male who probably had connections hasn’t had to live in the same reality that minorities and even unconnected middle-lower class white males have had to deal with.

    Hey, I can agree with that sentiment too. That’s not what she said though.

  208. Just as happened when Obama’s “clinging to guns and religion” quote was made public, I suspect we*’re going to see a similar effort on the part of our liberal friends to “paraphrase” Ms Sotomayor’s quote to make it less objectionable.

    * sorry TAO, I couldn’t get around using this word… ­čśë

  209. The disparities certainly exist. WTF, do you think women just massively choose to not be federal judges or whatever, or that they have some inherent deficiencies in areas crucial to that field?

    Now, wait a minute, you’re arguing two different things. I am saying the nature of the federal judiciary (you have to be around a while to get on it) means that change is going to come more slowly to that institution than it will the market. So, while I am sure that the current number of 22% exists because of past institutional biases, I am not convinced that this will continue to be the case.

    When we hit a point where the number of females in the judiciary is 40%, I think it would be safe to say that the institutional barriers are gone (because there are certain, *ahem*, biological traits involved with women that cause them to be in the workforce less time than men).

  210. c’mon, ‘white male’ in her quote is clearly a stand-in phrase for ‘rich princeton fucktard’, and put that way who could disagree.

    So when the Ron Paul Survival Report used “black male” as a stand-in for “dangerous criminal”, that was OK too. right?

  211. Because race doesn’t matter.

    The problem with your colorblind society is the same one as with gun control. If everyone agreed to surrender their weapon it might be a viable concept.

    But they won’t. And as long as they won’t, surrendering yours is an act of lunacy.

  212. MNG, what the hell with all this women are so discriminated against crap?

    Instead of looking up at the number of Supreme Court judges why don’t you look down at the number of homeless?

    And yes women are not as careerist as men so it is not surprising that men and women are represented differently at the top.

  213. # – the problem is that I truly believe race doesn’t matter. For example, I have lots of friends of varying races and gender who are undoubtedly smarter than you. So take your racist babble and kindly fuck off.

  214. I don’t recollect that I said anything disparaging about anyone’s race. But whatever else, race is a social and political reality. If race doesn’t matter, why have you just spent the last 6 hours arguing about it?

  215. (maybe it’s Ivy League affirmative action???)

    That pretty much nails it. Also explains the direction of the court in the highly distorted manner Constitutional law has been interpreted though out our life time, ie. whose interest gets served.

  216. There is nothing inherently wrong with tribalism.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with being proud of your heritage/ethnicity/whatever.

    Until people come to accept that both these statements are utterly wrong (wishful thinking, to be sure) we will always have problems with racism.

    Tribalism is a vestige of evolution that served its purpose of survival at a time before the development of rational thought, intelligence and reason. The application of such prehistoric emotional baggage to modern society is the root of most evil.

    Further, the idea that you can be proud of something you had absolutely nothing to do with is absurd. Pride in your heritage is no different than pride in your race or in your eye color for that matter. It is most certainly inherently wrong even if most people still succumb to it in a vain and narcissistic attempt to feel a cheap sense of satisfaction and identity. It’s a way to make yourself feel good without having to actually exert any effort to actually do something good.

    And while you’re defending such an obnoxious notion, why not come out and be explicit instead of hiding behind “heritage/ethnicity/whatever” — whatever? Are you really saying that you don’t think it is inherently wrong to be proud of your race? Do you really want to claim that concepts like “white pride” are not inherently wrong?

  217. No, instead maybe we can appoint more qualified minorities to the positions that used to be reserved for connected white males.

    So here we are again, where I am trying to understand, if you aren’t just being a racist douche, what is the problem with a president exercising his discretion and wanting to appoint a qualified minority on the SCOTUS, when they are in fact under represented?

    The odds of a minority being qualified for the highest court in the US is next to nill.

    The distribution of the bell curve means that because of the difference in average intelligence between the races when it comes to law schools the proportion of qualified whites to qualified blacks is enormous. That’s why a defender of affirmative action admits that if law schools simply went by undergraduate GPA and LSAT scores statistics from one year show that almost 4/5 of blacks, 2/3 of Puerto Ricans and 1/2 of Mexicans and Native Americans admitted to law school wouldn’t have been accepted. Even Asians get a slight edge. Of those blacks who ended up going to law school only 8.9 percent belonged there. At the top sixth of law schools 17.5 times more blacks were admitted than would’ve been based on UGPA and SAT. That’s another reason why mentioning that there are smart blacks in discussions about affirmative action misses the point. It’s not just that a few are getting a break; if you meet a high status black and you assume that he got his position at the expense of a more qualified white or Asian the vast majority of the time you’ll be right. The further he’s gotten in life, the less likely he is to have earned it by merit.

  218. I gotta say that I am apathetic regarding the nomination of Sotomayor. From a libertarian perspective, I don’t think it mattered very much who was nominated. So I don’t think it is worth putting much effort into this.

  219. Dear Wise Latina,

    I have this problem where the transmission on my Dodge shadow keeps slipping when it’s overheated and I have to park and let the car cool before I can shift again. With your disparate life experiences granting you wisdom beyond what a white male like myself can obtain, could you help me fix my car?

    Signed,

    Stupid White Male

  220. However, I am happy to see the liberals on the board express so much interest that I receive representation on the Supreme Court.

    I’ll list those things that would most serve my interest on the Supreme Court. It is a grave injustice you have neglected my needs so far, but soon I hope the matter is rectified.

    1. Must be a strong believer in all aspects of the first amendment. Someone so radical that they would rule the FCC to be unconstitutional if given half a chance.

    2. The second amendment may carry a few ambiguities though most of those come from a misunderstanding of what the word ‘regulated’ meant in the 18th century, as opposed to in the modern hyper state. I’ll grant a little leeway in interpretation, however, just to be on the safe side, actual decisions would only go in the favor of the most libertarian interpretation of gun laws.

    3. Same goes for 3 through 9 in matter of interpertation, as well as the body of the Constitution that which most expansive to liberty and reigns in power should be the operative dynamic; commerce clause should be defined so narrowly that baby Jesus would cry, Feds should have no say in the marijuana laws of the states, and the justice in question should not ever be concerned what cocktail socialites in Georgetown might think if they took the 10th Amendment seriously.

    4. The candidate must have a Spanish surname. Without that, you can forget about 1 through 3, as my representation on the court would be a mere joke without this last qualification. The other matters are entirely frivolous in comparison.

  221. Okay….done with family time and the tikes are tucked in. Hey guys…what’d I miss?

  222. bleh, liquor and keyboarding don’t mix

    ‘Constitution that which is most expansive to liberty and reins in power . . .’

    and a few clumsy repetitions, here and there.

    Bogey for this course.

  223. This is where us conservatives and caucasians must make our stand. Activist minority judges with empathy ruling our land and our people will greatly reduce our power and put power in the hands of people who want to destroy American and all she stands for.

  224. *sigh* – why is it that belief in the ideal of a colorblind society comes with the hazard that you get surrounded by pseudowhitepower racist douches?

    Fuuuuuck.

  225. Howl silly jackals of the right, howl.

    When done, open your mind to the vastness of human experience of all sorts and the subtleties of reality as distinguished by a functioning non-blinkered soul.

    Your painted corner grows smaller as the echoing cocoon strengthens.

    Just sayin’ ….

  226. TAO–I think “Jim” is parody.

  227. This is where us conservatives and caucasians must make our stand.

    What do you mean ‘we’, Kemo Sabe?

  228. Sotomayor: Obama should replace entire administration with ‘Latina Women’

    http://wineandexcrement.com/sotomayor-obama-should-replace-entire-administration-with-%E2%80%98latina-women%E2%80%99/1445/

    Sotomayor: Obama should replace entire administration with ‘Latina Women’

    WASHINGTON – Although her nomination to the nation’s highest court is barely 24 hours old, Supreme Court hopeful Sonia Sotomayor is loudly and publicly demanding that the president not stop with his assist in her historic rise to the threshold of judicial all-stardom. In a tearful yet defiant press conference today, Sotomayor called on President […]

  229. “Raaaacist!”

  230. The game of identity politics and the courts is a pretty old story now.

    Obviously, there is political advantage in Obama choosing an Hispanic. It is a group that will likely drop in the level of support in 2012 and this nominee will certainly help him retain much of that support. He is not the first and wont be the last president to consider the electoral map in choosing for SCOTUS. Call me cynical, but the day an American Indian is nominated is the day I believe that equality had more to do with the decision making process than potential votes since there would be little political gain from that decision.

    However, Obama is no more guilty than previous presidents who were given a pass at playing this game, like Eisenhower. The courts didn’t really start to go to hell in a hand basket until the Irish got nominations.

    Brennen, anyone?

  231. What’s funny here is that, aside from me at the link I posted earlier, only “ProLibertate” – a tchatchki lawyer – realizes that Hispanics aren’t monolithic. No one at Reason and almost no one in the MSM realizes that or will admit it.

    P.S. See Sonia Sotomayor: affirmative action nominee for Supreme Court? for more on this topic. Note that Reason and most others will be completely helpless once the Dem counter-attack really begins.

  232. Stanley Krute | May 26, 2009, 10:24pm | #
    Howl silly jackals of the right, howl.

    When done, open your mind to the vastness of human experience of all sorts and the subtleties of reality as distinguished by a functioning non-blinkered soul.

    Your painted corner grows smaller as the echoing cocoon strengthens.

    Just sayin’ ….

    Dude, you are goofy.

  233. While I respect some folks’ legitimate concerns about certain specific opinions Sotomayor has written as a jurist and concede that her “wise Latina woman” comment betrays a worldview that is not commonly reflected in the white, male, or conservative populations of the U.S. (not that any of these groups are monolithic by any means), the “affirmation action nominee” meme is getting out of hand.

    First, let’s remember that all Supreme Court nominations are made via some form of affirmative action. There are many dozens of legal scholars, jurists, and professionals (from a wide variety of backgrounds) whose CV’s, by any objective measure, qualify them for consideration for an open seat on the Supreme Court. No common standard exists by which a “qualified” candidate can be identified as the “most qualified” candidate. The decision by a president, Democrat or Republican, to nominate a particular individual will inevitably take into account a whole host of political and demographic considerations. Regardless of your feelings about so-called identity politics, we will never discuss a potential nominee without reference to their gender, ethnicity, religion, etc. While being of a certain gender, ethnic background, or religious tradition does not make anyone more qualified than anyone else, it is naive to think that a president in either party will not take these traits into consideration when choosing among dozens of acceptable candidates. The mere fact that gender, ethnic background, and religion are considerations in ANY nomination means that every Supreme Court justice was an “affirmative action nominee” since no nomination decision is blind to these mutable and immutable traits.

    Second, say what you will about the political calculus of picking a Puerto Rican woman from the Bronx for SCOTUS, it is undeniable that the lived experiences of all Supreme Court justices have had some impact on their judicial outlook and career and that Sotomayor’s lived experiences differ substantially from any of the current Supreme Court justices. While it’s clearly impossible for the demographic make-up of SCOTUS to represent directly the varied lived experiences of the U.S. population and no one(including Sotomayor) can reasonably believe that a single person can ever represent the views of an entire gender, ethnicity, or religion, I hope we can agree that there is some value to having a Supreme Court made up of justices whose personal trajectories vary in substantial ways. Just because there is no “right” mix of people and experiences doesn’t mean that a mix of people and experiences is insignificant.

  234. But Kerry, when a judge says it’s impossible to put prejudices aside “in all or even in most cases,” how hard do you think she’ll try?

    She’s making excuses for being bad at her job.

  235. TO: Kerry Howley, et al.
    RE: Rank Contradiction

    First she says THIS….

    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. — Judge Sotomayor

    And then she says THIS….

    No one person, judge or nominee will speak in a female or people of color voice. — Judge Sotomayor

    She talks out of both sides of her mouth in the same speech.

    This woman is a racist and a sexist in the classic form.

    If you can’t recognize that, I suspect you have a touch of her problem as well.

    And to prove it, I suggest you reverse the race and gender in her first statement I quoted and see if you feel any different about the statement.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Where there is no religion, hypocrisy becomes good taste.]

  236. What’s wrong with you, Howley? Why can’t you see bullshit when you’re getting your nose rubbed in it?

  237. “When we hit a point where the number of females in the judiciary is 40%, I think it would be safe to say that the institutional barriers are gone”

    Since I’m going to assume you would like to see those barriers lifted because you are anti-sexism and anti-racism, then I can assume that you, like Sotomayer et al., are looking forward to that day, and that you, like them, think that moving toward that day (i.e., seeing that number move upward) is something you approve of (of course as long as it is not via the methods you disapprove of). So in effect, you too want to see more women, Hispanics, etc., on the bench…

    “why is it that belief in the ideal of a colorblind society comes with the hazard that you get surrounded by pseudowhitepower racist douches?”

    Because given history and the structural and cultural systems it has created (that exist today) acting like you don’t see color and gender, and demanding others act likewise, is to give support to the disparities in power those structural and cultural systems have created and fostered…Racists are stupid, they know the practical effects of this right wing “color blind” stuff, it’s you that seem not to…

  238. I meant to say “Racists are not stupid” (at least in this area)

  239. That comment has sort of an Imelda Marcos vibe, doesn’t it? (To name one example of a wise latina whom we would love to have governing us. Can anyone list others?)

  240. Howley doesn’t care about Sotomayor’s statement because she is not the target. If the comment was from a man and said “Men (of any race) make better jurists than women (of any race) for (any reason)”, then Howley would cry foul.

    Typical femminist with different rules for shes than hes.

  241. “This seems completely innocuous to me; being Hispanic in the United States means exposure to both a dominant and minority culture.”

    I’m surprised this statement has provoked so much opposition. Consider the experience of one person from a dominant culture and one from a minority culture, like a Hispanic child of parents whose native language is Spanish.

    Imagine the Hispanic child fails to learn English, and think about how big an impact that’s likely to have on his life.

    Now think about the child of a family whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower. He decides not to learn Spanish. Is that likely to make much difference in his life?

    There’s obviously far greater incentive and opportunity for exposure to the dominant culture by members of the minority than visa versa. That seems so obviously true to me it’s hard to understand how others don’t see the truth in it.

  242. jk – “The religious right might be happy to have Sotomayor on the supreme court.”

    Do you have any idea how ignorant and bigoted you are? I’ll stack my IQ and body of scientific work up against yours any day pal.

  243. “And I’d rather not cede common sense to the left.”

    Not to worry, they’d have no idea what to do with it.

  244. I wonder if Sotomayor has had the enriching experience of being in a race or class that constantly gets blamed by minorities of all types for every one of the minorities failings?

    Probably not.

  245. I sure wish I had the wisdom of a Latina. Curse this white skin, though! It makes me ignorant and war-loving while my propensity for dating other men makes me talk like a girl and worship Cyndi Lauper.

    *barf

  246. MNG – I’m in favor of lifting the barriers. I don’t care what happens after that. Everyone should have equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.

    And the other part of that, well, I was asking that rhetorically. I’m well aware that racists use fealty to colorblindness to their own ends. The problem is, is that it’s the morally correct position, whereas ChiTom’s love of tribalism is nothing more than Lefty Racism…i.e., the differing side of the same coin.

  247. Meh. Everyone’s experience is a little different. I have had the rich experience of old white ladies pulling their purses tighter when I walk by. I’m not complaining, mind you, I can keep it all in perspective. Look, let’s keep it all in perspective…and although I can see why many of you would object to Sotomayor’s wording or Howley’s article, how ’bout some perspective. In other words, don’t just write Howley, ChiTom or MNG.

  248. or write them *off*, even.

  249. ChiTom’s love of tribalism is nothing more than Lefty Racism…i.e., the differing side of the same coin.

    I agree, or I at least see where you’re coming from, and it’s bizarre how he turned it around on you — racist!

    R is the fucking scarlet letter these days…

  250. i agree with kerry that Sotomayor’s words are not unlibertarian. but those are just words.

    obama has used rhetoric too, often untruthfully, to get himself elected. he said he’s in favor of cutting taxes for 95% of the people. will that happen – of course not. just a ploy to appear moderate. i do not know everything sotomayor stands for, but i heartily disagree with her on reverse discrimination.

    i suspect her words too may be a ploy to seem moderate.

  251. R is the fucking scarlet letter these days…

    I agree with you, I think a lot of people throw the ‘r’ word around way too much.

  252. i suspect her words too may be a ploy to seem moderate.

    I’d say your cynicism and suspicion are warranted, given the political nature of her career arc.

  253. “ProLibertate” – a tchatchki lawyer

    I see a WitheredTaint in your future.

  254. I read in a magazine that the institutional disparity (in opportunity, advancement, test-taking) is due to self-deprecating, lowered expectations. There seems to be no middle ground. Your ethnicity can make you inferior or superior for whatever task. I think this (the previous sentence) is bullshit, but it will take some time for this polarity to fade away.

    Someday, in this nation, diversity will mean diversity of experience, not color of skin or type of genitals. A biologist friend assured me that race is a societal illusion and I believe them.

  255. Kerry seems to have interpreted Sotomayor’s statement as meaning that a “wise Latina woman” has been exposed to a greater number of segments or subcultures within our society than a white male would have been. I’m not comfortable with painting such a broad brush – and as a racial minority I’m also not totally comfortable with how much it reminds me of a lot of unthinking identity politics i’ve seen (you whites have never seen anything like it right?!)that can sometimes breed unhelpful resentment of white people – BUT, it’s a defensible point. To be a minority and come to a position of prestige and responsibility in a majority-dominated society, on merit, does mean that your life almost certainly reflects significant experience with both cultures, assuming that the differences between them are significant enough to be meaningful.

  256. Mo (May 26, 2009, 7:03pm) writes:
    “Are you just born Catholic?”

    “For the people mentioned [Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts], yes. They all were raised Catholic. None of them converted to Catholicism, AFAIK.”

    Not true: Clarence Thomas is a convert to Catholicism.

  257. “I’m in favor of lifting the barriers”

    No, you’re not, because you think the only barriers are laws that expressly prohibit women or minorities from doing x. But of course that is not the only thing that works to create these disparities. Inequalities in wealth, much of it built up during the times of explicit prohibitions on women and minorities cause some of it (making it harder to go to better schools, get tutoring for the LSAT, etc). Cultural systems, much of them created during the days of government prohibitions cause some of it (lack of role models in those positions; sexism/racism in hiring, loaning, and such; cultural expectations from parents, guidance counselors, teachers, etc., that send the message that certain positions are not for certain groups).

    See, those express government prohibitions were lifted quite some time ago, but the disparity is still there. So unless you think differential choices and preferences counts for all of it (which would be pretty far out, that women and minorities just massively choose to not seek positions of power nad prestige), or that there is some inferiority in capabilities then something other than those express prohibitions is causing a lot of that…

  258. Or maybe an over-representation of white males, and decided that the court would be better with a broader group of perspectives than a more narrow one?

    I don’t see how replacing a reliably liberal judge with another reliably liberal judge really results a broader group of perspectives.

    Not only is it irrelevant whether the jackboot on your neck is on the right foot or the left, it is irrelevant whether the jackboot is worn by a man or a woman. Or even a wise Latina.

  259. I thought Obama wanted “empathy” not just applying one’s own experience to every question. That sounds more like “subjectivity,” which is antithetical to the concept of fairness.

  260. (To name one example of a wise latina whom we would love to have governing us. Can anyone list others?)

    Eva Peron?

  261. Not only is it irrelevant whether the jackboot on your neck is on the right foot or the left, it is irrelevant whether the jackboot is worn by a man or a woman. Or even a wise Latina.

    Yes, true.

  262. 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. — Judge Sotomayor

    Sounds like just another female chauvinist bitch. Bow Wow

  263. Want examples of white people who are supposedly intelligent, but could use some real life experience? How about these quotes during the Hurricane Katrina mess:

    “What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (chuckle) this is working very well for them.” –Former First Lady Barbara Bush, on the hurricane evacuees at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 5, 2005

    “Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?” –House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX), to three young hurricane evacuees from New Orleans at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 9, 2005

    “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.” –Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA) to lobbyists, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal

    These are supposedly intelligent people, all of whom could use a major dose of enriching experience in the real world.

  264. MNG, Mad Max, Chicago Tom et al:

    I’m so sorry that I wasn’t here yesterday to bring my superior understanding of the issues involved in the Sotomayor nomination to bear on this discussion. Those of you who are white or male, please identify and recuse yourselves immediately. Without knowing whether or not you are white or male, how can I possibly assess the relevance of your own experience and thus the merit of your comments?

    It is unclear to me whether in your world my whiteness is a sufficient disqualifier unto itself, but surely my competency vagina-wise is a step above yours, if you happen to have been born with a penis, right? If I am to have any confidence in the justice meted out, however, your rules suggest that my representative on the bench should, in fact, be a white female. Other women of mixed parentage, of course, would require a half white/half x Justice, but I’ll leave you to suss out whether 9 Justices is a statistically sufficient number to cover all the necessary bases for Americans to invest their confidence in our judicial system.

    “what do you think about the numbers she quoted, that in 2001 only 22% of federal judges were women? You know that 50% of the U.S. population were women at the time.”

    If, as a woman, I end up in one of the white male halls of justice, I’m not sure how the other matriarchal 50% is supposed to be of any particular benefit to me. The idea that it must obviously make a difference does not fill me with confidence. When it comes to the highest court, I would certainly prefer to see one less woman on the SCOTUS panel, if I could replace RB Ginsberg with another John Roberts. As a woman, I am deeply offended by anyone who suggests that my stand on Constitutional issues might hinge in any possible way on my gender. As a woman, I similarly resent the hell out of those who automatically expect me to applaud the “historic” ascension of a creep like Nancy Pelosi to the speakership of the House. As an American, I am also perfectly willing to substitute male for female in every instance in this paragraph.

    The idea that feminine or hispanic empathy should lead to a different legal or constitutional result, and the kneejerk assumption that the preponderance of white men on the Supreme Court necessarily does just that, are dangerously misguided. The concept of counteracting bias with bias on the bench fundamentally, and perversely, denies the universality of Constitutional principles. It relies on what I call that the fallacy of the false middle ground, and it is depressingly ubiquitous.

    I am appalled at Sotomayor’s role in Ricci. The presumption that my objection to that decision, could be legitimately associated with my race or gender, regardless of the legal argument I might make against it, is an outrage.

  265. Hey, LFC, no time to chat now, but I just called to say I need my sitcom theme back. Stupid White Men, yeah, you have it?

    What, you didn’t realize you took it from me, thought you came up with it all by your lonesome?

    You have never seen network television? Are you Amish, or something? Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to disparage your people.

    Just give me my theme back, and we’ll call it square.

  266. With apologies to Mad Max, I meant max hats above.

  267. Her comment wasn’t racist, it’s just grossly lacking in self-awareness. To some extent, everyone thinks that their experiences are more meaningful and profound than those of other people. To survive as a human being, you more or less have to, or else why get out of bed in the morning.

    But most of us eventually develop enough self-awareness by the time we’re 30, where we realize that it’s a convenient con we use to motivate ourselves, and that for the most part we go through a surprisingly similar set of experiences as most everyone else. There’s quite obviously nothing wrong with being black, latina, a woman or gay, but ultimately there’s nothing any more special or remarkable about being those things than there is special about not being those things.

  268. The fact that some people in the world distinguish races in the world means that races exist, just like God “exists” because there are believers in the concept of God.

    So race is a religion now? If so, somebody please sign me up to be a “race atheist.” It’s time to close this church down.

    It blows my mind that anyone would base his/her entire identity on a superficial physical characteristic, ignoring the vast majority of things that all people have in common. (And how did it end up being skin color in the first place? Why not hair or eye color? The idea of any of these things defining somebody is ridiculous on all counts.)

    And sure, some people will be lazy and hide behind history, saying, “Well, our ancestors started it.” But I say this: Our ancestors were idiots! And there’s no reason to continue their idiocy for centuries to come. Let’s work on the things that unite us, rather than those that drive us apart.

    My take on racial identity politics can be summed up in a single conversation I heard in college, between two of my friends: Brian (a white guy from Alaska who grew up mostly around other white people) and Tony (a black guy from the South Side of Chicago, who moved to the suburbs of Dallas for high school–where one of his classmates was Vanilla Ice, but I digress). It was right about the time when the term “African-American” first came into vogue, and the conversation went like this:

    BRIAN: So which do you prefer to be called, black or African-American?
    TONY: Well, to be totally honest with you, I really prefer to be called Tony.

    Game over. End of story. I know this may sound trite in some circles, but the only race we need to be concentrating on is the human race. Racial identity politics must go; it’s the individual who’s important. Sure, you can’t make too much political hay out of individual identities, but I consider that a feature, not a bug.

  269. I think this comment on The Volokh Conspiracy is a good response to your argument Kerry,

    Rich Rostrom (mail):
    When someone says “X is good – but really it’s impossible” and then waxes eloquent about anti-X, I take that first statement as lip service.

    For instance, there is a famous 1856 letter by Robert E. Lee in which he opined that “slavery as an institution is a moral &political evil.” That passage is often cited by Confederate apologists as evidence that Lee was anti-slavery. This ignores the rest of the letter, in which Lee firmly states his opposition to ending slavery in less than a few hundred years, expounds the benefits of slavery to blacks, and vehemently denounces abolitionism.

    The parallel to Sotomayor is clear. She makes a token gesture toward judicial impartiality, which is little more than a platitude – then rejects it as an impossibility, and goes on to suggest that it is beneficial for judges to let their personal experiences influence their decisions.

    As with Lee, it’s pretty clear where the real feeling lies.

    http://volokh.com/posts/1243454809.shtml#591613

    Also see Ilya’s own responses –
    Here
    http://volokh.com/posts/1243454809.shtml#591314

    and
    here
    http://volokh.com/posts/1243483882.shtml

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.