28 May 2009

Sonia Sotomayor's "racist quote"

Here is the full quote from Sonia Sotomayor, a snippet of which is being vomited all over the media, as part of the Right's smear campaign against this highly qualified woman:

Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.  Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases.  I am not so sure Justice O’Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle.  I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement.  First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise.  Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society.  Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case.  I, like Professor Carter, believe 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.  Many are so capable.  As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.

However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give.  For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others.  Other simply do not care.  Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.  My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar.  I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging.  But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.

Huh!  You know, in context...you mean...oh, she wasn't saying what the Right says she was saying at all, was she?

You mean right-wing talkers are unabashed liars, down to a person?

You don't say.

And to anyone who would say a word about Sotomayor's qualifications, I can only point out:

1.  More experience than any Supreme Court Justice from the last, oh, 100 years.
2.  Her actual rate of cases overturned is 3 out of 3,000 cases she adjudicated.  So, um, sorry, that whole "high reversal rate" thing is a big fat lie, too.  By another metric, her reversal rate, taking into account only cases in which she ruled AND the Supreme Court heard an appeal, is 60%.  The average reversal rate for the cases the Supreme Court hears?  Over 70%.  Wait, hey, that means...Sotomayor is better than the average justice out there.  Huh!  Of course, that falls squarely into "Meaningless Right Wing Talking Point" territory anyway, since I guarantee that most people spouting off about Judge Sotomayor's reversal rate have no clue why she was reversed, when she was.  More on this reversal business here, including the fact that, surprise, this lie seems to have come from the Reverend Moon's Moonie Washington Times.  Why does the Right love that Moonie paper so much?  I've always found that so bizarre.
3.  You're talking about qualifications...have you freaks forgotten Harriet Miers?  Seriously?  You people really do rant and drool at whatever your overlords plug into the Two Minutes Hate, don't you?


You can read the full speech at the above link.



  1. I'm so glad you started up again :)

    Oskar (formerly Lance G)

  2. Margaret Cho for the gay guys...

  3. You mean right-wing talkers are unabashed liars, down to a person?

    Not all of them, but a lot of them. This whole brouhaha is sick, really. I wonder how strong the correlation is between racism and being a member of the GOP. Sometimes ya wonder.

  4. There's no smart argument against her, so they go for the dumb one. As usual.

    I forget now who it was, but someone interviewed on Democracy Now pointed out that both parties use confirmation hearings as a prime fundraising opportunity, either a "help us defeat so-and-so" or a "help us defeat the naysayers" campaign. What should really be a straightforward nomination turns into a circus to help fill up the party funds.