President Barack Obama’s nominee to the U. S. Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, is under attack by three lunatics to the right of the fringe right of the Republican Party for comments she made during a speech during a 2001 lecture at the University of California-Berkeley.
Referring to former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's saying that "a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases," Judge Sotomayor said, "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."
Because of this statement, the “three horsemen of the loony right,” Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are calling her a racist and are demanding that she withdraw her name from consideration for the nation’s highest court.
Judge Sotomayor will make history if she is appointed to the High Court; she is the first Latino(a) to be nominated for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Most importantly, she comes with impeccable qualifications.
She was the first American of Puerto Rican descent to be appointed to the Federal bench in New York. Appointed a federal judge at the ripe-old-age of 38, Sotomayor chose public service over the luxurious life of a commercial litigator.
After only two and half years on the U.S. District Court, according to an April 1, 2009, New York Times article, Judge Sotomayor had “earned a reputation as a sharp, outspoken and fearless jurist, someone who does not let powerful interests bully, rush or cow her into a decision."
"She's tough and tenacious as well as smart," said Justice Jose A. Cabranes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, a mentor and former professor of Sotomayor's at Yale Law School. "She is not intimidated or overwhelmed by the eminence or power or prestige of any party, or indeed of the media."
Her story is quite amazing given the fact that she grew up in a single parented household – her father died when she was 9 years old – in a housing project in the South Bronx in New York City.
That Newt, Rush and Coulter actually have the nerve to level such an absurd charge at Sotomayor is amazing. The loony horsemen ought to be ashamed of themselves.
Talk about the “pot calling the kettle a racist!”
Here is just a small sample of some of the toxic, hateful and racist statements that have come out of the mouths of these “three hatemongers:”
-- Ranted against Muslims: "I think our motto should be post-9-11, 'raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.'"
-- Bill Clinton "was a very good rapist."
-- Attacked the religion of Islam: "Islam is "a car-burning cult."
-- Told an African-American caller to his show to "take that bone out of your nose."
-- Resigned his position on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown pregame show after saying the media rooted for Donovan McNabb because he is black: "I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team." He later argued that the media rooted against Rex Grossman because he is white.
-- Made disparaging remarks about Nelson Mandela and argued that we should not have replaced the white government in South Africa: "…and you go into South Africa, you get rid of the white government there. You put sanctions on them. You stand behind Nelson Mandela – who was bankrolled by communists for a time, had the support of certain communist leaders…"
-- Ranted against bilingual education: “The American people believe English should be the official language of the government. … We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto.
-- Attacked gay activists: "Look, I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants impose its will on the rest of us. It is prepared to use violence, to use harassment… I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion. And I think if you believe in historic Christianity, you have to confront the fact, and frankly for that matter if you believe in the historic version of Islam or the historic version of Judaism, you have to confront the reality that the secular extremists are determined to impose on you acceptance of a series of values that are antithetical, they’re the opposite of what you’re taught in Sunday school."
It is clear who the real bigots are. And, Newt, Rush and Coulter are unapologetic about their racism, homophobia, xenophobia and other various prejudices.
Sotomayor is no bigot. She was very clear about what she meant during that 2001 Berkeley lecture:
"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. Others 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."
That is not the ranting and raving of a racist. That is someone who understands the value of having diverse voices at the table.
Now, Judge Sotomayor is not the kind of progressive jurist that I would like to see appointed to the High Court. Based on what I have read about her, like the President, she is a "play it safe" moderate. But, to accuse her of being a racist is just plain wrong.
If Sotomayor is appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, let us all hope that her experience of growing up in the projects in the South Bronx of New York will allow her to bring a level of sensitivity – about the needs and interest of the poor, the working and middle-classes, and people of color – that is noticeably absent from most of the judges that sit on the current Court.