The Sotomayor QUESTION

Patrick J. Buchanan called Sonia Sotomayor a “Quota Queen for the Court.” Newt Gingrich called her a racist, then backed off; of course, Newt also said, “No group has benefited more from impartial justice than the less fortunate.”

Her controversial quote: “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.”

My initial reaction was well, a non-reaction. I knew what she meant. When people who are the “other” in this society succeed, they’ve often learned to navigate both the majority culture as well as their own. For instance, I know there are things that I don’t have to endure because I’m a male. I don’t always know what they are, but I surely know they exist.

Lanny J. Davis in the Washington Times makes the case that in the “3,000 decisions in which Judge Sotomayor participated and the more than 400 opinions that she signed during her 12 years on the appeals court…in case-after-case, she has voted based on applying the law to the facts — even where the result is contrary to the expected ‘liberal’ ideological position…” He says further, “As to Judge Sotomayor’s statement…: The obvious answer is to view the statement in the broader context of what she meant — similar to what Judge Samuel A. Alito said during his confirmation hearings, i.e., that his background coming from an immigrant family would inevitably be ‘taken into account’ as he made his judicial decisions.”

So her “controversial” remark bothered me not at all. The use of the word “better” will be written off as a gaffe, which, politically, it was. She appears to be well-qualified and I imagine she’ll be confirmed.

But that’s what I think. What says you?


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