Sunday, June 7, 2009

Republican Playing the Race Card???

This whole new exciting world of Supreme Court confirmation hearings that are not yet even begun has once again demonstrated that the Court is a product of political ideology, not judicial vision or qualifications. Things have gone so far this time that we are seeing Sonia Sotomayor being called a racist, bigot, and lots of other things for suggesting that race/ethnicity and gender play a role in the decisions made by quarts. I love the way politics works in this country where everyone decides to dance around the truth and where the truth becomes "politically incorrect." In reality, race and gender play a role in how people see the world. Racial bias has existed and still exists, people are not judged based on the content of their character. We have 7 white male members of the Supreme Court and Republicans have the gall to say that there is significant discrimination against white men. The reality is that as long as a society is structurally biased toward someone based upon his race and gender, then policies designed to encourage the consideration of qualified minorities are necessary. The claim the Mrs. Sotomayor is an affirmative action pick is probably at least partially true. That said, I think it demonstrates the value of such a program. She was examined because she was a women and Obama wanted another women on the court. She potentially was picked in part because she is Latina. That said, she is also extremely qualified. The current smear campaign is similar to the Swift Boat ads against Kerry, people making stuff up to scare people into voting against her.

I am extremely frustrated with everything right now as I watch a biased court push for a more unequal and segregated society. The sooner it is realized that we have inherent biases, the sooner we will work them out. The idea that someone can grow up in the projects, attend Princeton, graduate Summa cum Laude, become a Judge, and be nominated for the Supreme Court is the ultimate American Dream story and I am sick and tired of hearing conservatives whine about how no white male was considered. They are still living in a time when diversity was thought to not matter, where segregation was considered good and desirable, and where all that was socially acceptable. People like Jeff Sessions were racist before and are racist now (he was not allowed to become a judge for this reason). Hearing the absurdity of the claim that white men need affirmative action when so much already goes our way: we get paid more, we get better mortgage rates, we go to prison less frequently per capita, the list goes on. Inequality of opportunity exists but we are too deaf, dumb, and opposed to recognizing fundamental contradictions in American society that are being brought out by this confirmation.



    Here is a good article about Sotomayor...I am really sick of hearing Republicans whine. This is a good and clear response.

  2. it's particularly annoying given her qualifications. there would be no question if it weren't for her Latina female status...

  3. I find it truly dsappointing that the double-standard you just mentioned is not being talked about...instead we all focus on her comments rather than those of her detractors.

  4. Politics in DC is a game that is played with considerable energy by all sides. There are two old sayings that apply here, First, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander and second, what goes around, comes around. To claim that Republican opposition to Sotomayor is "racist" after the utterly disgusting behaviour of Senate Democrats in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings is fatuous in the best of lights and deliberate disinformation in the worst.

    From what I've read of Sotomayor, it strikes me that had she not been hispanic she'd have never been nominated for the appeals court, never mind to the Supremes.

    For me, this is Obama's very own "Harriet Miers" moment. Presidents don't regularly have to nominate Supreme Court justices. Bush and his inner circle clearly didn't do their homework with the Miers nomination. It is pretty clear that Obama has behaved with similar clumsiness with the Sotomayor nomination.

    That's she's had her opinions reversed around 75% of the time by the Supreme Court in the 15-odd years she's been on the appeals court should have caught somebody's attention and raised a red flag in the White House during the selection process.

    There are plenty of qualified liberal judges out there and I am sure that this many years after 1965 there are more than a few hispanic ones. Sotomayor's just not one of them.

  5. First a clarification. By "playing the race card" I am referring to the pundits like Limbaugh talking about how white men needed affirmative action and how they were decrying Sotomayor as racist when she is nothing of the sort even if she does believe that race and ethnicity play a role in how people see the world (I do as well).

    Second, I would very much like to know who you have been reading to say that she is unqualified. In my mind there is no doubt she is qualified and it is only because people are smearing her as an affirmative action pick that she gets the label of unqualified. Her opinions being reversed by the Supremes also have nothing to do with qualifications since they have been dominated by conservatives since the first Bush administration (by the way, I do not know much about the Thomas confirmation other than that he was accused of sexual harrassment and was basically a pick to replace Marschall. Also, I think he does a terrible job as a justice and I am disgusted with him, Alito, and Scalia, all of whom I view as idealogues of politics before justice).

    I am frustrated that people keep calling her unqualified without reason. Articles from good news sources and comments from colleagues have generally been positive even if the occassional law clerk did not like her. To be reasonable with this, I think she is extremely well qualified at least by her resume, and she deserves consideration along with others. Unless there is good evidence for calling her unqualified, I take the support of former colleagues, her academic and professional record, and the vehemence with which the conservatives attack her all to prove otherwise.

  6. "good news sources"

    like for instance?

  7. Oh yeah... on the "unqualified" thingy. Hit a nerve, did I?