Archive for Thursday, July 16, 2009

’Wise Latinas’ say Sotomayor need not apologize

July 16, 2009


Sotomayor sidesteps on abortion, guns in grilling

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor determinedly sidestepped volleys of Republican questions on abortion and gun rights Wednesday, keeping her demeanor cool and her opinions mostly private as she neared the end of a marathon Senate grilling on the road to all but sure confirmation.

After two long days of questioning by Judiciary Committee senators, Sotomayor had yet to make a slip — certainly not the gaffe that even Republicans concede would be necessary to derail her nomination to be the first Hispanic and third woman to serve on the high court. She was due back for still more questioning on Thursday.

The appeals court judge, 55, avoided weighing in on any major issue that could come before her as a justice, instead using legal doctrine, carefully worded deflections and even humor to ward off efforts to pin her down.

Appearing more at ease in the witness chair, Sotomayor defused a tense exchange on gun rights by joking about shooting a GOP critic and charmed Democratic supporters with nostalgic praise for fictional attorney Perry Mason.

Republicans, frustrated in their attempts to undercut President Barack Obama’s first high court choice, said they were still worried Sotomayor would bring bias and a political agenda to the bench.

They are Latinas, women of accomplishment, experience — and what might even be called wisdom. And they say there is no reason for Sonia Sotomayor to apologize for suggesting that they might bring special insight to the pursuit of justice.

“Her background will only strengthen the court,” said Teresa Puente, an assistant journalism professor at Columbia College in Chicago and the editor and founder of Latina Voices. “She’s had to apologize for her statements, and I don’t think she should have to.”

Puente and other Hispanic women interviewed around the country said they were troubled by the underlying themes of the questions from white, male senators at hearings on Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

The judge’s speeches — for example, when she said a “wise Latina” might reach a better decision than a white man — have been grist for Republican criticisms. Senators have repeatedly questioned her impartiality and whether she would allow ethnic identification to trump the law.

The novelist and poet Julia Alvarez said in an e-mail that a white man with impeccable credentials like Sotomayor’s doesn’t have to cite his background because it’s the “default” experience, which society has always assumed is the right and impartial one.

“So, if someone like Sotomayor makes a claim for her own background and gender and ethnicity and age and endurance as ‘credentials’ that allow her to access certain ways of seeing a legal issue, everyone raises the outcry of BIAS BIAS BIAS!” said Alvarez, whose parents were born in the Dominican Republic.

“There is a presumption that if you’re white and if you’re male, neither of these things inform your life, but if you are of color or a woman, somehow that is your defining trait,” said Lisa Garcia Bedolla, a professor of social and cultural studies at the University of California-Berkeley.

“What I find troubling is people of color and women are the only ones being asked those questions,” said Garcia Bedolla, who was born in the United States to Cuban parents.

Justice may be blind, but justices are human, each with their own experiences, virtues and philosophies. “We’re not robots,” Sotomayor told the senators.

Said Puente: “She’s trying to say she’s coming from a different background, and that gives you different insights and can help the group as a whole come up with different conclusions because you have more viewpoints to consider.”

The experience of growing up in a poor Puerto Rican family in the Bronx will inevitably shape Sotomayor’s work, the Latinas agreed.

Elizabeth Quintero, owner of a Philadelphia school that teaches Spanish, was born in Colombia. She put herself in Sotomayor’s shoes: “I can see things in the most fair way, because I know what the struggles of people are like.

“That doesn’t mean I’ll be unfair to the other. It means I know all the sides, the good sides and the bad sides, and it will make me see them both more fairly.”

“Somehow in the America of 2009 it would not look right or be right to have nine Supreme Court justices who have the same background,” said Ana Navarro, a Nicaraguan-American who served as a senior adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign.

“You’d like to think that having diversity in the court makes it a better entity but at the same time does not in any way affect the delivery of justice,” she said. “Would we want to see nine white men debating abortion? Probably not. I think most women feel better knowing there’s going to be a couple of women on there hearing those issues. I think in a country as diverse as ours, where we live in a democracy, it is important.”

Rossana Rosado, publisher and CEO of the Spanish-language newspaper El Diario La Prensa in New York, said the senators seem to be stumbling over something that is obvious to her.

“When you walk into the room and you’re a white male, you get a different reaction than if you’re a Latina woman or a black woman,” said Rosado.

“You have all these Southern senators having to deal with an incredibly wise Latina, and it’s amusing to see them bringing up this issue in all these different ways, and what they seem to be saying is, ‘Is she going to be impartial?’

“Judges aren’t machines. Sonia Sotomayor is wearing pink under her black jacket. She wears hoops as well as well as pearls,” Rosado said, referring to fashion choices that are often popular among Latina women.

“She’s quite elegant in saying that we bring all that, but in the moment, ‘I will do what the law will demand.’”


Maddy Griffin 8 years, 8 months ago

No she doesn't! That's what makes her a "Wise Latina". I stand with Sotomayor!!

situveux1 8 years, 8 months ago

She said she would come to a "better" decision than a white male. Not different, "better."

I always thought the law was supposed to be blind. If so, why would a Latina come to a "better" conclusion than a white, or a black or a green man?

Suggesting that life experience somehow changes how a law should be applied implies that judges make law, which is something she emphatically denies happens now.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 8 months ago

the question is; Does she feel that there are any times when a white male would come to a better conclusion on any case given their race / sex? I think the answer should be yes if she wants to get a pass on her statement. And I think I'd like to have some examples. Then I'd like for her to explain why a white male would have given a better ruling than a Latina woman, or a black man, or an Asian transvestite.

beatrice 8 years, 8 months ago

As barrypenders just demonstrated, some people will never understand, even when the situation is explained to them. No, he is part of that poor, poor victim class of white men in America. Pity the white men, for their reign is coming to an end and they just don't know how to cope with the modern world.

Maybe we could set land aside to let the white men live without having to deal with the burdens of diversity. (sarcasm, by the way)

gogoplata 8 years, 8 months ago

I love the smell of racism in the afternoon.

MeAndFannieLou 8 years, 8 months ago

RUNrml - a good argument for diversity on the supreme court! I think Sotomayor may have intended just that when she made the statment that the GOP has since taken out of context and used over and over. She could have said it much better, for sure, but I think that was very likely what she was driving at.

Of course, she doesn't dare try to make a case for diversity during her hearings, since "diversity" is now such a loaded and negative word (I could just hear it now, "so, do you think we ought to set QUOTAS?!"), although I for one think that such diversity is very important.

tom_bodett 8 years, 8 months ago

What if a white woman made the same remark about referring to the white race. There would be an outrage and she would be labeled a racist! We have Black entertainment television, Black History Month, Martin Luther King Day etc. Why not have White History Month, and White Entertainment TV? Because if we did we would be racist....right?

MeAndFannieLou 8 years, 8 months ago

Yeah! We don't get enough white history in the standard textbooks, and the entertainment industry completely ignores the white demographic!

What. Ever.

puddleglum 8 years, 8 months ago

can somebody tell me what makes her so wise? is it because she grew up in a so-called depressed neighborhood? at least she had running water. c'mon, lets face it-she wants to "get even" with whitey. it is so obvious

jumpin_catfish 8 years, 8 months ago

For me to call someone else wise is one thing but to call one's self wise seems arrogant at the least.

monkeyspunk 8 years, 8 months ago



which is worse, Al Franken at a judicial hearing or Peter Hoekstra, a Republican Representative suggesting that we should retaliate against the N. Koreans for their cyber attack against our websites. His suggestion, which would be ILLEGAL, was also made after experts had tracked a likely origin of the attack to the UK.

Let's see, funny in the hearing....or World War III?

jaywalker 8 years, 8 months ago

It was a bad sentence, but it was ONE sentence. There's no doubt if the roles were reversed and a white man was in her place he wouldn't have gotten this far. But for the time being that's the price we pay. If you're white and thought like I did that things like the Imus affair, the Golf channel broadcaster getting suspended for the 'lynch' remark, the football coach gettin' fired for saying his team needed more african-americans on the squad........if you thought to yourself that these things were blown way out of proportion an pc-ness was gettin' carried too far........well then, this is made from the same cloth. Making this big a stink over something so slight and generally inconsequential is a waste of time and rhetoric, and does little for the right except solidify the Aryan Nation vote who's lookin' to prop up the Us vs.Them fight. I for one long for the day when no one plays the victim or race card. White people playing the victim ain't gonna make that happen.

jaywalker 8 years, 8 months ago

"I'm not frickin' stupid."

All evidence to the contrary. It's the epitome of stupidity to keep going back to the Limbaugh/dittohead well simply because someone has a contrary opinion.

"there are many demographics in America who would make better decisions than they would on the Supreme Court."

Couldn't you have generalized with just a tad broader brush?

"Dittoheads would do themselves a favor by not appearing to be so racist."

Ah. So everyone that listens to Limbaugh is racist. Nope, you're not 'frickin stupid' at all.

Godot 8 years, 8 months ago

Stuart Smalley asks Sotomayor about Perry Mason episodes in a Supreme Court confirmation hearing, and she actually takes the question seriously.

This is the best the left has to offer. They have nothing else. Give them a break. They are intellectually and morally verklempft.

jaywalker 8 years, 8 months ago

pp blathers: "You take a statement meant to encourage non-white, non-males to aspire to the bench and turn it into some racist statement. Such dishonesty"

The only thing dishonest here is you posing as someone who knows what he's babbling about. Please prove the above assertion that I've done any such thing or quit making shiitake mushrooms up.

The rest of that post is more of the same from you; unintelligent, redundant yammering. Lay off the meds. I've done nothing but back Sotomayor and criticize the Republicans.

But this..... "How dare a racist withstand being called a racist because his “contrary opinion” is racist."

First of all, ...."How dare a racist "withstand" being called a racist"......????? Is that supposed to mean something? 'Cuz it doesn't. Second, and again, quit makin' shinola up. Cite my "racist contrary opinion" or go duck yourself, know what I mean?

jumpin_catfish 8 years, 8 months ago

She's a liberal, picked by a liberal and will be conformed. Here's the deal after a little over 5 months of the Obamanator have you had enough? I have!

jaywalker 8 years, 8 months ago



You've been challenged to prove two blatant lies. I don't know what you 'think' your response was supposed to rebutt, but it certainly wasn't relevant to even one of your bs assertions, nor were the two quotes contextually relevant in regards to each other. You can 'try' again, but you'd be better off skipping ahead to the very end of my 6:17 post.

MeAndFannieLou 8 years, 8 months ago

"Senora Jefe El Magistrada Sotomayor quite clearly stated that she hoped that a “wise Latina” [with the richness of her experiences] would [more often than not] come up with better decisions [reach a better decision] that a white male [who hasn't lived that life]...."

But go ahead and keep spinning it whatever way works for you to stoke your righteous indignation.

Jcjayhawk1 8 years, 8 months ago

Is a woman able to meet a quicker decision on abortion than a man? Is this question in any way similar?

puddleglum 8 years, 8 months ago

Someone get rid of this racist bigoted nomination.
Please. find someone else to nominate

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 8 months ago

Judge Sonia Sotomayor will do a superb job on the Supreme Court. There is just as much racism in this country as there was when Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus. The only thing that has changed is that certain legalities have to be observed. As the mother of a black child, that is all I would ask, you don't have to like us, understand us, accept us. Just obey the law. No matter how racially diverse the workplace has become that has rarely extended to the social. I think that Judge Sotomayor has seen how emotion drives racism and bad decisions and so will make a wise and impartial judge. She will go by the Constitution and the law.

jaywalker 8 years, 8 months ago

Well, today I heard the audio from Rayburn's question, and that was a tad annoying and disconcerting. She was asked strictly for her opinion on whether or not citizens had a right to self-defense and she just wouldn't answer. She kept trying to recall SCOTUS precedent and state decisions, and didn't remember the DC vs. Heller case that set the standard last year. He reiterated that he was just asking for her personal opinion and it was crickets and hums and haws.
That was the only part of the two days that nettled me from her side.

jaywalker 8 years, 8 months ago

It's like attempting to debate a seven year old, Marion, and just as pointless. I think it was Clarence Darrow who said "You can't win an argument with an ignorant man."

RiverCityConservative 8 years, 8 months ago

Hope they hold the full Senate vote and make it official asap. It's going to be wonderful to have Sonia Sotomayor on the Supreme Court. I believe she will have a gentle and reasoning influence on their deliberations.

jaywalker 8 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, pp, even you can cut and paste. Doing so intelligently and in actual support of baseless claims is obviously beyond your realm, however. Any fool can make crap up like you do and then 'support' it with nothing. Allow me to demonstrate your m.o.:

Your kind of ridiculous assertion: "Porchie said Sotomayor likes porn movies"

PP: "No I didn't, prove it!"

Your kind of ludicrous 'proof': "“Conformed” means that Sotomayor will like the same movies everyone else in Washington likes."

Ignorant, seven year old tag line: (laughter)

That pretty much sums up the heighth of your particular 'brilliance', porch.

jaywalker 8 years, 8 months ago

Like I said........ ignorant. How do you figure that statement you've now cited twice, without the ability to justify in your own words, is "racist"? And how do you 'think' that second quote ties into anything? Funny and typical that you completely ignore the context from the rest of that post that you raided for two lines that do nothing to prove anything you've lied about. You're really pathetic, porch. That (laughter) must be an extremely demented cackle.

jaywalker 8 years, 8 months ago

That's what I thought. A simple, "I can't back it up", would suffice.

There's nothing racist there, mental midget. It's a statement of fact in reference to the double standard that virtually anyone with half a brain is well aware of in our society right now. I haven't 'bitched' or 'moaned', but merely asked for support of your idiotic claim which you've once again shown you're incapable of doing. And name-calling? You have absolutely no right to talk.
Ignorant. Moronic. Pathetic. Porch. Funny how that flows.

jaywalker 8 years, 8 months ago

"Yet you claim that, if Sotomayor was white, she would not have been a candidate for the Supreme Court. That's the meaning of your statement, is it not"

You need serious help. Of course that's not the meaning of my statement, moron. "If the roles were reversed", as in if a white candidate for the court would have made the debated comment Sotomayor made...........ya know, as in what the thread's main topic of discussion was?! Read that entire post again, jackass. Doesn't the very first sentence, the one right before the one you've twisted in your pea brain, give you just a slight clue as to what I'm referring? That entire post is my opinion on how the 'wise latina' hullabaloo has been blown out of proportion.

Basically, you're an idiot.

Again, seek help.

Mixolydian 8 years, 8 months ago

Why should she apologize for that statement? It's what's in her heart. It's what she believes. I have less respect for her because she's back pedaling away from it and trying to spin it in a more PC light.

It is what it is.

Just Like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She believes abortion is to be used to eliminate the less desirable populations in our society.

It is what it is. Don't spin it. Face it. Own it. Or repudiate it.

jaywalker 8 years, 8 months ago

Like I said, you're a moron, porch. It's racist to think something's "been blown out of proportion"?

"So I guess you're ok with calling a black woman Rutgers basketball player a “nappy headed hoe"

Yeah, that's what I said. By the way, Imus didn't call them a "nappy headed garden tool", brain trust.

I return to Darrow. One can't win an argument with an ignorant man. You personify the phrase. You're nothing more than a fool and I'm done with you again.

jaywalker 8 years, 8 months ago

Hoe = garden implement Ho = slang for 'whore' Porch = moron that digs deeper holes for self w/each post

jaywalker 8 years, 8 months ago

Wow. Not a single word of truth in that entire post, porchie. It has to take guts to out yourself as that demented and stupid. Keep it up, I'm gonna enjoy pointing out your idiocy, as in rebutting the blank link you cite above:

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