It amazes me that for all the attention Judge Sonia Sotomayor has attracted for a racially charged statement in a 2001 speech, few are tying her attitude to President Barack Obama’s. Just as he knew precisely what his 20-year pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was about and approved, he knew, prior to nominating her, what Sonia Sotomayor is about and approved. In both cases, he just didn’t want us to know.
In her 2001 speech at Berkeley, 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.”
Obama’s apologists claim Sotomayor’s statement was taken out of context. But the context of her prepared remarks makes the statement more – not less – incriminating.
The sentences preceding the statement were: “Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge (Miriam) Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice (Sandra Day) 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 that I agree with the statement.”
First, it’s important to note that she’s not talking about trial judges, for example, who might be more or less lenient in their sentencing within the prescribed sentencing guidelines, but about appellate judges applying the law.
Next, Sotomayor is not just saying that as imperfect human beings, judges sometimes rule differently because, try as they might to be impartial, no human being can be totally impartial.
Nor is she merely saying that women, based on their gender, rule differently from men or that those of different nationalities rule differently based on those differences, but that they should do so and that their rulings usually are superior because of it.
Are you getting this? She is saying women and minority judges should not even strive toward objectivity, impartiality or blind justice, but should indulge their subjective experiences to apply the law with partiality aforethought, presumably to remedy past perceived or actual wrongs, even if unwarranted by objective application of the law. They should ignore or twist the law to achieve their desired policy result.
To the objection that Sotomayor was just theorizing in a harmless speech, I would respond by reminding you – again – of her pivotal role in that now-notorious concrete case of Ricci v. DeStefano, in which she summarily and cavalierly affirmed a district court’s decision to cheat firefighters of their duly earned promotions because no black candidates passed the tests.
Talk about empathy all you want, but she and her fellow judges displayed no empathy for those who played by the rules. With strokes of their pens, they discriminated against successful candidates and caused them real damage by changing the rules after the fact – not to mention the damage their ruling might have caused to the quality of fire departments, whose job is to save lives and property.
Those ordinarily quickest to cry “racism” are expressing outrage that certain commentators have used that term to describe Sotomayor’s statements and rulings that would be universally condemned if made by, say, Trent Lott. But the fact remains that Sotomayor apparently approves of reverse discrimination, and President Obama must have known that in advance. Obama is a militant proponent of get evenism, that is, using the power of the state – actually, misusing the power of the state – to even the score for minorities and/or the economically less fortunate.
It was Obama, after all, who said: “Solving our racial problems in this country will require concrete steps, significant investment. We have a lot of work to do to overcome the long legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. It can’t be purchased on the cheap.” Are we to assume that the Civil War and the civil rights movement were “on the cheap”?
And it was Obama’s Justice Department that just inexplicably dismissed a slam-dunk case against the New Black Panther members who intimidated voters and polling judges at a Philadelphia polling place on Election Day 2008. This, despite the fact that one civil rights lawyer said it was the most blatant form of voter intimidation he had ever seen and the fact that the defendants didn’t even bother to file pleadings with the court or raise any defenses to the charges.
Whether or not race played a factor in this dismissal, President Obama has a long way to go before claiming he’s a post-racial president. Reverse discrimination is still discrimination, and reverse racism is racism. None of us is exempted of our duty to rise above them.