As she accepted President Obama’s offer to ascend to the United States Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s compelling life story was on proper display.
This is an impressive woman, rising from the Bronx housing projects of her youth to graduate with honors from Princeton and then Yale Law School.
She is a person of considerable accomplishment, and like the president who appointed her, a history-maker, as the first Hispanic high court nominee.
Conservative critics sniping that she was chosen on the basis of race or gender should recall that President Reagan’s selection of Sandra Day O’Connor was surely based in part on her womanhood. From the field of qualified candidates, a choice was made that gave us the first female justice.
The first President Bush’s selection of Clarence Thomas was surely race-based, to fill the seat of the retiring Thurgood Marshall. But both O’Connor and Thomas were well qualified, so there is no sin in choosing them from among the pool of worthy candidates.
Today, if one is interested in maintaining any female presence at all on the high court, a qualified woman makes sense in view of the age and poor health of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. And there is surely nothing wrong with choosing a qualified Hispanic.
Unfortunately, Sotomayor does not belong on either list. Just as her race and gender would not matter one bit if she were a fitting choice, they are no factor in reaching the conclusion that she is unqualified to sit on the nation’s highest court.
President Obama has, unfortunately, given us exactly what he promised, a nominee who allows feelings and personal agendas to color her judicial temperament.
Her most glaring surrender to those disqualifying instincts came in the case of Ricci v. DeStefano, as white and, ironically, Hispanic firefighters sued the city of New Haven, Conn., for denying them promotions they had earned because no black firefighters had passed the same advancement exam.
Her complicity in affirming this obscene discrimination is but one page of a track record that will become more familiar as the days pass. How many more examples will we find of Sotomayor ripping the blindfold from the eyes of Lady Justice to make sure her pet racial and social goals are met?
“Judicial activism” is a term spoken often by those who believe that courts should interpret, not make, policy. This Obama nominee is a fitting poster star for the concept.
And it may not stop at activism. Consider the following quote from a lecture on diversity at Berkeley in 2001: “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.”
At her announcement event yesterday morning, Sotomayor did us the favor of actually telegraphing the inappropriate criteria she would apply to Supreme Court rulings, promising to focus on “the real world consequences of my decisions on individuals, businesses and government.”
If she cannot grasp that the very meaning of justice is the application of the law without regard to race, sex, economic or social station, she does not belong on a law school faculty, much less on the Supreme Court.
Sadly, none of this will matter much. Even if there were enough Republicans in the Senate to stop it, few would have the guts to withstand the certain demonization that will accompany anyone daring to stand in the way of a Hispanic woman.
Score another big win for the stultifying era of identity politics. More victories surely lie ahead once Sotomayor begins whittling away at the Constitution with her agenda of social whims.
Have PoliticalMavens.com delivered to your inbox in a daily digest by clicking here