Judge Sotomayor—may I call you So-So, since I coined the damn name, despite what you may read on the ungrateful and publicity hungry Internet?
Be that as it may, Judge, as I look over your impressive biography—and impressive it is—I cannot for the life of me see why you say you support affirmative action.
Your family believed in hard work and education (investing in a complete set of the Encyclopedia Britannica), traits you adopted as your own at the earliest age. I note that your earliest role model was Nancy Drew, followed closely by Perry Mason (me too, though as I’ve already admitted, my eye was drawn to Della Street’s tight suits). You knew what you wanted to be from the age of ten, and you wouldn’t be stopped.
You were valedictorian of your elementary school graduating class, and passed the tests necessary to enter the prestigious Cardinal Spellman High School—where you were also class valedictorian.
You moved from the tenements of The Bronx to the the ivied walls of Princeton—where you graduated summa cum laude. I understand how intimidated you must have been at first—as a Columbia alum, I can relate: Princeton sucks—but you found the help you needed and vaulted over your classmates.
Thence to Yale Law, and law review—of course—and on to a promising career.
You were nominated for your first position on the bench by a Republican president, and the rest is history.
My question, So-So, is where did you benefit from affirmative action? Financial aid in college and law school? Is that it?
In fact, I note one anecdote in your life story that I’d like to quote from Wikipedia:
In her third year, she filed a formal complaint against the established Washington, D.C., law firm of Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge for suggesting during a recruiting dinner that she was only at Yale via affirmative action. Sotomayor refused to be interviewed by the firm further and filed her complaint with a faculty-student tribunal, which ruled in her favor. Her action triggered a campus-wide debate and news of the firm’s subsequent December 1978 apology made The Washington Post.
How then are you the “perfect affirmative action baby”?
Judge Sonia Sotomayor says she is a “perfect affirmative action baby,” and that she was accepted to Princeton and Yale despite her lackluster test performance compared to other applicants.
She made these comments in a video dating back to “early ’90s” that she submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week as part of her Supreme Court nomination process.
Sotomayor admitted that her acceptance to the Ivy League schools would have been “highly questionable” if not for affirmative action.
“My test scores were not comparable to that of my colleagues at Princeton or Yale,” she said on a panel for a nonprofit law organization.
Do you understand what the median is, Judge Sotomayor? Just because you may have scored lower than the median on standardized tests (if indeed you did) doesn’t mean you weren’t qualified. In fact, half your classmates scored below the median—that’s what the median is. And do you seriously believe these prestigious schools, which train some of our nation’s future leaders, rely solely on test score numbers, and not grades, recommendations, extracurriculars, et cetera in evaluating applicants?
Judge Sotomayor, I disagree with your political positions most of the time, and I’m not sure I can support your nomination—but I know what I cannot do, and that is denigrate your accomplishments. You’ve earned your way every step along your life’s journey. My question to you is: why should that stop now?