Archive for Sonia Sotomayor

Wow! Sonia Sotomayor Was Right

Older female elephants are wiser matriarchs

Elephants pay close attention to their elders, especially when they hear the sound of an approaching predator, scientists have found.

A research team monitored African elephants’ reactions when they heard the sound of lions roaring.

Groups of animals with older female leaders, or matriarchs, very quickly organised themselves into a defensive “bunch” when they heard a male lion.

The researchers already knew that older female elephants played very important roles in their social groups.

“I would hope that a wise woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion.”
S. Sotomayor

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The Cowardice of Their Convictions

But liberals really do believe in “wise Latinas” and “magic Negros” and “empathic judges” and “bitter clingers” and all the other mythical creatures in the menagerie of the progressive mind.

That’s the truth they deny in public—most of them, anyway.

Again, via Rush:

This is last night on CNN, Campbell Brown talking to a contributing editor Cathy Areu from the Washington Post. The question: “If she weren’t sitting before this committee right now with so much at stake would she really be backing off that statement?”

AREU: Nooo. As a wise Latina I can tell you, no, she’s not backing down and she probably would want to say, “Not only do I mean a wise Latina, I meant any Latina could make a better decision than a white man could.”

Of course she would. Of course she has. Spend any time around liberals (as I do almost every day) and you hear racist and self-loathing nonsense like this all the time.

All the time.

If, in the middle of questioning by Sessions or Kyl or some other Republican, Sonia-From-The-Bronx jumped to her feet, tore open her blouse to reveal a Che Guevara t-shirt, and shouted, “I got your wise Latino right here, cracker!”, I’m sure Senator Franken and his Democratic colleagues would stand and applaud—before breaking into the chorus of the Internationale.

So, why the charade? She’s got the beliefs, they’ve got the votes: why not level with the American people? Why the shame?

I don’t get it.

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Racism, Straight Up

Via Rush:

“When we asked questions of the white male nominees of a Republican president, we were basically trying to … make sure that they would go far enough in understanding the plight of minorities, because clearly that was not in their DNA,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said.

And they’re not as smart as your average wise Latina.

But wow. It’s one thing to have these lunatics on the bus. Now they’re driving it—off a cliff.

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Nobody’s Buying So-So’s Conversion to Strict Constructionist

Not on the Right:

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are convinced that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has not been candid with them in under-oath testimony about her speeches and legal activism. But given the assurance that majority Democrats will vote to confirm Sotomayor no matter what, the GOP effort against her is largely an attempt to convince other Republicans that Sotomayor has not earned a vote for confirmation.

Republican aides worked through the night, Tuesday into Wednesday, studying the 108-page transcript from Tuesday’s hearing. They believe Sotomayor told a variety of stories, none of them entirely truthful, to explain her series of infamous “wise Latina” speeches. And they question her efforts to distance herself from the work of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, on whose board she served for twelve years in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Not on the Left:

At least one liberal law professor was “completely disgusted” by Judge Sotomayor’s testimony. In an online debate on the Federalist Society’s website, Georgetown law professor Mike Seidman writes:

I was completely disgusted by Judge Sotomayor’s testimony today. If she was not perjuring herself, she is intellectually unqualified to be on the Supreme Court. If she was perjuring herself, she is morally unqualified. How could someone who has been on the bench for seventeen years possibly believe that judging in hard cases involves no more than applying the law to the facts? …

Perhaps Justice Sotomayor should be excused because our official ideology about judging is so degraded that she would sacrifice a position on the Supreme Court if she told the truth. Legal academics who defend what she did today have no such excuse. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Yet she’s still expected to be confirmed. What a process, huh?

She’s trying to be all things to all people, telling them what she thinks they want to hear, and hiding or denying all her previously stated beliefs.

Wonder where she learned that from?

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My Follow-Up Question to So-So

Now that Sonia From The Bronx has backed away from her comments as if they were a nest of poisonous vipers, I’d like to ask her what she thinks of this judicial philosophy:

“We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.

Barack Obama, almost two years ago exactly.

This sounds like James Watt’s famous boast that his staff had “a black, a woman, two Jews, and a cripple”—a comment, for which he had to resign from the Reagan administration. But now these are viable criteria for a lifetime appointment to the last and highest court in the land.

But So-So isn’t buying it, not today:

“It was bad because it left an impression that I believed that life experiences commanded a result in a case, but that’s clearly not what I do as a judge,” Sotomayor said.

“A judge should never rule from fear. A judge should rule from law and the Constitution.”

But Obama was not done defining his views of justice:

Speaking at the Planned Parenthood conference in DC this afternoon [...] Obama hinted that the court’s recent decision in Gonzales v. Carhart — which upheld a ban on partial-birth abortion — was part of “a concerted effort to steadily roll back” access to abortions. And he ridiculed Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote that case’s majority opinion. “Justice Kennedy knows many things,” he declared, “but my understanding is that he does not know how to be a doctor.”

Obama also won a laugh at the expense of Chief Justice John Roberts, saying that judgments of Roberts’ character during his confirmation hearings were largely superficial. “He loves his wife. He’s good to his dog,” he joked, adding that judicial philosophy should be weighted more seriously than such evaluations.*

“Laughs”, “jokes”—I should have guessed the Planned Parenthood crowd would fall for a good dead baby joke.

If I may be allowed one more question, Judge Sotomayor, do you agree with the president that killing viable babies before they are born is a right protected by the Constitution, and do you further agree that Justices Kennedy and Roberts are s**t-for-brains?

She’s either going to have to repudiate Obama, or those sessions in chambers are going to be pretty interesting.

*Of course, he also said this, which is also good for a laugh:

“The cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the federal budget. This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and states of critical investments in infrastructure like bridges, ports, and levees; robbing our families and our children of critical investments in education and health care reform; robbing our seniors of the retirement and health security they have counted on … If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we’d see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies.” – Barack Obama, Speech in the U.S. Senate, March 13, 2006

When’s your Alec Guinness moment, America? When do you wake up to the consequences of your blind and stubborn refusal to face facts, and ask yourself “What have I done?”

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I Only Ask Because…

I don’t get it:

Sotomayor defends race comments at hearing

“I do not believe that any ethnic, racial or gender group has an advantage in sound judgment,” she said, adding that she believed every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge “regardless of their background and life experience.”

That’s a defense?

She also said:

“It was bad because it left an impression that I believed that life experiences commanded a result in a case, but that’s clearly not what I do as a judge,” Sotomayor said.

An attempted play on words “fell flat” in a speech in 2001….

That’s a lie, isn’t it AP? Didn’t she make that comment repeatedly, and even put it into her written comments? I get why she’s trying to soft-peddle an offensive remark—but why is the press doing so?

Just kidding, you don’t really have to answer that.

We are a very forgiving people, contrary to what you hear from President Obama about our many flaws, and I would guess we’ll cut her some slack.

But, sheesh, she said a very dumb and offensive—possibly disqualifying—thing. Can’t we all agree on that first?

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My Question for Sonia From the Bronx

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.

Really?

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?

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So-So by Name, So-so by Legal Acumen [UPDATED]

Sonia From The Bronx, wrong again:

The Supreme Court has ruled that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.

It’s a breaking story, so updates (such as vote count) to follow. But this should open up an interesting line of questions at her confirmation hearings.

From SCOTUSBlog: this nugget from Alito’s concurring opinion:

The Alito concurrence does have a harsher criticism of the District Court and Court of Appeals’ ruling. … Referring the plaintiffs, he says: “But ‘sympathy’ is not what petitioners have a right to demand. What they have a right to demand is evenhanded enforcement of hte [sic] law . . . And that is what, until today’s decision, has been denied them.”

OH! Badda-bing, badda-boom, that’s going to leave a mark. The opinion was 5-4, by the way with Kennedy siding with the conservatives, and Ginsberg writing the dissent for the Usual Suspects.

If (when?) Sonia From The Bronx is confirmed, there will be some pretty interesting arguments in chambers.

Michelle jokes:

President Obama applauds the decision as a victory for equality under the law. Not.

UPPERDATE:
Nobody like So-So’s ruling. Even the dissenters think it stinks.

In footnote 10 of her dissent, Justice Ginsburg, agreeing with the position that President Obama’s Department of Justice took, states: “Ordinarily, a remand for fresh consideration [whether the City of New Haven in fact had good cause to act] would be in order.” But because the majority saw no need to remand, Ginsburg explains “why, if final adjudication by this Court is indeed appropriate, New Haven should be the prevailing party.” (Emphasis added.)

In other words, Ginsburg doesn’t believe that final disposition of the case is appropriate. She and her fellow dissenters therefore believe that Sotomayor and her Second Circuit colleagues and the district court were wrong to grant summary judgment to the City of New Haven.

[Update/clarification: Ginsburg believes that Sotomayor and the other judges below applied the wrong standard: “The lower courts focused on respondents’ ‘intent’ rather than on whether respondents in fact had good cause to act.”

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Sonia’s Got Some ‘Splainin’ to Do

Is she’s as “wise” a Latina as she thinks she is (something she has long thought), maybe Sonia From The Bronx™ can work this out:

Conservative critics of Judge Sonia Sotomayor may be digging themselves into a hole if they keep hurling the tired old “liberal activist” slogan at her. The reason is that her supporters can plausibly retort that these days, the Supreme Court’s conservatives are as activist as the liberals, especially on racial issues.

But conservatives and like-minded centrists can win the political debate if they focus not on buzzwords but on in-depth, civil discourse about the very big issue on which Sotomayor and her liberal supporters are most at odds — and the conservative justices most in tune — with the vast majority of Americans.

That issue is racially preferential affirmative action. By this, I mean the many forms of supposedly benign discrimination against whites and Asians that have been engineered over the past 45 years to advance blacks and Hispanics in the workforce, in college admissions, and in government contracting.

The long-standing public disapproval of such preferences was documented yet again by a major Quinnipiac University poll released on June 3, showing that American voters, by a lopsided margin, want them abolished.

The now-famous New Haven, Conn., firefighter case is a perfect symbol of how the sort of preferences she supports can operate as raw racial discrimination.

The Quinnipiac poll showed that respondents, by well over 3-to-1, want the Supreme Court to overturn the Appellate panel’s decision. And although the poll shows that this has not yet hurt Sotomayor’s popularity much, the case will become more salient later this month. The justices are widely expected to reverse the panel’s decision.

It will be very interesting (to say the least) if her hearings take place just as the Supreme Court rejects her decision like Dwight Howard swatting away a Kobe Bryant lay up. I’m not sure the compliant media can spin that one.

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Not Buying It

When liberal columnists in the Washington Post call BS, President Obama, that’s probably what you’re spewing:

Nice try, Mr. President, but I’m not buying the poor-choice-of-words defense for Sonia Sotomayor. “I’m sure she would have restated it,” President Obama told NBC News about his Supreme Court nominee’s now-famous 32 words: “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.” Said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, “I think she’d say that her word choice in 2001 was poor.”

You spin the speech that’s dealt you. But it seems clear to me that Sotomayor, to quote that great jurist Dr. Seuss, meant what she said and said what she meant. This was no throwaway line or off-the-cuff linguistic stumble along the lines of the judge’s other controversial comment about appeals courts making policy.

Rather, Sotomayor was deliberately and directly disputing remarks by then-Justice Sandra Day O’Connor that a wise old woman and a wise old man would eventually reach the same conclusion in a case. “I am…not so sure that I agree with the statement,” Sotomayor said. Moreover, if Sotomayor regretted that YouTube moment, she had the chance to revise and extend: Her remarks were reprinted in the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal. Knowing the multi-layered editing process of law journals, I’d be shocked if Sotomayor did not at least have the chance to review the transcript of her speech and make any tweaks.

Sonia from the Bronx will get her own chance to explain herself in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which I’m sure will entertain us all. It’s beyond dispute that Obama picked her because of this belief, not in spite of it.

But if I were on the committee, I’d ask her about her boss’s judicial philosophy. What does she think of re-writing the Constitution to address what the “government must do on your behalf”? Does she agree that the Warren Court (or any court) should “break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution”? What in her view is “redistributive change”, and is it the role of the courts to bring it about?

Make the hearings more than a referendum on So-So. Rather put Obama’s entire radical judicial and social agenda in the dock, and cross examine the hell out of it. I think Americans would be appalled to learn the truth.

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What’s The Difference Between Clarence Thomas And Sonia Sotomayor?

Where to start?

President Barack Obama has laid down his ground rules for the debate over Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. The big question now is whether Republicans agree to play by rules that neither Mr. Obama nor his party have themselves followed.

Ground Rule No. 1, as decreed by the president, is that this is to be a discussion primarily about Judge Sotomayor’s biography, not her qualifications. The media gurus complied, with inspiring stories of how she was born to Puerto Rican immigrants, how she was raised by a single mom in a Bronx housing project, how she went on to Princeton and then Yale. In the years that followed she presumably issued a judicial opinion here or there, but whatever.

The president, after all, had taken great pains to explain that this is more than an American success story. Rather, it is Judge Sotomayor’s biography that uniquely qualifies her to sit on the nation’s highest bench — that gives her the “empathy” to rule wisely. Judge Sotomayor agrees: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,” she said in 2001.

If so, perhaps we can expect her to join in opinions with the wise and richly experienced Clarence Thomas. That would be the same Justice Thomas who lost his father, and was raised by his mother in a rural Georgia town, in a shack without running water, until he was sent to his grandfather. The same Justice Thomas who had to work every day after school, though he was not allowed to study at the Savannah Public Library because he was black. The same Justice Thomas who became the first in his family to go to college and receive a law degree from Yale.

By the president’s measure, the nation couldn’t find a more empathetic referee than Justice Thomas. And yet here’s what Mr. Obama had to say last year when Pastor Rick Warren asked him about the Supreme Court: “I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas. I don’t think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation.”

In other words, nine months ago Mr. Obama thought that the primary qualification for the High Court was the soundness of a nominee’s legal thinking, or at least that’s what Democrats have always stressed when working against a conservative judge. Throughout the Bush years, it was standard Democratic senatorial practice to comb through every last opinion, memo, job application and college term paper, all with an aim of creating a nominee “too extreme” or “unqualified” to sit on the federal bench.

She then skewers Chuck Schumer over his treatment of Bush appointee, Miguel Estrada. In a fair world, strike that, in a world in which journalists simply did their job, her critique would be devastating. But journalists don’t, as we all know.

And hey, Obama won.

- Aggie

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