Yes, of course biography matters in a judge

According to Judge Sonia Sotomayor, biography matters. President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court believes a person’s gender, ethnic background and upbringing will inevitably affect how he or she interprets the law.

She is absolutely correct.

The jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas is inescapably informed by his personal history, both as a black man and as someone who lifted himself out of poverty. Likewise, the rulings of Antonin Scalia are informed, even if subconsciously, by his strict Catholicism. Chief Justice John Roberts grew up as the son of a Bethlehem Steel executive, an upbringing that at some level had to color his outlook on issues such as management-labor disputes.

sotomayorAfter all, Thomas, Scalia and Roberts are human, and we do not stop being human when we don a judge’s robe. Furthermore, the law is not a mathematical construct. Two plus two always equals four no matter who adds it up, but the law is a human construct, subject to human interpretation. So it matters which human does the interpreting.

In a 2001 speech, Sotomayor made the same point, noting that “there can never be a universal definition of wise.” Then came the sentence that opponents want to hang around her neck:

“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.”

Read that carefully. Sotomayor expresses hope that her life experience would make her a better judge than someone who did not have that same experience. There’s nothing controversial in that thought, as the example of Sandra Day O’Connor demonstrates.

In 1981, O’Connor was nominated to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan, in part to honor a campaign pledge to name a woman to the court. (Apparently, he saw wisdom in diversity).

Part of O’Connor’s appeal was her biography. She had grown up on an Arizona ranch and had political experience as majority leader in the state Senate. As a woman, she was also a legal pioneer of sorts. After she graduated third in her class at Stanford Law in 1952, no California law firm would hire her (although one did offer her a job as a legal secretary.)

In 1982, soon after joining the Supreme Court, O’Connor wrote the majority opinion in “Mississippi University for Women et. al v. Hogan.” The ruling, which held that the public university could not bar men from enrolling in its nursing program, might seem obvious today, but a quarter-century ago it was not. It came in a narrow 5-4 ruling, with O’Connor casting the deciding vote.

In the opinion, you can hear O’Connor’s gender and biography speaking.

The law, she writes, “must be applied free of fixed notions concerning the roles and abilities of males and females. Care must be taken in ascertaining whether the statutory objective itself reflects archaic and stereotypic notions.”

And if the objective of a law “is to exclude or ‘protect’ members of one gender because they are presumed to suffer from an inherent handicap or to be innately inferior, the objective itself is illegitimate. MUW’s admissions policy lends credibility to the old view that women, not men, should become nurses, and makes the assumption that nursing is a field for women a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Almost two decades later, in her 2001 speech, Sotomayor said she agrees that “judges must transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices and aspire to achieve a greater degree of fairness and integrity based on the reason of law.” She strives for “constant and complete vigilance in checking my assumptions, presumptions and perspectives.”

However, she also acknowledged that is a goal to be aspired to but never achieved by mere mortals.

The Founding Fathers knew that as well. If they believed it possible for a judge to rule solely on the basis of written law, unaffected by personal background, history, experience, etc., we would need only one such wise judge on the Supreme Court, just as baseball requires only one umpire for the simple duty of calling balls and strikes.

Instead, the original Supreme Court convened with six members, a number that has since grown to nine. From the beginning, our Founding Fathers understood that court interpretations are just that, interpretations, and that no single person can overcome their own biases. Biography matters, and the best interpretations are those created by people with disparate backgrounds and life experience.

It’s the nearest we can get to wisdom.

UPDATE: Over at Washington Monthly, Hilzoy tackles the Ricci v. DeStefano firefighter case out of New Haven, involving race and promotions. Basically, Hilzoy writes that Sotomayor and the other appellate judges on the panel followed existing law and precedent in that case, even if that existing law and precedent did not produce the outcome that many would want.

In other words, Sotomayor did not act as an “activist judge” who rewrote the law to reach a desired outcome. That should make her the sort of judge that conservatives say they want.

Except, of course, not.

Also, conservative columnist Rod Dreher, having now read Sotomayor’s 2001 speech in context, withdraws his earlier criticism of the judge and admits he was wrong.

235 comments Add your comment

ByteMe

May 28th, 2009
8:02 am

Your “everybody does it” argument in paragraph 3 would be better served by at least one example to back up the assertion.

Outcome of the nomination: she gets confirmed, conservatives continue to work on gnawing off their own leg.

jt

May 28th, 2009
8:02 am

“there can never be a universal definition of wise.”

I call B.S. on that.
Maybe a lawyer would believe would fall for that. Or a member of the R & D party.

I Rule You :-)/ You Whine :-(

May 28th, 2009
8:03 am

President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court believes a person’s gender, ethnic background and upbringing will inevitably affect how he or she interprets the law.

It sure does-

In writing his decision (Maryland democrat Supreme Court Justice) Taney used what Sotomayor calls the “richness” of his “cultural experience” as a white slave owner to describe Dred Scott and his fellow African-Americans as ” beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations.” Indeed, Taney went on to say that blacks were “so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.”

So unremarkable did Taney believe his beliefs to be that he ascribed his racial views as “fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the white race…regarded as an axiom in morals as well as in politics, which no one thought of disputing, or supposed to be open to dispute; and men in every grade and position in society daily and habitually acted upon it in their private pursuits, as well as in matters of public concern, without doubting for a moment the correctness of this opinion.”-AmSpec

And not in any good way.

md

May 28th, 2009
8:11 am

I would hope that a wise White man with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a latina female who hasn’t lived that life.

Reverse the wording and tell me how long it would take for the media to pounce on the white man that would have said this. Had any of the sitting Supremes made a statement like this, it is highly doubltful they would now be “sitting”.

I’m guessing the New Haven firefighters don’t agree with your “interpretation” as they have clearly been denied promotions based on race.

Mrs. Godzilla

May 28th, 2009
8:15 am

“Yes, I will bring the understanding of a woman to the Court, but I doubt that alone will affect my decisions. I think the important thing about my appointment is not that I will decide cases as a woman, but that I am a woman who will get to decide cases.” Sandra Day O’Connor

My own feeling? I have come to accept that based on their physical and mental attributes men are generally better athletes and that women based on their own physical and mental attributes are generally better
jurists. I hope the next 2 or 3 SCOTUS appointees are female.

Brava Sonia.

I Rule You :-)/ You Whine :-(

May 28th, 2009
8:15 am

He should not have accepted the Senate appointment from soon-to-be-impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich, we wrote, and the way in which he fudged the facts of his negotiations with the Blagojevich camp — failing to come clean about whole conversations and any mention of money — stripped him of credibility.-Chicago Tribune

Since democrats are obviously too corrupted to choose a competent Senator for Illinois, isn’t it time to let We The People pick our representatives?

You’re not skeered, are you?

RB from Gwinnett

May 28th, 2009
8:18 am

You just keep making excuses for her Bookman. You know darn well if a white man had said the exact same thing, you and your cohorts would be screaming like a bunch of sissies.

And that doesn’t even take into account her pathetic record.

But she must be confirmed because the chosen one nominated her and in your eyes, he can do no wrong.

Sheep.

DB, Gwinnettian

May 28th, 2009
8:20 am

Oh, so this is where all the nervous, insecure, castration-anxiety plagued little boys are playing now?

Have fun with your talking point. Gotta run. Just one thing:

And that doesn’t even take into account her pathetic record.

I look forward to hearing more from these intellectual giants about her judicial record, since they’ve obviously been through her cases by now and have developed an informed opinion. Carry on!

Dave R

May 28th, 2009
8:20 am

Actually, Jay, biography should have nothing to do with it. Here is the Oath of Office for a Supreme Court Justice:

“I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as [TITLE] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”

No where does it say the words “based on my experiences, gender or ethnicity”.

Now, to you defense (or copy of someone else’s defense of her opinion regarding the New Haven case. Saying that she was just following existing law and precedence is a poor excuse. Plessy v. Ferguson was bad SC ruling, but using your defense of Sotomayor, a judge could just have easily used that as precedence. Not saying it is right, but just pointing out that there is bad law out there, and he judicial standard in choosing bad law as an example (let’s punish all the achievers because we don’t have a minority in the mix) does not meet the definition of her position – to provide JUSTICE.

Supreme Court justices have but one source for deciding whether a law is interpreted properly – the United States Constitution. That’s it. No biography, no experiences, no race, no gender, no ethnicity.

Oh, and your Founding Fathers reference was a joke. They didn’t want power in the hands of one person, Jay (that whole “we just overthrew a sovereign” thing). Had nothing to do with experiences. Nice try.

I rule Andy

May 28th, 2009
8:22 am

I guess the wingbutternuts think Harriet Meiers is the better choice.

Redneck Convert

May 28th, 2009
8:23 am

Well, a judge on the SC should uphold Conservative laws and turn down librul laws. That’s what this is all about–not if this woman is a racist.

The Founding Fathers set things up so Congress can’t do just anything it wants to do. So we have a kind of 2nd Congress, the Supreme Court. If there’s more libruls on the SC than Conservatives, then librul laws get upheld and Conservative laws get overturned. If there’s more Conservatives than libruls, then Conservative laws get upheld and librul laws get turned down.

I wish people would just be honest and not bring up stuff that don’t have anything to do with this woman’s appointment. We were making alot of progress on the SC before this snake oil salesman got elected President. It was just a couple days ago that the SC overturned this law that kept criminals from talking to the police without a lawyer present. Now things are wide open for turning the SC into a librul court. We need to put special guards on Alito, Roberts, Thomas, Kennedy, and Scalia to keep them from getting hurt. It ought to be against the law for them to fly or go on hunting trips. The rest of them can just do what they want. Maybe a hunting trip with Cheney.

Anyhow, I’m sick and tired of hearing all this fussing about this new pick. We all know what’s going on here and we need to admit it. We need to call a spade a spade and stop this stuff about why a new person is qualified or not. This new person ought not to be on the court. She’s a librul.

That’s my opinion and it’s very true. Have a good day everybody.

md

May 28th, 2009
8:27 am

Judicial record – overturned by supreme court 60% of the time (New Haven outstanding). Only in baseball is that considered doing well. And some posters here question the intellect of others?

Dave R

May 28th, 2009
8:32 am

You know, I rule Andy, your comment would mean so much more if it wasn’t the conservatives that pressured Bush to withdraw Meiers nomination because they felt she wasn’t Constitutionally anchored enough.

Get a clue.

RB from Gwinnett

May 28th, 2009
8:33 am

No, I think Hariett Meyers was a terrible choice. Do you have the same ability to judge things as they are vs. singing the party song all day?

I also think Bush and the R congress spent like drunken democrats for 6 years and poorly handled the war by being too nice.

Can you show the same honesty about Obama?

I Rule You :-)/ You Whine :-(

May 28th, 2009
8:34 am

As President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee comes under heavy fire for allegedly being a “racist,” Judge Sonia Sotomayor is listed as a member of the National Council of La Raza, a group that’s promoted driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, amnesty programs, and no immigration law enforcement by local and state police.

eewwwww

Lord Help Us

May 28th, 2009
8:36 am

MD, Alito was overturned 100% of the time. Ready to have him impeached?

Mrs. Godzilla

May 28th, 2009
8:37 am

md

please review the percentage of reversals on Roberts and Alito.
it should improve your opinion of Judge Sotomayor.

Mrs. Godzilla

May 28th, 2009
8:41 am

Now that the pre-appointment “madlib” talking points have been soundly debunked…..the talking heads are hitting her about the food she eats and how she pronounces her name. Too sad to be funny.

I said it before, the GOP has got to back off this….for their own good.

George American

May 28th, 2009
8:41 am

I go back to what I’ve said before. There are three levels to absolute rule of the earth:

1) The Bible
2) The Constitution (”Have you read it”)
3) The Bill of Rights

This lady, since she is a liberal activist judge, will probably throw all of these rules in garbage and make it up as she goes along. Who does she think she is to rewrite God’s book or the words of our fore-Fathers.

This appointment with the direction of the Obamatang will certainly be the end of this great nation.

ByteMe

May 28th, 2009
8:44 am

md: the Supremes only take up a case if there are enough justices who vote (in private) to hear the case and they do that only because enough justices think there might be reason to overturn, not because they are bored and have nothing better to do. The rest of the cases are considered “confirmed” and the Supremes do not take up the case. The stat I’ve heard for the Supremes overturning at least part of an appellate ruling is about 70-80%. 50-60% is considered excellent.

Go find a new talking point.

ByteMe

May 28th, 2009
8:46 am

That’s “overturning at least part of an appelate ruling for the cases they choose to review

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
8:47 am

“Judicial record – overturned by supreme court 60% of the time (New Haven outstanding). Only in baseball is that considered doing well. And some posters here question the intellect of others?”

Like those taking her quote about Latina women out of context and trying to use it as proof of something it’s not…you, TOO, are taking her record out of context. She made something like 380 decisions on the Appellate Court. Of those, 5 were accepted by the Supreme Court for review. Of those 5, 3 were reversed. And the Supreme Court’s record on reversals is roughly 60% of the cases they accept. Puts her squarely in the AVERAGE for ALL cases accepted by the Supreme Court.

As I said in the previous entry about her, find a better nit to pick.

ByteMe

May 28th, 2009
8:47 am

I swear George American, you are the best parody poster yet. Sometimes even better than Redneck Convert. Keep up the good work!

SOMALIDAWG

May 28th, 2009
8:47 am

1)Koran
2)Constitution
3)Bill of Rights
حقوق با هم برابرند، همه دارای اندیشه و وجد1

Rickster

May 28th, 2009
8:49 am

I couldn’t care less about her “richness of experience” comment. The one that scares me (and to me disqualifies her for the Supreme Court) is her comment that the appeals court level is “where policy is made.” That is the responsibility of the Executive & Legislative branches. It’s the Judicial branch’s responsibility to determine if the policy is Constitutional – not to implement a new policy of its own.

md

May 28th, 2009
8:49 am

“it should improve your opinion of Judge Sotomayor.”

More fun keeping to my agenda. One must have an agenda to post here or all you folks on the left would just agree with each other and think you were right about everything.

60% is still a fact, funny how context alters any and all situations. I still stand by the double standards afforded her on her comment, as I don’t share her experiences. My experiences say the white guy doesn’t make it out of the Senate hearings for making the exact same comment.

Time to hit and run.

Lord Help Us

May 28th, 2009
8:53 am

Hopefully, md will review the source of his ‘60% cases overturned’ talking point and question why that source only provided the inflammatory, out of context, sound bite.

Then, in the future, he will know that the source is unreliable, and likely, intentionally misleading narrow minds.

One can hope…

Lord Help Us

May 28th, 2009
8:55 am

Oh, nevermind, md cut and run after soiling himself…

CLEAN UP, aisle 4!!!!!!!

Kamchak

May 28th, 2009
8:56 am

3 is 60% of 380? IS THERE A MATHEMATICIAN IN THE HOUSE?

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
8:59 am

“60% is still a fact” Try this on your math skills: 5 cases reviewed out of 380 decisions = .013s% of her total accepted for review. 3 cases overturned out of 380 decisions = .0078% of her total cases overturned. No matter how many times it is said…”60% of her cases overturned” is a LIE. The correct statement is “60% of her cases REVIEWED BY THE SUPREME COURT were overturned” – but even THAT is not enough information. Anyone who repeats that and fails to include the NUMBERS INVOLVED is perpetuating a false impression so vast that it amounts to yet another lie.

jt

May 28th, 2009
9:00 am

“If you were going to have open heart surgery, would you want to be operated on by a surgeon who was chosen because he had to struggle to get where he is or by the best surgeon you could find– even if he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and had every advantage that money and social position could offer?” –economist Thomas Sowell

Mrs. Godzilla

May 28th, 2009
9:05 am

From The American Prospect:

“Because when a case comes before me involving, let’s say, someone who is an immigrant — and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases — I can’t help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn’t that long ago when they were in that position.
[...]

When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account.

This is Samuel Alito, arguing that his experience of being the son of Italian immigrants, his knowledge of discrimination, gives him empathy that offers insight into such cases. How is this qualitatively different from Sotomayor saying that her knowledge of such things might maker her a better judge?”

Read the whole piece here:

http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tapped_archive?month=05&year=2009&base_name=stuart_taylor_and_pat_buchanan#115277

RW-(the original)

May 28th, 2009
9:05 am

Is this the longer, more thoroughly researched piece or are we getting this in Chinese water torture form?

jt

May 28th, 2009
9:05 am

The big story is the Supreme Court. President Obama has found his nominee. She is Federal Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor. A Latino woman. You know what that means — Ruth Bader Ginsburg will no longer be the hot chick on the court.- Jay Leno

ty webb

May 28th, 2009
9:05 am

If she had said “different conclusion” instead of “better conclusion”, that would have been okay. “Better” made it a racist comment, context doesn’t matter. I don’t think it’s going to hold her up anyway. She’ll be confirmed.

RW-(the original)

May 28th, 2009
9:08 am

md,

I say the white guy making that statement wouldn’t even make it to the confirmation hearings. We would also be getting a daily dose here about how anybody that tried to defend said white guy was beneath snake droppings.

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
9:09 am

“If she had said “different conclusion” instead of “better conclusion”, that would have been okay.”

So a “different” but WORSE decision would be “Ok” because you don’t like her choice of the word “better”?

Rickster

May 28th, 2009
9:11 am

You know, I would hope that two different Supreme Court Justices – regardless of race, gender, nationality, religious beliefs – whatever – would look at the facts of a case and come to the EXACT SAME conclusion – based on what the Constitution says, not the “richness of their experience.”

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
9:14 am

“I say the white guy making that statement wouldn’t even make it to the confirmation hearings. We would also be getting a daily dose here about how anybody that tried to defend said white guy was beneath snake droppings”

Your say so doesn’t make it true. If he was talking in the context of the experience of a white male why should there be any outcry of any susbstance?

Brad Steel

May 28th, 2009
9:14 am

Whiner,
Last time I heard someone say “eewwwww” it was in line for the big Hannah Montana show. He had on an “I love Zack Ephron” shirt.

Was that you?

ty webb

May 28th, 2009
9:14 am

Doggone,
Don’t understand your point.

Dave R

May 28th, 2009
9:16 am

Mrs. G., let’s just move past the fact that your copy was from the American Prospect whose description below their title is “liberal intelligence” – and oxymoron if I ever saw one.

The difference between Alito and Sotomayor is that Alito is grounded in Constitutional deference and respect, and Sotomayer does not have that grounding. He would take that history of his family and see if it would be used in a ruling as based on the Constitution, and discard it if it could not be. I believe that she would take that same experience and use it to advance someone over another against Constitutional principles, as in the New Have case.

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
9:16 am

“would look at the facts of a case and come to the EXACT SAME conclusion ”

I guess you just CRINGE then, every time there’s a 5 to 4 decision? What drugs are YOU on, and where can we find them? A nice rosy view of the world like that HAS to be based on some kind of mind altering substance.

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
9:19 am

“Don’t understand your point.”

I refer you to the dictionary to learn the differenct between “different” and “better” A *better* decision is far perferable to a DIFFERENT, but BAD decision.

Kamchak

May 28th, 2009
9:20 am

Rickster

A brother and sister, with the same genetic history, and the same environment for their formative years, won’t come to the EXACT SAME conclusion. “Richness of their experiences” is what we as humans bring to the table in all of our endeavors.

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
9:21 am

“as in the New Have case.”

Isn’t that the one where she based her decision on EXISTING court precedent? The one where she DIDN’T change previously existing court principles? That one?

Mrs. Godzilla

May 28th, 2009
9:21 am

Dave R

If you really could move past it you would not have mentioned it.

Your description of the difference between Alito and Sotomayor is based on your own personal opinion and the richness and fullness of your experience.

Deal with it.

Joey

May 28th, 2009
9:21 am

18+ continuous hours on the same subject. One might conclude:
Jay fears that confirmation of Ms. Sotomayor is not a given.

George American

May 28th, 2009
9:22 am

SOMALIDAWG,
The Koran doesn’t even make the top 10 books for the laws of God. The Bible is #1 by any decent ranking. Even the book of Mormon and L. Ron Hoover’s drivel is ranked ahead of Koran. And God didn’t even write the Koran. It was some guys form the middle east that ghost wrote it. Wanna-be pulp crap. The Koran hasn’t been a factor since the ’80’s.

What sort of squiggly comment do you have about that?

RW-(the original)

May 28th, 2009
9:23 am

Your say so doesn’t make it true. If he was talking in the context of the experience of a white male why should there be any outcry of any susbstance?

Nor does yours, but my life experience makes me come to a better conclusion from unknown facts than someone who lacks those same experiences.

/sarc

Gotta run kidz. See you upstairs for the next installment wherein Jay will probably be promoting Sonia for Sainthood.

Mrs. Godzilla

May 28th, 2009
9:23 am

Oh and Dave R….read Title VII…..she followed precedent and did not
(te heehee) legislate from the bench.

Goldie

May 28th, 2009
9:25 am

yeaaa, Sonia — women rule (well, almost)!

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
9:26 am

“One might conclude: Jay fears that confirmation of Ms. Sotomayor is not a given.”

Or he REALLY enjoys watching the opponents to her confirmation turn themselves inside out trying to make things she said mean something they didn’t. Personally, I think it’s been a LOT of fun. Why shouldn’t he think so too?

lovelyliz

May 28th, 2009
9:27 am

Newt calling Sotomayor a racist is as credible as is his defense of marriage and the traditional family.

Mrs. Godzilla

May 28th, 2009
9:29 am

George American

Your comments about the Koran are offensive.

ty webb

May 28th, 2009
9:29 am

Doggone,
My point is that someone’s race/background can influence their conclusion. People of different races/backgrounds can reach different opinions. That’s all fine. But it is racist when someone of a particular race says that their race allows them to reach a “better” conclusion than someone of another race. I’m aware of the differece between “different” and “better”, afterall, that’s what makes her statement racist.

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
9:31 am

“Nor does yours, but my life experience makes me come to a better conclusion from unknown facts than someone who lacks those same experiences.”

What “unknown” facts? Your experience gives you insight to something no one else has discovered yet? Welcome to the world Leonardo.

Mrs. Godzilla

May 28th, 2009
9:34 am

Hi Goldie!

Are are ya’? So good to see you.

Dave R

May 28th, 2009
9:34 am

Doggone and Mrs. G. using bad law to make a ruling is bad justice. Plessy v. Ferguson was bad law, yet I don’t see you two arguing that THAT particular ruling be used to justify segregation.

Bottom line, you don’t ever DENY an achiever’s ability to get a promotion because someone who doesn’t measure up to the same standards is of another color, gender or ethnicity.

And Mrs. G.? My differences with Alito and Sotomayor are not based on any richness nor fullness of my experiences – just clearly written and firmly held Constitutional principles completely devoid of race, gender, ethnicity or stature. Something a sexist pig like you wouldn’t understand. Of course, I refer to your 8:15 comment as evidence.

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
9:37 am

“But it is racist when someone of a particular race says that their race allows them to reach a “better” conclusion than someone of another race”

Not necessarily. That’s why the missing context is so much more important than her detractors want to admit. If she is talking IN THE CONTEXT of the experience of a Latina, then yes, her experience AS a Latina would give her better insight…and thus a better chance of making the right decision…than would the experience of a white male.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t leave out the context of her statement. Cherry-picking a single sentence out of a speech is nothing more than “gotcha” politics. It’s bad politics, it’s bad argument and it’s reprehensible. It amounts to reaching the level of a lie.

Donovan

May 28th, 2009
9:37 am

Here we go again. The Supreme Court line-up is open for bids and the left is in position to fill the slot with another hard luck story candidate. This one just happens to be a minority-based, bad record nomination who is being advertised as another emotion driven selectee. There is no need obviously to point out the blind folded symbol of the Court anymore. Memory serves me that it sure comes in handy to have a liberal Florida Supreme Court deciding who won the Gore race in Florida. This discussion about selecting the best man/woman for the job based on diversity is another smoke screen by the Democrats. May I remind you that the Democrats once used the saying, “sexual improprieties have nothing to do with the ability of running this country” from the Oval Office.

SOMILIDAWG

May 28th, 2009
9:37 am

G. American

“And God didn’t even write the Koran.”
همهٔ افراد بشر آزاد به دنیا می‌آیند و از دید حیثیت As opposed to bible?

Both books good. And very lots holiness.

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
9:41 am

“Bottom line, you don’t ever DENY an achiever’s ability to get a promotion because someone who doesn’t measure up to the same standards is of another color, gender or ethnicity.”

You do if the test is skewed towards the experience of one particular race, gender or ethnicity.

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
9:42 am

“bad record nomination ”

Proof?

AmVet

May 28th, 2009
9:42 am

I remember during the campaign last fall how the Republiconned’s oh-so respected leaders like Nutty Newt, BushCo, the RNC chair HeadRush and every neo-con still clinging to life in the hemorrhaging GOP, warned that the Uppity One would stack the Supreme Court with terrorist coddling baby killers.

I haven’t read anything about this woman yet, but is she one of those?

LOL.

And what can one possibly say about someone who posits that their god can kick the Islamo-gods arse? At least in terms of book sales.

Sure, the christo-fascists and religious frauds put their superstition and fairy tales above the US Constitution. And the rule of law. Which explains in great part why this hijacked GOP is imploding and it’s short term (and long?) future beyond dismal.

Fortunately the rest of America, the part that moved past the 18th century, does not…

dave

May 28th, 2009
9:43 am

Jay, what do you know, you’re just one of marginalized white guys. Nothing wrong with her statement, I guess for you that works, as long as it said by anybody other than a white guy…

Atlanta_Tiger_Fan

May 28th, 2009
9:43 am

I agree with other posters…if a white male had made similiar comments the liberal media would have called for people to rise up with their pitch forks and crucify him!! Typical of liberals…it’s fine when their way, but anything else is racist.

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
9:46 am

“I agree with other posters…if a white male had made similiar comments the liberal media would have called for people to rise up with their pitch forks and crucify him!! ”

And if they did, it would be just as WRONG (IF he was talking in the context of the experience of a white male) as it is to take HER words out of context and try to make something out of them that isn’t there to be made.

Dave R

May 28th, 2009
9:47 am

Doggone, and your proof that this test was skewed towards a particular race, gender or ethnicity is . . . what?

md

May 28th, 2009
9:48 am

Even if Obama appointed his own scrotum as Supreme Court nominiee, Bookman would leap for joy. Keep up the liberalisms Jay/AJC…bankruptcy is just around the corner.

SOMILIDAWG

May 28th, 2009
9:49 am

افراد بشر آزاد به دنیا می‌آیند و از دید حیثیت و حقوق با هم برابرند، همه دارای اندیشه و وجدان My God no kick arse.
Ocassionally he smotes thee.

jt

May 28th, 2009
9:51 am

“…[S]o long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.” ~ Voltaire

md

May 28th, 2009
9:52 am

Thanks Slawdog now please go to the back of the line, where YOU BELONG!

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
9:52 am

“Doggone, and your proof that this test was skewed towards a particular race, gender or ethnicity is . . . what?”

This really isn’t relative to the discussion, I’m sorry I went down that path. Her detractors are trying to claim she will “legislate from the bench” without any proof that is so. Her decision in THIS case shows that she IS willing to follow precedent, something that is the antithesis of “making laws from the bench”

Mrs. Godzilla

May 28th, 2009
9:53 am

Dave R

I don’t see Title VII as a bad law. (ITRAFOME)

Of course you don’t deny promotion for the capable as long as the standards are fair.

Am I a sexist because I think men are by virture of the physical and mental attributes are better athletes?

SOMALIDAWG

May 28th, 2009
9:54 am

و باید در برابر یکدیگر با روح برادری
?What is this “Slawdog”?

Shawny

May 28th, 2009
9:56 am

You have to hand it to the prez, he is a sly one indeed. Vote against the new pick and you are against women and minorities. A tough position indeed. Kind of like trying to explain why you would oppose the SPLOST (voluntary taxation) when someone tells you it is “for the kids”. How can you possibly vote against the kids?

Anyway, this guy brings up a good point:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/27/shapiro.scotus.identity/index.html

Would this person be the nominee if she weren’t Hispanic? Interesting. Would she? Is she that compelling of a nominee, ignoring her ethnicity? Is it fair to nominate her to satisfy an EEOC checkbox?

Jay

May 28th, 2009
9:57 am

I don’t feel marginalized, Dave.

Do you?

Everywhere I look — Congress, the Supreme Court, corporate board rooms — I see an awful lot of white males in places of power.

So … we’re marginalized? Really?

What would it take for you to NOT feel marginalized?

Mrs. Godzilla

May 28th, 2009
10:02 am

Dave R

Not having been a party to the specific case all I can in the way of proof is:

“The District Court found that the plaintiffs had established their prima facie case. However, they also found that New Haven had a legitimate reason for acting as it did: wanting to comply with the very same Title VII under which they are being sued. And they found that this reason was not, as the plaintiffs alleged, a mere pretext. Thus, they found for New Haven.

A lot turns on their finding that New Haven had a legitimate reason for throwing out the test. Here, the central points seem to be as follows: first, New Haven’s concern about violating Title VII was not just an idle worry. Title VII requires employers not just to inspect their hearts and not find any discriminatory intent, but to consider the racial impact of things like tests. And the EEOC, in interpreting this requirement, has given clear guidance about what impact counts as suspect:
“A selection rate for any race, sex, or ethnic group which is less than four-fifths (4/5) (or eighty percent) of the rate for the group with the highest rate will generally be regarded by the Federal enforcement agencies as evidence of adverse impact, while a greater than four-fifths rate will generally not be regarded by Federal enforcement agencies as evidence of adverse impact.”

The rates at which blacks and Hispanics passed the New Haven tests were well below 80% of the rate at which whites passed. That means that those tests were presumptively in violation of the law.”

Read the whole piece here:

http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2009/05/the-ricci-case.html

Bottom line Dave R, is that you don’t believe that tests can be skewed
as to race or gender or age.

Social scientists think they can.

Mrs. Godzilla

May 28th, 2009
10:03 am

jt

funny aint it….

liberals have been posting that Voltaire quote for 8 years.

Tyranny is to some extent in the eye of the beholder.

SOMALIDAWG

May 28th, 2009
10:04 am

حقوق با هم برابرند، همه دارای اندیشه و وجدان هستند و باید در برابر یکدیگر با روح برادری رفتار Possible next on SC Muslim?همهٔ افراد بشر آزاد به دنیا می‌آیند و از دید حیثیت Life experiance many camels and many hungers.

Mrs. Godzilla

May 28th, 2009
10:05 am

Shawny

Hi sweetie…..nice to talk to you last night!

Copyleft

May 28th, 2009
10:05 am

So, let’s get this clear… The right-wing objection is to a fantasy of what liberals WOULD HAVE done (in their imaginations) if a white male judge HAD ONLY said the same out-of-context thing that Sotomayor said and were met with PRESUMED LIBERAL reactions based on the same bigoted-privilege paranoia and hysteria that characterizes THEIR OWN thinking?

Well, gosh. You go right ahead and rail against the imaginary liberals who were so “outraged” by your imaginary situation that they’re being unfair to your imaginary judge, then.

That’ll show us!

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
10:06 am

“Would this person be the nominee if she weren’t Hispanic?”

Was Harriet Miers nominated because she was a woman?

SOMALIDAWG

May 28th, 2009
10:07 am

Ms. G-

True liberals (the good kind) have been posting that since Al Gore invented the internet.

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
10:09 am

“since Al Gore invented the internet.”

You DO know he never said that, don’t you?

DB, Gwinnettian

May 28th, 2009
10:13 am

So, let’s get this clear… The right-wing objection is to a fantasy of what liberals WOULD HAVE done (in their imaginations) if a white male judge HAD ONLY said the same out-of-context thing that Sotomayor said and were met with PRESUMED LIBERAL reactions based on the same bigoted-privilege paranoia and hysteria that characterizes THEIR OWN thinking?

Sad but true. Hey, look at it this way. IF they’ve got this thing paced like I imagine, next week their masters allow them to discover what “La Raza” means in English. That should be good for a coupla news cycles.

I really wish this weren’t just a matter of theatrics, but given the fundraising potential of a good SCOTUS dustup, that’s pretty much a foregone conclusion. Remember Mrs. Alito’s emotional exit from the proceedings when Sen. Graham asked her husband if he were, in fact, a “closet bigot?” Jolly good show!

I bet Sonia’s mom has it in her. She seems pretty feisty, still.

Dave R

May 28th, 2009
10:13 am

Sorry, Mrs. G., but you don’t know, nor will you ever know what I believe in because you can’t conceive of someone who treats everyone equally regardless of any situation.

Of course tests can be skewed, however, there is no proof that these tests were skewed. Title VII is a numbers game, not an equality game. It can help IF, and only if, the tests are proven to be skewed towards a “minority” representation, but it goes too far in determining a threshold percentage that has to be met.

Doggone, I have no problem with justices legislating from the bench, as long as they legislate JUSTICE and EQUALITY according to the Constitution. Of course, my idea of an “activist judge” is someone who WON’T overturn a law that gives power to the Federal government that isn’t expressly described in the Constitution.

Normal

May 28th, 2009
10:15 am

George American, your 8:41 post really got me. PLEASE, tell me you
are not a Christian. Do you know the history of the Bible? It is no
more the difinitive word of God than “The Da Vinci Code” is. Read about
the Councils of Nicea and the Pagan Pope Constantine. I hope you are
not a Catholic Hater because your Bible was written by Catholics for
political reasons.
The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are key. Are you a member
of the ACLU?, if not, why not? Their total mission in life is to defend the Bill of Rights. God protect us all from that kind of
BS.

Rickster

May 28th, 2009
10:16 am

I stand by my comment. Two people should be able to look at the equation 2+2 and come up with the answer “4.” Two judges should (or even 9) should be able to read the Constitution and reach the same conclusion on what it says – not what they “think” it says.

Dave R

May 28th, 2009
10:18 am

Jay, is it possible to be marginalized if you don’t believe you are marginalized?

As long as some of us can continue to marginalize you, I think things will be just fine.

Kamchak

May 28th, 2009
10:21 am

Rickster

How will anyone reach any conclusion if they don’t “think?”

AmVet

May 28th, 2009
10:22 am

Alas, the downtrodden rich white American man. Never had a voice and still doesn’t…

John Lennon – Woman is the “N” of the World

booger

May 28th, 2009
10:22 am

I have to agree with Rickster. All the hoopla over her “Latina” comment says much less about her than the film which shows her making the comment that the Appealate Court is where policy is made. After she made the comment she giggled and said I shouldn’t say that on tape should I. This shows that she is clearly an activist Judge, who understands it is wrong.

jt

May 28th, 2009
10:22 am

Rickster- You wrote
Two people should be able to look at the equation 2+2 and come up with the answer “4.”

Two PEOPLE can do this. Unfortunantly, we are talking about LAWYERS.
The people who take the easy way out of college always have problems reasoning.

Dave R

May 28th, 2009
10:24 am

Rickster, I’ll disagree with you on your point. There are a few (thankfully only a few) instances where intent of the Framers is in question, and due to imprecise 18th Century wording there will be some disagreement.

Not, however, the torturous redefining of the intent of the document that liberals love to do.

Doggone/GA

May 28th, 2009
10:24 am

“should be able to read the Constitution and reach the same conclusion on what it says – not what they “think” it says”

Anyone can quote the Constitution, but the Constitution is not written in hard, fast, unambiguous language. It’s relating a particular law TO the meaning of the Constitution that leads to different INTERPRETATIONS on applying the Constitutional provisions TO that law.

Jay

May 28th, 2009
10:25 am

“Two people should be able to look at the equation 2+2 and come up with the answer “4.” Two judges should (or even 9) should be able to read the Constitution and reach the same conclusion on what it says – not what they “think” it says.”

“Should?” Maybe in a dream world. Not in this world. Even Scalia and Thomas, the so-called “twins,” disagree from time to time.

josef nix

May 28th, 2009
10:28 am

Oy! Judge Sotomayor is neither the first Hispanic to be offered nomination to the Supreme Court nor, if confirmed, will she be the first to serve. While he declined it both times, Judah P. Benjamin was offered nomination twice, first by Millard Fillmore in 1853 and again by Franklin Pierce in 1854. Benjamin, a Sephardic, Ladino-speaking scholar considered by his contemporaries abroad as “the most brilliant mind in America,” was also the first Jewish American to be offered nomination to the Supreme Court. Benjamin Cardozo, nominated by Herbert Hoover, took his seat in 1932. He was Sephardic. Though he has been referred to as “Portuguese,” causing some to claim he was not “Hispanic,” the term Sephard means Spain and refers to those Jews who trace their ancestry to the Iberian Peninsula, many of whom still speak Ladino a 15th Century dialect of Spanish. It seems that in current climate of feel good political correctness, the fact that these two men were Jewish somehow negates the kind of Jew they were and Judge Sotomayor will be the “first,” and that’s that. This is sad in that it negates the rich diversity of the Hispanic community, the Jewish community, and the American community.

Mrs. Godzilla

May 28th, 2009
10:28 am

Dave R

Your first paragraph goes both way – except for the last 14 words.

If the District courts’ determination that the tests were skewed is insufficient proof for you well….so it goes.