Some thoughts about Sonia Sotomayor and Race

Charles Blow has an interesting column in the New York Times about the Republican claims that Supreme Court nominee , Sonia Sotomayor would be a racist and rule consistently against anyone who isn’t a “minority”.   Those who call her racist generally only cite the New Haven firefighters case in which she joined the opinion of two other justices.  (No one ever talks about them, but given the composition of the judiciary, I presume both are probably white and at least one is male.)

Furthermore, the picture that those Republicans painted of Sotomayor doesn’t seem to be supported by her actions. The Scotusblog examined her court of appeals decisions in race-related cases and found that she rejected claims of discrimination 80 percent of the time.

Blow attached a nifty chart.  The chart shows that of the 96 cases involving discrimination she has heard on the Court of Appeals, in 78 she found no discrimination.  But, as Blow points out, the Republicans don’t want to apologize for calling her biased and racist.

Is such a stubborn stance good for the Republican Party?

No. Racial wounds are deeply felt and slowly healed. Having Hispanics feel racially slighted by the Republicans is suicidal. Hispanics are 15 percent of the nation’s population, and, unlike blacks, they’re not so monolithically democratic, at least not yet.

And here’s another take on the nonimation from Calvin Trillin.

The nominee’s Sotomayor,
Whom all good Latinos adore
But right-wingers tend to deplore.
They’d like to show Sonia the door.
Her record, they say, heretofore
Reveals that beliefs at her core
Would favor minorities more:
She’d hand them decisions galore,
Because of the racial rapport.

Whereas white male judges are, as everyone knows, totally neutral.

While I’m thrilled that President Obama has nominated a woman and a Latina, I worry that she is going to turn out to be more moderate than I would like.

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