Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Sotomayor Nomination

[Sonya Sotomayor]
Judge Sonya Sotomayor has been nominated to the Supreme Court seat being vacated by the retiring Justice Souter. A confirmation fight on the nomination is expected in the Senate.

Let me be far from the first in saying that I have little patience with the identity politics the nominee evinced in her 2002 law school commencement address at my alma mater, Berkeley. Unless her politics and judicial philosophy have evolved considerably in the past seven years , which I doubt, her nomination ought to be rejected.

She said, in part
I accept the proposition that, as ... Professor Martha Minnow of Harvard Law School, states "there is no objective stance but only a series of perspectives - no neutrality, no escape from choice in judging," I further accept that our experiences as women and people of color affect our decisions. The aspiration to impartiality is just that--it's an aspiration because it denies the fact that we are by our experiences making different choices than others.

Not all women or people of color, in all or some circumstances or indeed in any particular case or circumstance but enough people of color in enough cases, will make a difference in the process of judging.

As recognized by legal scholars, whatever the reason, not one woman or person of color in any one position but as a group we will have an effect on the development of the law and on judging.
She denies even the possibility of objective justice. She sees our society as a collection of contending interest groups, and not as one people. She considers it her duty as judge to favor the groups she represents. She favors a social order where fairness and merit are supplanted by quotas and identity politics, a judicial system in which judgments depend on the identities of the parties. She denies even the possibility of there being a standard of truth and justice independent of color or gender.

We do not need Latinas or Latinos on the Court, neither do we need Blacks, nor Whites, nor women, nor men. What we do need is fair-minded judges. Sonya Sotomayor denies even the possibility of fair-mindedness.

Her cynicism is the mirror of right-wingers like Scalia and Thomas who have only to find out which party represents privilege and wealth to know for whom to vote.

A left-bigot on the Court is no improvement at all from the right-bigots who currently control it. I look to the Senate to send her home. And I look to the White House to send in her place a nominee for whom "Justice" is more than just a title.

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