May 30, 2009

Obama defends Sotomayor: "I'm sure she would have restated it."

Well, of course, she would have restated it if she'd thought, when she said it, that it would be used by opponents of her Supreme Court nomination the way it's being used today. But that's why the original quotation is so interesting and deserving of analysis.

Yet it was not an unguarded spontaneous outburst. It was a carefully written speech delivered to a particular audience. Sotomayor was saying the things that would be well-received by her audience. Indeed, I have trouble getting roused by her statement — "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" — because I've been immersed for a quarter century in the kind of law school environment that she addressed. Here, we sympathetically smile and nod at such things. We nurture racial analysis. We create a school of thought and hire people to write about Critical Race Theory. What Sotomayor said was actually a weak, feel-good version of the kind of racial talk that is widespread in the legal academy.

Sotomayor was invited to give that speech, I assume, because she is Latina. It was for publication in the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, in a symposium called "Raising the Bar: Latino and Latina Presence in the Judiciary and the Struggle for Representation." She had to address the topic. She did so in a notably non-radical fashion. She was appropriate for that occasion. Now, it sounds bad to people who don't hear this sort of thing in the ordinary course of life, but I think it says very little about how racially Sotomayor's mind works or how inclined she is to dispense racial favors from the bench.

Still, those who want law to be color-blind have an fine opportunity to play off that quote. Whether calling Sotomayor a "racist" is the best rhetoric is another matter. I would recommend characterizing Sotomayor's thinking as "racial" (rather than racist). And lets have a real debate about whether law and public policy should have a racial or a color-blind character. It's an important issue, and it can be used to define Obama in contrast to whatever 2012 candidates the Republican Party may produce.

181 comments:

Paco Wové said...

"We nurture racial analysis... What Sotomayor said was actually a weak, feel-good version of the kind of racial talk that is widespread in the legal academy." 

So, law school is just a big racist grievance factory? Good to know.

James said...

Isn't "Latina woman" redundant?

Jennifer said...

isn't Latina woman redundant?

Not when Latina is meant to be a descriptor for woman.

This post reads more like an indictment of academia than a defense of Sotomayor.

AllenS said...

"Now, it sounds bad to people who don't hear this sort of thing in the ordinary course of life, but..."

I would imagine the same could be said about a Nazi or White Power rally. Sheesh.

I would hope that a wise Nazi with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Jew who hasn't lived that life.

See how that works? Quite the country club you belong to, Althouse.

Jason said...

I agree. If that sort of drivel is widespread, then it's time to purge those idiots out of legal academia and get them back over to comparative literature, where they can do less damage.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

How can a legal system be veiwpoint based? Do we really need to start getting a jury of our specific peers because nobody else will understand our motivation?

"Okay folks this women has been charged with killing her husband, so we need a jury pool of abused women. Oh- and the judge too. And she is black, so we need a jury pool of abused black women."

Sorry; the law should not be written that narrowly.

John said...

This fits perfectly with Althouse's desire for The President to appoint a strong liberal. The interest in the academy is to dissect opinion and argument as a sporting event. Whether the Constitution is trashed and liberty lost is utterly secondary.

traditionalguy said...

The article was a wonderfully well crafted spotlight on Sonia's critics as those complaining about a "Slip of the tongue".Like the phrase, "pardon my french" means that one is speaking in a language other than one's native tongue, so please excuse them for any slips of the tongue into a wrong word choice.The pictures accompanying the article were the meat of the propaganda piece which is designed to contrast sensitive and loving Obama accepting the wonderful hispanic heroine with all her cultural defects, and sensitive Sonia returning his love, as against the Anglo/white dominant culture rejecting her well earned chance at full acceptance because they willfully do not understand her.

Pogo said...

La Raza.
The Race, hispanic race specifically, La Raza über alles.

Her primary defense is that the next choice will be far worse.

As a result, I am, sorrowfully, preparing for the next 20 years or so to be one based entirely on political favoritism, exactly as is playing out in the nationalized car industry. Unions, race, political donations, and gender will be the deciding factors for government largesse, legislation, judicial decisions, and matters scientific.

From The CornerSpeaking on the same panel, Judge Richard Paez (of the Ninth Circuit) was more emphatic, and emphasized that both juror and judge had a duty of impartiality.

"As Judge Saucedo said, we are required to apply the law fairly. I do not think that I ever have applied a different standard in judging a case involving a Latino defendant, a black defendant, an Asian defendant, a white defendant, or a multimillion dollar corporation.

I explained, 'As jurors, recognize that you might have some bias, or prejudice. Recognize that it exists, and determine whether you can control it so that you can judge the case fairly. Because if you cannot - if you cannot set aside those prejudices, biases and passions - then you should not sit on the case.'

"The same principle applies to judges. We take an oath of office. ...And so, although I am a Latino judge and there is no question about that - I am viewed as a Latino judge - as I judge cases, I try to judge them fairly. I try to remain faithful to my oath.

...You don't shed that experience - you don't leave it behind. But, when called upon to decide a case, judges have a distinct and clear obligation to apply the law fairly and justly to the parties in the case."
There is apparently a judge more qualified; right race, wrong gender.
Wrong ideology, as well, to my dismay.

Pogo said...
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jayne_cobb said...

I just love Drudge's headline because it allows me to post this.

Bissage said...

I hope nobody’s disappointed, but I have no standing to form an opinion on this matter.

I went to law school for the exact same reasons I would have gone to Vo-Tech fifteen years earlier had I more opportunities and better sense.

There you have it.

Will Cate said...

It irritates me to no end to see the term "racist" being incorrectly used in this context. A racist is one who believes that one race of people is inherently superior to another. The term "reverse-racist" is even dumber.

I seriously doubt Ms. Sotomayor falls into this category. But that said, and if you will forgive the accidental stereotyping, she does need a bit of the Ricky Ricardo treatment when she go up on Capitol Hill.

"Sonia, you got some 'splainin' to do..."

dave_WI said...

but I think it says very little about how racially Sotomayor's mind works or how inclined she is to dispense racial favors from the bench.Excuse me, can you say 'Ricci case'

dave_WI said...

"A racist is one who believes that one race of people is inherently superior to another."That is the dictionary definition. You know that is not the way that word is used today. It's sad but true!

paul a'barge said...

She had to address the topic. She did so in a notably non-radical fashion. She was appropriate for that occasion....

this is just current, racial-grievance justification.

Go back to Jimmy the Greek. Now move both backwards and ahead in time and note each incident in which white men have received a political correct lynching for saying something.

Look for the request that the context and intentions of the statement be taken into consideration.

Now note how those requests were dismissed out of hand and how the politically incorrect white men have received career crucifixion.

Can you honestly tell me that Sotomayor deserves a pass?

Not.

Frodo Potter said...

Jason said “I agree. If that sort of drivel is widespread, then it's time to purge those idiots out of legal academia and get them back over to comparative literature, where they can do less damage.”

Well said. I’ll spare everyone my rant about academia, but I do expect better from lawyers, even academics. I think Althouse has a good point about *racial* versus *racist* but it is still aggravating.

I must say that I am relieved she is Puerto Rican and not Mexican. I have found Puerto Ricans (and Hispanics from the Caribbean in general) to be far more realistic about the way the world works, and also FAR less racist against both whites and blacks. I was in graduate school with a couple of light-skinned Latinas of Mexican derivation who were always talking about “Anglos” (as if a blond Polish person were English speaking) yet hung out with the white females (former sorority girls, albeit of feminist persuasion) and had no time for the Black students in the department. In fact, now that I think about it, most of the ultra-liberals in the department didn’t hang out much with the Black students. It was us quirky, independent-minded people who did.

I also will make a prediction that many pro-choice feminists may have more reason to be wary of Sotomayor than they might think at first glance.

dave_WI said...

When Imus uttered the famous couple of words, he wasn't allowed to explain his philosophical meaning of the words.

rhhardin said...

It's a woman's self-esteem line, always well received so as to affirm that people will encourage the self-esteeming party in their new and unfamiliar endeavour, and maybe in fifty or a hundred years we will raise the standards, so rest easy.

In Imus's case, he didn't defend himself, which he could easily have done by pointing out if you don't want to be called a ho, don't act like one on the court; but he went along with the PC hype. He turned into an old queen long ago.

dave_WI said...

When Imus used the woed 'ho', he thought he was down with black people and could use that word (?) like they do.

Almost like what Isaiah Thomas said during his harassment case 'if a black calls a black women a ho that is not good but if a white guy says it I'm going to be very mad' or something like that.

How did he ever get away with saying that?

TitusNippyTucky said...

She is a racist. I have to agree with the fat old southern white men. You know one of them that told the black caller to take the bone out of his nose and call back later. That was delish.

I also want to see her mother run out of the proceedings and cry. That would be amazing.

This is a win win situation for us fellow republicans. We need to Bork her until she gets all Ghetto and Anitaish from West Side Story. I want drama and I want it now.

And Obama is really dumb.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

She hasn't been nominated to be the nation's top lawyer, she is nominated to be a JUSTICE and justice is supposed to be blind.

I think the statement shows she has a giant chip on her shoulder and if this is the accepted talk in lawyer circles, then lawyers need to clean up their act and their mindsets.

Oh, and that whole thing about pulling herself up from humble roots, blah blah blah is all bogus. Turns out that after leaving the so-called projects, her parents lived in a nice middle class neighborhood and she went to a private school where she went on to earn a scholarship to Princeton. Her brother is a doctor in Syracuse who advertises that he DOES NOT take Medicaid or Medicare patients. Real man of the people that.

See this article.

And since when did Hispanic become interchangeable with Puerto Rican? Hispanics in my area (So. Cal) laugh at that. And being a member of radical La Raza is not exactly something that will endear her to the general population.

Bottom line, identity politics should have no place in the law. It is nothing but discrimination with a politically correct name.

Robert Burnham said...

The law needs to be blind to color and race and gender and even planet-of-origin. The fact that statements such as hers are commonplace, even mild, within legal adacemia is no reason to excuse them.

Also, there's a small matter of the Supreme Court oath of office which expressly forbids using viewpoints such as she presented.

MnMark said...

I think this states it well:

Any white man who had said the equivalent of what Judge Sotomayor said, that he as a white man would be a better judge than a black or a Hispanic, would have had his name automatically removed from any list for the U.S. Supreme Court.

And if such a man had been nominated, and such a statement in his past had then come out, his nomination would have been instantly withdrawn.

Therefore Sonia Sotomayor is disqualified from the U.S. Supreme Court and her nomination must be withdrawn.

If the Democrats approve her nomination, they are saying that there are two sets of rules in America, one for whites and one for nonwhites, and that what is prohibited to whites, is freely allowed to nonwhites. Which means that the real purpose of the movement for racial equality and racial inclusion in this country has not been the ending of racial discrimination, but the inauguration of a pro-nonwhite, anti-white regime.

Oligonicella said...

Thanks to Pogo I needn't point out that two latino judges disagree with her about using their 'lens' to view cases. I don't think she's getting a by because she's latina, I think it's because she's a she. Like the shot of leg thing.

Pogo said...

Would not a juror would be dq'd for saying the same thing?

Mebbe not.

O.J.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

Pogo:

Andy McCarthy
thinks it would disqualify her from becoming a juror.

Pogo said...

Heh.

OJ justice, at the federal level.

Greeeaaaaaaaat.

Richard Fagin said...
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Richard Fagin said...

"Here [law school], we sympathetically smile and nod at such things. We nurture racial analysis. We create a school of thought and hire people to write about Critical Race Theory."

Indeed you do. President Obama and Judge Sotomayor fit right in with the legal academy crowd.

Some introspection is long overdue, professor. You shouldn't sympathetically smile and nod at such things. They are bigotry in every sense of the word, and whether or not they are understandable they are not justifiable.

Quixotic said...

Here's 2 passages that make the case that Judge Sotomayor is a racial essentialist, by which I mean that her thinking about other human beings is fundamentally racial in character, in a manner that is both false and damaging to society, no matter whether or not she thinks one race is superior to another:

1) "Whatever the reasons why we may have different perspectives, either as some theorists suggest because of our cultural experiences or, as others postulate because we have basic differences in logic and reasoning, are in many respects a small part of a larger practical question we as women and minority judges in society in general must address."

2) "Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”

In the 1st passage, Sotomayor is not merely talking about differences in rhetoric or language choice, or differences in depth of understanding about a given issue, all of which can be presumably overcome by education and communication between individuals and groups. No, Sotomayor is seriously entertaining the idea that members of different racial groups have "basic differences in logic and reasoning."

And where do these "basic differences in logic and reasoning" come from? Well it might because of experience, but it also might be because of "inherent physiological or cultural differences." (If it's cultural, then why is it "inherent,"? I don't know.)

I'm repeating what I said on another blog, but these 2 passages, taken together, really do give a cloak of respectability to racial essentialism. If we have “basic differences in logic and reasoning,” borne perhaps of “inherent physiological differences,” than members of different racially defined groups do not have a common ground by which to understand or communicate with each other, nor can they argue rationally argue or persuade each other. Groups can only assert power over other groups, with such power sometimes channeled or rationalized in the form arbitrary conventions masquerading as objective reasoning.

What Sodomayor is suggesting here is fundamentally no different than the idea that there is an irreducible “White logic” v. “Black logic” or an “Aryan logic” v. “Jewish logic.” It’s toxic stuff; anti-rational, anti-humanistic and anti-Enlightenment.

Others can, and hate, written about the implications of having a Justice with racial essentialist views on the bench.

EnigmatiCore said...

I have found the defenses of her speech to be completely underwhelming.

I find Rush's characterization of her as a racist to be deplorable. Undoubtedly, she does not think of herself as one. Further, I see no evidence of animus against any identity grouping, even while she expresses empathy towards several.

However, her speech and other comments she has made show that she has a judicial temperament incompatible with the kind of color-blind justice system for which we should all strive.

We are going to get a very liberal Justice no matter what. However, it should not be Sotomayor.

And a quick note to those who have been insinuating or flat-out stating that those who oppose her are racists or are 'speaking the language' of sexism-- you are part of the problem, and you should be ashamed of yourself. It may be politically beneficial to denigrate those who disagree with you, but it is wrong to do, plain and simple.

Pogo said...

And one suspects Sotomayor is the least caustic example of this wide-eyed/thumb-scaled justice borne of modern racial legal analysis that we can expect from the Democrats.

The Constitution subverted in less than 200 days, first by the negation of property rights (admittedly started by Kelo), now by the open admission of racial preferences at the highest level.

EnigmatiCore said...

Quixotic, I would have bolded different parts, especially on the second one.

"Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging."If you are a white guy, better get a white male Judge because gender and national origins will make a difference in 'our' judging.

I have no idea why anyone, particularly a liberal, would be defending her.

EDH said...

Isn't the correct term one that was popular in the 1960-70s, ironically applied to males?

Latina Chauvinism.


I remember first seeing the word spelled-out as "male chauvinist pig!" in baloon quote above a Dave Berg cartoon character in Mad Magazine. (Scroll down for sample cartoons.)


See the second and third definions from Marriam-Webster:

2: undue partiality or attachment to a group or place to which one belongs or has belonged
3: an attitude of superiority toward members of the opposite sex ; also : behavior expressive of such an attitude
.


All this is why I emphasize the distinction between "empathy" and sympathy. Empathy is much more akin to bias, as is chauvinism, because it relates to favoring one's own situation rather than understanding someone else's.

former law student said...

One reason I can't get exercised about the "wise Latina" comment is that I, Joe Whitebread, was a member of La Raza** during law school, mostly for the delicious food*, and for the ability to rub elbows and other body parts with the curvaceous, flirtations Latina members.

*Only the South Asian food was better. Most clubs served the ubiquitous law school pizza at their meetings.

**The most politically correct and/or desperate guys actually joined the female law group.

Because no one has yet commented on this, I'm going to repost a redacted version of my Sonia Salon comment. But I must add, that while Cardinal Spellman was not a public school, in general we do not think of schools operated by the De La Salle Christian Brothers (i.e. not the Irish boy rapers) in the same breath as Choate or Philips Exeter. In fact, the real, exclusive high school in the Bronx is Bronx Science.

The Sotomayors moved from the Bronxdale Houses to Co-op City sometime after Sonia graduated from Blessed Sacrament (i.e. between Summer 1968 and 1970). Which was a good move because the South Bronx in the late 60s was extremely dangerous. (I wish Trooper would weigh in. He coudl explain how true to life Fort Apache, the Bronx was.) According to my buddy who lived in Co-op City and went to Bronx Science during that same time period, Co-op City was a little island of calm in a sea of crime and chaos.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

From the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary:

Sotomayor can be tough on lawyers, according to those interviewed. “She is a terror on the bench.” “She is very outspoken.” “She can be difficult.” “She is temperamental and excitable. She seems angry.” “She is overly aggressive–not very judicial. She does not have a very good temperament.” “She abuses lawyers.” “She really lacks judicial temperament. She behaves in an out of control manner. She makes inappropriate outbursts.” “She is nasty to lawyers. She doesn’t understand their role in the system–as adversaries who have to argue one side or the other. She will attack lawyers for making an argument she does not like.”
AND

Lawyers interviewed said Sotomayor writes good opinions. “Her opinions are O.K, by and large.” “She writes very clear and careful prose in her opinions.” “Her writing is good.” “Her opinions are generally well-reasoned and well-argued.” “She writes well.” “She is a very good writer.” “Her writing is not distinguished, but is perfectly
competent.”
Shouldn't we expect more than just "competent" and "okay" from someone nominated to sit on the high court?

Since the Constitution doesn't specify qualifications for a Supreme Court justice and being a lawyer is not required, I submit that if the criteria is competent and the ability to do o.k., then anyone here is just as qualified as Sotomayor. Perhaps it is time to look outside the legal profession for our justices and find true thinkers and exceptional minds for the high court bench. Perhaps someone who has actually accomplished something and with a good common sense approach to life.

Daryl said...

It is one thing to recognize that a judge's history, race, ethnicity, religion, family history, or other factors could provide a source of bias.

That is just standard legal realism.

It is another thing entirely to hold that bias out as a good thing, to be cultivated and indulged.

That's what Sotomayor said, in prepared remarks, that Latino judges who were there strongly criticized.

If a white male nominee said that as a white man, sometimes he felt pressures and biases, and he didn't try to curtail them, in fact he would double down in their direction because his experience as a wise old white man helped him to understand contracts better than a brown-skinned person, I doubt you would be carrying so much water for him.

former law student said...

Empathy is much more akin to bias, as is chauvinism, because it relates to favoring one's own situation rather than understanding someone else's.

Completely ass-backwards. Empathy is the ability to put oneself in the shoes of another. Sympathy is the experience of feeling the same way as another. Empathy: I understand the way you feel. Sympathy: I feel your pain.

Empathy is unbiased; sympathy is biased. An empathetic judge will consider issues from both adversaries' points of view; a sympathetic judge will side with the most pathetic person.

Big Mike said...

Still, those who want law to be color-blind ...

Once upon a time that was everybody except the KKK and other die-hard racists in the Deep South. That little phrase of yours, Professor, perhaps reveals more than you'd like it to.

Is it okay to remind people of one of Martin Luther King's dreams?

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

We've come a long way in 40 years, but have we progressed? If the law is not going to be blind to race, religion, ethnic origin, or financial status then there is no law at all, and whatever you teach it can't be law because you've just finished demonstrating that there is no such thing as "law." There's only which grievance group do you belong to, or how much money do you have.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

I don't think empathy or sympathy should have a place in a court where cases should be judged on the facts and the law. If the law isn't empathetic or sympathetic enough, then go to Congress and fight it out there to get it changed. This victimization of America is racist-sexist-or any other ist you can think of and by its very nature becomes discriminatory.

Chris said...

"I would recommend characterizing Sotomayor's thinking as 'racial' (rather than racist)."

That might work, except for the desire for racial superiority.

EDH said...

FLS,

I appreciate the clarification on Obama's characterization of empathy. Mia culpa.

I take it we agree on the chauvinism expressed in Sotomayor's own words, however?

rhhardin said...

You'd think chauvenism would favor horses.

PatCA said...

"Curvaceous, flirtatio[us]"?

Ah, they were sexy spitfires! You're trying to make a point by being light, formerlawstudent, but "there you go again." You reinforce the same kind of racializing that Sotomayor does. The Romantics called it the Noble Savage theory and it flourishes today on the left.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"isn't Latina woman redundant?"

Not when Latina is meant to be a descriptor for woman.
Yes. It is redundant. Latina is the feminine of Latino. It would be like saying that Angelina Jolie is an "actress woman".

And lets have a real debate about whether law and public policy should have a racial or a color-blind character.



The law and public policy SHOULD be racial and color blind. This is why we depict "lady justice" with a blindfold. There should not be separate laws and separate policies for segments of the population based on ethnicity, skin color, sexual preferences or any other segment. The ideal is equal justice and equal treatment under the laws for EVERYONE.

Now, the question is CAN the people who administer the law be the same?

I don't disagree that Sotomayer's ethnicity and "rich life experiences" (gag me) might give her greater insight and empathy with certain cases. That is only natural for any one. HOWEVER, if she acts on that empathy instead of judging according to the letter of the law, she is no longer acting as an impartial judge and is now an activist making predjudicial biased decisions.

This is what Obama and the rest of the leftists want as an ideal. The want judges who override the law based on nebulous and ever changing social whims, empathy, popular opinion.

The function of judges is to rule impartially according to the written law. If we want to change the laws, there is an already approved channel for that process. Through the elected representatives of the people who are supposed to (ha ha ha) be accountable to the electorate. The liberals want to sidestep this process with partisan, appointed for life, judges who are accountable to no one.

former law student said...

To point out why Sotomayor's statement is innocuous, I will rephrase it: "I would hope that an Iraqi war veteran with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't served at all."

Does anyone still find it threatening?

I don't think empathy or sympathy should have a place in a court where cases should be judged on the facts and the law.

I disagree. I think, for example, that judges should allow murder victims' families to attend the killers' trials, even if they weep openly in the courtroom.

I think part of the misunderstanding here is the inability of whites and males to comprehend that a non-white, non-male could possess anything that he could not possibly have.

Remember Steve Martin's famous movie quote, "I was born a poor black child."? Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and Pat Buchanan go him one better, claiming their childhoods gave them the same experiences as if they were Hispanic women. "They can't claim anything that I don't share."

Zeb Quinn said...

Her strongest strong point is that she is a competent writer, but how much of that writing is done by her competent clerks?

LutherM said...

Such a damn shame that Prof. A. - and so many others, ignore the profound truth of Mr. Justice Harlan's writing;
"But in view of the constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful."

former law student said...

I take it we agree on the chauvinism expressed in Sotomayor's own words, however?

Yes, but I classify it with the exhortations of high school principals during pep rallies.

Our team is red-hot.
Their team ain't doodley-squat.

Leland said...

Will Cate wrote:
"It irritates me to no end to see the term "racist" being incorrectly used in this context. A racist is one who believes that one race of people is inherently superior to another."

then:
"I seriously doubt Ms. Sotomayor falls into this category"

Perhaps he can explain what the purpose of La Raza is other than support the superiority of the Latino race.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Yes, but I classify it with the exhortations of high school principals during pep rallies.

Our team is red-hot.
Their team ain't doodley-squat.

Of course! Why didn't we see it.

The Supreme Court shoud be cheerleaders for the agenda of the moment. Let's buy them some pom poms!!

former law student said...

Isn't "Latina woman" redundant?

Yes and no.

In the Romance languages, adjectives are inflected to agree in number and gender with the nouns they modify. English shed this feature centuries ago. So, as a loanword from Spanish, the adjective Latina can properly modify woman even though Latina can also be used as a noun in English.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Jason : I agree. If that sort of drivel is widespread, then it's time to purge those idiots out of legal academia and get them back over to comparative literature, where they can do less damage.

Even if the complaints being voiced don't keep Sotomayor out of the Supreme Court they'll probably cause a chilling effect on the racial rhetoric of academics.

former law student said...

what the purpose of La Raza is other than support the superiority of the Latino race?

La Raza is a support group for non-traditional students, like the Society for Women Engineers. At least I believe the SWE was not a bastion of female chauvinist swine (sows?)

Sofa King said...

I would recommend characterizing Sotomayor's thinking as "racial" (rather than racist)

To quote one of the foremost political philosophers of our time, the inestimable Ali G, "yo, that's racialist."

EnigmatiCore said...

"To point out why Sotomayor's statement is innocuous, I will rephrase it"

The difference, which makes it something far less innocuous than you argue, is that one can choose to serve and earn the right to be a vet.

I often go back and forth in my estimation of you, FLS. At times, I think you are just one of those who makes asinine arguments out of the belief that you can convince those with lesser mental acumen. But I think I have concluded that you really are one of those with lesser mental capabilities, and that's why things that are obvious continually evade your grasp.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

I disagree. I think, for example, that judges should allow murder victims' families to attend the killers' trials, even if they weep openly in the courtroom.That is fine during the sentencing phase when victim impact statements are allowed. But in the trial, there is no room for such.

Put it this way. Is the mother of someone about to be put to death for murder any less traumatized at the loss of her child, than the mother of the person who was murdered? Should that be a consideration? I don't think so. No one has any sympathy/empathy for the mother of a murderer, yet her loss is every bit as great if the state decides to kill her child.

peter hoh said...

It took a strident anti-communist to open doors with "Red" China. It took a liberal to reform welfare.

Obama has the opportunity to reform affirmative action. I will be disappointed if he doesn't.

Pogo said...

La Raza is a support group for non-traditional students, "

Sure, like supporting the motto of its secondary organization MEChA:
"For The Race everything. Outside The Race, nothing."

AJ Lynch said...

FLS:

Can you list your complete hierarchy of human beings? So far, you have ranked Latina woman and Iraqi war vets above the average white male.

Please continue your categorizations. I am intrigued with how you will slot the many many shades & types of Amercians. Do you refer to some website or liberal manual? If so, just point us there.

Lem said...

Althouse says..

..but I think it says very little about how racially Sotomayor's mind works or how inclined she is to dispense racial favors from the bench.

I understand maybe Sotomayor felt she had to trow read meat to the audience that invited her.. yadi yadi yada .

But, what could getting so deep into the numbers mean other than a search for some sort of justification to dispense racial favor?

Sotomayor makes the NAACP look passive.

I mean it was difficult to follow. A percentage of this divided and subtracted latinos and black bla bla bla.

Oh, I know what it was, it was torture ;)

Please professor dont make us read anything like that again.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Althouse : I would recommend characterizing Sotomayor's thinking as "racial" (rather than racist).

Hispanics aren't a racial group anyway. If your ancestors moved to New York from Spain you're white. If your ancestors moved to New York from Germany, but spent a generation in Colombia, you're hispanic.

BurrDeming said...

In fairness, we should consider the arguments against the judge.

William said...

I don't think Imus should have been fired for a dumb joke, and I don't think Sotomayor should be disqualified for an awkward statement. She has kept her part of the bargain insofar as she is honest, hard working, and scholarly. I think Republicans should demonstrate more magnitude than Obama who voted against Roberts and Alito.... That said, it must be observed that a clumsy statement such as Sotomayor made is bound to breed invidious comments. Here is my invidious comment: if being judged by Hispanics was such a sure fire way to joy and prosperity, more Hispanics would be migrating to hablobante countries than the other way around. I think it would behoove Ms Sotomayor to have a sense of humility and wonder before the English common law tradition......For the past two hundred years the English speaking countries have been the best governed in the world. I don't know why this is so, but it is demonstrably so. Perhaps because they are so ignorant of the culinary arts and of passionate lovemaking they can devote more time to civil administration and the study of law......Human beings are not very good at divvying up wealth and power, but the Constitution and common law have done a better job than most at cutting the pie. I would hope that a wise Latina would make an effort to assimilate those values which made such a pile of wet woolens as the Anglosaxons so effective in their civil relations with one another.

AJ Lynch said...

La Raza = Society of Women Engineers. LOL.

Lem said...

sorry that should have read "red meat" that Sotomayor obvioulsly red or picked up from some red influence ;)

rhhardin said...

A color blind is like a duck blind for rainbows.

AlphaLiberal said...

Along parallel lines, the quality of debate is far better in academia than in our stupid popular political discourse.

Sotomayor didn't write that speech defensively, with the notion it would be parsed by attack dogs for the text string that could make her look bad.

This notion that any mention of race is, itself, racist, is pretty dumb.

When Alito said our life experience affects our views - and judges' deliberations - that was fine.

AlphaLiberal said...

So, conservatives actually think a white male has as good an understanding of racial and gender discrimination as a Latina.

Weird thinking, that.

Palladian said...

"Along parallel lines, the quality of debate is far better in academia than in our stupid popular political discourse."

Yes, there's actual dissent in popular political discourse. Which is why you hate it so much.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

Here is a real life story: When my police brutality case was still being adjudicated, I had an Hispanic male attorney. He told me that if settlement negotiations broke down and we had to go to a jury trial, he wanted as many Hispanic females on the jury as he could get. When I expressed surprise at this, he said quite bluntly: You were stripped, beaten and had your back broken by a black cop, Hispanic women hate black men much more than white men/women, so we want them (Hispanic women) judging your case. This was my own experience from the Hispanics I have lived and worked around for the last 30 years here in So. Cal, but it was kind of shocking to hear it put so bluntly.

(BTW, I hadn't broken the law, we were the victims of a home invasion where the cops were at the wrong house. The county eventually settled, after six years of putting me thru hell, so I never got a chance to test his statement.)

Palladian said...

"So, conservatives actually think a white male has as good an understanding of racial and gender discrimination as a Latina.

Weird thinking, that."

Huh. I thought we were vetting a potential Supreme Court Justice, not the head of the Obama States of America's Council on Racial Sensitivity. I kind of expect candidates for the former job to have a good understanding of the law and the Constitution. Good understanding of racial and gender discrimination can be picked up by anyone with a first-grade education in about 2 minutes.

But hey, different strokes for different folks. I'm concerned about freedom, which can be so easily and permanently taken away by the decisions of these autocrats. You're concerned with making everyone feel better.

Palladian said...

I like the idea that a Hispanic woman with an Ivy-League education who spent their career in high-powered law firms and important government positions and is now going to be a Supreme Court justice is though to have a good understanding of racial and gender discrimination. It's clever.

traditionalguy said...

Thanks Jason the commenter for better expressing than me the obvious antidote argument to those Rabble Rousers trying to turn a simple cross cultural blending together into another episode of the politics of a fear of racial uprisings.

Kirby Olson said...

The general Marxist understanding that is now prevalent throughout the academies is that blighted communities are blighted because something has been stolen from them, from outside. And they see that White Protestants are better off, so they think they stole this wealth, and it has to be taken back.

But if you look at the Scandinavian countries -- all wealthy, white, and Protestant, they mostly never had colonies -- Norway never did, Iceland never did, Finland never did -- Denmark had a couple of minor colonies --
the wealth must have come from within -- both from the freedom of inquiry that was possible in those communities (Protestantism DEMANDS freedom of inquiry -- it is in fact its CENTRAL demand) --

It provides a better and more accurate view of why some communities are blighted, while others prosper.

The wealth is coming from within the group.

I do think that academia is a mess, and that their proportioning of blame is completely wrong.

Sotomayer doesn't seem to understand this from what we little we know of her. Which isn't saying much. I don't think Obama understands it, or that anyone in this country understands it.

Instead of "racial analysis" there should instead be a systems analysis based on actual existing institutions and structures within given populations. The poverty comes from those particular structures.

The Papacy denied the Reformation nowhere more powerfully than within LATIN countries. We don't need that blight to spread any further.

Lem said...

I would recommend characterizing Sotomayor's thinking as "racial" (rather than racist).

It is telling that Sotomayor would give a talk like that after all of the Bork Souter rigamoroll.

Wasn't the Lesson of the Souter nomination - Just say NO to paper trails and controversial topics?

Either Sotomayor didn't learn it (draw your own conclussions) or 'deep down' Sotomayor didn't believe that she was qualified.

Put it another way; Sotomayor expressed herself as though free from any expectation that she would one day be recognized for her legal talent.

Fair?

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

So, conservatives actually think a white male has as good an understanding of racial and gender discrimination as a Latina.

Oh good grief. Yes, I think they have an excellent understanding if they have lived and worked in the U.S. in the last 30 years where minorities are given special privilege and are always first on the list for advancement.

Check out the help wanted ads. Nearly every single one says Bi-lingual required and around my neck of the woods, if you don't speak fluent Spanish, you have a better than even chance of being on unemployment right now.

Try to get a small business loan as a so called non-minority. My white male son applied about 10 years ago and was told point blank to find a minority to put on his application or it wouldn't even be considered.

There is no doubt that the two most discriminated groups in America are white males and fat women.

Palladian said...

I like the Democrat's brilliant new extortion strategy of power: confirm, hire and/or elect our minority candidates or we'll brand you as racists and set the ethnic minorities under our control against you forever.

They've spent a couple of decades setting up the necessary conditions for this strategy to work correctly, including dumbing down several generations of school children and creating racial/class groups which are entirely dependent on government largess and who have no real sense of connection to America beyond their ethnic identities.

And now there's no stopping this pernicious strategy.

former law student said...

La Raza is a support group for non-traditional students, "

Sure, like supporting the motto of its secondary organization MEChA:

There is no connection between the La Raza lawyers' society and MECha. La Raza is to Latino lawyers as the Justinian Society is to Italian-American lawyers. Kindly do some research before spouting off.

Freeman Hunt said...

To point out why Sotomayor's statement is innocuous, I will rephrase it: "I would hope that an Iraqi war veteran with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't served at all."

Does anyone still find it threatening
?

Yes. Don't you? The idea that vets will automatically be better judges than non-vets? Silly.

And, as someone already pointed out, it's not even analogous. One is a class you're born into while the other is a chosen activity.

former law student said...

that's why things that are obvious continually evade your grasp.

The problem is that conservatives are relatively simple-minded and inflexible, compared to liberals.

"Liberals tend to enjoy thinking
more, while conservatives
tend to prefer relatively simple, unambiguous answers to life’s
questions" (Kruglanski, Pierro, Mannetti, & De Grada, Groups as epistemic providers: Need for closure and the unfolding
of group-centrism. Psychological Review, 113, 84–100. 2006)

Pogo said...

"There is no connection between the La Raza lawyers' society and MECha.There is a connection between La Raza and MECha. That's what I pointed out.

There is also a connection between La Raza and the La Raza lawyers' society, and therefore MECha.

It's a pretty simple genealogy.

traditionalguy said...

Kirby Olsen...God help us. Do you really want to use the reformation fights of three hundred years ago on the hispanics for being part of that dangerous Catholic sect of Christianity? Politics of division only works when your side ends up in the majority. But today us WASP voters need to hold on to some safe allies. Heck, even the Pope is a German intellectual today. FYI, Columbus, the Admiral of the Ocean Seas, brought this Catholic faith problem to the Carribean and Florida 120 years before before the Pilgrims managed to escape Protestant England.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

And, as someone already pointed out, it's not even analogous. One is a class you're born into while the other is a chosen activity.

I agree it isn't analogous, but I disagree on the rest of your statement. You aren't born into a class in this country and this idea liberals try to advance that we should have some kind of arbitrary class system is unAmerican to the max.

If Sotomayor belongs to any class, as short for classification, it would be that of elitist with her private high school and Ivy League education. What makes her as a descendant of Puerto Rican ancestry any more deserving than someone of English, Welsh, French, German, Russian, Italian, Czech, or any other non-Latin country ancestry?

It is just plain stupid to make that claim.

Judge her on her intellect, her temperament, her grasp of Constitutional law, etc, but to give her a pass because she was born to Puerto Rican immigrants doesn't make her more deserving of anything. She has certainly had more privilege and advantage than the average American.

Steven said...

Right, she's not a racist, she's just a Latina female Archie Bunker.

----------

Archie: What's the matter with this? I call this representative government. You've got Salvatori, Feldman, O'Reilly, Nelson--that's an Italian, a Jew, an Irishman and a regular American there. That's what I call a balanced ticket.

Meathead: Why do you always have to label people by nationality?

Archie: 'Cause, how else are you going to get the right man for the right job?

----------

Lem said...

In what was almost a parody of the way copies of speeches and articles by Judge Bork flooded Washington three years ago, the Judiciary Committee staff was reduced to distributing copies of the undergraduate thesis David Souter wrote 29 years ago for the Harvard philosophy department on the legal thought of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.

This 'sea change' in the nomination process seems to have completely missed Sotomayor busy 'latina life'.

Kirby Olson said...

TRADITIONAL GUY!

I don't want to break any alliances with Catholics, but I do want everyone to think about why Latin America is such an awful place -- it's not because of what WASPS stole from them -- it's because of the top-down structure of the Papacy. The marginalized are marginalized because they are working under top-down structures.

Now they are so stupid that they are wanting to replace those structures with a virulent strain of Marxism that is the worst top-down structure of all -- leading inexorably to the next Kim Jong-Il.

No one should care about people or have "empathy" for them. It's so stupid. You have to think about the structure. Individuals mean nothing. The structure means everything.

Change the structure so that there is freedom of inquiry, moral responsibility, and tight marriages, and your community will prosper. In other words, convert a given group to Lutheranism, and they will be just fine.

Convert them to Marxism, and they become a rampaging horde of locusts.

former law student said...

If Freeman doesn't believe that broader experience would enable a judge to make better decisions, I don't know what to say. Let's try to find a 23 year old law grad and put him on the Supreme Court, I guess.

One is a class you're born into while the other is a chosen activity.

Going from the Bronx to the white male bastion of Princeton, followed by Yale Law School, followed by working at a big law firm, followed by being a Federal judge, are all also chosen activities as well.

Jason (the commenter) said...

AphaLiberal : This notion that any mention of race is, itself, racist, is pretty dumb.

I think the problem conservatives have, has to do with comparing races and bringing unnecessary attention to race, which they view as unimportant. It's not an attitude I would call stupid. Many Enlightenment figures would agree with it.

Conservatives would say that our problems are cultural, not racial. They would point to Obama as proof. But that's the kind of racial discussion the left isn't ready to have yet.

former law student said...

There is also a connection between La Raza and the La Raza lawyers' society, and therefore MECha.

And what would those connections be, Obi-Wan? Is this like the "All Italian-Americans are in the Mafia" connection?

former law student said...

Conservatives would say that our problems are cultural, not racial.

It's always heartening when a conservative white male says that the era of racism is over. It's like a Forbes reader declaring poverty is no longer a problem in this country.

AJ Lynch said...

FLS:

I don't agree that the Ivy schools have been mono-colored white male bastions.

In the last 50 years,that changed drastically. It is far more accurate to say they have been far left liberal bastions since the late 1960's and early 1970's.

Palladian said...

"It's always heartening when a conservative white male says that the era of racism is over."

What race are you, honey? You're prejudging Jason because he's brave enough to reveal his identity through his photograph. Yet you can safely make racial judgments behind your anonymity. If race is an important indicator of superior judgment, then you need to reveal your race so we can see if you're properly qualified.

F15C said...

To be fair to FLS, La Raza has officially denounced MEChA - yet MEChA is alive and well in colleges and universities in our nation.

However his attempt at analogy above demonstrates a weak-minded - even for him - attempt at adding complexity to a subjective problem that clearly has an relatively simple and unambiguous answer.

The statement below is the pertinent analogy for Sotomayor's statement.

'I would hope that a wise white male with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman who hasn't lived that life.'Oh, and that white male judge, in the same speech said:

"Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging."The question and answer really are simple: Should and would a white man who made the above statements in front of campus group called "The Race" should or could be confirmed to the Supreme Court?

kathleen said...

When I was in law school, there were no minorities on the law review. Upon graduation I figured out why ... the law review credential was an unnecessary extra on the minority applicants' resumes. They got the fancy, well paying law jobs WITHOUT having to undergo the law review slog. Some of us on law review didn't get jobs quite as nice, though we were supposedly the more elite students.

I wonder if Judge Sotomayor had a similar "richness of experience".

Jason (the commenter) said...

former law student : It's always heartening when a conservative white male says that the era of racism is over.

I don't think anyone will ever be able to declare racism over. Racism may always exist. But I think it's important to discuss things individuals can do to make their own lives better. If anyone, no matter their race, makes the life choices Obama did, they too have a chance to get ahead in life.

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

MEChA is connected to La Raza:

"MEChA is only the student portion of the Movement. MEChA works on getting Chicana/o students into higher education, and education and helping La Raza, as student Mechistas. It would be impossible for MEChA to take on the Movement by itself. The Movement is composed in different portions, like the labor portion, the student portion,etc. All portions are vital to continue the Movement going.". source.

NCLR (La Raza) admits ongoing connections to MEChA, repudiating only "rhetoric from some MEChA members....":.


From La Raza NCLR:
"NCLR has never supported, and does not support, separatist organizations.

...According to its mission statement, MEChA is a student organization whose primary objectives are educational—to help Latino students finish high school and go to college

... in 2003, NCLR provided one chapter of the [MEChA] organization (Georgetown University) with a $2,500 subgrant to support a conference of Latino students

...NCLR has publicly and repeatedly disavowed this [separatist] rhetoric ...We will continue, however, to support programs and activities that help more Hispanics enter and finish college."

F15C said...

Pogo: "NCLR (La Raza) admits ongoing connections to MEChA, repudiating only "rhetoric from some MEChA members....":"

In my defense of FLS La Raza/MEChA statement, I stand corrected.

Lem said...

For me the lesson of the Clinton presidency as best as I can surmise it is that when it comes to politics appearance is everything.

I find the appearance of the nomination of Sotomayor a good thing for conservatives.
The appearance (real or unfounded) that ethnicity, skin color continues to be the primary principle of a political ideology.
Important enough to govern that ideology.

Ethnic politics is a double edge sword that when wielded poorly or too often will cause more harm to the user.

Let Obama be Obama ;)

Widmerpool said...

From Christopher Caldwell in Time:

Whether or not you like racial preferences, they involve a way of looking at the law that is sophisticated rather than commonsensical. If the New Haven opinion is fair, it is the kind of fairness you learn at Yale Law School, not the kind you learn in the South Bronx. Sotomayor may be a child of the barrio, culturally speaking, but the judicial philosophy she represents comes from the mandarin, not the proletarian, wing of the Democratic Party.

Kristin said...

To everyone who is translating La Raza directly as "The Race":

You all speak at least one language fluently, I assume, yes? Well then you all know that certain words (however they are translated literally, whatever that means) can have several meanings or interpretations, depending on the context or usage.

Let's think of some examples: caucus (CBC vs. Iowa Caucus); mason (one that actually works with concrete vs. a member of a masonic lodge; fraternity (a Greek organization of men, usually on a college campus vs. a general, conceptual feeling of brotherhood among men).

Oh! Here's a good one actually from Spanish: coger (pronounced co-hair), which literally means to catch or pick up. When used in Spain it is used this literal way, as in Yo cogo el autobus or ?Puede coger el telefono? (I caught the bus or Can you pick up the phone?). In Mexico, it is used the literal way for sure, but very, very often as slang for haviing sex, as in: Ayer, yo coge esta mujer (Yesterday, I had sex with that woman). Having leaned my Spanish in Spain, I've used this word in its literal form (referring to the bus, the phone, whatever)around Mexicans and gotten quite an amused reaction. I learned it as one thing, they hear it as another, although they are obviously aware of the literal meaning, it just doesn't mean that to them heard in most contexts.

My point? The name of La Raza means, to those in it - you know, the ones who are Hispanic, and speak Spanish and understand like everyone else fluent in any language that one word can have several different uses which may or may not be close in meaning to the actual literal meaning - means The Community or The People. It's a group of Hispanic lawyers or those involved in the legal profession. That's it.

I understand that the "wise Latina woman" comments are controversial, at most, especially when taken out of context. But please stop this parsing of the name La Raza. You're simply being ignorant. And here I mean that in the literal sense of the word.

Pogo said...

Bullshit.
It refers to a race, and their movement or community or asscoiation.

What "People" do you think they were talking about?

Don't try to feed me that circumlocutory crap.

Pogo said...

Or are you Humpty Dumpty, and words mean whatever you choose them to mean?

asthedeer said...

There's a basic rule in ethics called 'reversibility,' aka, the golden rule. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Speak of others as you would want them to speak of you.

Sotomayor's 'wise Latina' comment fails the test of reversibility. Those who defend her comment need to explain why reversibility doesn't apply here.

It is trumped by other concerns, like white privilege? If it is then there needs to be an explanation why.

Lem said...

But please stop this parsing of the name La Raza. You're simply being ignorant.

Not really. That is if one assumes that "La Raza" stands for improving the lives of its members.

You would think that the name that it would choose, (if improving the lives of it's members where its goal) would be chosen more carefully. Not so open to misinterpretation.

Cedarford said...

" AllenS said...
I would imagine the same could be said about a Nazi or White Power rally. Sheesh.

I would hope that a wise Nazi with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Jew who hasn't lived that life."
.



Given the massive communist democide Jewish Bolsheviks were complicit in, as about half of the Central Soviet leaders, half the commissars, and half of Stalin's NKVD executioners and propagandists.....
Lets just say that Germans and Jews are equally likely to have good judgment or screwed up judgment.

At the end of the day, we all know Germans with good judgment make great cars, and Jews with lots of money gained by individual or collective good judgment - love those German cars.
--------------
Quixotic - What Sodomayor is suggesting here is fundamentally no different than the idea that there is an irreducible “White logic” v. “Black logic” or an “Aryan logic” v. “Jewish logic.” It’s toxic stuff; anti-rational, anti-humanistic and anti-Enlightenment..



Very well said....
-----------------------
former law student said...
One reason I can't get exercised about the "wise Latina" comment is that I, Joe Whitebread, was a member of La Raza** during law school, mostly for the delicious food*, and for the ability to rub elbows and other body parts with the curvaceous, flirtations Latina members.
.

That's a pretty sad reflection on yourself. How many times did you apologize for your pasty skin and call yourself "Joe Whitebread" who lacked the moral superiority and wisdom of oppressed brown skin peoples?

Gee, though, it must have made you feel good....

Similar to a liberal white girl wishing to supplicate herself physically and mentally to a Strong, Righteous, black militant who treats her like the scuzzy slave she thinks she deserves to be...Seen a few of those sad cases. Might see a few more, as some think that shacking up with some black kid with several other kids with several other women who then abandons her to welfare and food stamps just might plop out a mixed race baby who is the future President...and at least has a better chance at Harvard Law than a smart white or Asian..
------------
More FLS folly -- To point out why Sotomayor's statement is innocuous, I will rephrase it: "I would hope that an Iraqi war veteran with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't served at all."

Does anyone still find it threatening?
Having never served, I somewhat doubt you defer to Vets in all areas of your life, accepting their judgment when they disagree with you.

It's good for you only as a tool which you think makes for a clever argument. Which in fact is really a dumb argument at it's core.

I see resumes of Vets, and we ask for their DD-214s. That tell us whether or not they did well in military service in areas critical to job performance in the private sector. Good Conduct, no NJPs. Passing schools that show knowledge directly related to the job they are seeking, their potential to learn new skills..Letters of commendation showing skills are demonstrated. Their militarily demonstrated aspects of team and leadership skills.

What you are saying is that "experiential skills" and personal biography...are relevant in any job position. Being born black and poor makes you a better person for the job than someone who was not. Being a lesbian is a "richer life" than being a straight woman that magically makes for a better bus driver or lawyer. And "serving in Iraq", even as a Fobbit in a safe zone, would make for a better bank employee or judge or decorator than a "mere civilian".

Generally, a stupid argument. Particularly since we all know FLS doesn't really believe it.

Lem said...

Take the name "Black Panthers" for example. I assume it was chosen to represent an approach different than the "non violence approach" prevalent at the time.

To me "La Raza" represents a political formula, a political approach a more confrontational approach, rather than this benign sunday school club some seek to give them.

The evidence is just not there.

elHombre said...

From the link: "Sotomayor, a U.S. district judge in New York whom Obama nominated to replace Justice David Souter...."

We can always count on MSNBCOBAMA to be on top of the facts!

Ralph said...

Empathy, as we know it, must be one of them modern psycho-babble words. The single definition in my two volume, 1941 Funk & Wagnalls is a technical psychological one.
Curiously, next to it are "empathema", ungovernable passion due to disease, and "empatron", to patronize.

MnMark said...

Liberals used to argue that race was irrelevant and that we should all be judged by our character and not our skin color. No more.

Now they argue that there are differences in how we judge things, based on our ethnic or gender background. That it takes a Latina to fairly judge a Latina.

OK; I just wish they would decide what their standard is and stick to it. Oh wait, I get it. This is the real standard: whatever removes power from white men and gives it to non-whites and women. Back when white men ran everything, the way to do that was to appeal to white men's sense of fairness with the "content of character" argument. But now that the desired demographic changes have occurred, liberals no longer need white men's permission, so the argument has shifted 180 degrees to "my ethnicity and gender uniquely qualify me to make judgments about people of my ethnicity and gender than a white man can't make as well." And since power is the real objective here, not race-blindness, the logical further steps will be in line with what has happened to the whites in Rhodesia and South Africa who gave up power: persecution.

OK, liberals, if it takes a Latina to judge a Latina, then as a white man I only want white men judging me. Only they will have the perspective to have the proper degree of empathy for me. Let's set up one Supreme Court for Latinas, one for white men, and so on. In fact, let's go one better and just separate into different countries. That's what's going to happen eventually anyway now that you've abandoned the colorblindness argument.

Cedarford said...

Big Mike - Is it okay to remind people of one of Martin Luther King's dreams?

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
.

Not really, because anyone who has studied King, particularly blacks, knows King stood for a quite different agenda than the one quote white conservatives love sharing amongst one another, convincing only themselves that was the "Real MLK".

King stood for:

1. Strict quotas in the hiring of blacks to all city jobs as a function of their population percentage. He led strikes for quotas.

2. Belief that communists like Castro and Ho Chi Minh were elevating their people.

3. Belief that schools should preferentially select blacks "until the effects of centuries of injustice on the Negro are remedied, from Memphis garbage collectors to the Board of GM to the doctors of the country".

4. King favored slavery reparations. Outright grants to all blacks, or blacks given a lower tax rate than whites.

5. And King also favored socialist redistribution of wealth..as a way to stop "The rightful anger of the dispossed, not just the long suffering Negro, but the poor Appalachin. Driven to violence by injustice. Only if wealth is shared, will violence end.."

------------
And a thought on "richness of life experience" making for an instantly better judge.
We have a 60+ year old Justice who grew up in a 100% white town. He stayed unmarried, childless, and lived with his Mom until she died in the house he was born in and still goes to in the summer - when court was not in session. He detests smoking, drinking, spicy foods, TV, parties. Only left NH for college and to be a SCOTUS Justice. He never was in the military, never had a job outside law. He eats raw yogurt for breakfast with wheat germ every day, and precisely one apple for lunch, core and all, the last 47 years.

Contrast that with the rich life experience of a black hispanic guy born in the projects who sired 7 children by 12 ho's he was regularly with by age 30. Who worked 11 different jobs in 6 different states, and was in three different jails for misdemeanors. Who "knew the streets", did drug dealing and busted up some people...attended reform school, too. Got his GED. Then law degree. And makes a good living representing homies out of the public defenders office for those who can't pay, and drug dealer and ACORN clients, who can pay well...privately.

Which would be a better judge?

AJ Lynch said...

Cford:
Is this a trick question?

Jim said...

>> My point? The name of La Raza means, to those in it - you know, the ones who are Hispanic, and speak Spanish and understand like everyone else fluent in any language that one word can have several different uses which may or may not be close in meaning to the actual literal meaning - means The Community or The People. It's a group of Hispanic lawyers or those involved in the legal profession. That's it. <<

All this paragraph proves is that the writer is gullible in the extreme. It's the sort of thing that an explicitly racist organization like La Raza tells non-Spanish speakers who don't know any better in order to hide their actual purely racist agenda.

[I'm actually fairly fluent in the language, so this sort of nonsense is ridiculous. If they wanted to say "the people" or "the community" they would have used words like "gente" or "communidad" not "La Raza." "Raza" is very specifically "race" and doesn't at all mean what is claimed above.]

This is the organization which has as one of its primary goals the rejoining of California with Mexico through systematic illegal immigration/amnesty. They spin off their more explicitly racist members into MeCHa so that they can maintain some level of deniability, but the goal is the same.

Anyone who cooperates with, joins, or otherwise treats these people as anything other than the racist organization they absolutely are either unknowingly or knowingly advances one of the primary proponents of racial division and ethnic hatred in this country. They are an evil organization that puts on a nice public face to fool the rubes. (Think of a less-violent, more media-savvy Hamas and Hezbollah.) Sotomayor's work with them should be disqualification in and of itself. Her statements are only further proof that she wasn't one of the rubes who didn't know La Raza's mission: she knew exactly who and what they were.

elHombre said...

FLS wrote: "Liberals tend to enjoy thinking more, while conservatives tend to prefer relatively simple, unambiguous answers to life’s questions." Citing Psychological Review, 113, 84–100. 2006.

Exactly. Conservatives tend to see the world the way it is, while liberals like to make stuff up about it.

For example, when a Latina woman says a "wise latina woman" is more likely to reach the better judicial conclusion than a "white male," conservatives assume she meant what she said. Liberals like FLS feel constrained to make stuff up to explain it away.

For an explanation by a psychiatrist of this and other liberal phemomena, see Rossiter's, The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness.

Paul Zrimsek said...

The good news is that "race" is a poor translation of "la raza".

The bad news is that "das Volk" is an excellent translation of it.

Lem said...

Empathy, as we know it, must be one of them modern psycho-babble words.

The thing about Sotomayor is that Obama promised an empath. Obama did a bait and switch.

Sotomayor looks nothing like the other empath known alive today. Lyta AlexanderOh wait... Lyta was telepathic. I'm thinking Next Generation's human/betazoid Deanna Troi.

Oh baby, I'm sensing a photon torpedo ;)

Synova said...

Today is my and my husband's 22 year wedding anniversary, so this is going to be sort of a hit-and-run.

What Sotomayor said may not reflect on her *own* opinions so it may be that calling her a racist is personally unfair to her... but... calling her a racist is probably the best way to raise awareness of what seems to clearly be a problem in academia and particularly law schools. We *should* talk about race and, frankly, this is what talking about it *is*.

This *is* talking about race. It can't be a one sided conversation where everyone smiles indulgently and nods as someone says something that is outrageous.

Lem said...

The whole thing comes down to Seven of Nine; unemotional, resistance is futile, a woman of accion, a conservative woman.

And the empath Deanna Troi. need I say more ;)

former law student said...

NCLR (La Raza) admits ongoing connections to MEChA, repudiating only "rhetoric from some MEChA members....":.

Fine, except that NCLR has no connection to the various La Raza legal organizations.

"La Raza" is not a trademarked term, any more than "Hispanic," "Latino," Chicano," etc. I have no idea why La Raza was used, other than to describe the total mass of Spanish-speaking, ex-Spanish colonials, whether part native American or not.

This may be too big a leap of logic for some of you to take, but one reason I doubt that the La Raza law student organization was racist was that they encouraged me to join. I don't think a real racist organization like the KKK junior auxiliary recruited many black members, but I guess I could be wrong.

For example, when a Latina woman says a "wise latina woman" is more likely to reach the better judicial conclusion than a "white male," conservatives assume she meant what she said.No, conservatives edit what she said to produce a strawman argument that they can easily knock down, because they cannot address (or perhaps even comprehend) her real point: Experience good; more experience better; living in two cultures provides more experience than living in one culture.

But I'm glad to see the consistency of conservatives denying the relevance of experience to performance of the judiciary. But I'm still trying to see how that is consistent with their criticism of Obama's lack of experience to be President. Perhaps it has something to do with the separation of powers? Judiciary should be naive, while Executive Branch should have track record?

showbiz111 said...

Norway never had colonies or oppressed people? Gee, I guess the Vikings were a figment of my imagination? And those Norse God mythology, just a distraction?
As for Judge Sotomayor, she was a Director of PR LDEF and of La Raza.
She is the David Duke of the Puerto Rican class. There is no difference. Duke is a white racialist, Sotomayor is a Puerto Rican racialist. If Duke would have to be disqualified so would Sotomayor. If a white Senator would be disqualified for saying such things about his own superior standing because of his heritage, so must this nominee. Why Obama was not asked the follow up question, does he believe that african americans and/or latin americans just because of their backgrounds would make better judges than white americans? And which opinions of Judge Sotomayor were better decided than those of white judges?

Jim said...

FLS -

Your logic that La Raza can't be racist because they encouraged you to join is laughable.

If some unthinking rube wants to help me do damage to his own race, why on earth would I stop him? If they could dupe an entire nation of whites, Asians, etc. to join them in their goals, why would they stand in the way?

In WWII, the Germans never turned away a Jew willing to inform on his co-religionists. But that doesn't mean that the Germans didn't ultimately turn on those traitors when they were no longer useful.

You are what Stalin referred to as a "useful idiot." The fact that you are still defending them is proof that their strategy was effective not proof that they don't have one.

John Stodder said...

I was wondering how the Obama Administration was going to handle Sotomayor's remarks. My opinion of it is a lot like Althouse's, so I don't think it's a big deal, but starting Thursday, there were signs that Obama was taking some hits and planning some kind of response.

My guess is, "I'm sure she would have restated it" is the first in a series. It's a pretty weak beginning.

Jim said...

FLS -

Actually, it is her defenders who are selectively editing her comments in an attempt to make her statement less offensive. The greater context of her statement adds the "inherent physiological or cultural differences" which puts the lie to your attempts to defend the indefensible.

Even Obama has given up trying to defend what she said, and this is a guy who found a way around the explicit racism of both his own statements ("typical white woman", "bitterly clinging to guns and religion", etc.) and that of his own pastor.

When even Obama has had to backtrack and try to cover her steps, don't you think it's time you admitted that it was YOU who is trying to read something into her statements that just aren't there. Do you really want to be the last one to go down with the ship?

cardeblu said...

Sara(Pal2Pal) @ 8:51: [...] "And since when did Hispanic become interchangeable with Puerto Rican? Hispanics in my area (So. Cal) laugh at that." [...]

Heh--or, as Carlos Mencia puts it:

"I was born in Honduras, that's where I was born. I live in California, where no matter what you say, you're Mexican. You understand that? It doesn't matter what you say.

See -- you don't understand that, white people, because wherever you go, you're white. You're here, you're white. You go to L.A., you're white. You go to Denver, you're white. You go to Miami, you're still white.

In L.A. I'm a Mexican, In Florida, I'm a Cuban. In New York, I'm a Puerto Rican. And when I come to Canada and I find out I'm an Eskimo."

elHombre said...

There is no difference. Duke is a white racialist, Sotomayor is a Puerto Rican racialist.

As I understand the term "racialist" unless you are in the UK it is milder than "racist." Duke is a racist. Sotomayor is probably a racialist.

Aaron said...

So after all of this, we get Obama admitting it is at least problematic what she said.

Kind of puts egg on the face of everyone who defended it.

But it doesn't solve the basic problem which is according to the code of judicial conduct for federal judges, canon 3(C)(1), she is required to step out of any case where her impartiality can reasonably be questioned. Given that Obama himself has admitted that she chose her words poorly, i think its hard to argue that she hasn't reached that threshold. So, therefore, she would have to step out of every case where the parties or lawyes are either white males or latinas; and from any case involving discrimination.

Which means, in short, we are getting only half a justice at best.

Her nomination should be withdrawn. We cannot afford to have 8 1/2 justices.

And anyone who disagrees with me, are you prepared to say that there is no reasonable question to her impartiality, now?

Kirby Olson said...

A. Is Sotomayer as racist as Reverend Wright?

B. Will Obama throw her under the bus?

TitusTimeForAction!!! said...

The time to put our words in action has come.

Everyone man the torpedoes.

This is war.

Let's each ask ourselves what we are doing to derail this nomination?

It is time to organize and participate.

I am making buttons tonight with Sotamayors face on them and the words "Rican Racist" over her face. I will be handing them out to any willing passerby.

A friend of mine is walking the streets tonight with a sandwich board with her face on it and a big x.

What are you doing?

Organize, participate, defeat.

Yes, republicans, we are outraged and angry but let's turn that frown upside down and make a difference. If we do lose we will have gone down fighting.

Just four years ago Regent University was running our justice department and just a short matter of time La Raza will be sitting on the Supreme Court. We are in great danger. We went from Bliss to Hell in a matter of days.

It starts now.

Go from the keyboard to the highway, farmers market, shopping malls, parks, grocery stores, amusement parks, churches and bars and restaurants.

Let's make it happen.

And don't forget we still have the South. And the Rapture to look forward to.

I am just going to hit a few parties before I begin handing out buttons.

Lem said...

I will be handing them out to any willing passerby.

I'm sure Titus would NOT restated it ;)

MnMark said...

With regard to Obama's comment that objections to what Sotomayor said are "nonsense" and that she surely would have chosen to word it better than she did, I liked this analysis:

Now, if what was objectionable about this statement was simply poor word choice and not its substance, how might she change the word choice now?
How about,


"I would hope that as a smart Hispanic woman, having had so many Hispanic experiences in my life, I would understand the law and Constitution better than any white male judge."

Or,

"As Puerto Rican female, I believe that a street smart Puerto Rican female, like me, is simply a better human being than some fuddy duddy white guy."

Or,

"It has been shown from studies that whites, also known as ice people, view reality in terms of cold, objective truth, while brown people, like me, view reality in terms of warm human relationship and feelings. The time of the ice people is passing. The future belongs to us. Viva la Raza!"

See, if Sotomayor had just changed the words she used in her remark, while leaving its substance intact, this whole "nonsensical" issue would never have arisen.</I

Kirby Olson said...

MnMark -- wonderful! Can anyone top that?

rhhardin said...

I remember in the 70s, the first women's pride day at work, with ``I am proud to be a woman'' buttons worn.

``It's poontang day,'' an office mate from Louisiana immediately summarized, arriving that morning.

Synova said...

"...but I do want everyone to think about why Latin America is such an awful place -- it's not because of what WASPS stole from them -- it's because of the top-down structure of the Papacy. The marginalized are marginalized because they are working under top-down structures."

I hadn't connected this to the Papacy before. I did once work for a company owned by a Spanish company (from Spain, even) and it was utterly remarkable. They promoted NO ONE from the ranks, but transferred in new middle management from Spain for the experience and then transferred them back again.

It seemed pretty much the same as the Spanish colonial strategies.

rhhardin said...

Today is my and my husband's 22 year wedding anniversary,

Calendar programs save the guys here. You can put it in once and it comes up every year to remind you on its own.

But you can lose it if you get a new computer and then there's trouble.

Sigerson said...

From Tom Goldstein

http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/judge-sotomayor-and-race-results-from-the-full-data-set/

I’ve now completed the study of every one of Judge Sotomayor’s race-related cases that I mention in the post below. I’ll write more in the morning about particular cases, but here is what the data shows in sum:

Other than Ricci, Judge Sotomayor has decided 96 race-related cases while on the court of appeals.

Of the 96 cases, Judge Sotomayor and the panel rejected the claim of discrimination roughly 78 times and agreed with the claim of discrimination 10 times; the remaining 8 involved other kinds of claims or dispositions. Of the 10 cases favoring claims of discrimination, 9 were unanimous. (Many, by the way, were procedural victories rather than judgments that discrimination had occurred.) Of those 9, in 7, the unanimous panel included at least one Republican-appointed judge. In the one divided panel opinion, the dissent’s point dealt only with the technical question of whether the criminal defendant in that case had forfeited his challenge to the jury selection in his case. So Judge Sotomayor rejected discrimination-related claims by a margin of roughly 8 to 1.

Of the roughly 75 panel opinions rejecting claims of discrimination, Judge Sotomayor dissented 2 times. In Neilson v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., 199 F.3d 642 (1999), she dissented from the affirmance of the district court’s order appointing a guardian for the plaintiff, an issue unrelated to race. In Gant v. Wallingford Bd. of Educ., 195 F.3d 134 (1999), she would have allowed a black kindergartner to proceed with the claim that he was discriminated against in a school transfer. A third dissent did not relate to race discrimination: In Pappas v. Giuliani, 290 F.3d 143 (2002), she dissented from the majority’s holding that the NYPD could fire a white employee for distributing racist materials.

As noted in the post below, Judge Sotomayor was twice on panels reversing district court decisions agreeing with race-related claims - i.e., reversing a finding of impermissible race-based decisions. Both were criminal cases involving jury selection.

The numbers relating to unpublished opinions continued to hold as well. In the roughly 55 cases in which the panel affirmed district court decisions rejecting a claim of employment discrimination or retaliation, the panel published its opinion or order only 5 times.

In sum, in an eleven-year career on the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor has participated in roughly 100 panel decisions involving questions of race and has disagreed with her colleagues in those cases (a fair measure of whether she is an outlier) a total of 4 times. Only one case (Gant) in that entire eleven years actually involved the question whether race discrimination may have occurred. (In another case (Pappas) she dissented to favor a white bigot.) She participated in two other panels rejecting district court rulings agreeing with race-based jury-selection claims. Given that record, it seems absurd to say that Judge Sotomayor allows race to infect her decisionmaking.

Sigerson said...

Just wanted to highlight this on in particular, since I think we'll be hearing a LOT MORE about it:

In Pappas v. Giuliani, 290 F.3d 143 (2002), she dissented from the majority’s holding that the NYPD could fire a white employee for distributing racist materials.

Ralph said...

I am just going to hit a few parties before I begin handing out buttons.
Butts before buttons.

The Clinton admin. began with racialist Lani Guinier under a bus and ended with Lanny Davis trying to drive it. There are higher stakes now.

Joe said...

Forget Sotomayor, I can't past the incomplete sentence: "I’m sure she would have restated it." The use of "would" means there should be an explanation of the conditional, but there is none. In other words, Obama never states WHY she "would have restated it."

former law student said...

in WWII, the Germans never turned away a Jew

There were Jewish Nazis? Holy shit! The things you learn here on Althouse.

A commenter on volokh linked to this analysis of the famous Sotomayor speech, by Brad DeLong. It gives a critical perspective on what she said.

http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2009/05/sotomayor-vs-cardozo.html

Jason (the commenter) said...

Titus, that was you're best comment yet!

MikeDC said...

And lets have a real debate about whether law and public policy should have a racial or a color-blind character.How's about a debate about the efficacy of a legal academy in which a toned down version of what passes therein as normal conversation strikes the average person as a bunch of cringe-worthy garbage?

That seems to be the much more evident problem to me.

MikeDC said...

Oh, and incidentally, isn't the "cloistered academic" vs. "real person" divide the underlying thrust that Obama seemed to be targeting?

It seems to me you've pretty well demonstrated that Judge Sotomayor is pretty unlikely to be a "real person".

Jim said...

FLS -

If you aren't aware that there were Jews informing on other Jews in Hitler's Germany, then you really need to go read a history book before commenting on the subject again...

Alex said...

This is unbelievable. If it were a white man who said the equivalent thing, Althouse would be for a public hanging of the guy. I think with this nomination Althouse's true colors as a radical leftist have been exposed.

Alex said...

Since Obama has run out of defenses for Sotamayor, it's now only a matter of days before she falls on the sword. A great victory for conservatives and America.

John Stodder said...

Sigerson's post at 7:29 citing SCOTUS blog pretty much puts the Sotomayor race issue to bed, permanently. Her pattern of decisions are the opposite of what one might expect from a race-obsessed leftist. The opposite. If there are any race-obsessed leftists out there, reading the SCOTUS blog material will make you unhappy. But for everyone else, it provides additional assurance that Obama made a good pick.

Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich owe Sotomayor an apology. There really is no more room for debate about this.

amba said...

Innerestin'. I was thinking today that that quote could be interpreted simply as sucking up to her audience. Not a particularly attractive quality either, but fairly common in public speakers.

amba said...

I don't know where some of you are getting the idea that Althouse is defending Sotomayor and is actually agreeing with the "we" in "we sympathetically smile and nod at such things." Irony-blind, you are.

OK, so she voted for Obama. But she only did it because he's like Bush.

traditionalguy said...

Reviewing the Sotomayor comments this morning, I am struck by amount of the righteous anger coming out of WASPs for having even been identified as having a different cultural background than a long serving Federal Judge raised in New York in an hispanic/Catholic cultural tradition. This most qualified nominee in 30 years apparently has the following 4 strikes against her: (1) she is an emotionally complete woman, and (2) she is Catholic, and (3) she thinks more Hi-Spanish than Scots-Irish, and (4) she was appointed by Obama. She is being called an imperfect nominee for all of those 4 reasons, just pick your favorite ones. OK, but please quit adding that she is also a Racist, or is also ugly, or is also stupid, because that is such a small step away from calling me, and everyone else who admires her, a racist, and ugly, and stupid. No one should have to put up with that. If you say that you are a Conservative, then try to be at least as smart as Sarah Palin who knows how to form alliances and win elections.

Pogo said...

Her behavior out of court is important. Any judge that would join the KKK wouldn't get far. Why non-white race organizations should get a pass is unclear.

Her decisions seem mostly fair, except the fireman decision which was racist. I remain unconvinced she's fair, especially when her own speeches suggest she won't be.

My bet is that, if she goes down, she'll be replaced by an even more virulent race-gender-class huckster. That kind of crap shouldn't be a reason to vote for Sotomayor, it merely points out that the Democrats can't be trusted to appoint someone interested in liberty.

Form alliances and win elections? Here it means merely to give up all your freedoms; join in, because the Constitution is lost anyway. Screw that. Vote for your own shackles if you want. I'll wear them when the time comes, I won't volunteer for it.

Fen said...

I think part of the misunderstanding here is the inability of whites and males to comprehend that a non-white, non-male could possess anything that he could not possibly have.

Ha. More ignorant stereotypes based on race. You lefties have a huge blind spot. You "sympathetically smile and nod at such things" when you should be self-checking your own double standards.

Its the same reason should mask the word "nigger" while throwing "redneck" around with reckless abandon.

I would recommend characterizing Sotomayor's thinking as "racial" (rather than racist)

Sure, lets add all sort of qualifiers to excuse this - save the big guns for when a white man says something similar.

Equal protection under the law?

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

/edit

Its the same reason you mask the word "nigger" while throwing "redneck" around with reckless abandon.

holdfast said...

Does La Raza support the Latin re-conquest of Azatlan? Are there any other platform issues that are incompatible with being a public servant of the US Gov't, let alone a Supreme Court Justice?

Balfegor said...

Here, we sympathetically smile and nod at such things. We nurture racial analysis. We create a school of thought and hire people to write about Critical Race Theory. What Sotomayor said was actually a weak, feel-good version of the kind of racial talk that is widespread in the legal academy.

There's different ways of putting it, though -- the problem commentators have is not the legal realist part, but the normative statement that Latina jurisprudence is better than other jurisprudences. She could have made a perfectly serviceable point about how we all -- White Man or Latina -- come to the task of judging with different prejudices and blind spots, and one of the strengths of diversity on the bench is that we can alert each other to our respective blind spots -- as a Latina, she may tend to be more aware of issues that a White Man might simply pass over, and vice-versa. They can each counter each others' unconscious assumptions and correct for each others' improper prejudices, leading to a better jurisprudence overall -- not a superior, distinctively Latina jurisprudence.

From a conservative perspective, there's obvious reason to think this is true, in fact -- in Roe v. Wade, the justices had absolutely no clue that a huge segment of American society would react with shock, horror, disgust, and contempt for their opinion -- there were issues, scruples, and considerations there (both legal and political) that they completely missed, because they were so completely cut off from that worldview and culture. They might still have reached the same judgment, but they would probably have written it up in a way that seemed a little less wilfully obtuse, and a little less thumb-in-the-eye. And that's important for the court too.

But that is not the point she chose to make.

Balfegor said...

Sorry, I deleted the bit actually re: Critical Race Theory -- and that was that I think there's sort of two prongs to that. There are an awful lot of Critical Race Theorists who write with a chip on their shoulder about Whites and White Men, who probably do think a jurisprudence dominated by the thinking of race-counscious racial minorities is superior. That is, there is a normative element to some (or most) of the Race Theorists' work.

But Critical Race Theory is also an offshoot of Legal Realism/Critical Legal Studies/whatever, and can be empirical/descriptive. And that's a place where I think a lot of the laiety would find their work a lot less offensive -- Americans are mad for diversity and ethnic colour, after all, and Critical Race Theory tends to reinforce a common narrative in which racial/ethnic differences are both real and meaningful; where it runs into problems is where it challenges the public narrative that despite these differences, no race is better than any other.

kentuckyliz said...

Sotomayor is clearly formally qualified, and yet she is picked explicitly for her race and gender and even she claims it makes her a better, more empathetic judge.

That is a setback for women everywhere. A highly accomplished gyno-American is claiming her EMPATHY (a female strength) is a qualification for judging. Ah, those women, they're all so touchy feely.

She should have stuck to standing on her qualifications and record.

Her speech would have reflected her rich Latina experiences more if she highlighted the true facts of it--learn English, study hard, work hard, refuse to let race and gender hold you back, and you too can achieve great things.

kentuckyliz said...

BTW her experiences don't sound all that rich to me. She's a workaholic who doesn't have a very well rounded life, she's never had kids, she went to a private school and an Ivy League university. Big effin' whoop.

She will be confirmed.

And I am going to start calling myself The Wise Caucasiana.

Doug Santo said...

I am not sure if Ms. Althouse disagrees with Judge Sotomayor's statement or not.

At first Ms. Althouse seems to disagree with the Judge's statement, but later Ms. Althouse seems to explain the statement away as academic nonsense that professorial types say without really meaning it. Ms. Althouse seems to imply that the statement should not be used to evaluate the judge's position with respect to race.

Which is it, agree or disagree?

Why shouldn't one use the judge's statements, especially statements that are carefully written, to evaluate how the judge will perform on the supreme court? It is one additional piece of evidence.

Doug Santo
Pasadena, CA

bagoh20 said...

Alpha Liberal: "So, conservatives actually think a white male has as good an understanding of racial and gender discrimination as a Latina.".
.
In 2009, the white male knows discrimination better. He is the only one who is both discriminated against and also held responsible for it due to his skin color, which he was born with. For her it is academic. She knows she can use her race as an advantage. Isn't that why she said it and even why she is there in the first place, like our president.

Dark Eden said...

Criticizing Sotomayor in any way is enough to get you called a racist.

Saying "I think female latinas make better decisions than white men" though... that's just fine and not racist?

Basically in this day and age Racist is just another word for White Male. How can sotomayor be racist? She's not an Evil White Man.

John Stodder said...

Her decisions seem mostly fair, except the fireman decision which was racist.Pogo, you're one of the smartest writers here. Did the absurdity of those words not jump right out at you? "Racism" is a pattern of thought. There is no such thing as a person who is sometimes a racist and sometimes not. Surely people change, but they don't flip back and forth, being a racist on Tuesdays and Thursdays and unprejudiced Monday, Wednesday and Friday. So if there is no pattern of racism in her decisions, then a decision that happens to come out in favor of what many term "reverse racism" doesn't equate to a racist judge. I think the firefighters decision was not only wrong but lazy. I hope the senate grills the hell out of her about it. But it's not as if this is the first case to follow that pattern. There are many other reasons she might have come to the conclusion she did besides an innate, anti-white thought pattern.

I remain unconvinced she's fair, especially when her own speeches suggest she won't be.One speech. In a setting in which political correctness is actually enforced, not joked about.

I'm disappointed that she pandered to this crowd. It is a strike against her. It is a depressing example of the intellectual corruption that has taken over many realms of academia.

But again, where are the other speeches or actions by Sotomayor to which you could connect this dot? The SCOTUS material is really worth looking at, because if anything, it shows someone who is conscientious about being fair on racial issues and as such has issued many decisions of which an affirmative action zealot would disapprove. As the guy writes, she is no "outlier" on racial issues.

junyo said...

Yes, I think they have an excellent understanding if they have lived and worked in the U.S. in the last 30 years where minorities are given special privilege and are always first on the list for advancement.Which of course explains why Obama is the third black president and most major corporations have minority CEO's.

These arguments flip from interesting to farcical right at the point someone tries to show how put upon and persecuted white people are. It's the Godwin moment in conversations on race.

LonewackoDotCom said...

I have no idea which "La Raza" is referred to above, but whenever someone uses that without specifying which exact group they're referring to it's difficult to trust what they say.

However, I certainly know what the National Council of La Raza is since I've discussed them in almost 150 posts since 2004. See my extensive summary at the link for the truth about them. That truth is bad enough, it's not necessary to make things up or confuse them with other groups.

Robert Schwartz said...

"We nurture racial analysis."

Your taxpayer dollars at work.

jkmack said...

there is a distinct lack of rednecks on the supreme court, and the country is the worse for it.

Michael said...

"Knowing what I know now, I would have stated it differently," said Sotomayor in a prepared statement. "Instead of saying I am qualified because I am a wise Latina, I would have said that as a Yale law grad, it is my natural right to lord it over you hicks."

Joe Giles said...

This type of post makes tenure look like a joke. All that jazz about speaking truth to power, etc. A sham.

Ken said...

It is not so much Sotomayor who is racist as it academia. Higher education in this country is in the hands of the far left and it's time we stop paying the people who reinforced the natural biases of Sotomayor, as well as both Obamas.

End tenure. Let educators compete for pay like everyone else and stop federal subsidies of a failed system. Stop teaching hate by eliminating counterproductive insanities like ethnic and gender studies. I can see a decent wage for those teaching science, medicine, law and engineering but those teaching "social sciences" and, for the most part, arts and humanities, should be glad to get minimum wage.

It will never happen but the country would be a better place if it did.

S said...

"I would recommend characterizing Sotomayor's thinking as "racial" (rather than racist)."

It’s a pretty fine line you’re trying to draw. I think in part it probably is that you are desensitized since there is so much racist / racialist talk in academia. None the less, if Archie Bunker or a conservative said it, it would be racism... I like applying the same standards to everyone... ergo...

but to your second point, yes... beyond the comment it is simply a good way to start a conversation about this kind of thinking...

S said...

kentuckyliz said...

"A highly accomplished gyno-American is claiming her EMPATHY (a female strength) is a qualification for judging. Ah, those women, they're all so touchy feely."

You’re leaving out other layers of stereotypes.. See Latin people are more warm and down to earth than icy over logical white people. This helps them with the empathy too. You just can’t understand. ;)

Lee Mitchell said...

Of course you cannot be roused dear, you don't for a minute believe she meant it.

Lee Mitchell said...

Of course you cannot be roused dear, you don't for a minute believe she meant it.

Lee Mitchell said...

Of course you cannot be roused dear, you don't for a minute believe shemeant it.

Paul said...

I found this Onion-style newspaper parody amusing. It's entitled "Obama’s First Nominee for Supreme Court Justice Dismissed from Jury Duty Under Anti-Bias Rules":

http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/05/updated-obamas-first-nominee-for.html

Synova said...

"These arguments flip from interesting to farcical right at the point someone tries to show how put upon and persecuted white people are. It's the Godwin moment in conversations on race."

I think it is the case that the "Godwin moment" is the moment at which someone promotes an alternate view-point on the issue of race.

tariely said...

Оса 800 электрошокер в Москве.