April 22, 2014

The way to get a concurring opinion out of Chief Justice Roberts is to rewrite his famous aphorism, "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

In Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative, Integration and Immigration and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary, today's new Supreme Court opinion (discussed at length in the previous post), Chief Justice Roberts, having joined the plurality opinion, wrote a very short concurring opinion, apparently because of what may have felt like a personal attack in Justice Sotomayor's concurring opinion.

Sotomayor quoted what I think is the Chief Justice's most famous line, the aphorism that ends his opinion in the 2007 school-desegretation case Parents Involved: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

Sotomayor rejects this "sentiment" as "out of touch with reality," and delivers 3 didactic paragraphs each of which begins with what might very well feel like a condescending use of the phrase "race matters":
Race matters. Race matters in part because of the long history of racial minorities’ being denied access to the political process...

Race also matters because of persistent racial inequality in society...

And race matters for reasons that really are only skin deep, that cannot be discussed any other way, and that cannot be wished away. Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up. Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, “No, where are you really from?”, regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country. Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home. Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that reinforce that most crippling of thoughts: “I do not belong here.”

In my colleagues’ view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination. This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable.
I'm sure many readers will love the lilt and pithiness those 9 "race matters" bonks on the over-abstract head of the Chief Justice, but I suspect that inside that head, it felt like an attack that had to be met with an even pithier response. First, Roberts can't let stand this assertion that he doesn't understand reality, and second, the very next thing she does is repurpose his best aphorism. She says:
The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination. 
Eyes open, not blind, and mouths open and not sparing you from the ongoing conversation about race. As an added fillip, she equates color-blindness with "sit[ting] back" and trying to "wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society": "It is this view that works harm, by perpetuating the facile notion that what makes race matter is acknowledging the simple truth that race does matter."

That's 2 more bonks with the "race matters" hammer, for a total of 11.

He had to respond, and his response, though couched in politeness, shows he felt wounded:
[I]t is not “out of touch with reality” to conclude that racial preferences may themselves have the debilitating effect of reinforcing precisely that ["I do not belong here"] doubt, and — if so — that the preferences do more harm than good. To disagree with the dissent’s views on the costs and benefits of racial preferences is not to “wish away, rather than confront” racial inequality. People can disagree in good faith on this issue, but it similarly does more harm than good to question the openness and candor of those on either side of the debate.
Interestingly, each Justice accused the other of shutting down the conversation about race. Sotomayor expressed the desire for everyone "to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race," and Roberts wanted respect for the "the openness and candor" of the argument for race-neutral government policies (which, it really must be conceded, can be favored even by those who get that race matters in real life).

95 comments:

campy said...

We all need to speak openly and candidly about race so the white racists can be identified and drummed out of society.

MadisonMan said...

Sotomayor expressed the desire for everyone "to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race,"

As long as you express the view she holds, of course.

Everyone, let me educate you!!

paul a'barge said...

Sotomayor is really turning out to be a huge hesitates to use a bad word PIA on the SCOTUS. She is bullying and insulting without putting content into her arguments.

And that's why she is guilty of STFU politics whereas Roberts is not.

SJ said...

One side considers the other evil.

The other side responds by considering the first side mistaken.

I think I've heard this one before.

American Politics makes sense if you realize that liberals view conservatives as evil, while conservatives view liberals as mistaken.

Paco Wové said...

'Sotomayor expressed the desire for everyone "to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race,"'

Oh dear. Almost lost my keyboard on that one.

Jay said...

You have to love these "progressives"

Universities, home to the best and brightest and 'enlightened' minds (not to mention 90%+ liberal faculty & administration), discriminate as a matter of institutional policy, against minorities.

Classic.

Big Mike said...

People are speaking openly and candidly on the subject of race. Sotomayor just doesn't want to listen. I think Clarence Thomas can give her an earfull. In fact he probably has, and several times.

Brando said...

Sotomayor is right! We need some sort of special central committee to sit down and judge every individual's racial characteristics in a sort of "oppression olympics" and mete out points accordingly. After all, race matters! You are not an individual, citizen--you are a racial being, one that shall be judged accordingly!

It's bad enough that such empty headed hateful garbage is being spewed at students in colleges across the country. But coming from a Supreme Court justice???

Thanks Obama, this legacy will go on to stain the Court for decades to come.

kfb said...

Which Justice abstained?

Zeb Quinn said...

The last thing Sotomayor and those of her ilk want is for everyone to speak truly openly and truly candidly on the subject of race.

cubanbob said...

Sotomayor's problem is the constitution doesn't say what she wants it to say hence the appeal to things that are outside the text of the constitution. I don't mind her appealing to the public to ammend the constitution to allow for group rights but not in her capacity as a Supreme Court judge writing a dissent that has no foundation in the constitution as it currently is written

cubanbob said...

Race matters. Race matters in part because of the long history of racial minorities’ being denied access to the political process..."

The inverse mirror of Jim Crow. Back then the court did decide race matters as well.

Virgil Hilts said...

We all need to "speak openly and candidly on the subject of race.. " Yep, that'll work. Ask Jonathan Chait. The way to stop being labeled a racist is to STFU and stop talking about race.

Brennan said...

Surely Justice Sotomayor understands the Supreme Court of the United States is merely an appellate court.

The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination.

She argues that is lawful for a state to discriminate on the basis of race. Because? History and stuff.

Brennan said...

Justice Kagan abstained.

mtrobertsattorney said...

What is this phrase "Race matters" supposed to mean anyhow?

Sense of self? View of society? Being addressed by a stranger in a foreign language? Slights, snickers, the silent judgment "I don't belong here"?

And this is supposed to pass for an intelligent discussion of race?

William said...

Her remarks are polemical, not judicial. She will be lavishly praised for these remarks, but they are intemperate and factually wrong......Can you name one black politician who ever publicly criticized Kwame Kilpatrick or publicly praised Clarence Thomas? Race matters.

Paul said...

Sotomayor wrote a high school valedictorian quality speech, and then read it from the bench. It's not any kind of opinion, it's all just empty rhetoric and ugly words like "stymieing".

Fact: Stymie was a race preferenced hire following departure of Buckwheat.

Coincidence?

Gahrie said...

If race matters;

and

If the damage done by discrimination needs to be fixed by preferential discrimination...

Twenty years from now Affirmative Action is going to be changed to favor White men who have been systematically discriminated against on the basis of race by the government and American institutions...right?

DanTheMan said...

For a "wise Latina", she writes just like a high school kid:

Assertions, supported by (personal?) anecdotes.

Is this really how the best and the brightest lawyers we have interpret our constitution?

Hagar said...

"Hello man!"
"Axhandle."

"Words, words, words, I am so sick of words!"

And the incessant race huckstering of this administration has improved matters, how?

Gahrie said...

Which Justice abstained?

Kagen recused herself.

B said...

"apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination. "

Translation. Don't apply the Constitution when the government oversteps in matters of race. It's for a good cause!

Todd said...

For a "wise latina", there is just so much wrong in that passage of her's.

She is only a Supreme Court Justice for crying out loud. Of course her "feelings" should matter far more than that old, dilapidated document she has sworn herself to honor and uphold.

It is one thing to think that kind of garbage but to actually write it down as part of a SCOTUS opinion, the stupidity and smug are strong in this one...

Blue Ox said...

At what point in Sotomayor's opinion did she stop with the platitudes and puffery and attempt to present, you know, an actual legal argument?

Blue Ox said...

cubanbob is 100% correct.

persiflage mahal said...

"American Politics makes sense if you realize that liberals view conservatives as evil, while conservatives view liberals as mistaken."

No, goose-stepping, statist creeps are evil, as well as mistaken.


rhhardin said...

That's what happens when you get women on the bench.

There's probably some competent women but the odds are not good.

Ann Althouse said...

"Race Matters" was the title of a 1993 book by Cornel West. I bought and read it at the time, and I think it's pretty widely read. It's not clear when you see the title whether the word "Matters" is intended as a noun or a verb or both. Both, I've always presumed.

Illuninati said...

So, Sotomayor wants preferences for millions of first and second generation Hispanics who came here voluntarily because this is country is such a racist hell hole and because of racism dating back hundreds of years long before the present Hispanics arrived.

This begs the question. If this country really is the hell hole the race baiters claim, why are so many Hispanics still leaving their countries which are primarily Hispanic and crowding into a country which has so many evil Anglos? If this country were rally as racist and evil as Sotomayor and the rest of the lefty race baiters pretend, illegal immigration would not be an issue.

An alternative explanation is that Sotomayor supports racial preferences forever because she is a racist herself.

Rumpletweezer said...

Question for Sotomayor: How do we know when we're done?

elkh1 said...

Reality is a wise Latina is on the High Court. She got there because of her race or her ability?

If she got there because of her race, then we need affirmative action to raise an inferior jurist to the Court. If she got there because of her ability, then she proved that in this land of racists, ability could trump racism. No affirmative action is needed.

steve said...

Not once did Sotomayor make a legal argument. It was all emotion and Sociology 101 bullcrap. She needs to be on Capitol Hill, not the Court.

eric said...

Race does matter.

And until a race other than Sotomayors race matters more than her's, she will continue to insist how much it matters.

But if suddenly the Asian race mattered more than anything, or the White race decided to start giving whites preferences, she'll continue to hold the view that race matters.

This is the sinful nature of man. It doesn't matter what race we are, we all suffer from it. And when one group is ascendant the other is not.

It's good to see that 6 of our justices were able to overcome their nature and see that race ought not matter.

AustinRoth said...

The Left says there is NO conversation to be had on race, except to agree to all their views. Anything else is racist.

Nice to see THAT crap has now permeated SCOTUS, via our 'wise Latina'.

Jim said...

Who didn't see this coming from the "wise Latina"?

She has always seen herself as morally superior and inherently wiser than everybody else by virtue of her ethnicity.

It's why she was always a horrible choice to sit on the bench. She has demonstrated over and over again that her ethnicity and her gender are more important to her than the law or rendering an impartial legal verdict.

Jim said...

kfb -

Kagan recused herself because of her involvement in this case before she joined the bench.

Sorun said...

"Race also matters because of persistent racial inequality in society...

Yabut whose fault is the inequality? Universities have been begging for more black students for decades with lower admissions standards and financial aid out the wazoo. It's not the universities' fault.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Race matters......except when it doesn't.

Make up your minds.

The Godfather said...

Roberts' aphorism doesn't ignore the problem of racial discrimination, it states a policy for dealing with it. The policy is to stop discriminating. The counter policy, supported by the Wise Latina, is to discriminate in favor of races that were previously discriminated against, presumably until the pendulum is pushed back to center, at which point the pendulum must be locked into place. Roberts' approach has the benefit of being self-evident, which the Wise Latina's is not.

Birches said...

I'm a little ashamed that Sotomayor and I share the same ethnicity.

Race only matters if you let it. If you've got to get the smelling salts every time someone made an off the cuff remark that is a little insensitive, you are in for a world of trouble and you WILL NOT MAKE IT IN THIS WORLD. If someone pisses you off, use it to become better, don't ask for kid glove treatment.

Let's ask kids with glasses how they feel when someone comments on their eyewear? Should they be given preferential treatment because people are insensitive? My son is very dark skinned with probably one of the whitest names on this Earth (named after one of my spouses grandfathers). My daughter has a very Latin name, but came out with blonde hair and blue eyes. Are they going to have to endure a little ribbing? Probably. Am I going to tell them its all because of the damn white man. No.

I go back to a story I told here a few months ago. I shared a story about a neighbor my family grew up with named Pedro in my Church congregation. Afterwards people came up to me and told me how much they appreciated the story, but every time they said the name Pedro, they kind of snickered. I began to get a little offended; we live in a very White area and I was annoyed that they were kind of stereotyping this man because of his name. So I said something to my spouse (who is white). He said, "oh relax. They're probably just thinking about Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite." Problem solved. He's right, they probably were and even if they weren't, who am I to call them out on their insensitivity. We're all doing the best that we can and most of us don't mean any harm, so let's start treating people like it instead of patronizing and victimizing everyone who is a little different.

n.n said...

While bias is a product of nature, prejudice is a product of nurture. The Supreme Court (e.g. Sotomayor) should refrain from resurrecting the past and creating moral hazards anew.

The only minority of consequence is the individual. The only racial class of individuals recognized by The Constitution is "We the People of the United States". Everything else is ancillary or subordinate.

Tom said...

Race matters a lot for Asian kids. East Asian, Southeast Asian, Asian Indian, etc. They've excelled in this country. Of course, it's not really because of their race and it's certainly not affirmative action; rather, it's their culture which emphasizes education to their children. The results speak for themselves.

I went to elementary, junior high and high school with children of Vietnamese and Laotian refugees. They were as poor as could be and their parents largely couldn't read or write English. Now these kids I grew up with are engineers and doctors.

The Asian example blows up all the racial grievance nonsense perpetuated by the likes of Holder and Sotomayor. If they really want an honest discussion, then let's have one and disassemble the War on Poverty apparatus that has destroyed the black family. Of course, just as Lyndon Johnson predicted, those policies have also created the most dependable voting constituency for the Democratic party (LBJ was quite a bit more offensive in how he described it).

So, in other words, we'll never have that honest discussion since too many people whose livelihoods are wrapped up in the grievance racket will be proved demonstratively long and it could go a long way towards peeling off a significant chunk of the favored party's most dependable constituency.

Strelnikov said...


As with all deep thinkers on the Left, Sotomayor's desire for an"open and candid conversation" on race is correctly translated as, "Shut up and listen to me."

Mountain Maven said...

It's hard to believe that a Supreme would write such polemic tripe in an opinion. But then it is hard to believe that the voters elected Obama who nominated her to the Court. If not for racial discrimination the "wise latina" would lawyering for La Raza

I would amend SJ's tagline to say that conservatives view liberals' views as evil while liberals view conservatives as evil. However my opinion of liberals deteriorates by the day.

mesquito said...

I reckon race came up when Michigan was debating the end of official state race discrimination. Sotomajor's side lost.

Mountain Maven said...

There is a discussion on race. One side talks, the other side votes at the ballot box with our feet and with our deeds. In an age where words are rendered meaningless, actions are even more crucial.

Real American said...

Sotomoron naturally is committed to racial preferences. There's no way she would be on this court (or any court) if others had not lower their standards and ignored her lack of qualifications to promote her on account of her race and because she has a vagina. Of course, the man who nominated her for the court got his current job because people lowered their standards and ignored his lack of qualifications and accomplishments to elect him president.

These people are exhibit A and B as to why the racial spoils systems is FUCKING bad for this country and everyone who cares about real equality will oppose it at every turn.

whswhs said...

What strikes me above all about Sotomayor's statement is that without exception, all of her examples of why race matters amount to someone being confronted with bad manners. None of them involves legal discrimination, or the private and unpunished use of force, the things that the civil rights movement opposed and that gave moral force to their protests. These are rude personal conduct. And are acts of Congress, or of state legislatures, really necessary or even appropriate to deal with rudeness?

James Pawlak said...

How about: The way to stop infringements on the right to keep and bear arms is to stop infringing upon them"?

TreeJoe said...

Race matters is precisely why, at a legislative and constitutional level, we must not discriminate on race whether to intentionally assist or intentionally oppress.

All men are created equal but the only way we can sustain their equality is to ensure that they remain lawfully equal and do not - in the eyes of justice - take on different classes.

His term is still young, but I absolutely admire the thoughtful consideration in most of Roberts writing. He remains an excellent Chief Justice, IMHO.

LarsPorsena said...

' Sotomayor's desire for an"open and candid conversation" on race is correctly translated as, "Shut up and listen to me."

4/22/14, 1:55 PM

More like Chairman Mao's dictum for open discussions on Marxism. 'Let one hundred flowers bloom. Let one hundred schools of thought contend.'
And when they did he either 'sent them 'down' (forced labor in the countryside), demoted them from the Party or executed them.

Michael The Magnificent said...

Not once did Sotomayor make a legal argument. It was all emotion and Sociology 101 bullcrap. She needs to be on Capitol Hill, not the Court.

Our rights end where the tip of her feelings begin.

mccullough said...

It was polite of Roberts not to point out that The Great Larry Tribe thought Sotomayor was not qualified for the Supreme Court. That said, it's wrong of whites and Asians to presume a black or Latino got the job or was admitted based on their race. If color blindness is to become a social norm and not just a constitutional principle, people shouldn't make assumptions based on race.

Roberts concurrence is odd in that he assumes whites think that any given black is an AA admit or hire. Sotomayor's dissent is odd in that it assumes that blacks can't still do well enough in high school and standardized tests because of white microagressions.

Real American said...

Roberts is saying that the way to stop racial discrimination is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.

In contrast, Sotomayor is arguing that we need to keep discriminating in favor of select groups (of which she is included) because America is racist. The problem with these arguments is that the make the central premise of American history, not just in the past, but the future. They fail to take into account that most Americans want to move past race as the central issue dividing our society. To do so, we need to stop discriminating.

Sotomayor, the critical race theory academics and racial grievance industrial complex cannot allow that to happen. That's why they've moved past Jim Crow and segregation and racial discrimination in housing, voting and employment and moved on to so-called micro-aggressions and "institutional racism" and "racially coded" language. They have the power to decide what and who is racist. That's the power to destroy and it's a power they wield to their benefit.

If real racism isn't a big problem anymore, then we don't need them anymore. The Sotomayors and Sharptons and Jacksons and Obamas lose their worth and their power diminishes. So that's why every criticism of Obama is racist, regardless that it isn't. That's why the "slights, the snickers, the silent judgments" are just more proof that America is more racist than ever, even though those are just unactionable assumptions.

The reason race matters is because that's the only thing that matters. Everything is viewed through the racial lens. Race matters because if it doesn't, the racial spoils system upon which Sotomayor and Obama sit at the top crumbles. Race matters because if it doesn't, then they have to answer for their actions rather than than simply yelling Racist in a crowded body politic to deflect the criticisms. Race matters because if it doesn't, neither does she.

Unknown said...

Affirmative action is wonderful

In Northern Ireland, after the peace process, the new idea was that the Police Force would be half and half. Half protestant and half catholic.

Yes, they had a slight problem with atheists. But that was all right - they counted them as Protestants.

Then some inconvenient people wanted to join the police force from other religions. So you have Protestant Hindus, Protestant Muslims etc...

Due to immigration within Europe, you got a fair number of Poles turning up in Northern Ireland. The police offer a stable, well paid job. Problem.

The local blow-the-place-up nutters were Catholic. To be sure. The problem was the Catholic Polish people taking the jobs in the police service. So, they demanded that Catholics from outside Northern Ireland be counted... as Protestants.

Affirmative action - created the Protestant Catholic. That's almost worth 3000 dead in a virtual civil war.

Revenant said...

As soon as someone says "race matters", I stop listening to them.

Because you know what? It really doesn't. Not to anyone worth spending time around.

Grundoon said...

I am a 60-year-old white guy with some life experience in living in neighborhoods of various socio-economic levels. My experience is that people in general are less civilized in the lower ones, and that darker skin is more common there--BUT--I have been helped with a flat tire by a black guy I did not know and two of my black neighbors across the street have the neatest yards on the block. I hope we can get to the judging by content of character. In my mind that is what counts.

Wilbur said...

Let's not forget the dissent was joined by Ginsburg.

Those words become hers as well.

Birches said...

Taranto hit it out of the park.

Anglelyne said...

OK, affirmative action is necessary and justified because

Race also matters because of persistent racial inequality in society...

...so the assumption behind this dissent is that racial inequality is persistent and remediable by the methods under judgment. I haven't read the entire dissent so perhaps she argues persuasively that both of the above are true. But how do the following demonstrate any of this?

Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up.

So how does AA "fix" the reasons that people of all races (including blacks) feel heightened wariness around young black males? I think we can all agree that it sucks for a law-abiding citizen to be on the receiving end of this treatment, and that it would tend to grind one down. But has several decades worth of AA done anything to reduce this phenomenon? No. So what's her point?

Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, “No, where are you really from?”, regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country.

How does AA "fix" this (alleged) example of "racial inequality"?

Nobody would say that there's been a history of racial equality between blacks and whites in this country. But nobody asks a black person without a foreign accent "where are you really from?", either. If you're a flavor of human that hasn't been thick on the ground in a given area, you're going to be "exotic" to the locals, and it's a human and natural assumption that you're new around here. Why is that in itself a problem, and how does AA change it in the slightest if it is?

Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home.

Oh the humanity. But AA is a wonder salve - apparently it will fix the terrible inequality inherent in the supposition that one doesn't speak the oppressor's language, the terrible inequality inherent in the expectation that one should speak the oppressor's language rather than the language of one's ancestors, and the terrible inequality inherent in a guess that one is perhaps bilingual.

Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that reinforce that most crippling of thoughts: “I do not belong here.”

If you really are "crippled" by the very fact of not being a member of the prevailing local racial/cultural majority, then maybe you don't "belong here", wherever "here" is. Sotomayor seems to be making an implicit argument against multiculturalism - not living among your own kind is a crippling experience! I doubt in her "open and candid" discussion on race we'd be allowed to openly and candidly explore why some minorities are "crippled" by these challenges, but others manifestly are not - to the point where it becomes necessary to define them out of being "minorities" for the purposes of AA.

ALP said...

whswhs said:

What strikes me above all about Sotomayor's statement is that without exception, all of her examples of why race matters amount to someone being confronted with bad manners.
**************************
That's I thought as well, and I was especially confused by this:

"Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home."

Typical of women to give waaaay tooo much weight to the random stupidity of strangers. I see this in nearly every "women's issue" article I have read in the past 20 years.

So some stranger, living in a country full of immigrants, makes the horrible mistake in thinking a young person that looks like they may have been born outside the US speaks the language their PARENTS may speak?

I am the only one that sees PROGRESS in the fact we have to dig so deep to look for racial slights - if these can indeed be inspired by race instead of bad manners as whswhs suggested?

readering said...

I'm sure Roberts is raising very talented kids. Regardless, if they decide to apply to Harvard they will benefit from the facts (a) that their father is an alum, and (b) that their father is Chief Justice of the United States.

hombre said...

Sotomayor, like Holder and others in the Obama race-baiter crowd, is a caricature.

What matters is "overcoming." She, Obama and Holder assume they "overcame" racial prejudice because they are superior human beings.

Ben Carson, Tom Sowell, Condaleezza Rice and Clarence Thomas know that "overcoming" is about commitment and character.

PB Reader said...

Sotomayor needs to construct legal arguments, not policy arguments.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

The common thread of Sotomayor´s rant is that discrimination, or prejudice, on the basis of race exists. OK, true. Sad, but true. Unfortunate, but true.

Detracts not one bit from the absolute truth of Roberts´ statement.

Whatever its emotional effect, Sotomayor´s arguement has no logical application.

The Godfather said...

Color blind justice became an ideal following generations during which the majority race/gender/ethnic group/religion used its political power to favor its own group over the minority. That ideal is attacked now by people like Sotomayor who want the government to continue to use political power to favor minority groups. But such a situation is inherently unstable in a democracy. Why should a democratic majority continue to support laws that disadvantage themselves?

The safest course of action for minorities is to advance a principle of neutrality, of color blindness, on which they can rely if/when "affirmative action" shifts back to its natural state: Affirmative Action for the majority.

Wilbur said...

"Race matters" is as meaningless as "speaking truth to power".

Mere slogans to the True Believers.

Peter said...

"it is not “out of touch with reality” to conclude that racial preferences may themselves have the debilitating effect of reinforcing precisely that ["I do not belong here"] doubt

And it won't end when you graduate, for many that you interact with will doubt whether you really earned the credential. Especially if you have a professional credential, and your clients/patients/whatever may be seriously harmed if you're really not good at what you do (but may have been pushed through because someone somewhere needed to make a quota).

The fix for that is, we're supposed to just ignore it?? How about just fixing it for good by eliminating the preferences that are the root cause of it?


As for Sotomayor, it is just disgraceful for her to assert that her feelings about matters before the court should determine the outcome, instead of reasoned legal argument on the matter. The Supreme Court has tremendous power. Is she really asserting that how the justices feel should be determinative?

Fernandinande said...

DanTheMan said...Is this really how the best and the brightest lawyers we have interpret our constitution?

Of course not; it was written by an affirmative action hire.

Illuninati said...An alternative explanation is that Sotomayor supports racial preferences forever because she is a racist herself.

Well, since "racial preferences" are nothing but applied racism, what other choice does one have? Everyone who supports or practices racism - i.e. most liberals - is a racist. It's not really rocket science.

Bruce Hayden said...

As I pointed out in the previous thread, the issue here, is that the left wants quotas, preferences, and reparations, because that is what brings Blacks and Hispanic to the table, to get their votes, and getting those votes is essential to the Dems and the rest of the left retaining power in this country.

This is also how machine politics is played - interest groups get jobs and seats at the table for supporting the (Dem) machine. Their problem, right now, is that the right currently has somewhat of a majority on the Supreme Court, and is interpreting the letter of the 14th Amdt. to prohibit what these minority members of the Dem coalition want most of all - special favors based on their membership in a Dem party constituent group. That want what should be coming to them, and has probably been promised them for a long time.

So, don't lose track that this is, at the most basic, an attempt to give special treatment to Blacks and Hispanics to pay them off for being an important part of the Dem coalition. Nothing more.

Carl Pham said...

Who gives a shit if "race matters?" Sotomayor wasn't chosen to be God the Father, come to judge the living and the dead, address all wrongs and set right every single tiny thing slanty about the universe. For one thing, she lacks the intelligence, if not the humility.

What matters is whether the law in question is in agreement with the basic social contract we've got, which is the Constitution. If it does, that's all she needs to decide. If she personally feels that this just proves the social contract needs updating, then she has the same right as any other ordinary citizen to petition her government for a constitutional amendment (or convention) to fix that problem.

But she is not charged with updating the Constitution on the fly from her perch on the Supreme Court, like some kind of God-damned philosopher king. What would we even need a written Constitution for, if that were the case? We could just grant the wise Latina plenary power and the One Ring to make all decisions for everyone, everywhere.

What a smarmy putz. Totally fitting that she was nominated by that insufferable airhead Obama.

roundeye said...

This opinion was repellant. But overall Sotomayor is an intellect and our nation coukd do worse. And the last 15 years of Marshall, with the ministrokes, kinda prove that.

Michael The Magnificent said...

You ever notice that in the bizzaro world occupied by our fellow progressives, it is those of us who wish to judge a man not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character who are considered the racists?

And it is those who see everything through the prism of race such as Justice "race matters" Sotomayor who aren't?

Doug said...

Why is it so important to pussyfoot around and talk about remedies for "minorities"? Why don't all concerned parties just come out and say that affirmative action is about blacks? Hell, Asians and Jews probably laugh at the idea of getting help in order to succeed. Hispanics won't need anything once they get amnesty. Hell, even wymyn are about three weeks away from all the top spots in academia. Let's just everybody cut the crap and say we need to bend and shape the laws to help the only ones who can't or won't help themselves? Enough of the charade.

Philip Lodine said...

The comments by whswhs and Anglelyne nail it. Justice Sotomayor's implication that affirmative action can addreess the various slights she mentions (real though they may be) is a complete non sequitur. It's reminiscent of the false syllogism "Something must be done; this is something; therefore, this must be done."

Philip Lodine said...

The comments by whswhs and Anglelyne nail it. Justice Sotomayor's implication that affirmative action can addreess the various slights she mentions (real though they may be) is a complete non sequitur. It's reminiscent of the false syllogism "Something must be done; this is something; therefore, this must be done."

Saint Croix said...

Justice Sotomayor's implication that affirmative action can addreess the various slights she mentions (real though they may be) is a complete non sequitur.

It's not just a non sequitur. It's positively racist. "Random anonymous brown people have suffered slights, so we will give benefits to other anonymous brown people, on a theory that as long as we are helping brown people, it doesn't actually matter if they are the ones who suffered the slights or not."

It's like Crack has his car broken into, so let's give Barack Obama a raise.

aberman said...

Given what she wrote, can anyone here determine what Justice Sotomayor's stopping points are on racial preferences, if any? Did she suggest any clear boundaries? Is that asking too much?

Saint Croix said...

If you want to get into the University of Michigan based on all the slights that you have suffered in your life, write an essay about it! If your essay is powerful and persuasive, you might get in. Everybody likes an underdog, and everybody likes people who overcome adversity.

In other words, the Michigan rule does nothing to stop people who have suffered slights from using those slights to get ahead. (If they want to, some people hate to define themselves as victims).

University administrators are allowed to let their hearts bleed for the poor, sad underdog. But let the applicant tell you that he is a poor, sad underdog! Make an individual determination about need, if that is your criteria.

Saint Croix said...

racial preferences may themselves have the debilitating effect of reinforcing precisely that ["I do not belong here"] doubt

I call bullshit on this.

JamesB.BKK said...

I am an African-American by virtue of being a descendant of Lucy, aka Australopithecus afarensis, and was brought into the United States without my consent - by my mother who birthed me there and my father who assisted her in this act.

Jupiter said...

"I'm sure many readers will love the lilt and pithiness those 9 "race matters" bonks on the over-abstract head of the Chief Justice..."

I think it would have had a lot more lilt if she had pulled out a guitar, and started strumming;

"La-la-la-la-la-La Raza ...".

As to her pithiness, are you writing with a lithp? Pithiness and moaniness, perhaps? Henceforth I shall think of Justice (Guffaw!) Sotomayor as Her Pithiness. She puts the banana in the Republic.

kcom said...

"That said, it's wrong of whites and Asians to presume a black or Latino got the job or was admitted based on their race."

That's why this is potentially so pernicious. You don't have to presume that at all and it still has a negative effect, because it introduces uncertainty. Say you have four candidates for a job you're trying to fill. They all come from the same school. Three are white and one is black. They're all very similar on paper. But what you don't know, what you can't know, about one of those candidates is whether that piece of paper is telling the whole story. You have certainty on how the three white candidates were judged and accepted by the same standards but there's uncertainty about the fourth. He might be the best candidate of the four but you can't know that because you don't know how he was judged. Because he was treated differently. Whether he deserved to be or not.

stlcdr said...

Almost all the applications of why 'race matters' can be applied to situations where race is not an issue.

Race matters when race is actually involved, not because someone got some hurt feelings.

A man walks into a gay biker bar, and everyone turns and stares at him. Damned racists...

pduggie said...

@ALP "So some stranger, living in a country full of immigrants, makes the horrible mistake in thinking a young person that looks like they may have been born outside the US speaks the language their PARENTS may speak?"

Well, the point is, in a nation of immigrants, nobody "looks like they may not have been born in the USA"

You can't tell by looking, so you should never assume, just by looking. That you think its possible to tell "by looking" is a mistake that leads to that kid of microaggression.

carrie said...

Race matters as long as other discrimination in favor of elites is occurring. For me, race won't matter only when the Ivy's and other colleges go to a blind admission process--by blind I mean the admission committee does not see the names of applicants and it only sees generic information for everything else like the region of country the applicant is from, high school size and maybe graduation rate, test scores, GPA, references are not identified by name but in a non-elitist way such as government official (omitting Hillary Clinton's name, etc.), direct supervisor (omitting Whitehouse Chief of Staff's name and position), teacher, etc, and family income levels would be below poverty level or above the poverty level. As long as there is a bias toward admitting the children of the elite, there should be a bias towards affirmative action for minorities who do not come from elite backgrounds.

mishu said...

Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home.

You mean like the many times someone walk up to me a speak German even though I barely knew it? Race matters!

mishu said...

Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home.

You mean like the many times people would walk up to me and speak German as if I knew it all my life when I didn't? Race matters!

Wilbur said...

Carl Pham said: "But she is not charged with updating the Constitution on the fly from her perch on the Supreme Court, like some kind of God-damned philosopher king. What would we even need a written Constitution for, if that were the case? We could just grant the wise Latina plenary power and the One Ring to make all decisions for everyone, everywhere."

This was exactly the point when I objected to SCOTUS throwing out state death penalty statutes. THEY know what public policy choices should be, not the various state legislatures.

What an utter conceit.

Brando said...

Carrie, much as I'd love to see the admissions policy you envision (where pure merit is judged with any pro-elite bias eliminated) I don't really see why that leads you to favor policies that help "non-elite minorities" in the meantime. What about non-elite non-minorities (or non-favored minorities, like Asians or Indians)? Why not replace a racial preference with a preference for those from challenged backgrounds regardless of race?

There are definitely candidates around the country who face significant obstacles--illiterate parents, low income families, dangerous neighborhoods, low achieving primary schools--who deserve extra consideration. But as long as "race" is the basis of preference, those slots will go to the middle class and elite members of targeted minority groups, and not the deserving.

veni vidi vici said...

So the "wise Latina" turns out to be another run of the mill asshole? I thought I'd be surprised by this, and in fact did not wish to believe it but then, I looked at the "winner" who appointed her and had to shake my head.

Doug said...

Since she is so much in the news and in discussion now, could we all please agree to use the NPR-approved pronunciation: "the wise lud-THEE'-nah"?

Michael The Magnificent said...

Race matters, to racists. The rest of us would rather judge a man by the content of his character.

Bhagwad Park said...

I'm sorry, but justice has to be blind. We don't want "eyes open" to things that are irrelevant. As long as the law is colorblind, that is enough. The law shouldn't bother about "social realities".