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Sotomayor Is No Leftist

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Posted on May 28, 2009
White House / Pete Souza

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

    Republicans would be foolish to fight the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court because she is the most conservative choice that President Obama could have made.

    And even though they should support her confirmation, liberals would be foolish to embrace Sotomayor as one of their own because her record is clearly that of a moderate. It is highly unlikely that she will push the court to the left. Indeed, on many issues of concern to business, she is likely to make the Chamber of Commerce perfectly happy.

    In this battle, it’s important to separate Obama’s reasons for choosing Sotomayor from her actual record. He was drawn to her not simply because the politics of naming the first Latina justice were irresistible, but also because he saw her as the precise opposite of Chief Justice John Roberts.

    In his September 2005 speech explaining his vote against Roberts, Obama argued that 95 percent of court cases are easily settled on the basis of the law and precedent. But in “those 5 percent of hard cases,” Obama said, the “legal process alone will not lead you to a rule of decision” and “the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge’s heart.”

    And that is where Obama found Roberts wanting. The young senator insisted that Roberts “far more often used his formidable skills on behalf of the strong in opposition to the weak” and “seemed to have consistently sided with those who were dismissive of efforts to eradicate the remnants of racial discrimination in our political process.”


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    Obama believes Roberts’ subsequent behavior on the court has justified his initial suspicions. He hopes that Sotomayor will be the anti-Roberts, a person whose experience growing up in the projects of the South Bronx will allow her to see life and the quest for justice in a way Roberts never will.

    Conservatives—particularly those who run direct mail outfits and want a big court fight—would love the decision over Sotomayor to hang on Obama’s call for judges who show “empathy.” They would cast her as a dangerous activist willing to bend the law to produce the results she wants.

    They want to turn Obama’s argument on its head and claim that Sotomayor would show bias in favor of those who share her background—and never mind that they dismiss such assertions when they are raised with respect to white, conservative, male nominees.

    The problem is that this approach is untrue to who Sotomayor has been and has little relationship to the decisions she has actually rendered as a judge. News accounts from the 1990s consistently described her as a “centrist” in her politics. Her lead sponsor when she was first named as a judge, the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was hardly a conventional liberal. Obama may have found himself an empathetic judge, but she practices her empathy from the middle of the road.

    A careful analysis of her record by Business Week, for example, concluded that she is a “moderate on business issues” and would fit the court’s current alignment of such questions.

    She also upheld a ban on federal funds going to family planning groups that provided abortions overseas. Sotomayor wrote that “the Supreme Court has made clear that the government is free to favor the anti-abortion position over the pro-choice position, and can do so with public funds.”

    Dan Gilgoff, on his excellent “God and Country” blog, points out that Sotomayor also ruled in favor of a group of Connecticut anti-abortion protesters who asserted that police “used excessive force against them at a demonstration.” He concludes that her “thin record on abortion is most likely a relief” to pro-life groups. In picking her, Obama sent another signal that he is serious in seeking common ground on abortion.

    Liberals should not take the bait of the right-wingers by allowing the debate over Sotomayor to be premised on the idea that she is a bold ideological choice. She’s not. But if conservatives succeed in painting this moderate as a radical, they will skew future arguments over the court. In fact, liberals should press Sotomayor on her more conservative decisions on business issues, an area in which the current court already tilts too far right.

    As for Republican senators, they have to ask if it’s worth alienating Latino voters to wage a fierce battle against a woman who is, from their point of view, the best nominee Obama was likely to give them. 

    E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)

    © 2009, Washington Post Writers Group   

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By KDelphi, June 2, 2009 at 12:36 am Link to this comment

truedigger3—The issues of race and gender are supposed to deflect your attetion from that.

It is a “token”...

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By freepressmyass, June 1, 2009 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Eventually, all the Obamabots will realize that Obama is the biggest bullshit con artist ever elected president. The crap just rolls off his tongue like butter.
The minute I read several of Satanmayor’s decisions on various issues, I knew she wasn’t for the little guy. Obama uses some absurd rationale about her empathy for the downtrodden. Since when did liberal jurists corner the market in empathy? It’s meaningless blather for all the progressive saps who support him.  Meanwhile, he’s got his trusty dagger hidden behind his back.

She’s just like Obama, right of center.
So we lose the reasonable Souter for another right leaning Kennedy.

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By truedigger3, June 1, 2009 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

All that talk about Sotomayor alleged “racism” or
“leftism” or what have you is off the mark or on some
instances is deliberate diversion of the MAIN IMPORTANT POINT which is her previous rulings in
her court cases and her attitude toward corporate power.
In almost all of her previous rulings, she sided with
corporations and businesses against the little guy.
So, in reality, Sotomayor is corporatist judge and she will be confirmed because of that unless there
is more corporatist judge is at hand waiting.
Obama did it again. He is saying something and doing
the opposite or shaking a mountain to flush out a little mouse.

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By KDelphi, June 1, 2009 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

Night Guant—It was interesting , today, on, (2)at the meeting “Conference for America’s Future” (basically, the people who got Pres. Obama elected) that was their basic message—better than Bush.

Mitch Stewart’s “message” was that, an online survey said that the No.1 priority for “online progressives” was “pushing Obama’s agenda” (whatever that is) and, , that in 2012 , they will not only advertise online, on tv etc, but, will send out thousands of “message machines” (HIS WORDS!) to “talk to people at work, on break, 12-15 x a day, “about Obama”!! AAAUUGHHH! Oh no….

Their campaign is now Unity ‘09.

Roger Hickey says that , now that we have a
“theoretical majority”, what is REALLY needed is an “active majority”—oh, ok. So , after that, what do lame Democrats “need” in order to pass this radicaly progressive aganeda that they all really want, but just cant do it until…

In 2000, it was ‘if we only had the presidency”. In 2004, it was the same, in 2006, “give the Congress to Dems and we’ll fight Bush, get us out of Iraq, etc” (How did that work out, anyway>?) in 2008—“if we only had majorities in all Three, we could dominate the Fourth Estate”—

NOw, they need an ACTIVE majority. Then, it will be something else.

Maybe when Dems obtain a full dictatorship, off the three branches, (all of Congresas, all of the SCOTUS, the POCTUS, and , Soros or Buffet buys up all the MSM), THEN—the REAL PROGRESSIVENESS will come out!!

No, we will have to finish the Overseas Contingency Operation first…

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By Night-Gaunt, June 1, 2009 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

Nor for that matter the bulk of the press which is corporate and in the Fox camp. Either they propound it or simply to not criticize it and put it into the perspective that would render it moot.

Ultimately we won’t know how she will vote on anything but she has been on the right wing side more often then not.

But then the reich wingers have many agendas and part of it is to set the stage for their most obvious extreme views exhibited even as a quiet agent of their views gets in looking positively liberal in comparison. But in truth a false comparison as is why it is done. A psychological trick that is still effective.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 1, 2009 at 4:48 am Link to this comment

Someone on the extreme right picked up on Sotomayor’s statement that as a Latina she’ll bring a different perspective than an upper class white guy like a George W. Bush and screamed “That’s RACIST!” 

This from the party that brought racism back into style with “Law and Order”, “Crime and Welfare”, “Welfare Queens”, “Reverse Discrimination”, and “Ownership Society”.

Then, like mindless ditto-heads, every right-wing Republican Fox host or ex-elected officials starting chanting it like cheerleaders at a football game.  Hell, it’s worked in the past, didn’t it?  Rush, Sean, Bill-O, Newt, Inhoff, and all the other idiots (all white, and mostly all male—where does the Coultergeist fit?) where sounding the alarm.  It’s like a murderer standing over a body with a smoking gun yelling “We gotta have gun control!”

It’s just a desperate move by the Re-thugs to try to preserve their last bastion of control—the right with of the Supreme Court.

Citing Scalia, Alito and Thomas as having said the same damn things won’t stop the Big Lie chorus—and their minions get on the Internet, go to blogs and regurgitate this same crap.  The ONLY reason it works is the Dims don’t do the same thing saying by the hundreds, very loudly….CRAP!

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By ardee, May 31, 2009 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment

USMC SAM, May 30 at 12:59 pm #

I admit I am not as educated as most of you, but I really don’t understand what the problem is other than the big “push” to get her in office.

The problem is the “big push” to discredit her immediately upon her nomination.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 31, 2009 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

“It seems safe to say that Justice Cardozo was the first to sit on the court with this particular heritage. Of course you’re free to disagree.”AFriend

Technically I see that from the history of Portugal it is correct to call Cordozo  the first male from Portugal and ‘Hispanic.’ So on this minor point Sotomayor is the first Espanian female on the court. Big wup! Two firsts! Now on to the important stuff like how she deals with legal matters. My guess, she is a right winger. But time will tell.

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By KDelphi, May 31, 2009 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

Sweet Sue—LOL! I know what you mean..when I saw the article title, I thought, “you mean Dionne is going to write an article with some criticism of one of Pres. Obamas’ decisions??!!”

I imagined a critique that Pres. Obama couldve nominated someone who might actually pull the court a little Left after Bush’s Right Wing Chicken Hawk flap at it…no such luck.

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By AFriend, May 30, 2009 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

Calvinist Hobbeisan,

I was taught that both the Spanish and Portuguese are part of a broader group known as West Iberian.

The Spaniards and Portuguese share a similar alphabet and language (although there are important differences). And the Sir name, Cardozo, is common in both societies. Simply put; I am led to believe their respective histories and languages share the same origins.

It seems safe to say that Justice Cardozo was the first to sit on the court with this particular heritage. Of course you’re free to disagree.

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By Sweet Sue, May 30, 2009 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So a Villager like EJ Dionne vouches for Sotomajor by saying that “she’s no lefty!”
Phew, what a relief. For one awful moment I actually thought that Obama might nominate a genuine liberal for the Court.
Silly me.

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By USMC SAM, May 30, 2009 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

I admit I am not as educated as most of you, but I really don’t understand what the problem is other than the big “push” to get her in office. I am pretty sure there are things I said two years ago that I might want to take back, have a ” do over “, but either way, she still has to do the interview. I don’t trust the gov. with anything, but it seems an awful lot of fuss for nothing right now. Really, looking down the road from where we (our country) is right now, she will be the least of our problems.

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By Calvinist Hobbeisan, May 30, 2009 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

@ AFriend & Blacksphere:

1. Of or relating to Spain or Spanish-speaking Latin America.
2. Of or relating to a Spanish-speaking people or culture.

Portugal is not Spain, and Portuguese is not Spanish; therefore Cardozo was not Hispanic.

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By ardee, May 30, 2009 at 6:08 am Link to this comment

Purple Girl, May 30 at 6:29 am #

Well stated, PG, very well indeed.

Make no mistake, this entire manufactured nonsense is devoid of truth or logic and is a radical right wing attempt to regain lost votes. Many within the GOP are trying to reign in these fools and bigots but failing. I begin to wonder if this signals a crack in that party that might just result in a major change in our political makeup.

There is no one on earth who doesnt use life experience as a part of her decision making process, not Sotomayor, not Scalia, not Roberts, nooone.

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By Purple Girl, May 30, 2009 at 3:29 am Link to this comment

Women appauld her candor regarding being able to come to better decisions regarding cases which involve Gender and Race.
We are expected to ignore the fact that the White males on SCOTUS have repeatedly used their White Male bias to rule against minorities. Apparently we are thought to be to ignorant to what their ruling have meant for us.
Granted there have been many examples of Honorable White males who comprehended what our Founders envisioned, what Faith Commands, But most have failed miserably to uphold or practice either. Willing to proclaim it loudly (Talk the talk), but then Pussy out when it asks too much of them (Walk the Walk).
Is she a ‘Racist/Sexist’ - perhaps. So What. To All those White Men I say -sucks when the shoe is finally on the other foot ah.
And that is really what Racist and Sexist are, Fearful lil’ under acheivers who know if the playing field is truely level, they will either have to step up and work to compete, or fail due to their own laziness or incompetence.Boo Woo Pussy Boys! You can almost Smell the Fear,certainly can see it intheir faces, hear it in their voices and read it in their posts (Jason)

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By CJ, May 29, 2009 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment


I wonder if your nephew is by now holding down high political office? Or maybe hosting his own nationally disseminated TV show? Not hardly “doofus” your nephew, as by evidence you present he seems to have been wise (or just wised up) far beyond his years.

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By jackpine savage, May 29, 2009 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

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By RobertinWestbury, May 29, 2009 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment


Don’t know if I got the Scalia quote accurate or not, but that was the gist of it.  Sort of marks him out to be an ‘activist judge’ in my opinion. 

You made this statement:

“I like President Obama on a personal level, however, I can’t honestly say I see the brilliance others claim to see in him. I see a man who keeps claiming the that the United States was a bad place until he arrived. I could not disagree more.”

And I’d have to both agree and disagree with you.  I was not an Obama supporter initially.  I supported Kucinich.  But after he dropped out, I chose to support Obama, and then he swept me off my feet with his impressive speeches.  It just felt so good to have a President who could speak in complete sentences and with inspiration. 

Since then, it seems everyone has given him an A on his performance.  I’d rate him about a C myself.  He has made some decisions that I strongly dislike.  But I realize that no matter who held the office they can’t please everyone all of the time. 

I disagree that he has ever claimed the United States was a bad place.  He has addressed the behaviior and policies of the previous administration, which hurt our image in the world greatly.  That is just fine with me. In fact, it was necessary I think.  It’s one thing I wouldn’t say I disliked him doing. 

I’m patiently waiting for him to move on some of the campaign promises he made.  And I was not a supporter or believer in the bailouts. I can only hope he was right and I was wrong…

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By KDelphi, May 29, 2009 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

Night Guant—Yes, but, Obama comes from a minority and middle class background, but, he doesnt very often act like it…

You mean tha Scalia and Thomas are REAL people??!!

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By freelyb, May 29, 2009 at 6:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yet another mysterious version of Obama pragmatism. When will all these non-ideological ideals coalesce to work together?

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By AFriend, May 29, 2009 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

RobertinWestbury,—“I ready yesterday a quote from Antoin Scalia from about 10 years ago where he said every single decision he’s made on the high court was based on his Catholic upbringing and training.”


Well that’s not exactly what Scalia said but I understand and, to some degree, agree with you.

That still does not distract from the point I was making. President Obama has essentially said that he prefers a jurist that will take their own life biases with them when dispensing justice.

In light of the current president’s handling of GM and Chrysler (his choosing sides based on his perceptions over bankruptcy and contractual law) this simply doesn’t comfort me.


I like President Obama on a personal level, however, I can’t honestly say I see the brilliance others claim to see in him. I see a man who keeps claiming the that the United States was a bad place until he arrived. I could not disagree more.

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By RobertinWestbury, May 29, 2009 at 5:17 am Link to this comment

AFriend said:

“How will your thinking on empathy apply when the judge’s empathy falls more toward your opposing point of view? Would you then desire an unemotional, impartial, jurist?”

As I said, empathy is not sympathy.  Sympathy is when you have an emotional impartial jurist. 

If a judge came down in favor of my opposing point of view, it wouldn’t really matter so long as he or she based that view on a constitutional principle. 

Look people, every judge is a human being.  And every single one of them is going to see the world through the lense of their cultural understanding based on their life’s experiences.  I ready yesterday a quote from Antoin Scalia from about 10 years ago where he said every single decision he’s made on the high court was based on his Catholic upbringing and training. 

Thus we have the church in Rome having a pretty strong vote on the United States of America’s supreme court. 

I find that far more troubling than Sonia Sotomayor indicating that someone from a minority status who has likely faced prejudice and discrimination might have a different (and better) insight to an issue than someone who is white and has never faced that kind of prejudice….

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By AFriend, May 29, 2009 at 4:26 am Link to this comment


“Putting spin and dishonest representation of the words does nto make it so”


You’re right. Now apply that equally.

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By ardee, May 29, 2009 at 3:36 am Link to this comment

“President Obama has essentially said that he prefers a jurist that will take their own life biases with them when dispensing justice, when the oath itself calls for impartiality in upholding the constitution.”

Putting spin and dishonest representation of the words and meaning of the Presidents statement re his choice for the SC does nto make it so.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 28, 2009 at 8:33 pm Link to this comment

Yes, that is why I would want the court to have a mixture of heterogenous people of all stripes, extreme and mild. That would be our only hope of having anything close to reality. We all have biases that is why we must let all points talk.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 28, 2009 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment

Then Antoni Scalia and Clarence Thomas should be disqualified as well for just that reason. They aren’t robots and so feelings and life experiences are part of the package otherwise no one would be on the bench.

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By AFriend, May 28, 2009 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment


How will your thinking on empathy apply when the judge’s empathy falls more toward your opposing point of view? Would you then desire an unemotional, impartial, jurist?


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


President Obama has essentially said that he prefers a jurist that will take their own life biases with them when dispensing justice, when the oath itself calls for impartiality in upholding the constitution.

“justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich.’ - ‘under the Constitution and laws of the United States”


I believe no matter how one attempts to spin Judge Sotomayor’s words it remains a fact that any white male who were to say exactly the same thing; “I can dispense justice better than a black or Hispanic, simply due to my being white”; would quickly, and rightfully, be labeled a racist. He would not get anywhere near the bench.


You’re right in regards to President Obama choosing a nominee according to what’s important to him personally.

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By CJ, May 28, 2009 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment

As far as I can tell, Obama’s not much serious about much. Now appointment of one who’s but one more mediocrity to be one of real top cops. Most of whom are indeed white-male types. Along with two others, one a black-male type, the other a white-female type. (Since we’re counting up that way.)

I thought Bill Clinton was political animal? Both con and lib media have been falling all over themselves re Sotomayor. The first accusing, the second defending. The first ranting of “racism,” the second with (always-handy) “context” excuse.

Sotomayor said a remarkably stupid thing, evidently fully bought into absurdity known as identity politics. (Note division to which stupid remarks on the part of elites can lead. I seriously doubt she’s “racist,” though also true that no amount of “context” can make go away stupid remark. No matter Olbermann’s lame attempt to twist stupidity into something to be “congratulated”?)

Dionne’s moved on to something more to the point. No, she’s not of what passes in America and in American media for “the left.”  But then neither is Obama, who’d more rightly be classified as right centrist, as opposed to last crew, which was right (in two ways) fascist. (As Cheney keeps on keeping on demonstrating.)

A very smart lady on Goodman’s program the other day pointed to the fact that Sotomayor is not Edwin Chemerinsky, who Obama might have appointed were he somewhat of actual left. Instead of doing so, Obama went with “safe” pick, which has always been to where identity politics has led.

Sotomayor long ago became one among privileged elite. Whether or not she made a ton of dough along the way. She’s pure establishment. Which is about more a little more than possession of stock portfolio. The very idea that rule of law in this country doesn’t always favor wealth is monumental lie. Her more recent background was Princeton/Yale, followed by NYC ADA, and then on to benches, mostly recently at Second Circuit.

Millions upon millions grow up poor in this country, while billions more grow up under yet worse conditions beyond these borders of ours. Thanks to powers that rule the planet.

Two points: one made by Zinn not long ago; the second made by Galeano just this morning on Goodman’s program: 1) Zinn noted that whereas the Declaration speaks of pursuit of “life, liberty and happiness,” the Constitution speaks of “life, liberty and PROPERTY.” The first was radical declaration of independence, while the second amounted merely to legal establishment of power, mostly according to property in possession. Thus, plutocrats, kleptocrats and/or meritocrats—ongoing; 2) Galeano talked of “horizontal,” as opposed to “vertical.” Not only is Sotomayor not remotely “left,” she is but latest appointee to verticality, if you will. Appointed to serve long-standing power. Ergo, not her stupid remark and not her “background” are relevant other than as chew-toys for chattering class that by definition is in the business of distraction. 

Meanwhile, Congress is planning so-called VAT (tax on the poor), as proposed by Obama’s people, while UAW seems not to have the slightest idea as to maybe occupying General Motors. Yes, by expropriating PROPERTY as rightly theirs to share, never mind under circumstance of incompetent management and deadbeat “share”-holders. THAT would be socialism!

But look out for “socialism.” Look out for actual (as matter determination on economic justice) “left.” More generally, look out for anything resembling social justice, which prospect is nowhere to be spotted on any radar—not on supposedly “left” (Dems? Lol)  government’s and not on anyone’s in big media, whether “anyone” is breathless Olbermann/Maddow or noxious O’Reilly/Hannity or stinky Kid Limbaugh.

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By Samson, May 28, 2009 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment

Since racism is a sign of sloppy thinking, its no surprise that its supporters sometimes say ridiculous things.

For instance, the comment a few down from this one says that a white male can’t have known what it is to be discriminated against?

What a wonderful example of silly and sloppy racist thinking.  The author is so wrapped up in racist stereotypes about white and non-white that they’ve become ridiculous.

The stereotype is of course that any white male is some rich dude from Harvard rolling around in his Lexus.  Let me try to shatter that stereotype for you.

I’m a white male.  I’m also from Appalachia.  Wanna guess as to whether I’ve been discriminated against based on stupid stereotypically thinking about Tennessee hillbillies?

I went to Ga. Tech, which is in the heart of Atlanta.  My 2nd year in school was after Reagan got elected, and a big chunk of my Pell grant money went away.  So I had to go find a job.  The convenience store just off campus had giant 8 ft high HELP WANTED signs in the windows, so I went into apply.  The black clerk on duty called over the black manager who insisted that they weren’t even taking applications.  He suggested that I go about 60 blocks north a store in the white part of town and apply there.

They were having a good laugh at me as I left, while I thought about how many more paks of Raman noodles I could afford to buy if I couldn’t find a job.  Wanna tell me again how its a given that a ‘white male’ couldn’t know how it feels to be discriminated against.  Have I shattered your shallow stereotypical thinking that tries to apply characteristics based on skin color yet?

If not, for a while I dropped out of school.  I call myself an old hippie these days.  That’s back when I was a young hippie.  I traveled a lot, especially around the south, with long hair, tye-dye t-shirts in a friend’s van that was painted bright day-go colors with peace signs on it.  Wanna take a guess at how many times we were ‘discriminated against’?  How many resteraunts would find a reason not to serve us, or how many hotels with flashing No Vacancy signs in front would suddenly discover they had no rooms when a hippie with a tye-dye on is standing at their counter looking for a place to lay his head?  What was that again about how no white male could know what its like to be discriminated against?

Racism is the shallow way of thinking that says you can tell anything about a person based on their ethnic background.  Its ridiculous, because every human being is unique.  Every human being has their own set of life experiences, and you don’t have a prayer of knowing what they are based on the color of their skin.

The one thing for sure that I can tell you is that you have to look at every human being as an individual.  Learn who they are.  Because they are different from every other of the 6 billion of us on the planet.

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By Samson, May 28, 2009 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

To me, ‘racism’ and ‘sexism’ are the mistake of trying to apply crude stereotypes across millions of human beings.  At the very least, its sloppy and a stupid way of thinking.

Its absolutely ridiculous to ever say that someone is better than another because one is Latina and one is ‘white’.  That’s equally true no matter which way you go.  The same with male and female.

The hilarious part is watching people who would object and cry ‘racism’ in an instant if anyone tried to say a while male was just naturally smarter and better than a Latina instead run around giving these silly arguments that a Latina woman is naturally better than a white male.

Two minutes with Google and a basic knowledge of history can of course disprove this argument quickly.  The Warren Court of the 1960’s was the last progressive Supreme Court we’ve had that advanced causes like civil rights, immigrant rights, worker’s rights, rights of women, etc.  Earl Warren, the Chief Justice of that court was of course a white male.

From what I can read so far, if you gave me a choice between the pro-business Sotomeyer (once appointed by Bush and approved by Republicans), and a reincarnation of Earl Warren, I’d take Earl Warren again in a heartbeat.

You have to look at any person as a unique individual.  Comments that say one person is better than another because of the racial makeup of their parents or because of their gender are indeed racist, sexist, rude and insulting.  I grew up in the south listening to KKK types make almost identical statements, but in the other direction of course.  They were wrong then, and they are wrong here and now as well.

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By RobertinWestbury, May 28, 2009 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

Jason said:  “Her statements that a Latina would reach a better legal decision than a White male are clearly racist.”

You aren’t quoting her accurately. 

What she said was this: “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,”

Another way she could have said it was,

“As a member of a minority whose life experiences are vastly different than that of white males who have never been a minority, I would hope conclusions reached would by a Latina woman would reflect those life experiences and provide a better result.” 

It’s hardly racist. 

I’m sorry, but if I have to stand before a judge, I’d rather stand before one that has suffered some and has experienced discrimination than someone who hasn’t.  I think that would give them some of that empathy Obama spoke of, that is scaring the snot out of right wingers. 

He didn’t say sympathy.  He said empathy.  It’s a huge difference. 

And anyway, true racists can’t keep their mouths shut about the objects of their disdain.  If she were a true racist, she would have made more obvious statements, and would have made them numerous times. 

I’m afraid she will be far more conservative than any of us on the left would want in regards to abortion and business cases.  Won’t know what she’ll be like on gay rights or other issues for some time. 

I saw her recently on TV, she was part of a 3 judge panel on a mock trial where law students made their case.  I don’t know who one of the 3 judges was, but besides her there was John Roberts, the current Supreme court chief justice.  They mentioned he and she went to law school together and were friends.  And they seemed to hold the same opinions too. 

I’m worried Sonia may be to the left what Souter turned out to be to the right. 

I’m not convinced she won’t drag the court further right.

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By SteveL, May 28, 2009 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment

Let’s see,  put on the bench by Bush the first,  confirmed by lots of Republican Senators that are now complaining.  What is the problem?

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By AFriend, May 28, 2009 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment

Blackspeare, —Contrary to current belief, if confirmed, Sotomayor will not be the first justice of Hispanic heritage. Benjamin Cardozo was of Portuguese descent.


You are absolutely correct. Yet, in their constant drive only to inform of what happened today, the bulk of the media does us all a great disservice. No depth. No historical context. We get only what’s on the surface and they move on.

Unless, of course, there’s an exploitable controversy or blood to be seen. Then it’s all about how each can profit or “enhance a career”.—interestingly enough, 80% of the nations editors and journalists identify themselves as democrats or liberal.

Anyhow, I have not known a news media so systemically bereft of quality. Not, at least, in my lifetime.

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By Lester Shepherd, May 28, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is no political strategy here.  Obama is so smart he’s stupid and weak.  The Republican’s will eventually chew him up and spit him out.  They are a determined bunch of assholes and never relent on anything unless they are forced.  What they need is a good cussing, then, ignore them.  Put the real, human, justices up for confirmation and dare anyone to attack.  I love the bouncing, fat ass , sleaze bag Rushbo on MSNBC.

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By KDelphi, May 28, 2009 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

Here is an interesting article in “The Progressive”, which is mostly about the Courts..and the decision that they just handed down, etc,

Obama Needs to Do More than Swap Liberal Justices
By Matthew Rothschild, May 27, 2009

While everyone’s talking about how the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor may affect the Supreme Court, we need to keep our eye on the current court—and on Obama’s arguments in there.

For on the same day that Obama nominated Sotomayor, the Court came down with a horrendous decision on a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

By a 5 to 4 vote, the Court said that a defendant who has already been appointed counsel may be interrogated by police without that counsel present.

Amazingly, Obama’s Justice Department argued in favor of the decision that Justice Scalia handed down. It said the 23-year-old precedent, Michigan v. Jackson, “serves no purpose.”

more at:

There is a pretty good Howard Zinn article in there, too…

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By AFriend, May 28, 2009 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment


I’m with you on this one. If a white male had said the exact same thing regarding an Hispanic or a female he would be run out on a rail in a New York min. That white male would very quickly be labeled a racist.

Of course Sotomayor can’t be a racist. She’s Hispanic, right? The same goes for the vile bigot and racist Rev. Wright. Only white people, preferably Republican, can be racist or bigoted.

Remember what happened to Trent Lott? Remember Robert Bork? Is it at least interesting that it’s almost exclusively the Left that’s making this nomination about skin color and heritage? I find this very interesting.


Sotomayor may very well be qualified, however, no observant person can take in her comments and not understand them to be racist in nature.

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By ocjim, May 28, 2009 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

Republicans have proven that all the baser motives dictate their behavior, certainly not pulling for the general welfare.

Only the most cynical choices within reason offered even a modicum of cooperation and that was for Republican self-preservation.

When you hear comments by blowhard (Rush) and other Neanderthals in the Republican Party, you are assured that they are even more bankrupt than GM and Chrysler.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 28, 2009 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

Personally I think this whole thing is a farce designed to keep us busy and laughing while deadly serious things are going in away from the clownish action. What other reason would Cheney who had little chance of being bothered by Obama stuck his grimacing mug all over the airways? Maybe I am just giving the unseen operators more due than they deserve. [Being very devious, skilled in mass societal manipulation and being geniuses and brainiacs in what they are doing to all of us.]

If no one listens to the Supreme Court when the final change comes and it is relegated to just another appendage of imperial gov’t it won’t matter then. Sotomayor may be thoroughly vetted in ways we don’t know. The Cabal may dislike putting women and those not of their Nordic-Aryan maleness in power but they tolerate it for now. After all if people are making a play and using falsehoods to do it. [But using real people as their marionettes.]

Just don’t take things at face value. See if there is an ulterior motive that may better fit the behavior. Just like what has been happening in Iraq and Afghanistan for instance. Or Obama’s entire behavior in office.

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, May 28, 2009 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment


You’re right, it was a calculated political move designed to assist the Republicans with screwing themselves (although lately, they’ve been doing a pretty good job all by themselves).  It’s just like the Obama birth certificate conspiracy theory that the Dems are gladly perpetuating.  They’ll continue to pretend to hide his “real” birth certificate just as long as the Republican tinfoil-hat brigade keeps screaming about it.  It’s HI-Larious!!!  You clowns can’t win!  Especially when the Dems continue to recognize Limbaugh as the de facto leader of the Republican Party.  Because—and tell me if you recognize this, Cheese Dick—“...when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’”  HaHaHaHaHaHaHa!!!! 

Oh well, when you invite morally bankrupt retards into your party, you usually end up with a party full or morally bankrupt retards.

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By P. T., May 28, 2009 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

“New York crowd I think.”

The U.S. Supreme Court, to which she has been nominated, sits in Washington.

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By KDelphi, May 28, 2009 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

She seems to be the perfect pick for Obama—completely unpredictable and “pragmatic”. (I was rather excited, at first)

I did notice Pres. Obamas’ many references to her ‘inspiring story”—so maybe he picked a female, Latino verison of himself, except he certainly didnt grow up in a housing project.

If someone had told me years ago that the first Af Am president we were to have would be this conservative, I wouldve said, “no way”.

USAns are sorely learning, race, sex, and background are not good predictors is “empathy”, or, at least “empathetic action”.

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By ardee, May 28, 2009 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

P. T., May 28 at 2:08 pm #

Sotomayor, 54, who has been a federal judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since 1998, has a formidable resume. From 1992 to 1998, Sotomayor was a federal judge for the U. S. District Court Southern District of New York. She served as an assistant district attorney for New York County from 1979 to 1984. Sotomayor also worked in private practice for the New York-based law firm Pavia & Harcourt from 1984 to 1992.

Bill Clinton nominated Sotomayor for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1997. George H. W. Bush nominated Sotomayor as a federal judge in 1991—a position that made Sotomayor the youngest judge in the Southern District of New York and the first Hispanic federal judge in the state.

....New York crowd I think.

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By P. T., May 28, 2009 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

Sotomayor: Prosecutor, corporate lawyer, friend of the downtrodden.

We haven’t seen this much spin since Wal-Mart board member Hillary Clinton was sold to the voters as a friend of the working stiff.

Sotomayor is an opportunist, like most of the Washington crowd.

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By Blackspeare, May 28, 2009 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

Contrary to current belief, Sotomayor will not be the first justice of Hispanic heritage.  Benjamin Cardozo was of Portuguese descent.

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By rbrooks, May 28, 2009 at 10:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why, what a surprise! I’m shocked. Shocked!
Once again, Obama’s empowered someone that the DLC will love. All we can hope for is that she will disappoint the man who appointed her and his corporate owners.
Jackpine, you provided the only laugh I’ve had since the nomination was announced.

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By rolmike, May 28, 2009 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

i would say that the most conservative choice obama could havemade would have been richard posner, whose intelligence obama likes….
that would have freaked out the conservatives even more cause “the pos” is not predictable!

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By Night-Gaunt, May 28, 2009 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

To end all of this tiresome ‘I want my ____ to have a face on the _____’ finished so we can get to the core issue. I agree with you JackPineSavage that it is the person themselves not the body they are in that are important to us. Or should be, anyway. Damn that long term racism we still have! [If you think that is past just look at how many Aryan-Nordic faces of the Male still dominate here. This isn’t Norway after all.]

I so wish she was a closet Anarchist but I’m not holding my breath on that. What I would like as an ideal arrangement for any and all High and Supreme courts is it be stocked with the most heterogeneous groups ever. All sides, many extremes and diametrically opposing points of view so that when they decide it will be for people’s rights and not just an intellectual exercise for them.

Radical I know, I will have to explore that in my fiction someday.

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By jackpine savage, May 28, 2009 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

My post was written with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek.

Beerdoc is absolutely correct in that it is impossible to predict the behavior of a lifetime appointee.  So why bother?

Personally, i could care less what gender or race the Justices are so long as they are intelligent, thoughtful people without undue fealty to ideology. (though i’m not sure that those qualities figure into the actual selection process much)

I wanted a trans-gender dwarf to be nominated, but didn’t actually expect it happen.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 28, 2009 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

JackPineSavage where ever do you get the idea that Obama is a Progressive? He is a reich winger in ‘centrist’ clothing. [Centrists these days were right wingers 20 years ago.] His choice of Sotomayor for him is an excellent one. Not only in the Souter range but potentially a little more right wing. Maybe enough to sway the court for the reich wingers.

You can never tell how a person will act when they are freed like a life time appointment will do. Parts of their character hidden before may burst forth in unexpected ways.

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By Jason!!, May 28, 2009 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

Oh really. So what would you say if Justice Stevens made the folowing 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 female”

??? Sexist? Racist?

btw: she also ruled against bloggers free speech….

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By thebeerdoctor, May 28, 2009 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

From a historical perspective, the fact that only two women have served on the Supreme Court, and the fact that President Obama has chosen a third to represent the majority gender, who is also a Hispanic. Don’t be such a simpering jackass: historically, this is huge.

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By jackpine savage, May 28, 2009 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

No, Obama made the most conservative choice?  That doesn’t sound like him at all.  He’s a progressive…okay, maybe he doesn’t act like a progressive, but we all know that deep down inside he really is one and you’ll all be sorry that you doubted him when he reveals that he’s really been playing thirteen dimensional chess!

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By Thomas Mc, May 28, 2009 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

Obama had a chance to make a difference on the Supreme Court, instead he chose another right winger, just one who happened to be a minority.

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By ardee, May 28, 2009 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

I have heard no declaration from Sotomayor such as Jason declaims. Nor do I believe that Obama would nominate a racist for such office, or for any office in fact, the thought makes me smile actually at its absurdity..

She may not be left enough for some, she may not be right enough for others but she seems in line with the way Obama approaches issues and solutions.

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By thebeerdoctor, May 28, 2009 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

How is Sonia Sotomayor a racist?

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By Jason!!, May 28, 2009 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

Don’t be so naive. This was purely a political play and a lose / lose situation for the republican party.

Her statements that a Latina would reach a better legal decision than a White male are clearly racist.

If Republicans challenge it, they lose with the Hispanic, Latin La Raza community.

If they don’t challenge it, they lose with their base.

Its another campaign promise broken and he has engaged in the most despicable type of politics.

Obama = fail

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By Mary, May 28, 2009 at 6:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jason it seems to me your the racist, just by your comment alone shows your ignorance.
Can’t make everyone happy and your a perfect example.
Who isn’t racist? Everyone has a little racism in them, thats common knowlegde, some won’t admit it, but to actually show it, shows the hatred within yourself.
God Bless us all from the evilness within all of us.

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By Jason!!, May 28, 2009 at 5:51 am Link to this comment


I give you an A+ for dutifully parroting the Administrations talking points.

Too bad you can’t hide the fact that she is a Racist!

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