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Thoughts on Voting

"The people who cast the votes don't decide an election; the people who COUNT the votes do." -- Joseph Stalin

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Republican Stupidity Reaches New Heights

The Intellectual One

The Party of NO has released its lunatics to attack the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor just as predicted. The loonies are lining up. Of course it is difficult to criticize a woman born to Puerto Rican parents and raised in the South Bronx who contracted diabetes at age 8, lost her father at age 9, and still managed to be #2 in her class at Princeton where she graduated Summa cum laude, and on the Law Review at Yale Law School. Not surprising, some of the Republican hatchet man are criticizing her lack of intellect!

At a lecture delivered at the University of California School of Law in Berkeley in 2001, Ms. Sotomayor said, "
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." Rush Limbaugh and others of his ilk such as Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich have jumped on this statement and have called her a racist.

Here is the well known racist, Rush Limbaugh speaking about Ms. Sotomayor:




Not to be outdone, old and worn Newt Gingrich still clings to hopes of running for President in 2012 and continues to make foolish statements every time he gets a chance. Here is his retort:




The speech Ms. Sotomayor gave that day was a long one. We are posting the last portion of it to demonstrate how a sentence or two can be taken out of context and completely change the meaning and intent of the statement. Rush and Newt know better, but they have nothing more to do but make complete and utter fools of themselves.

Congratulations on your nomination, Ms. Sotomayor, you are very deserving. Mr. Oxycontin needs to crawl back into his racist hole and hibernate. Finally, the Republican Party should disband in the interest of humanity. They have led us into an unjustified war, have failed to protect the country when they were in power, have raided the treasury and left the economy in shambles, and have destroyed the very freedoms and liberties that many have fought for over the years.



"Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O'Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, 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.

Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.

However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.

I also hope that by raising the question today of what difference having more Latinos and Latinas on the bench will make will start your own evaluation. For people of color and women lawyers, what does and should being an ethnic minority mean in your lawyering? For men lawyers, what areas in your experiences and attitudes do you need to work on to make you capable of reaching those great moments of enlightenment which other men in different circumstances have been able to reach. For all of us, how do change the facts that in every task force study of gender and race bias in the courts, women and people of color, lawyers and judges alike, report in significantly higher percentages than white men that their gender and race has shaped their careers, from hiring, retention to promotion and that a statistically significant number of women and minority lawyers and judges, both alike, have experienced bias in the courtroom?

Each day on the bench I learn something new about the judicial process and about being a professional Latina woman in a world that sometimes looks at me with suspicion. I am reminded each day that I render decisions that affect people concretely and that I owe them constant and complete vigilance in checking my assumptions, presumptions and perspectives and ensuring that to the extent that my limited abilities and capabilities permit me, that I reevaluate them and change as circumstances and cases before me requires. I can and do aspire to be greater than the sum total of my experiences but I accept my limitations. I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate.

There is always a danger embedded in relative morality, but since judging is a series of choices that we must make, that I am forced to make, I hope that I can make them by informing myself on the questions I must not avoid asking and continuously pondering. We, I mean all of us in this room, must continue individually and in voices united in organizations that have supported this conference, to think about these questions and to figure out how we go about creating the opportunity for there to be more women and people of color on the bench so we can finally have statistically significant numbers to measure the differences we will and are making.

I am delighted to have been here tonight and extend once again my deepest gratitude to all of you for listening and letting me share my reflections on being a Latina voice on the bench. Thank you."



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3 comments:

  1. Don't you ever quit. Why can't you just be happy your guy made it big. This constant Bush bashing gets old.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. With all due respect, Mr. S, this article is not about Bush. It's about an unprovoked attack on Sonia Sotomayor. The only bashing going on here is the head of the Republican Party (Rush Oxycontin) and the guy who dreams of being its head (Newt the Toot), are insulting and ridiculing the new nominee for the Supreme Court. Rush calls her a "racist", which coming from Rush is definitely "the POT calling the kettle black". Rush Limbaugh, a hypocritical drug abuser who feasts on and enjoys preying upon the basest of emotions of his listening audience , which is predominantly white males with an IQ level that matches Tiger Woods' golf score.

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