Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Because She is Puerto Rican?

Yesterday, President Obama made an historic decision when he nominated/appointed Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Why? Because she is a woman and she will be the first Hispanic to ever serve on the Supreme Court.

Once again, Barack Obama has impressed me with his infinite wisdom and ability to show that diversity doesn't mean affirmative action or quotas, it means finding the best person for the job and not overlooking people of color who fit that description. If Sotomayor secures her nomination, than the Supreme Court will actually begin to look like a true representation of the United States population.

That being said, isn't it kind of irksome how the media seems to latch on to Sotomayor's humble beginnings as if that makes her some kind of special or perhaps because that's the only definition of a Puerto Rican that mainstream America understands. How many times have we heard that she was raised in the projects in the Bronx only to rise up and graduate from both Princeton and Yale? Or that she was raised by a single mother? My question is, what does any of that have to do with her ability to interpret the law? If Sotomayor were a White man, would anybody be broadcasting where he grew up and how much money his parents had and whether or not his parents were divorced? I'm guessing no. At least not in the first days of the announcement. That might come out later in the quickie bio.

The political organization, sent me this list of Sotomayor's achievements today:

Ten Things To Know About Judge Sonia Sotomayor

1. Judge Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the bench than any Supreme Court justice in 100 years. Over her three-decade career, she has served in a wide variety of legal roles, including as a prosecutor, litigator, and judge.

2. Judge Sotomayor is a trailblazer. She was the first Latina to serve on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and was the youngest member of the court when appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York. If confirmed, she will be the first Hispanic to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

3. While on the bench, Judge Sotomayor has consistently protected the rights of working Americans, ruling in favor of health benefits and fair wages for workers in several cases.

4. Judge Sotomayor has shown strong support for First Amendment rights, including in cases of religious expression and the rights to assembly and free speech.

5. Judge Sotomayor has a strong record on civil rights cases, ruling for plaintiffs who had been discriminated against based on disability, sex and race.

6. Judge Sotomayor embodies the American dream. Born to Puerto Rican parents, she grew up in a South Bronx housing project and was raised from age nine by a single mother, excelling in school and working her way to graduate summa cum laude from Princeton University and to become an editor of the Law Journal at Yale Law School.

7. In 1995, Judge Sotomayor "saved baseball" when she stopped the owners from illegally changing their bargaining agreement with the players, thereby ending the longest professional sports walk-out in history.

8. Judge Sotomayor ruled in favor of the environment and against business interests in 2007 in a case of protecting aquatic life in the vicinity of power plants, a decision that was overturned by the Roberts Supreme Court.

9. In 1992, Judge Sotomayor was confirmed by the Senate without opposition after being appointed to the bench by George H.W. Bush.

10. Judge Sotomayor is a widely respected legal figure, having been described as " outstanding colleague with a keen legal mind," "highly qualified for any position in which wisdom, intelligence, collegiality and good character would be assets," and "a role model of aspiration, discipline, commitment, intellectual prowess and integrity."

Besides her impressive college record, is the rest of item #6 relevant in her ability to serve as a Supreme Court Judge? Is it because she is Puerto Rican? What do you think? I'm listening.



susan said...

Tell it, Lori. I have thought the same. Does the media ever look to make a white male a sympathetic character. As if people of color are only acceptable if you can feel sorry for them and then gush over how they overcome.

Thinking Aloud said...

I have a house guest who asked me last night what I thought about the nomination. I told her that I thought that it was a wise choice, one that would offer intellect and intelligence to the already existing panel; and it would provide a breath of fresh air to litigations and conversations.
She shrugged and repeated the media propaganda about where she came from and what ever else was the headline for the day.
Tonight I will direct her to the Meltingpot for some additional insight.

LT said...

Thank you. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this way.

Thinking Aloud,
I hear you. I don't know who I'm more annoyed with, the media or the sheep who swallow everything they say without question. Yeah, keep sending people our way.

ieishah said...

i love all the [FOX] commentary about her being a hard-ass and underlining the spelling and grammar mistakes in her colleague's written opinions. lol! it's like no one can decide what they want her to be: a sympathetic, up-by-the-bootstraps inspirational figure? or a dismissive, egotistical, ball-buster? (esp with that comment she made about making better decisions than white male judges.) i love it. i love that no one seems to know what to think. means she's doing her job at being a whole person!!