So far every argument against Sotomayor falls apart when you apply a little critical thinking. To avoid inflicting a long essay on you, here's my take on those arguments in easily digestible bullet form.
- New Haven firefighters: She found that there was not sufficient legal justification for overturning the decision of a lower court. Finding for the white firefighters would have required her to ignore the rule of law and be an "activist judge." Oh, the irony.
- The wise Latina quote: Her quote started with "I would hope that a wise Latina..." Not "I know that a wise Latina..." Can anyone deny that a Hispanic woman is likely to have more direct experience with the kind of equal rights issues that often come before the courts than a white man? (I'm a white man, and I get that.) She's simply expressing a hope that those direct experiences would make her a better judge than someone lacking those experiences, "more often than not." Don't we all hope that our experiences will help us make better decisions, more often than not? Here's another line from the same speech that her critics never quote, "I can and do aspire to be greater than the sum total of my experiences, but I accept my limitations." And here's a quote from the wise white male Justice Alito, "When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account." Hmm.
- Empathy: Not all legal cases are black and white logic puzzles. Often there are gray areas that demand a judgment call. That's why they're called judges. Because legal decisions can have a profound impact on people's lives, many people (myself, BHO and anyone who has ever been dragged into court) prefer that those decisions are being made by a human being rather than a Vulcan. George Lakoff wrote a fascinating blog posting about the real strategy behind this attack on empathy. It's eye-opening.
Sorry about the political essay. To compensate, I'll be devoting the rest of the week to juvenile sex jokes.
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