Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Supreme Silliness

I know I'm a little late in weighing in on the Sotomayor nomination. That's what I get for trying to stay ahead of my deadlines.

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.
Sotomayor's record shows her to be a highly accomplished, mainstream judge who has consistently demonstrated a deep understanding and respect for the rule of law. Radical conservatives know Sotomayor is going to be confirmed. As Lakoff points out, there's another agenda behind these attacks.

Sorry about the political essay. To compensate, I'll be devoting the rest of the week to juvenile sex jokes.

Here's a new feature -- see the comment below for the script of this episode. Use it to act out this episode with a friend.


Red Pill Junkie said...

"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."Whoa! You mean you wouldn't want to live in that sweet Extraterrestrial Utopia heralded by Klaatu and his gigantic metallic bodyguard in 'The Day the Earth Stood Still'?? Surely they had a better system that ours! I mean, did you check that dude's ride? It was supercool even by 1950s standards!!

Dave Stratton said...

Lily: Hey, did you hear that that Sonia Sotomayor that Obama nominated to the Supreme Court quoted a socialist in her college yearbook?

Brad: Yeah, I read that quote. It was about having perseverance when fighting for a cause you believe in. It had nothing to do with socialism.

Lily: Sure, but if you quote one thing that a person said, by extension, you must agree with everything else that person ever said. At least that’s what Glenn Beck believes.

Brad: That’s ridiculous. Ronald Reagan once said something nice about astronauts who died. If I quote that, does that make me a Republican?

Lily: It doesn’t?

Brad: If I say “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” does that mean I advocate flying kites in thunderstorms?

Lily: Whoa, you’re blowing my mind. Do you mean this yearbook quote business is much ado about nothing?

Brad: If by that you mean there’s neither rhyme nor reason to it, then yes.

Craig said...

I thought posting the script was a great idea. Why did you stop?