Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Supreme Ct Nominee Sotomayor

I've been watching the nomination hearings for the past two days and I've been struck by the matter of how race, ethnicity and gender has been a point of attack on her perspective.

And frankly, I am embarassed and ashamed by the attack on Sotomayor from Sen. Jon Kyle (R. Arizona). I think he's one of the white males that is threatened by a strong, powerful woman who is very much in touch with and proud of her ethnicity and her support of the importance of women and people of color. I understand that his concern is that he's afraid that race and gender will become determining factors in the judgements that she may rule upon. I think that she is a strong advocate for more women and people of color to be in leadership positions, perhaps on the Court itself. I think she's fallen under attack for supporting diversity in a Court and judicial system that has for a majority of the time held mainly white males. In a society that has dominant white privilege, Kyle should recognize that yes, the speeches that she gave at various commencements were empowering but that in action and in judgements, she will be as impartial as possible, as any other white supreme court judge could be as well.

I think as a woman of color, she is coming under attack for the fact that her decision making skills as a supreme ct judge should be questioned because of her biases. I think it's ridiculous to assume that simply because she is not a white male that she will be easily swayed by her racial and gender biases.

Perhaps some think that at this level of judging, there should not be mistakes or errors in judgement. But when I think over the course of the judges, many of them seem to have made mistakes of which the American people have not agreed with decisions. I also think that other recent supreme ct nominees, now judges, have received much more lienancy in their judging. For that matter, I think that presidents past and even the current president has made mistakes and will make mistakes.

Sotomayor has said and will continue to say, "I do not believe that any ethnic, gender or race group has an advantage in sound judging." And I think CNN's commentator Maria Echaveste captured the heart of my issue with these lines of questioning when she said, "If you are a minority and you're a conservative, you're independent minded. If you're a minority and sort of to the left, somehow you're going to be biased and in favor of minorities. There's a double standard here and that's ultimately what's problematic about this. The fact is, would we be asking about her bias in the Richie case if she were anything BUT a minority."