The lashing out at Ms. Sotomayor’s SCOTUS nomination is fascinating. The current fad is branding her “empathy” as a weakness and an inability to apply law equally to all people. This argument seizes on a statement she made in 2001 at a speech at Berkeley:
“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.”
What is routinely omitted when using that quote is another statement she made in that speech:
“I further accept that our experiences as women and people of color affect our decisions. The aspiration to impartiality is just that — it’s an aspiration because it denies the fact that we are by our experiences making different choices than others.”
The argument that she believes in race based justice, espoused by Rush, Buchanan, Newt, Tancredo, Krauthammer, et. al., are predicated only on the first statement, not the latter. Any reasonable person would admit that the second statement is valid. Bottom line is that the law is not black and white, it’s all shades of gray. That’s why we have judges, to interpret the law.
This begs the question as to why her judicial philosophy and temperament is not being determined by her long history of decisions. Much as we’d like, justice is not blind, as all our decisions are colored by our experiences. But justice does have a good sense of smell, and this line of specious, political criticism stinks.
Post-post update: Here’s the speech. Context is everything.