Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Black Women on Sotomayor for the Supreme Court

May 28, 2009 by  
Filed under black women, politics

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) applauded the Sotomayor pick saying:

President Obama picked a smart and well qualified jurist who will also add important diversity to the Supreme Court in our increasingly diverse country.

As the first Latina nominated to the Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor brings brilliance and a common sense understanding of how the law practically works in the lives of all Americans and has repeatedly shown a commitment to the Constitutional values that are the bedrock of our nation.

Sophia A. Nelson, moderate Republican commentator, supports Sotomayor and cautions her white male colleagues against opposing her nomination:

I am a bit weary of the “white males are victims” thing. It is simply not true. Judge Sotomayor is not trying to play race politics, or be a “reverse racist” as she was unfairly called by many yesterday (i.e. Lou Dobbs, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and others). She was simply speaking truth to power. It is so not racist to say that your unique set of life experiences as a woman, person of color, gay person or otherwise has an impact on how you see life, make decisions, and interact with people. It is called “diversity” fellas. It is not a bad thing. It is a good thing.


America is a great land. It was made great by the shed blood of white men, black men, native American men, and men of every color and creed. Let us honor one another, and explore our diversity of thought and opinion. Let’s stop being victims of racism, sexism, bias, etc. — and start being Americans all. The name calling is beneath a true American gentleman. Let’s appeal to people’s better angels not their worst fears fella. We will all be better for doing so.

Conservative Republican and Washington Times Editor Tara Wall insists that Sotomayor is an affirmative action token pick:

Don’t get me wrong, as a black woman I can say that from a cosmetic view having that kind of representation on the High Court does paint a strong and compelling picture for future generations of female would-be jurists of a browner hue. Sotomayor’s background also makes her relatable to many “mainstream” Americans and if nothing else fits the “empathy” bill President Obama has been insisting on.


But beyond the standard resume and feel-good stories of hope and determination, Sotomayor doesn’t strike me as particularly impressive. Best among the nation’s legal minds, an impartial arbiter of the law, a cut above – are descriptions that seem to be lacking. In fact, some who have worked with her in the legal community have characterized her as a bully on the bench. And public remarks from Sotomayor have come off flat, sometimes flippant and uninspiring. (Then again judges – except the TV series kind – aren’t particularly known for their charisma.) But above all, what does give me pause, are her outspoken remarks about judicial “policymaking” and racial retribution – which are also among the concerns being raised by some senators. We’ll learn more in the days and weeks to come but simply being a female, racial role model doesn’t trump Constitutional integrity in my view. That’s one of the problems with knee-jerk affirmative action.

The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s (NCBCP) Black Women’s Roundtable released a statement lauding President Obama’s pick. Susan L. Taylor, editor-in-chief emeritus of Essence Magazine, founder and CEO of the National CARES Mentoring Movement and a member of NCBCP Black Women’s Roundtable offered:

Today is a proud day in American history with the nomination of the first Latino to the highest court of the United States. We are advising our members, state affiliates, constituents, friends, family and neighbors to contact their Senators urging them to move forward quickly to confirm our distinguished sister, Judge Sotomayor, to the Supreme Court.

Jill, of Jack and Jill Politics, is effusive in her praise of Sotomayor’s personal story, her judicial credentials, and the diversity Sotomayor will bring to the court:

I almost teared up watching Sonia Sotomayor saying to the whole world that her mother was twice the woman that she was. God knows I feel the same about my mama. It’s inspiring to live in such historic times when a President looks to find the most qualified person who just happens to not look like previous “most qualified” nominees.

And that’s nice. But that’s not what I really like the most about Sotomayor’s appointment. I love that she has more extensive and more varied judicial experience than any of the other current Supreme Court Justices. I love that she references the Founding Fathers while acknowledging that the interpretation of the law has to account for the real world consequences on the lives of citizens. Because that’s what the law is supposed to be for: it’s not an academic exercise. The law is designed to protect the rights of citizens. End of story. That does mean balancing the rights of some citizens over others for the greater good. And there’s where conservatives have a problem.


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