“To Thine Own Self Be True”, the advice of the Oracle of Delphi; true then, absolutely true now. Sotomayor is being damned by Right for speaking openly about the affects of her background...gender, race AND class. When she discussed the differences her perspectives bring to the bench than a “White Male” (quickly grabbed and echoed by the Right-Wing White Males gassing up the airwaves) she WENT ON to conclude that she had a special responsibility to be aware of those perspectives and balance them in her judicial role. This LAST part of her now famous “White Male” speech is conveniently left out by her critics. In essence Judge Sotomayor was saying “To Mine Own Self, Be True”.
Yet when we look back to the nomination of Sam Alito, we read the same sort of speech...his ethnicity, his culture his parent’s class...all asserted to be a VIRTUE so as to TEMPER and MODERATE his judgment on the bench. Clarence Thomas, the most transparent beneficiary of a racial quota in American History was lauded by the Right for his race and class while the Right asserted that attacks on his record and questions of his character constituted a “High-Tech Lynching”. No race card played there! And who can forget the lachrymose bleating of the Right Wing when Liberals dared to question the competence of Alberto Gonzales; Karl Rove chuckled to Newsweek’s Robert J. Samuelson that his Latino heritage made him “untouchable”.
Shall we ignore the fact that Judge Sotomayor has the most judicial experience of any Supreme Court nominee in a century? The fact that she HAS a record of decision allows the opposition to twist and spin a body of work to mean whatever serves their cause.
Will Sotomayor be “objective” in her rulings? She is brilliant and experienced and I will trust her to be fair. No one comes to the bench as a tabula rasa, unetched and pure. The Republican opponents of William Frankfurter’s nomination by President Roosevelt whispered that Frankfurter’s experiences with anti-Antisemitism in Austria where he was born might make him too “pro-Jewish”, whatever that meant.
Had Rush Limbaugh been alive in the 1930s he would be shrieking that poison for his Republican colleagues, just as he is today.