Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rebuffs for conservative attacks on Sotomayor: Liberal Talking Points for the day

If you're so inclined as to come to the defense of the "most conservative Supreme Court pick Obama could have made", HuffPo blogger-reporter Jason Linkins reviews how (arch-conservative) Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has argued that "courts make law" (as conservatives are accusing Sotomayor of saying as a reference to "activist judging") and empathy and the racial background/history/experiences of a candidate were brought to bear in the nominations of Alito and Clarence Thomas:
This all comes courtesy of HuffPost reader Doug Schafer, who is of the opinion that journalists ought to avail themselves of this citation from Scalia whenever the "judges don't make law" canard arises. I agree!

Additionally, Sotomayor's critics are up in arms over the fact that she has admitted that her ethnic background has an affect on her decision making process. Who does she think she is? Well, as it turns out, she probably thinks she's being very similar to Justice Sam Alito:

ALITO: Senator, I tried to in my opening statement, I tried to provide a little picture of who I am as a human being and how my background and my experiences have shaped me and brought me to this point. ... And that's why I went into that in my opening statement. Because when a case comes before me involving, let's say, someone who is an immigrant -- and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases -- I can't help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn't that long ago when they were in that position. [...]

And that goes down the line. 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.


And, in a related way, the criticism over "empathy" fits the same "this-was-once-deemed-okay" mold. My experience teaches me that only robots lack empathy, and that most people value it. Yet, ever since President Barack Obama cited it as a focus of his, in his search for a replacement for Justice David Souter, the whole notion of "empathy" has been treated as an alien thing that threatens the sanctity of court decisions.

That's weird! In July of 1991, "empathy" was one of the major selling points presented at the nomination of Justice Clarence Thomas...

And speaking of Supreme Court Joke Justice Joke Clarence Thomas, HuffPo's Trey Ellis writes:
When a middling black student from Holy Cross goes on to Yale Law School, graduates in the middle of his class and is rated by the American Bar Association between "qualified" and "not qualified," the right festoons him with laurels. Clarence Thomas, you see, reaffirmed the comforting notions many in the right have about the supremacy of white maleness. George the First nominated him clearly because any black jurist would do and there he stands today, a reassuring beacon of black inferiority.

(I'm not saying that the first George Bush wouldn't have picked a more qualified black arch conservative if there had been one laying around. In matters of race the first George Bush wasn't such a bad egg.)

Nevertheless, for the far right his nomination was a wet dream and the humiliating effect on competent black folks is the same.

Sotomayor's been dealing with this crap for years. The LA Times reports today that in law school she sued a white-shoe Washington law firm for the exact same kind of white-male- supremacist attitudes the right is regurgitating her way right now...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Hypocrisy's ok when I do it.

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