What a great day to be an American. Sonia Sotomayor, a Hispanic woman was nominated to sit on the Supreme Court today. Ms. Sotomayor came from meager beginnings; growing up in the projects in a tough neighborhood in the heart of Bronx, NY. She was raised mostly by a single mother after her father’s untimely death when she was only 8. Her mom sometimes worked two jobs to provide a better life for her two children. She instilled the virtues of both education and hard work. Imagine what a moment it must have been for her mother sitting in the east room of the White House today. Being both a women and a child of an immigrant I myself feel some pride in this accomplishment. Judge Sotomayor is living proof that with hard work and dedication that your dreams can come true in this great country of ours. While we are applauding this moment, we cannot allow it to cloud our judgment. The job she may be undertaking is one of great importance as it affects each and every American. A close examination of her record must be undertaken before she is given a lifetime appointment that will have ramifications for a generation.
There are disturbing facts that are readily apparent. A quote from a speech given in 2001 at The University of California-Berkley being one. “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." I, for one, would like to know exactly what she meant by this statement.
There is a video from a conference at Duke University “All of the legal defense funds out there, they’re looking for people with court of appeals experience because the appeals court is where policy is made.” This was said with a laugh and the acknowledgement that she shouldn’t be saying it and realizing that her conversation was being taped. According to the constitution laws are made at the legislative level. It is easy to conclude that her true belief is that a judge is actually a legislator that wears a black robe.
A recent case puts her quote from Berkley in an interesting light. In the city of New Haven, CT a group of firefighters took a civil service test to qualify for a promotion. The top sixteen scores receive the promotion and a pay raise. After the scores were tabulated, 15 white and one Hispanic man came out to be the highest. The city of New Haven, afraid of a racial discrimination lawsuit, threw out the test results and gave out no promotions. The sixteen men filed a suit claiming reverse discrimination. Judge Sotomayor gave a one paragraph notice that it would not hear the case, after the judges heard debate and were given piles of briefs. One of her colleagues felt that they were trying to bury the case and has made this opinion on the record. This case has been fast-tracked and a Supreme Court decision on her dismissal should be announced sometime in June. A reveresal of her decision is expected.