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Sonia Sotomayor meets with Durbin, explains "Latina" statement

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IMG_0062.JPG (photo by Lynn Sweet)

WASHINGTON--Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor met with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Tuesday and told him despite her crack about being a wise "Latina," she assured him the law would be followed.

Sotomayor's visit with Durbin was just one of a string of 10 stops throughout the day with top senators. Durbin said the two chatted about their fathers dying when they were youths.

Durbin brought up Sotomayor's now controversial statement about superior Latina judgement.

Related Durbin, "I asked her about the "wise Latina" statement, which seems to have received more attention than almost anything she's said. And she said, "It's just one part of me." She said, "I'm many different things." And she said, "It -- basically it means that that's part of my life experience that I bring to my judgment." She said, "Maybe it means that with this background I'm a better listener; I listen for certain things." But she said, "Ultimately, it -- it's not going to decide any case for me. The law will make that decision; Constitution will be followed."

"But every one of us is a sum of all the parts of our life experience.

"And she mentioned that, of course, was important to her. She said race and gender don't take a back seat to good judgment when it comes to cases before her."

SOTOMAYOR ON JURORS

Durbin also said they talked about how some jurors come to trials ill-prepared for the challenge.


Said Durbin, "We talked about some of the aspects of the law that she had seen, and what she thought we needed more of. We talked about the need for more civic education in this country, so that people understand our system of justice -- and system of government, for that matter -- and how concerned she is about jurors in the courtroom and whether they really understand the system well enough to play their most important role, making the final decision on the fate of the parties that come before the court."

3 Comments

There would be not contraversy if she had said "I've played tennis all my life and that should give me an advantage in judging tennis." Why do some think that a puerto-rican woman judge cannot have any possible advantage in judging race and gender cases. In her full response, she correctly said “Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice [Benjamin] Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.”

The firefighter case was an unfortunate one where the majority of judges felt compelled to uphold existing law and precedent. It will probably be over-turned at the Supreme Court which is the right place for Judicial activism concerning race cases.

Its also notable that Sotomayor voted to hear the case allowing it to proceed upward, when some of her peers did not.

I'm 35. I'm white. I'm male. My entire life I've been working on the assumption that we have long passed the point where any reasonable person, let alone a Supreme Court justice, would assert that one ethnic group is superior to another. This woman is a throwback and seems to be too enthralled with her own success at grievance mongering. Americans -- all Americans -- deserve "better" than this.

LOOK AT YOUR SECOND SENTENCE, AND YOU WANT TO BE
ANGRY WITH HER, YOU SEE IT DIDN'T MATTER WHAT
RACE YOU ARE BUT YOU HAD TO INTERJECT IT, YOU
CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS, WOULD YOU LIKE TO RE-
PHRASE YOUR PARAGRAPH OR LEAVE IT LIKE IT IS,
BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE, AND JUDGE SOTOMAYOR IS
AS WELL, SHE MEANT YOU KNOW HARM, AND SHE WASN'T
TRYING TO PUT DOWN ANYONE!
HAVE A GREAT DAY! STOP ASSUMING THINGS!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on June 2, 2009 5:16 PM.

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