The judge got ahead the old-fashioned way — so why does she pretend otherwise?
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And then, of course, there is the now-infamous excerpt from a speech she delivered in 2001:
Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. … 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.
Surprisingly, at Tuesday’s hearing, Sotomayor fumbled and bumbled her way through trying to explain this remark — even though there was never any doubt she’d be called on the carpet about it.
In response to a question about it from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sotomayor said she was trying to encourage Hispanic law students. “The context of the words that I spoke have created a misunderstanding, and I want — and misunderstanding — and to give everyone assurances, I want to state up front, unequivocally and without doubt, I do not believe that any ethnic, racial or gender group has an advantage in sound judging.” Apart from the fumbling, this was a bumble: she had said exactly the opposite, not once, but a half dozen times. And who knows what she meant by the “context of the words” creating “a misunderstanding”?
And in response to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), she said she “was using a rhetorical flourish that fell flat….It was bad, because it left an impression that I believed that life experiences commanded a result in a case, but that’s clearly not what I do as a judge.” This is just incoherent. The conclusion is inescapable that Sotomayor believes exactly what she said in her prior speeches and cannot convincingly claim otherwise.
A better message for Sotomayor to promulgate would be for her to urge Hispanics to follow the example she set: Resolve to get the best possible education and work hard throughout your life, and success will be yours. Instead, she has embraced racial politics, which in the end are destructive to the very individuals affirmative action was intended to help.
These views make confirming Sotomayor for the Supreme Court a very risky proposition. There is the risk she would engage in further activist judging, deciding cases on “empathy” instead of legal reasoning. But most of all, there is the risk she would perpetuate racial quotas, with their tragic unintended consequences. That is a foreseeable disaster the Senate should avoid.
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Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
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It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
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