Eminentoes

The Sonia Always Wished For

A good story ruined, for everyone.

By 8.11.09

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Justice has been served to us on a silver platter, she is blind as a bat, and her name is Sonia Sotomayor. All that is lovely in humanitarian terms, since she seems a nice lady. It is also tragic in legislative terms, as she arrives laden with more biases than a recording studio. Just another lib ad for diversity, here to offer diverse ad libs in support of the tired old leftist agenda. A real yawner of a dog-bites-man story not worth the new Sprint phone it was blogged on.

But no, the press presses, this is historic. Why, because the President says another "barrier has been broken moving us to a more perfect union." Decoding this, we understand him to mean that hitherto there had been some obstacle barring Hispanics, or perhaps Hispanic women, from becoming Supreme Court Justices. We further hear a boast echoing in his words: only a man of his superior breadth is capable of breaking these barrister barriers, while another President -- take his predecessor for example -- would be overcome by his panic.

Incidentally, George W. Bush, the aforementioned forerunner, nominated twelve Hispanic women to the Federal judiciary, compared to five such appointments by Bill Clinton in his eight years. Lest one think to credit Bush for this… er, broadmindedness, a recent study by American and Oregon State universities is quick to remind readers that Bush was courting Hispanic voters. Otherwise, they say, he put ideology above diversity, a priority at which they frown between the lines.

It should be extraneous to note how ridiculous this talk is, both by Obama and by this team of colleges. Judging the law of the land at the highest level should be the province of the worthiest jurists. The standards should be more about Mensa than menses, or as I wrote some years ago, it should go to the swift, not to the race. If anything, Bush is impressive in that he rewarded excellence and promoted a healthy view of the judiciary. Still, this battle has long been lost to a series of absurd premises that dominate discussion of these subjects.

What is most riling is the burial of a great Horatio Alger story under the phony racial historicity. The fact of Sonia Sotomayor being a Hispanic woman is utterly meaningless. The term Hispanic is in any case an absurd construct, equating people from Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, the Philippines, Honduras, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, Bolivia, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Spain itself. The idea that all of those citizens from all of those cultures belong to one racial category is ridiculous, insulting and utterly misguided. Thus, the grouping of Hispanic women includes the late Evita Peron and Corazon Aquino, in addition to the sitting presidents of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. Is it so all-fired amazing that such an individual becomes a Supreme Court Justice in the United States?

By contrast, the real story goes lost. The impressive history of Justice Sotomayor is her rising from the semi-slum of Bronx, New York, living in a housing project, with a mother working as a domestic, determined to propel her children to prominence by the toil of her gnarled fingers. That those children are a doctor and a Supreme Court Justice, that is a touching and beautiful story, a hopeful saga, an uplifting tale. It is the story of the real America, not the corrupt leftist distortion; it is the story of a perfect union without imaginary barriers; it is the story of the individual triumphing without the intervention of government.

Hence the ultimate irony. Nothing could be better for all Americans than the erasure of racial identities from the public thoroughfare. I want to hear for once in my life a radio announcer say that Barack Obama has chosen Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court without the stupid postscript about Obama's Kenyan father and Sotomayor's Puerto Rican mother. She is an inner-city New Yorker like me, who went to Princeton, who became a good lawyer and a good judge. It is inspiring to behold her career, and I say that as a severe critic of her decisions on the bench.

This politicizing and racializing of America by the left since the Civil Rights Movement is not civil, not right and impedes our movement forward.

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About the Author

Jay D. Homnick, commentator and humorist, is a frequent contributor to The American Spectator.