The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday overruled the ruling joined by Judge Sonia Sotomayor that allowed the City of New Haven to discriminate against white firefighters. Unfortunately, that isn’t likely to stop her nomination. After all, with a current Senate majority of 19, the appointment fight is for the Democrats to lose. Nevertheless, the decision offers an important talking point against her appointment.
As reactions broke along the partisan lines seen yesterday on the Supreme Court itself, conservatives called the decision a repudiation of Sotomayor. They signaled they will use it to sharply question her about her views on discrimination, especially in conjunction with her 2001 remark that a “wise Latina woman” would usually decide cases better than a white man.
“Every citizen has a right to have his or her case heard by a judge who will rule on the laws, the facts and the Constitution — and not play favorites,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee. “This case sharpens our focus on Judge Sotomayor’s troubling speeches and writings, which indicate the opposite belief: that personal experiences and political views should influence a judge’s decision.”
Although the GOP can’t stop the Sotomayor nomination, it should use the battle as an opportunity to educate the public on the importance of choosing responsible jurists who don’t believe in enshrining their own views or experiences as the nation’s basic law. After all, even white males should enjoy the protection of the Constitution.