Sonia Sotomayor: A Hispanic Causing Panic with Conservatives.

President Obama introduces Judge Sotomayor as his Supreme Court pick.

President Obama introduces Judge Sotomayor as his Supreme Court pick.

A friend of mine put it this way when asked does she support Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court:

  • Why is Sotomayor conservative enough for Bush Sr., but not Obama?
  • Why is it rude to mention race unless you’re holding it against someone?
  • Wouldn’t the GOP pat themselves on the back for being oh so inclusive if Obama had an R by his name?
  • Why is bringing gender life experiences to the bench a con, unless they’re male?
  • Why is bringing racial life experiences to the bench a con, unless they’re white?
  • Why is bringing gender and racial life experiences to the bench a con, unless they’re male and black?
  • How is a minority Supreme Court nominee an Affirmative Action nominee if all the finalists are minorities?

I eagerly anticipate the conservatives who pride themselves on being both color-blind and free of the shackles of political correctness explaining why they then applauded Clarence Thomas whom also had a compelling backstory (but nowhere near Sotomayor’s legal qualifications, rulings and experience) but now are whining “identity politics.”

The GOP doesn’t want to appear to rubber-stamp Obama’s choice especially since all he is doing is replacing a moderate-to-liberal judge with another moderate-to-liberal judge. The balance of power on the Court will remain as is. Were it a Scalia or Thomas or even Kennedy leaving instead of Souter, you would see the Republicans fiercely gear up to protect the conservative majority.

With Judge Sotomayor they have to appear to put up a fight to satisfy their red-meat, right-wing Southern base of support but without ticking off women and Hispanics whose support they will need in the 2010 Congressional elections.  It’s a tricky and delicate balancing act.   But unless Judge Sotomayor flips the bird to Senator Sessions, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee or there’s a dirty little secret in her past waiting to come out, she can start looking for an apartment in Washington.

While we’re waiting for that other shoe to drop, let’s review Judge Sotomayor’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee before her appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

I tried to in my opening statement, I tried to provide a little picture of who I am as a human being and how my background and my experiences have shaped me and brought me to this point. …

I don’t come from an affluent background or a privileged background. My parents were both quite poor when they were growing up. … When a case comes before me involving, let’s say, someone who is an immigrant, I can’t help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn’t that long ago when they were in that position. …

But when I look at those cases, I have to say to myself, and I do say to myself, “You know, this could be your grandfather, this could be your grandmother. They were not citizens at one time, and they were people who came to this country.” … When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account.

Oops! My bad. That wasn’t Sonia Sotomayor. That was some guy named Samuel Alito in his confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court.

Wow. A White guy stating his “life experiences” shapes the way he might rule on a case. Looks like Judge Sotomayor will fit right in.