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The Sotomayor quote from her 2001 Berkeley speech has been consistently misused and misquoted.
Also the recent remarks accusing Judge Sonia Sotomayor as a "racist" have been retracted and softened, somewhat.

The recent remarks accusing Judge Sonia Sotomayor as a "racist" have been retracted and softened, somewhat, by Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, the leading lights of the Republican party.
The one main thing all of the Republicans keep bringing up is the now infamous quote from a speech given in a Berkeley law lecture in 2001.
"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."
This quote was taken wholly out of context and her speech belies the stupid accusation that she is a racist.
Also the quote has consistently been misrepresented. Now when it is brought up by her detractors they say she thinks a wise Latina woman would make a better decision than a white male. That is not what she said. She said "I would hope that..." not "I think that..." Her actual statement was not a definitive statement but an expression of aspiration. Perhaps it wasn't necessarily the best choice of words but the Republicans are grasping at the flimsiest of straws here.
Another strange argument came from South Carolina Republican Senator Lyndsey Graham. He said that when Obama voted against John Roberts Obama was not following the former standard that a President should be allowed to place his nominees onto the Supreme Court regardless of political orientation. Graham hinted he would not vote for Sotomayor because Obama did not vote for Roberts. Now that is another stupid statement! Graham seems to be saying that Supreme Court nominees must be "tit for tat!" That is the "Graham standard?"
The Constitution says the Senate must give "advice and consent" when considering court nominees. It does not say the Senate should be a rubber stamp for the President and it does not require that a Senator must explain their vote one way or another.

Originally posted to Dicky Neely on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:20 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I realized that, too. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grrr, JVolvo, amazinggrace

    But even Democrats on the Sunday AM shows didn't correct the hosts.  Failing to correct the host or the Republican on propaganda allows the RWNM to continue to give the impression that she said something that she didn't.  

    When will Democrats ever learn? is shrinking

    by AppleP on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:25:09 AM PDT

  •  I find it disturbing as well (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Giles Goat Boy

    The MSM is too lazy to research the entire speech. And they could not fan the faux controversy if the remarks were read in context. This is one of the most recent examples of MSM misconduct.

    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

    by amazinggrace on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:36:36 AM PDT

  •  Good diary. It's all about context. (0+ / 0-)

    I wrote about it here. In a nutshell: her comments were part of a larger discussion on gender and racial discrimination cases, and that someone with real world experience of discrimination would usually arrive at a wiser conclusion than would a white man.

    I'm a white man. I don't find anything even remotely offensive about what she said. That's not to say no white men should be on the Supreme Court, just that a diversity of life experiences on the bench will produce better decisions. Duhh.

    "It is often pleasant to stone a martyr, no matter how much we admire him"...John Barth

    by Giles Goat Boy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:39:28 AM PDT

  •  and will consistently be misrepresented (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    as long as their is political mileage to be gained from doing so. Politics is not about truth. It's about power. The pundits and politicians depend on a mis-informed populace who does not bother to research or understand a context, who arrives with a pre-conceived notion, and who can be counted on to just react.  Given this reality they will continue to quote away, without context, delivering as many blows as they can to her and her candidacy.  If successful, they will get the Senate and Administration to back down due to public pressure and rescind the nomination. If not, well they at least tried.

    Man is not a rational animal. Man is a rationalization animal.

    by Pacific Blue on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:47:58 AM PDT

  •  My question is.... (0+ / 0-)

    ...why would she hope that?

    I would hope that we could have all judges capable of empathy and wise decisions. Hoping that certain races and genders exhibit superior behavior is not a redeemable quality in my eyes.

    Have the Repubs taken it out of context to score a political point? Sure. But, from a philosophical viewpoint I find her comments unsettling at best. She's immanently qualified, and I'm sure she'll be confirmed as she should be, but she shouldn't have said that, and if she meant it, I hope she'll change her opinion on the matter at some point.

  •  Interesting... (0+ / 0-)

    "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."

    But the words are actually an idiomatic expession that means "I believe."  And as she has said, it was a poor choice of words.

    Like, if every word that we uttered in our career were similarly dissected every person wouldn't have similar poor choices of words.   It's trivial and only worth dissecting because that's all they have.

    And a little info.  It's only recently, within the last half century, that supreme court appointees even appeared before any congressional committee.

    It was seen as inappropriate to question them this extensively.  But that was when the number of laws the SCOTUS overruled were a small fraction of what they do now.  As a recent article pointed out, it has become sort of a "super senate" or actually closer to the British House of Lords.

    So, such scrutiny is more and more legitimate no matter which party is making the nomination.  I strongly supported not confirming Alito, especially since somehow how he would decide when a constitutional law is against his Catholic teachings was considered out of bounds.

    It shouldn't have been....for him or for Sotomayor.

  •  If I may provide more context (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Giles Goat Boy

    I've posted this a few times, but it doesn't get much notice.

    This is the rest of the quote from Sotomayor - Keith Olbermann showed it on Countdown a few nights back, but it doesn't seem to get traction because it's not as much "fun" as taking her out of context, evidently.

    Kudos to Keith for airing it.

    Each day on the bench I learn something new about the judicial process and about being a professional latina woman in a world that sometimes looks at me with suspicion.  I am reminded each day that I render decisions that affect people concretely and that I owe them constant and complete vigilance in checking my assumptions, presumptions and perspectives and ensuring that to the extent that my limited abilities and capabilities permit me, that I reevaluate them and change as circumstances and cases before me requires.  I can and do aspire to be greater than the sum total of my experiences.  Judge Sonia Sotomayor, October 27, 2001, Berkeley Law

    "Spread happiness... share it with all those who seek it." - Keith Olbermann

    by Diogenes2008 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:08:29 AM PDT

  •  More on the speech (0+ / 0-)

    The use of the word "wise" and the comparison of a man to a woman is not her construction, it's an echoing argument to someone else's quotation. Had she created the sentence as an original statement, I'm sure it would have been constructed differently. Also, she's talking about racial and gender discrimination cases, saying she would hope that relevant experience would lead a judge to make better decisions. This is completely uncontroversial. She also says the extent to which male and female judges of different races and ethnicities reach different decisions is quite minimal. She points out that our landmark rulings for equality were decided by Supreme Courts composed entirely of white men.

    Find hot gay action on Sean Hannity's Hannidate!

    by Michael D on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:38:16 AM PDT

  •  More context (0+ / 0-)

    She was not talking about cases in general but cases pertaining specifically to racial and gender discrimination.  I wrote about this here:

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