Judge Sotomayor

I just have to get my two cents’ worth in about Judge Sotomayor and her confirmation hearings. Not only is she accomplished and smart, but she’s also cool, calm, and collected. She has the kind of mind and training that thoroughly qualifies her for this high office. The number one concern that I’ve heard voiced over and over and over again (yes, that many times) is that she just might let her Hispanic (make that Latina) background interfere with her decision making.

Get real, folks. Don’t you think the WASP background of much of the current Supreme Court continues to influence decision making? Do you hear many concerns about how a white male mentality might prejudice someone when interpreting the law? Um, maybe some but not that much. I’m fully aware that the Court is comprised of both genders and other races now. I haven’t been asleep all these years. It’s just that there seems to be such a big hullabaloo being made over this particular lady’s qualifications. One columnist even characterized the proceedings as “blood sport.” Gee whiz.

We all see the world as we are, not as it really is…or so says Anais Nin, and I believe that to be true. At the same time, fortunately for us, Judge Sotomayor is experienced, savvy, and smart enough to earnestly see beyond some of the prejudiced types of thinking that many of us “regular” people are guilty of. The very fact that people are so much up in arms demonstrates their own narrow-mindedness…perhaps even out and out bigotry. It’s just that they can’t see it.

Here’s an example. Several years ago, my employer held cultural diversity training for its employees on a yearly basis, and in the midst of one such session, a middle-aged white guy got into some heavy sighing and rude eye rolling. Clearly annoyed that he had to attend such a meeting, he let his displeasure be known. One of the facilitators asked him if he had something he’d like to share, and this is pretty much verbatim what his response was. “Yeah, I got a problem. I got a problem with being here listening to this silly stuff when I could be doing my job instead of sitting around looking at movies and doing useless  activities…or whatever you call that stuff we have to do.”

In exasperation, he then said, “Look, I wake up every morning, get dressed, and drive to work. I never think about the fact that I’m a white guy. That’s stupid to say that people actually think about gender or race or even age on a continuing basis.” Little did he know that he had fallen right into the facilitator’s hands. After a few moments of silence, she said, “Exactly. You are a white male. It’s your world, and you’ve never been denied admittance to anything or anywhere because of your gender or race.”

That might not have been the best example in the world, but it’s one that has stuck with me for 15 years or more. And you know, I feel certain that it stayed with that middle-aged white guy, an Air Force retiree who had waltzed right into another position that might not have been even offered to a woman, a person of color, or a Buddhist. In fact, I doubt if they’d even have been considered for an interview.

Back to the judge. Yes, she’s a woman of Hispanic heritage but she’s no different from the other judges in that they all have unique backgrounds that make them the people they are and influence the decisions they make. All of the justices differ from us, however, in that they’re acutely aware of these forces and make a conscientious effort to “rise above them” in defending the law of the land.

Ah, I feel much better now.

Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

6 thoughts on “Judge Sotomayor”

  1. I don’t recall any of the current Supreme Justices saying that, based on their ethnicity, that they could better judge than someone of another race.

    Sotomayor is on record as saying that on numerous occassions. Too believe that she makes statements like that many times but can not act that way when sitting on the High Court…. well then what was the point of her saying it?

    I once read that Mark Twain said you should always answer a person's question even if the answer is "I don't know." I don't know for sure, but I suspect that she felt that she had to defend herself. No one ever questioned the white justices about their gender or ethnicity, hence there was no reason to make a statement about it.

  2. I completely agree with you.

    I honestly don’t think that it is something that people can really understand unless they have experienced it on some level. (Not that I don’t adore the idea of old, white men making decisions on my behalf.)

    I guess for me it depends on who the old white men are!

  3. Now isn’t this interesting? I wonder how much of a coincidence it is that the testosterone has gone opposite of the estrogen?

    Women! Hmph. lol

    Keep in mind that Sotomayer said the ethinic thing on SIX SEPERATE OCCASSIIONS over a ten year period. It wasn’t just a one time occurance.

    Would it make a difference if she would use a religion? “I think that in some instances a Catholic can mutch better judge than a Jew.”

    Imagine that!

    Again, I don't know the answer. I can only say how I feel and think, and I know that I've used my gender and WASPiness as reasons for some of my decisions about 600 times in the past ten years. As a woman (a white baby boomer), I see things far different from many of my younger counterparts of color.

  4. Good post and feedback. Isnt it great to live in a country where we can all freely say our opinions? It is great that a woman can actually hold office, that we can show support or disagree with elected officials or candidates openly, and all that without fear of punishment or even death!
    Amen! I'm so thankful to be living in America.

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