Sotomayor, Enemy of the White Male
The newest weapon in the conservative pushback against Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is an unearthed 2001 “cultural diversity lecture” at the University of California, in which she “hopes 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 Saturday column by National Journal’s Stuart Taylor on the speech is making the rounds. Here’s his interpretation of Sotomayor’s thinking:
[U]nless Sotomayor believes that Latina women also make better judges than Latino men, and also better than African-American men and women, her basic proposition seems to be that white males (with some exceptions, she noted) are inferior to all other groups in the qualities that make for a good jurist.
Any prominent white male would be instantly and properly banished from polite society as a racist and a sexist for making an analogous claim of ethnic and gender superiority or inferiority.
Conservatives have been confident that Sotomayor’s views on diversity and affirmative action are out of the mainstream and can be used to expose her as a radical. Nonetheless, imagine Taylor’s words in the mouth of, say, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and you see the aesthetic difficulty that Republicans could have here. Voters may not like the idea of unqualified minorities taking their jobs, but what would they think of a bench of white, male Republicans hectoring a Hispanic woman about her views of white men?
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