Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has begun the politically necessary work of clarifying remarks she made in a speech a few years ago, when she said she hoped a “wise Latina” would be able to make better decisions than a white judge. In a meeting this morning with Senator Pat Leahy, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, she told the senator that she was only acknowledging that people have different backgrounds, and stressed that she believes there is only one law, and that “ultimately and completely” she, as a judge, must follow that law.
Is any of this a surprise, really? What else did we expect her to say — “What I meant was that Latinas make better decisions than whites because all you gringos are muy estúpido?”
For the most part, those who continue to make a big deal over Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” line are people who either haven’t considered it in its original context, or are determined to oppose any nominee of Barack Obama’s on principle and will still be beating this particular drum long after its relevance has expired. When you hear Rush Limbaugh or Mark Levin or Glenn Beck beating their breasts and howling in indignation over what a bigot Sonia Sotomayor is, remember they are the same guys who defended/laughed off/apologized for Trent Lott after his speech at Strom Thurmond’s birthday party, Ann Coulter calling John Edwards a “faggot,” and fuck only knows how many other conservatives who have said things far more vicious and racist than anything I’ve yet seen attributed to Judge Sotomayor.
Refresh my memory — how many voices in the right-wing media called Ann Coulter a bigot after what she said about John Edwards? My last count was none. Shit, of the field of candidates in the Republican presidential primary that was ongoing at the time, only John McCain had the balls even to feebly criticize her. Now all of a sudden the Limbaughs and Hannitys are furious over “wise Latinas can make better decisions than white males”? Do everyone a favor and can the phony outrage, guys. Jesus.
The confirmation hearings for Judge Sotomayor won’t be until July at the earliest, apparently, so I’m sure we’re in for a lot more of this. She’ll continue meeting with the legislators who will ultimately vote to confirm her, assuring them of the obvious: she’s a responsible, qualified judge with years of experience on the bench, she’s not a racist or a zealot, and she’s got a record that proves it.