Comments on Sotomayor’s speech

Readers reply to Sonia Sotomayor’s 2001 lecture and my entry on it.

Tim W. writes:

You wrote:

“Evidently it does not occur to Sotomayor and her fellow nonwhite ethnic chauvinists that if minorities and women insist on a minority and female perspective in the law and politics, with everything about that perspective related to the public celebration of one’s ethnicity and the achievement of racial socialism in this country, white men might start insisting on a white male perspective that represents the opposite values.”

Most minorities regard the white race as being whipped. They regard white males as being neutered. They may rant about the evils of racism and sexism that allegedly permeate society, but in their everyday life the vast majority of white males they encounter are deferential and go out of their way to pacify them. The most shocking example of “racism” Obama ever encountered was when his grandmother expressed fear of an aggressive black panhandler. He belonged to an anti-white church for twenty years before it became an issue, and even then he walked away unscathed. By the time the dust had settled, it was considered racist to bring Obama’s church membership up.

Sotomayor has likely had a similar life story. She’s spent five decades surrounded by anti-white minorities, feminists, and liberal whites who defer to her. Even the opposition she’s now getting is weak and shows no signs of real racial awareness. It largely consists of calling for a race and gender-blind society, often quoting Martin Luther King, while bemoaning that Sotomayor’s jurisprudence is race-conscious.

The way she sees it, her only opponents are naive waifs who really believe we can have a post-racial society. As long as that’s the case, America will be divided into two factions. One faction is for aggressively using government to promote the interests of non-whites, women (feminists), and homosexuals. The other faction flounders around talking about the need to be race and gender (and, increasingly, sexuality) neutral. It’s like a football game where one team is determined to score, while the other team occasionally tries to stop them from scoring, but never tries to score themselves.

Looking around present day America, what do these La Raza types have to fear?

LA replies:

“It’s like a football game where one team is determined to score, while the other team occasionally tries to stop them from scoring, but never tries to score themselves.”

A quotable quote on the nature of modern conservatism.

Karen writes from England:

This is the natural consequence of admitting masses of Third World immigrants to the USA and granting them equal rights. “how wonderful and magical it is to have a Latina soul”- this is comical. If it is so wonderful to have this Latina soul, why does she want to live in a white Northern European culture? Why not stay in Latin America?

LA replies:

Of course Sotomayor was born in New York City. But Karen’s main point stands. Given the fact that Hispanics make it clear that they see themselves as utterly different from white Americans, not only with entirely different likes, tastes, and loyalties, but with a different vision of law and government, why should we have let them come here?

A reader writes:

Look at your first sentence. You ignore, to take one example, that she was second in her class at Princeton. From one speech, you reject her mind as “deeply mediocre.” Presumably a speech on one particular topic she was asked to address. With everything she has done in school and her career, does it really help your credibility to assume that you can dismiss this woman from one speech?

LA replies:

Oh puhlease. I’m not responding to her curriculum vitae. I don’t care about her currculum vitae. I’m not interested in her college grades. I’m interested in her mind and her thought processes and her character. Which she reveals in this speech (and, I’m told, in many many similar speeches). And this speech is the work of a deeply mediocre, hackneyed, leftist mind.

But, God bless you, good liberal that you are, you think that official credentials say more about a person’s mind than what she actually says. Unbelievable.

According to you I can’t form judgments about the qualities of a person’s mind and character based on a 4,000 word speech about herself and her judicial philosophy.

You should really stop wasting my time with such foolishness.

LA continues to reader:
I’m telling you, if I read The Communist Manifesto and then wrote an article about it in which I said, “This guy Marx wants to destroy private property and institute a dictatorship of the proletariat,” you would write to me:

You ignore that he was a top student in the Gymnasium, and was thought of very highly by his professors. From one pamphlet, you reject his views as “tyrannical.” With everything he has done in school and his career, does it really help your credibility to assume that you can dismiss this man from one pamphlet?

Jeannette R. writes:

As a “newyorkrican” from the same generation as Sotomayor (my father was also a tool and die maker) I am scratching my head trying to figure what she thinks is so wonderful/important about her ethnicity. I also grew up in New York, I remember having to be inside before the sun went down because of the Puerto Rican Gangs on the streets. I also remember the screaming fights that Puerto Rican couples had; Sometimes leading to violence. As a group of people they are loud (when I went to Puerto Rico as a kid I though everyone was angry because no one talked in a normal they shouted), pushy and lack any insight into their behavior. When I lived there I experienced “Social Fridays” where most people get off early from work and go to bars. The police were always responding to some sort of violence on Fridays.

All the large cities are riddled with crime, even in the early ’60s San Juan was very unsafe. One couldn’t have a nice watch on their wrist if they hung their arm out the car window, it would have been stolen.

When I was a child walking to the local market (in the town of Mayaguez), the men standing on the conner would grab their crotch and make crude sexual innuendos.

When I see that she is being called “a typical Puerto Rican,” That doesn’t sound like someone I would want for a judge. A “Puerto Rican” is simply too emotional. The claims that she is “difficult to deal with” and a bully have also been my experience with Puerto Rican women.

These are just my personal observations from living in New York, Puerto Rico and from my experiences with my mother’s side of the family.

And by the way I am also guilty of being too loud and emotional at times, I actually think this behavior is hard wired to some extent.

LA replies:

Isn’t it “Newyorican,” without the “k”? That way it sounds like Puerto Rican. “Newyorkrican” doesn’t sound like anything.

Laura W. writes:

Sotomayor boldly states that women in the judiciary will be ruling against men, citing as an example three women on the Minnesota Court who dissented from their male colleagues in denying a father’s visitation rights. This is in keeping with the militant tone of the nation’s most powerful women lawyers. Some 150 of these radicals, who occupy the pinnacles of the profession, gathered in Texas last month and drafted The Austin Manifesto, which calls for dramatic increases in the representation of women in top legal positions. Again and again, women at lower levels of the profession have shown they do not want these demanding jobs. Their feminist counterparts, with their intense prejudices against family and home, insist that they do.

You are generous in calling this speech mediocre. “She sees danger in presuming that judging should be gender or anything else based,” Sotomayor said, of Cedarbaum. Let’s stick with law-based. Since Sotomayor contends that personal experience shapes legal decisions, why should a single, childless woman be trusted with domestic law cases? She cannot rightly claim to speak for most women since, as she says, she is absolutely bound by the limits of her personal history. When did any woman automatically gain the right to speak for all women?

LA replies:

Laura is correct. “Mediocre” was too generous. “Mediocre” means, not terrible, but middling, in the middle. Sotomayo9r is worse than that.

Reader replies to LA:

If you think it such, OK.

LA replies:

Seriously, you don’t grasp that in your comments you are constantly practicing the standard liberal PC device, not of disagreeing with an anti-liberal view, but of trying to discredit the very existence of an anti-liberal view. I read her whole, terrible, depressing speech and wrote up something on it. And what is your first response to my article? That I’ve thrown my intellectual credibility into doubt because I haven’t also commented on her grades in college and on other aspects of her career! Meaning that a standalone article critiquing a major statement by Sotomayor and drawing conclusions about her based on that speech is not acceptable, IF THE CONCLUSIONS ARE CRITICAL OF HER

You showed the same type of bias in your comments about the intelligent design proponents a couple of weeks ago. You didn’t simply disagree with them. You smeared them so as to discredit them from the get-go.

Mark Jaws writes:

I simply love the way you are manhandling these liberals (the one defending Sotomayor) who attempt to reason with you. By the way, coming in second in her Princeton class means nothing, given the propensity of many liberal professors in the Ivy League to go soft on members of the protected and cherished and holy classes of “victims.”

June 12

Jonathan L. writes:

One of the few comforts of belonging to an out-of-power political movement is no longer having to defend the indefensible (an all too frequent chore for Republicans under the presidency of George W. Bush) while being liberated to identify and denounce the same in one’s ideological opponents. Liberals’ extravagant praise of the intellectual prowess of Obama’s two leading women is just that: indefensible, and indefensible to the point of absurdity. The same liberals who once derided George W. Bush’s Ivy League credentials now point to the same as proof of Michelle Obama’s and Sonya Sotomayor’s “brilliance”—even though in each case we know the woman in question was an affirmative action beneficiary who lived out the bulk of her academic career beneath the undemanding aegis of ethnic studies. And now even intellectually respectable LIBERALS are admitting themselves underwhelmed by the quality of Sotomayor’s mind!:

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking to a range of people who have worked with her, nearly all of them former law clerks for other judges on the Second Circuit or former federal prosecutors in New York. Most are Democrats and all of them wanted President Obama to appoint a judicial star of the highest intellectual caliber who has the potential to change the direction of the court. Nearly all of them acknowledged that Sotomayor was a presumptive front-runner, but nearly none of them raved about her. They expressed questions about her temperament, her judicial craftsmanship, and most of all, her ability to provide an intellectual counterweight to the conservative justices, as well as a clear liberal alternative.

The most consistent concern was that Sotomayor, although an able lawyer, was “not that smart and kind of a bully on the bench,” as one former Second Circuit clerk for another judge put it. “She has an inflated opinion of herself, and is domineering during oral arguments, but her questions aren’t penetrating and don’t get to the heart of the issue.”

Personally, reading the speech in which she uncritically trotted out the cliches of critical race theory without offering any unique insights or interpretations was enough to convince me of the mediocrity of Sotomayor’s mind. Using off-the-shelf intellectual ammunition someone else has provided you is not a sign of high-intellect, any more than al Qaeda is “technologically-sophisticated” for exploiting the Infidel’s Internet.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 11, 2009 12:05 PM | Send

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