August 6, 2009: a black day for America

In today’s New York Times, this appears:

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the nation’s first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, concluding a 10-week battle with a resounding victory for the White House.

The largely party-line vote, 68 to 31, brought Judge Sotomayor, 55, to the threshold of one of the United States’ most prestigious institutions, completing an extraordinary narrative arc that began in a Bronx housing project where the Puerto Rican girl was raised by her widowed mother.

First, the Times writer, Charlie Savage, calls the vote “largely party line.” Not true. It was only a party line vote for the Democrats: no Democrat voted against the Ugly Un-American. But nine Republicans, almost a quarter of the Republican caucus, voted for her. That’s not a party line vote, and it’s not almost a party line vote. “Almost” a party line vote would be if one or two senators departed from the party line. If he weren’t a liberal propagandist like the rest of his fellow Timesians, Savage would have described the vote as “a vote in which Democrats hewed without exception to the party line, but one quarter of the Republican caucus departed from their colleagues.” But he’s not, so he didn’t.

Second, isn’t that phrase, “completing an extraordinary narrative arc,” just too much? It’s as though we are supposed to faint away at the sheer wonder of it.

Third, what did this “extraordinary narrative arc” consist of? Sonia So-so-minor was admitted by affirmative action to Princeton. At Princeton she largely distinguished herself as a Hispanic activist relentlessly harassing the administration to hire more Hispanic professors and admit more Hispanic students. She got top academic honors at Princeton, obviously (given the mediocre quality of her writings) through affirmative action. By affirmative action she was admitted to Yale Law School. Then she worked for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office for a few years. Then she had a job in private practice for a few years. Then, at age 37, as part of an ethnic log-rolling political deal, President Bush the elder appointed her to the U.S. District Court. Then, six years later, President Clinton appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. So, as a Hispanic she got a life-time sinecure at age 37 and held onto it, and this is an extraordinary narrative arc?

What the liberals and Hispanics are really saying is: when lesser qualified, resentful outsiders are given what they manifestly do not deserve, solely on the basis of their race, this is a WONDERFUL ACHIEVEMENT, A HISTORY MAKING EVENT.

Indeed, the Wise Latina, a.k.a. the Intellectually Mediocre Bronze Broad, has boasted of the fact that she is an “affirmative action baby.” Meaning that, because of her Hispanic ethnicity, she was selected for positions for which she had lesser abilities than others who were not selected.

Is this something to be proud of? Well, she is proud of it, because, in her universe, being selected for a position for which you lack the qualifications—solely because you’re not a European American—represents a higher justice which is the model for the ways things ought to be.

But does that mean that WE should be proud, and regard this as something extraordinary? Should we not rather regard it as something disgusting and shameful, as a victory of the anti-life, socialist mindset that raises up the less deserving and less able because they’re less deserving and less able?

But what does Savage say?

Democrats portrayed Judge Sotomayor as a qualified judge whose biography—rising from humble beginnings to excel at two Ivy League universities, serve stints as a prosecutor and corporate lawyer, and then 17 years as a district and appeals court judge—is a classic American success story. Her judicial record, they said, is moderate and mainstream

So, being admitted to top universities, because of your race, and then being given life-time sinecures on the federal bench, because of your race, and then being raised to the U.S. Supreme Court, because of your race, is the classic American success story. Is there anyone who doubts, after reading this, that liberals hate America, hate true achievement, hate the normal human sense of right and wrong, and rejoice at perverting all three into their respective opposites?

August 6, 2009 was a bad day for America. But, as I said last August 28:

… McCain being elected means death. Obama being elected means horror—but also life.

The left is rejoicing at its unholy victory over America. But 31 Republican senators stood against the Wise Latina, despite numerous outrageous threats that they would anger Hispanics if they did so. Because of the principled and articulate opposition to her appointment, a significant part of the country knows what So-so-minor really is. In one way or another (we can’t know exactly how) this realization will ultimately bite the backside of the left.

—end of initial entry—

Jim C. writes:

You hit it out of the ballpark:

Is this something to be proud of? Well, she is proud of it, because, in her universe, being selected for a position for which you lack the qualifications—solely because you’re not a European American—represents a higher justice which is the model for the ways things ought to be.

I’d like to see a TV program dedicated to this.

Stephen Hopewell writes:

Great piece on the sordid, shameful story of the Sotomayor confirmation. I do think some Americans are going to start wondering (a couple of decades too late) just when it became mandatory to appoint “Hispanics” to the highest positions in our society. We are used to the idea that we owe something to blacks, but this is an entirely different phenomenon, and the sheer foreignness of Sotomayor may prove to be a “teachable moment” for some.

August 8

Bill Carpenter writes:

This is how a liberal celebrates, dancing a victory jig and singing about the racism of the Republicans. I happened to watch Gangs of New York last night, which depicts the “natives” as having no reason but bigotry and hate to oppose the take-over of their country by aliens. I guess we should stop heaping praise on that bigoted nativist Camus for opposing German immigration, and we should deplore Stalingrad as a nativist massacre. Thank God those filthy English nativists were crushed at Hastings by William the Immigrant. And that nativist Alfred the Great who brutally attacked the Scandinavian immigrants is justly forgotten, along with that lowest of nativist scum, Charles the Hammer, who slaughtered Arab immigrants at Poitiers. After all, doesn’t every people have the right to Lebensraum? Though I can’t understand the leftists’ sympathy for those Arab nativists who murder innocent immigrants in Israel, or for the Vietnamese nativists whose bigotry extended to the French, the Japanese, and the Americans. Such haters! “Justice” Sotomayor is just one more in the army of ethnic politicals that have been demanding positions in return for votes since the time of Boss Tweed. Scorsese is explicit about it. Young Vallon will deliver the Irish vote if the machine will back an Irishman for sheriff. Tweed throughout the film energetically panders to the new immigrants to enhance his political power and has no qualms about open and obvious voter fraud, nor does Vallon. Rather like the present.

Racial spoils go way back. A large part of our population sees nothing wrong with a racial spoils system. The nativist bastards have always been a minority and always will be.

David Levin writes:

A wonderful piece by you on So-so-minor!! I’m not familiar with Savage, not that one anyway.

I’m posting your piece on my blogsite.

As bad as So-so-minor is (I see her as a loudmouth racist version of Ruth Bader Ginsburg), her confirmation changes nothing on SCOTUS. She replaces another whacked out leftist picked by Pappa Bush. Ginsberg has cancer and is not in good health or at least that was the last I heard about her. With So-so, it’s still 5-4 with Kennedy still the swing vote. Even when Stevens retires or dies, another leftist appointment won’t affect the Court’s 5-4 status. It will take a Scalia or a Kennedy retirement during Obama’s reign to affect the Court’s decisions. Yet few people point that out. I thought I would.

Terry Morris writes:

31 Republicans voted against her? Wow! I’m pretty impressed.

Robert Weissberg writes:

Absolutely right on Sonia. But I’m reminded of Roman Hruska’s (R-Neb.) famous quip during the (failed) confirmation of Carswell, a rather intellectually mediocre nominee picked by President Nixon. He said something on the order of “There are a lot of intellectually average people in America, and they, too, need representation.” This has come down as the Hruska principle.

So, in a sense Hispanics are being “well-represented” here. Measured against the intellectual fire-power standard, the Italians win in a landslide.

LA replies:

That’s another reply to make when a neocon utters the brainless neocon slogan that the Hispanic immigrants of today are just like the Italian immigrants of the past, one of the most insulting comments ever made.

Paul Mulshine writes:

The one really funny thing about this for the left is that they assumed because of her ethnic credentials that she’s pro-choice. As I wrote in this column a while ago, there’s no good evidence of her views on abortion one way or the other. In the one case where she could have made a pro-choice ruling, she actually wrote an excellent opinion dissecting a claim by a pro-choice activist group that the Constitution bans the so-called “Mexico City Rule” which prohibited federal funding for abortion overseas.

If she turns out to be the fifth vote to reverse Roe, or aspects of it, then this will be the funniest spectacle we will witness in our lifetimes.

LA replies:

That would be a nice silver lining for this black day in America.

August 8

Dan K. writes:

I sent your article to a friend of mine, who is a retired Judge from a Court of Common Pleas (in a county with circa 2,000,000 people), who served both as a Juvenile Court Judge and a County Judge over 30 years. He is a liberal Democrat and his father was a liberal lawyer who was a Democrat activist. We grew up together living a few blocks apart and attended the same schools in the same grades from Kindergarten through College. We know each other as well as one can know a friend. We remain friendly even though we a politically miles apart.

His response to me on reading your article is as follows:


Lawrence, what does the public actually know about her GRADES, SATS, LSATS, TRANSCRIPTS, ANALYSIS of WORK HISTORY, QUALITY OF WRITING and THINKING?

LA replies:


You’re free to forward this to your friend.

She had top grades in college. This is from the Princetonian, May 2009:

Despite all this outreach, her friends said Sotomayor was never one to talk about herself much, so it came as something of a surprise to them when she won the Pyne Prize her senior year, graduated summa cum laude and was inducted into the academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa. A history major, Sotomayor maintained almost straight As in her junior and senior years and was the first Latino student to win the Pyne Prize, according to a 1976 article in The Daily Princetonian.

Hmm, could it be that her getting summa cum laude came as a surprise to her friends, because she had never shown any special sign of intellectual talent?

Now, I acknowledge that Soto is a hard worker. Her reputation for conscientiousness is well established (except in Ricci which she disgracefully blew off). By her own account she is a workaholic.

But we know that there was massive grade inflation at Princeton in the 1970s. Such grade inflation would have been even greater for a minority (and aggressive political activist) like Sotomayor. It would be interesting to look up how many students graduated summa cum laude in Soto’s class, probably many more than the two or three students that would have been typical at a top school in the pre-grade inflation days. Very likely as many as 20 or 30.

Further, based on the strikingly mediocre quality of her mind as seen in her writings and public utterances, the absence of a single really intelligent thought or bright observation, her constant use of the dumbest liberal cliches when it comes to racial matters, she clearly is a person lacking in high level intellectual ability.

So, she’s a hard worker, and that, combined with general grade inflation (for everyone) and special grade inflation (for a hard-working Puerto Rican female), put her college grades in the top level.

Unlike grades, LSAT results cannot be inflated. We do not know her LSATs. But she herself, who boasts of being an “affirmative action baby,” says that she got into Yale via affirmative action, meaning that her LSATs were lower than those of white students who were rejected.

LA continues:

For further insights into the quality of Sotomayor’s intellect, see my discussion of her appalling 2001 “Wise Latina” speech. And be sure to see Heather Mac Donald’s dissection of Sotomayor’s writing style and English usage. She looks at a passage from the 2001 speech that I did not read as carefully as she did. It is, as Mac Donald suggests, almost on a Harriet Miers level of linguistic incompetence and muddy thinking: a person who writes this badly and unclearly ipso facto does not think clearly.

Here is the Sotomayor passage with Mac Donald’s comments. But you should read the entire Mac Donald blog entry.

However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others [clumsy]. Other [sic] simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by [huh?] the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them [we are expecting “it” here] further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference [which “difference?” there is no immediate antecedent for “that”] will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some [“some” what?] based on my gender and my Latina heritage.

Mac Donald adds:

Mother Jones’s Stephanie Mencimer brilliantly analyzes Sotomayor’s published opinions, and, while not finding them ungrammatical, worries that they are so crushingly tedious and “impenetrable” that they will undercut her power to move the court to the left.

LA continues:

In a long entry Mencius Moldbug considers more deeply the problematic nature of Sotomayor’s supposedly top level academic record. I have abridged it.

Moldbug writes:

Here’s an example of trusting authorities: Half Sigma, normally a real bastion of common sense, assuming that because Sonia Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton and won the Pyne Prize for its “most outstanding undergraduate,” she cannot be dumb as a post.

This does not strike me as sound evidentiary practice in current history. Let me explain why.

Here is a fact I trust: if we had access to Princeton’s records, they would confirm the text below (from the Daily Princetonian, February 28, 1976):

J. David Germany and Sonia M. Sotomayor are the joint winners of this year’s M. Taylor Pyne Honor Prize, the highest honor the university confers on an undergraduate.

The prize, given to the senior or seniors who have “manifested in outstanding fashion…excellent scholarship and effective support of the best interests of Princeton University,” carries with it an award equal to a year’s tuition, $3,900 this year, which will be shared by the two recipients….

Sotomayor, a history major, has maintained almost straight A’s for the last two years, but is especially known for her extracurricular activities.

Her dedication to the life of minority students at Princeton has been illustrated by her service on the Governance Board of the Third World Center and in her efforts to form the Latino Students Organization….

Again, I am confident that Sonia Sotomayor’s transcript “for the last two years” would show “almost straight A’s.” Who assigned her these straight A’s? And why?

At this point we leave the domain of verifiable facts, and enter that of proof by authority. Half Sigma does not know. Nor do I. Nor does anyone….

My judgment is that when we look at the career of a progressive race activist of the late 20th century, institutional records and personal endorsements tell us just about nothing. Every rule can be, and is, bent for these people. What’s clear is that at Princeton, David Germany was first and foremost a student, and Sonia Sotomayor was first and foremost an activist. Why on earth would anyone expect her grades to mean anything?

I will repeat the analogy I used when I questioned Barack Obama’s Columbia record: the academic records of college athletes, who are regularly found to have graduated from reputable universities, while remaining almost literally illiterate. Trusting the academic records of a race activist—especially when not actually disclosed, but merely attested to—is credulous beyond belief. Behind any Sotomayor is an army of activist professors whose commitment to la lucha is, shall we say, slightly greater than their commitment to the academic integrity of Princeton. At least, in the athlete’s case, his coaches and his professors are different people.

This is what is truly remarkable about Judge Sotomayor: at every stage in her career, her success is plausibly and parsimoniously explained by her mere ancestry. In every institution in which she has produced a record of excellence, her biology below the neck is a sufficient explanation of that record. As historians, we cannot even exclude the possibility that she got her Princeton A’s because someone helped her with her papers. We have no evidence for this, but we also have no evidence against it—and we are writing history, not conducting a criminal trial.

Thus I feel the best public evidence as to Judge Sotomayor’s actual talents consists of her speeches, such as this famous one (published as an essay in the La Raza Law Journal). Here is a speech by a white male colleague of Judge Sotomayor’s—ie, one who owes his position on the Second Circuit to neurology, not dermatology. If you retain any doubts, please compare.

(Judge Sotomayor’s judicial opinions, while also notoriously bad, are much less interesting, because they are produced with at least the assistance of law clerks. Perhaps Judge Sotomayor does not choose the best clerks, but she has the best talent pool to hire from. They know how to use a comma. It’s not clear to me that she does.)

[end of Moldbug excerpt]

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 07, 2009 06:57 PM | Send

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