Thursday, May 28, 2009

Justice removes the blindfold

Good-bye impartiality, says Francis Cianfrocca:
Reading Sotomayor’s 2002 “wise Latina” speech gives us real insight into this nominee. In this speech, she clearly states that judgements derive not from an objective consideration of the law and the facts of a case, but rather are inescapably colored by the experiences, culture and gender of the judge. This isn't even negotiable. It’s presented matter-of-factly as an axiom.

I have a distinct feeling that in today's academic legal community, this is not even a contentious viewpoint. It's just us non-legal experts (and presumably retrogrades like Scalia) who still think that it's possible to start from the law and the facts of a case, and arrive at a judgment based on established principles in both. . . .

You can read the whole thing. Being that I'm trying not to take this seriously -- for fear I might again succumb to another outbreak of Obama-Induced Tourette's Syndrome -- my question continues to be, what's her problem with the North Bronx? Is there some kind of North Bronx civic association that could point out that she's playing borough identity politics?


  1. Racists in America used to wear white robes. Now they wear black ones . . . and sit on the highest judicial bench in the country, rather than in Little Rock dive bars.


  2. Sotomayor lived in the North Bronx too!

    Her family lived in a New York City Housing Authority project in the South Bronx when she was little. Incidentally, they moved in when that project was nearly new and a very desirable place for a working class family to live. Later, Mom, Sonia and the brother moved to Coop City in the North Bronx. The NYT background story about her was not clear about the chronology, but Coop City opened in 1968 and she lived there when she graduated high school in 1972.

    Coop City was -- and is -- a huge (some 50,000 residents) "Mitchell-Lama" coop, one of many partially state subsidized developments intended for moderate- to middle-income families. It was a very nice place to live. In the 1970s and 1980s, it had a largely white Jewish population with black and Hispanic minorities -- e.g., Rep. Eliot Engel lived there for years -- drawn from the increasingly crime infested South Bronx neighborhoods like those around Yankee Stadium. Gradually, the population became mainly black and Hispanic.

    Sotomayor attended the Roman Catholic Archdiocesan Cardinal Spellman High School, the a first-rate school (and exactly the sort of high schools that colleges like Princeton descended on to find worthy minority students in the early years of college affirmative actio in admissions).