Friday, July 17, 2009

On Sotomayor and Her Critics

First of all, these whole confirmation hearings have been utterly silly.  I am deeply suspicious that anyone who gets this far in this day and age would not be confirmed, so it seems a bit of a farce.  And then the questions Sotomayor has been asked are just silly.  Seriously, how many times does she have to explain that whole "wise Latina" statement?

And while we're on the subject of the "wise Latina" .... I wish that Sotomayor had stood behind the statement and the reality that EVERYONE prioritizes what facts are important based on their life experiences, background, etc.  It's called "having a social location," and we all have one.  First-semester seminary students learn that if they can't identify their own social location and how that affects how they read the Bible, interact with other people, and minister to people from different social locations, they are not going to be successful in ministry.  Judges need to know their social location, too, because without some self-awareness, they will never be able to approach the law with passion AND humility.  They will be arrogant jurists who will never be able to accept being "wrong."  Sotomayor gets it.  Why don't these guys?

To the Republican white men on the Senate Judiciary committee, apparently, social location only counts if you are not white or male.  White men, in other words, do not have a social location.  The assumption seems to be, of course, that they have objective truth.  Oh, honestly!

Well, this attitude isn't really a surprise, but it is a little shocking to see it expressed so blatantly.  Jeff Sessions (R-AL) kept going on about "the classical American judicial philosophy," which again is a fallacy.  We've never had just one classical philosophy - if we did, then we would not need a Supreme Court because the law could only be interpreted one way....

Then, as if the premise that Sotomayor cannot set aside her own personal experiences to make a "neutral" ruling regarding the facts of the case isn't bizarre enough, this morning on NPR I heard John Cornyn (R-TX) say something like, "I have no problem with the decisions and rulings you've made - those are well within the mainstream.  What bothers me is that your speeches are so different than your official rulings."  In other words, you are TROUBLED by the clear EVIDENCE that Sotomayor is perfectly capable of SETTING ASIDE her "wise Latina"-ness in favor of RULING ON THE FACTS OF A PARTICULAR CASE.  So, she clearly separates her personal views from her judicial rulings - Cornyn has just admitted that, and now he's troubled by that.  These men are just grasping at any silly reason to dislike her.  There's basically no way she could win.

And can I just say the full name of the senator from Alabama?  Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.  Most. Southern. Name. Ever.


Lucky Fresh said...

You are so right! About all of this. I haven't been able to blog about the hearings yet (and probably won't until it's too behind the times, but oh well).

It is totally that they think their perspective is right and normal and everything else is deviant from that.

And yes, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. I get to vote against him every six years. He makes me ill.

Laura said...

Bless his heart...
(how was that?)

LiturgyGeek said...

Well done, PLtheB. You have become the master.