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Sonia Sotomayor Does Not Represent the Hispanic Community

Republicans Should Oppose the Supreme Court Nomination of Sonia Sotomayor

Hispanics working the fields In the past week or so, there has been a big ruckus over Supreme Court Judicial Nominee Sonia Sotomayor. The controversy is somewhat deserved and is based on various court decisions and public speeches made in the past few years. It is clear that Sotomayor presents a tactical problem for Republicans in at least two ways. First, Republicans lack the strategic power and political resolve to stage a sustainable filibuster. And second, opposing the first female Hispanic Supreme Court Justice may produce some unintended political drawbacks. In the past decade, Republicans appear to have fallen out of favor with the Hispanic community; so opposing Sotomayor will provide Democrats yet another political wedge to add to their existing arsenal of racial exploitation.

There are two ways that Republicans can successfully oppose the judicial nomination of Sotomayor. First, they must show that although Sotomayor is a Latina with real ethnic experiences, she does not embody the core values of the Hispanic community. This case can be made substantively based upon past court decisions, but should be presented by a Hispanic to avoid fallacious charges of racism. And second, they must show that Sotomayor is not qualified for Supreme Court Justice based upon the backwardness of her recent comments. This essay will attempt to develop the beginnings of the first point only.

Sonia Sotomayor Defies Hispanic Values in Ricci v. DeStefano

In Ricci V. DeStefano, Judge Sotomayor ruled against white firefighters of New Haven and discarded the results of a promotional exam because no black applicants had successfully weathered the promotional process. New Haven City originally tossed the exam stating it had a “disparate impact” on minorities and feared that black firefighters might sue the city for violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Ironically, a decision intended to circumvent a lawsuit directly resulted in a lawsuit anyway.

Frank Ricci and a group of white firefighters filed a lawsuit against the city on the charge of reverse discrimination. According to them, they had studied and prepared for the promotional exam with due diligence and were denied promotional privileges legally protected by their bargaining agreement. In effect, they were punished because black applicants didn’t pass the testing process.

Notable among the group of firefighters was Ben Vargas, a Hispanic who passed his exam and was eligible for promotion, but was also denied the advancement. Vargas stated,

“The fire isn’t going to discriminate against a person whether he’s black, white, or Hispanic, it’s going to treat that person the same way.”
Like many professions, firefighting requires a certain skill set. A firefighter must have the strength, skill, and awareness to avoid getting killed in a burning building. A raging fire won’t make an exception because the person happens to be black. Political correctness could very well get a fire company killed if a promotion is granted to anyone on the basis of quota rather than skill.

According to Slate Magazine, Sotomayor rejected the promotional exam because it needlessly screened out “underrepresented groups.” Slate’s theory goes as follows: racial discrimination “has locked minorities into poor neighborhoods with failing schools for generations” and as a result, blacks don’t perform as well on written exams compared to other races.

If written tests are inherently discriminatory toward the poor, then how did eight Hispanics and three blacks manage to pass the promotional exam? The fallacy of such reasoning is clearer when applied to other professions. What if a black medical student failed to finish the long and fatiguing hours of his residency? Should he get his Doctor of Medicine because his parents were too poor to instill a hard work ethic and a personal devotion to medicine?

Sotomayor Ignores the Values of Hard Work and Discipline Inherent to the Hispanic Culture

When Hispanic parents immigrate to the United States, they virtually break their backs trying to provide a life of prosperity for their family. This reminds me of the Hispanic immigrant in Wisconsin who broke his finger while working for a contractor. When the doctor told him he would not be able to use his hand for a few weeks, he told the doctor to remove his finger so he could return to work. For Sonia Sotomayor to discount written tests because others had failed to prepare themselves undermines values integral to the Hispanic culture. Ben Vargas was correct in his frustration with Sotomayor’s judicial decision. It’s was likely antithetical to his upbringing as a young Latino.

The greatest injustice, however, was committed against the lead plaintiff, Frank Ricci. Ricci has a condition called dyslexia. Dyslexia is a learning disability that manifests itself primarily with understanding written language like manmade tests. Ricci knew he had an uphill battle to fight, so he hired a tutor to help him prepare for the exam. He spent months studying because he knew the cards were stacked against him. And with a flippant dismissal of political correctness, Sotomayor rendered his remarkable achievement null and void. He was penalized because others didn’t sacrifice as he did for success. If a dyslexic can score well on a promotional exam, it would be nothing less than an insult to claim that members of the black community couldn’t do the same.

Final Thoughts on Judicial Nominee Sonia Sotomayor

Judge Sotomayor’s decision is on the wrong side of logic and justice. She exchanged the vital precept of Hispanic culture that hard work and diligence furnish success for the liberal entitlement paradigm that the disenfranchised are owed fruits without actual labor. Sotomayor’s lack of identification to her own Hispanic roots sends the message that rewards don’t come to those who work, but to those who have an excuse to fail. This philosophy, if practiced, will create a generation of individuals wholly dependent upon government intervention and less reliant upon personal faculties for success. The GOP ought to stress that this court case provides a glimpse into the political ideology of Judge Sotomayor, and they should articulate how antithetical it is to the values of the Hispanic community. By doing this, they are not opposing the judicial nomination of a Latina, but rather opposing an activist liberal operating from entitlement presuppositions. If this message is sent clearly, the only ones who will take up a cause against the GOP are liberal Hispanic organizations like La Raza, not the Hispanic community.
Comments (6)
  • Jennifer Shawn  - Very Antiblack

    You know I have read a couple of your posts and the tone of this site feels very antiblack. I hope that you dont think that bashing black people will make you more acceptable to white people. You are still latino and being used. I love latino people and all people for that matter. I have voted republican and democrat. Stop hating on black people so much!! Oh and by the way I have a graduate degree as do much of my family. These degrees include: JD, MBA and MD. So there goes your stereotype of blacks...

  • LaAmericana  - Blacks need to stop trying so hard...

    Jennifer shawn, we dont need you to love us, from what I can see, even blacks use hispanics. Just look at the lowrider culture they stole from L.A. Chicanos and try to pretend its their own, along with the baggy pants, ganster look, etc. Although these things are not prevalent in my family, they are part of the Hispanic culture, and you see blacks stealing these things all the time. Just like Beyonce trying so desperately to sing in spanish, hook up with hispanic singers for duos etc. We dont hate blacks, but we also dont share your hatred of whites, nor do we all espouse mentality that were all just being "used". I am a strong proud American, Im a business owner, and I happen to be Hispanic, I am used by NO one. I know I speak for many of my kind when I say that you are NOT like us, nor do we feel the need to be bound to blacks in some "opppressed victim" stance. Thanks but no thanks.

  • Jason Crye  - Jumping to conclusions


    My tone feels anti-black because the problem of this story happens to be some black firefighters that didn't want to accept the results of a test they had ample time to prepare for. And many Latinos fell into the same mode of complacency by not preparing like they should have.

    Some of the guys that passed the exam literally stayed at hotel rooms for a study time without distractions. Some others had their wives take a leave from work to watch the kids so they could spend more time preparing for the exams. The moral of the story is that those who worked the hardest received the best scores while those who studied haphazardly didn't make the cut. It wasn't a matter of race, but rather work ethic.

    Blacks weren't the only villains of the story. We had an international Hispanic Firefighters organization that took the side of entitlements rather than merit. Latinos share in the blame with those black firefighters because they sought to deprive those men that worked diligently for their reward.

    Ultimately, it isn't about race, but who wants it the most. I'm sorry if you feel that my article is anti-black. Those black firefighters just happened to be on the wrong side of the issue, and I hope they are ashamed of what they did. Some really good men were deprived of their promotions and pay for nearly six years. And although they will receive their promotions in due time, they and their families lost a lot more.

  • LaAmericana

    Here here Mr. Rodriguez, I could not have said it better...

  • LaAmericana

    Affirmative action is an insult and one of the biggest pieces of oppressive legislation ever written, indeed it is true, the oppressed soon become the oppressors, therefore we should be vigilant...

  • Joey Perez  - Great reply

    Great response to ignorance, I have read your blog and do not see anything close to what the young lady mentioned. These people just hear what they want to hear. You said it well. Your blog is also very informative. I personally just started a blog several weeks ago because I am sick and tired of the ignorance holding back our Hispanic brothers and sisters. Just as the Dems have used the African American community they are now trying to do the same to ours. We must call them out every opportunity we get. Any tips for a new blogger will be appreciated as I am trying to build some traffic to my blog. God Bless and have a Happy Thanksgiving alongside your loved ones.

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