Sotomayor Felt Her Wise Latina Comment shouldn’t have been Criticized Harshly

Senator Kohl and Judge Sotomayor Senator Herb Kohl and Judge Sotomayor

OnJune 3rd, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran an article about Senator Herb Kohl’s meeting with Supreme Court Judicial Nominee Sonia Sotomayor. In the meeting, Kohl stated that Sotomayor’s hotly debated comments from her 2001 Berkeley speech became part of the discussion. Surprisingly, her response does not suggest a concession of error. In the words of Senator Kohl, “She felt she had not said anything that should have been criticized overly harshly.”

For those who are unaware of her comments in 2001, Sotomayor said that wise Latinas, due to their richness of the Latina experience, can make better conclusions more often than white men. It’s not too difficult to parse through these words. Sotomayor elevated one ethnic group above another, and she has yet to make a public apology for it.

Diversity when it Advances Ideological Ambitions

In an article written by Linda Chavez entitled “Judge Sotomayor and the Diversity Crowd ”, she hits the nail on the head. When Chavez was the first Latina appointed by Bush to the U.S. Cabinet in 2001, her liberal critics claimed she wasn’t an authentic Latina. According to Chavez, the diversity crowd isn’t exactly interested in promoting diversity when the candidate is opposed to their ideological ambitions. We have examples where the diversity crowd ignored the richness of ethnicity for the appointments of Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice, Alberto Gonzalez, Elaine Chao, and Michael Steel.

Chavez’ example provides a good justification to support the Republican effort of opposing Sotomayor. Some RINOs believe that criticizing Judge Sotomayor will cause a backlash in the Hispanic community that will result in fewer Latino support in upcoming elections.

Let me ask those RINOs this, did Democrats lose Latino support for opposing the appointment of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and the nomination of Miguel Estrada to the D.C. Circuit Court?

Democrat Opposition to Miguel Estrada

Miguel Estrada swearing an oath Democrat opposition to Bush nominee Miguel Estrada is particularly relevant to the current situation of Sonia Sotomayor. In 2003, Bush nominated Estrada to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal, which is widely understood to be the stepping stone for the Supreme Court. Like Sotomayor, Estrada’s poor and disadvantaged background makes his personal story nothing short of remarkable. He came to the U.S. from Honduras when he was 17 to meet up his divorced mother. Within just a few years of grappling with the English language, Estrada managed to graduate from Columbia University magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree. From there, he went to Harvard Law School, became an editor of the Harvard Law Review, and graduated with a magnum cum laude. His history of serving in the legal field was quite extensive. Estrada received a unanimous “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Association (the highest rating offered) and received solid marks from the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Despite the exemplar qualifications of Miguel Estrada, Democrats were vicious in their opposition. They staged a filibuster against his nomination – a first in congressional history concerning circuit court nominations. After more than two years of blocking his appointment, Miguel Estrada withdrew his nomination. And instead of being content with Estrada’s humiliating defeat, Senator Kennedy held a press conference and called it “a victory for the Constitution.”

Final Thoughts on Sotomayor

Fierce opposition to and effective filibustering against Miguel Estrada, a highly qualified immigrant Latino, didn’t cause a noticeable loss of Hispanic support for Democrats. For a few reasons, Republicans have little to lose by opposing Judge Sotomayor. First, members of the Hispanic community who take offense to the Republican opposition of Sotomayor are likely to be Democrat voters already. Second, the fact that Sotomayor made racist comments about Latinas arriving at better conclusions than white men will help avert ensuing Democrat charges of racism when a Republican filibuster is staged. And third, by sending out reputable conservative Hispanics like Linda Chavez to be the mouthpiece opposing Sotomayor will go a long way in legitimizing the Republican charge.

As a conservative Hispanic, I will do my part to get the message heard that Sonia Sotomayor does not represent the values of the Hispanic community, that her ruling in Ricci vs. Destefano suggests a disloyalty to the Hispanic virtue that reward comes to those who work, not to those who have a darker complexion, and that Democrats effectively stopped a Latino from progressing to a judicial nomination to the Supreme Court.

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