POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Judging Sonia Sotomayor: It diminishes everyone when a nomination process deteriorates into character assassination and ethnic intolerance.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 31, 2009

 A New York Times editorial (5-31-09) …  

Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor

Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor

  • Supreme Court nominees must be fully vetted on a wide range of issues, but most of the ones being raised about Sonia Sotomayor are not among them.
    • The first Hispanic nominee to the court is being called racist.
    • She is being attacked as not smart enough, as too abrasive (a description often applied to women who speak their minds in public life).
    • There have even been reports that critics have taken aim at her taste for Puerto Rican food.
    • Tom Tancredo, a former Republican congressman, raged about her ties to the National Council of La Raza, calling it, absurdly, a “Latino K.K.K.”
  • It is time to elevate the discussion to where it belongs: the Constitution and the role of the judiciary.
  • These broadsides are a distraction.
  • Despite her long service as a federal judge, Judge Sotomayor’s record on many important issues is sparse.
    • Senators should question her about her general approach to the Constitution and to judging.
    • They need to learn more about her thoughts on the right to privacy — a critical doctrine that provides the basis for abortion rights
    • on church-state separation and on other subjects.
  • Clearly, conservative groups and Republican elected officials see this nomination as a way to score points off wedge issues that excite their base.
  • It diminishes everyone when a nomination process deteriorates into character assassination and ethnic intolerance.

read the entire editorial at … http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/31/opinion/31sun1.html?ref=opinion

LMW COMMENT … If I was a Republican, I would be sorely embarrassed by the bizarre behavior of people like Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and other ultras-conservatives whose attacks on Sonia Sotomayor have been despicable. Perhaps this will be the issue where more moderate, reasonable Republicans can distance themselves from the crazies and restore their party to some sense of productive engagement. I believe in a two-party system, and I hope Republicans will be interested in playing the role of a responsible opposition. It’s the only way they will ever be able to hope to win future elections.

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