Friday, August 07, 2009

¡Enhorabuena, Sonia!

I was glad to get up this morning and read that the US Senate had confirmed Sonia Sotomayor as a US Supreme Court justice. It’s historic—she’s the first Hispanic and only the third woman in the court’s history. She’s also a perfectly competent jurist who will probably be among the moderates.

Still, three things bother me about this. The first is the blatant racism of the Republicans both in the US Senate and those calling the shots outside Congress. They sometimes tried to hide their racism, but it oozed out anyway.

The second thing that bothered me was that for the first time ever the gun lobby took a stand on a nominee, threatening Senators with retaliation if they dared to defy the gun lobby’s edict. The threat was apparently enough to convince some Republicans to switch from supporting Sotomayor to opposing her. Democrats, of course, were unswayed. Naturally even gun nuts have the right to express their opinion, but using intimidation is not the way to do that.

The thing that bothered me the most, however, is the attacks from Republicans who bizarrely claimed that Sotomayor is a liberal when she's clearly—obviously—a moderate. Here’s why this bothered me: What the hell is wrong with having a liberal on the Court? Basically, the rightwing is saying that having rightwingers on the bench is good and proper, but there can be no liberals. Excuse me? How is that in any way democratic, let alone fair? The majority of the Court is more or less conservative (and four are hard-core rightwing), so why shouldn’t liberals get a Justice, too—especially when the retiring justice is from the more or less liberal group of Justices?

Chances are good that one or more of the remaining liberal justices will retire during President Obama’s first term. If so, you can bet on Republicans trashing the nominee for being a “liberal”, even if they’re not, as if there'd be something sinister or evil about replacing a liberal with a liberal.

That’ll be then. For now, congratulations to Judge Sotomayor—and to the US.


epilonious said...

If... the Democrats didn't pitch little fits over the Republicans nominating hard core right-wingers when they were in power a couple of years ago... I'd agree.

But, the democrats did... Thus, I suppose the opposition party throwing fits for not being like the opposition party is just de rigour.

Roger Owen Green said...

It seems as though there are some Hispanics who have promised to "punish" the senators who opposed her. I'll be interested to see if that actuually happens.

epilonious said...

*shrug* If the LGBTQ community is any indication, the hispanic flavor of anti-defamation league will whine loudly and wrist slap plentifully, and then everyone will go back to their usual affiliations because the devil you know...

Arthur Schenck said...

epilonious: As a liberal who always would "pitch little fits over the Republicans nominating hard core right-wingers", I could see that point, but I don't think it's a "fit for the goose, fit for the gander: situation here.

First, the Republicans have become the "Party of No" and oppose most everything Democrats do. Also, I'm aware that they were largely trying to pander to their own base (it is unfortunate they chose to do it in such a racist way).

But the thing that annoyed be is it's not like one of the four knuckle-draggers on the court was being replaced with a moderate, a liberal is being replaced with a moderate. It's entirely possible that the right-wing rump of the court has actually been strengthened (time will tell—people thought Souter would be a right winger and he totally wasn't).

My point is that if President Obama had appointed a far-leftist to the bench, it STILL wouldn't have changed the ideological balance on the court, and that's precisely what the Republicans have been trying to do since Reagan.

Roger: Some Hispanics may follow through (especially in the 2010 elections), but ultimately I don't think they'll follow through. Part of that is because of what epilonious suggests about LGBTQ voters, but also because Hispanic voters are varied and don't necessarily vote along "Hispanic" lines any more than LGBTQ automatically vote on "gay" lines. Still, I could be wrong about that—nothing in politics surprises me anymore.