Today I saw a black President of the United States present a Puerto Rican woman as his nominee for the Supreme Court. Today we saw more of the new America.
The conservatives are going to have a hard time with Sonia Sotomayor. She works in a district where the death penalty isn’t used and abortion rights aren’t challenged much – so there isn’t a lot of mud on her record to sling.
Conservatives will find some reason to hate her but what people need to remember over the next few months is that most of what you hear is entirely partisan. If Obama had nominated a Republican old white male, the conservatives would find a problem him. It’s the old rule – object to everything; but this is the new America – the old rules don’t apply here.
When Obama was nominated he gave people all over the world to feel proud, for they could look at themselves, their children, their community and say the top floor doesn’t seem so out of reach now. Now Sotomayor’s nomination confirms that swelling of pride. The best and brightest don’t need to come from prep schools in Connecticut – they can come from the projects in the Bronx.
I’m as proud today as I was on January 20. And I suspect millions of Americans feel that same way.
I dare the conservatives to take that on.
It seems the word of the day (no, maybe word of the month? season?) is empathy, and it seems to have a different value depending on which side you ask.
For my money (and, it would appear, Obama’s), I can’t understand how you effectively gain context without getting into the litigants shoes a little bit — I mean, isn’t that why the justices ask all those tiresome questions when the cases are presented? Aren’t they trying to gain some context on someone else’s situation? In that regard, empathy seems not only helpful, but necessary.
However, in the dog whistle fashion I’ve heard the word empathy used by some Republicans, it seems to be another way of trying to conjure images of women (or even Hispanics?) as too emotional. Which would fall right into line with similar despicable trends that have clung to Republican politics like a cancer.
And the third, somewhat different thought that pops into my head when I hear the empathy discussion: isn’t every normal human being (and thus, most judges too) laden with a sense of empathy unique to their own experience? And wouldn’t a diversity of empathy on the Court broaden the chances for a more thorough hearing of each case?
Anyway, sorry for the tangent, but it’s been bubbling over in my mind the past several days ;)
howardâ€™s last blog post..preemptive
Good words Howard. I think this is an important point that people miss – we don’t need leaders just like our selves, we need leaders that can understand the what connects us, what separates us and lead based on that understanding.
The court doesn’t need talkers – it needs listeners.