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“The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”     Thomas Sowell

May 26, 2009

Quote Of The Day

by Brad Warbiany

From our newly-named nominee to the Supreme Court:

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

Three problems with this:

1) Who is to say that the experiences I have, as a white male, aren’t rich?
2) Why do the proper adjudication of questions on law change based on the “richness of experience” of the judge?
3) What is a “better conclusion”? According to whom?

About the only way that such a statement makes sense is if you assume that the role of a judge is more “nuanced” than simply to apply the law dispassionately and predictably, but rather to enforce “social justice”. I am, of course, not surprised by such a conclusion from one of this administration’s nominees. But I’m a little surprised that it’s stated this blatantly.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the fights that Sotomayer will have with Clarence Thomas.

Hat Tip: Jonathan Wilde @ The Distributed Republic

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17 Comments

  1. I feel so ripped off, not having gotten the opportunity to have had that “richness of experience.” Oh if only I could have been a “wise Latina woman too” – the things I would have done and said; the sights I could have seen! The better conclusions I would now be reaching!

    Comment by southernjames — May 26, 2009 @ 10:36 am
  2. I really hope that one of her rich experiences had something to do with reading the Constitution. And maybe a little bit of Marbury v. Madison.

    Comment by Kathryn Rebecca — May 26, 2009 @ 12:49 pm
  3. She also said, “I firmly believe in the rule of law as the foundation for all of our basic rights.”

    I thought it was the other way around? But as Brad said I’m not at all surprised by her beliefs, just her blatancy.

    Comment by John222 — May 26, 2009 @ 4:10 pm
  4. I wonder what the reaction would have been if another nominee had said:

    I would hope that a wise white man with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a minority woman who hasn’t lived that life.

    I sometimes forget that only white people can be racists.

    Comment by Akston — May 26, 2009 @ 4:58 pm
  5. John222,

    Randal said, and I’m inclined to agree:

    “I’m a firm believer in the philosophy of a ruling class. Especially since I rule.”

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — May 26, 2009 @ 8:50 pm
  6. Those who call themselves wise lack the humility to actually be wise.

    Comment by Quincy — May 26, 2009 @ 11:27 pm
  7. I feel so ripped off, not having gotten the opportunity to have had that “richness of experience.” Oh if only I could have been a “wise Latina woman too” – the things I would have done and said; the sights I could have seen! The better conclusions I would now be reaching!

    Comment by PB — May 27, 2009 @ 1:43 am
  8. I think it goes deeper that you white males might think. Since your experience, education and intelligence is not as often required for a position. It never occurred to any of you that her experience includes her job, but you thought only of her ethnicity.

    Comment by VRB — May 27, 2009 @ 2:15 am
  9. VRB – Here is that quote again. Read it very carefully:

    “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

    She makes no mention whatsoever of her JOB experiences making her more qualified (reach a better conclusion) than a white male.

    If you want to choose to infer a different meaning (“oh, what she MEANT by that is….”), that is your choice. Heck, people have been forced to do that in order to rationalize and excuse away the nonsense that flows out of Joe Biden’s mouth, at least a couple times a month, since the nomination. Why not here, too?

    But I will choose to infer, that as a lawyer/judge (a profession of WORDSMITHS, where precision in the use of language is of paramount importance) she meant exactly what she said, and said exactly what she meant.

    Which is precisely – she stated that the richness of experience she got, AS A WISE LATINA WOMAN – PERIOD….(no mention of anything else) allows her to ‘more often than not’ reach a “better conclusion, than…a white man “WHO HASN’T LIVED THAT LIFE.” What life? Answer: The life of a “wise Latina woman.”

    Parse away all you want, but it’s ALL about the ethnicity.

    Not that it matters in the slightest. Unless some presently unknown bomb shell drops during the confirmation process, there is no way she will not be confirmed.

    Comment by southernjames — May 27, 2009 @ 3:37 am
  10. Southernjames,
    “That Life” for all minorities to get ahead has been to try to be twice as better than whites. That is where ethnicity plays apart; not having the hard life, being poor or whatever else you think her life experince has been different from yours.

    It is like having a stupid ass white boy ask me why I am taking electronics, and being upset that my grades were better than his.

    If you can intrepret her words so can I.

    Comment by VRB — May 27, 2009 @ 4:56 am
  11. Here’s a bigger chunk of her speech, to get a better idea of the context. Not sure if this will change any opinions either way, but I’ve always hated one sentence quotes without context:

    “In our private conversations, Judge Cedarbaum has pointed out to me that seminal decisions in race and sex discrimination cases have come from Supreme Courts composed exclusively of white males. I agree that this is significant but I also choose to emphasize that the people who argued those cases before the Supreme Court which changed the legal landscape ultimately were largely people of color and women. I recall that Justice Thurgood Marshall, Judge Connie Baker Motley, the first black woman appointed to the federal bench, and others of the NAACP argued Brown v. Board of Education. Similarly, Justice Ginsburg, with other women attorneys, was instrumental in advocating and convincing the Court that equality of work required equality in terms and conditions of employment.

    Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O’Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

    Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.

    However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.”

    Comment by SC — May 27, 2009 @ 5:49 am
  12. The line that hit me the most is the last line:

    “Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.”

    Facts are facts, no matter if you are white, brown, male, female, or whatever. What she seems to be saying is that she only chooses to see the facts that she wants to see or the things that go along with her “personal experiences”. Basically ignore the facts that don’t agree with your ideology. That to me is worrisome. Her job is not to ignore facts, but rather to look at all the facts and determine if they are constitutional or not, irregardless of your political or ideological beliefs.

    Comment by TerryP — May 27, 2009 @ 1:29 pm
  13. I should have like everyone else, not put words in Judge Sotomeyor’s mouth. Especially one statement from a speech, which takes it out of context. What is more worrisome is that someones whole career, is trying to be deconstructed, by one sentence. This sentence is played in an endless loop and pushed by hysterical acorn nuts, in order to spin opinion into truth.

    Comment by VRB — May 27, 2009 @ 4:10 pm
  14. Brad,

    Is that the same Randall that said “This job would be great if it weren’t for the f***ing customers.”?

    Comment by John222 — May 27, 2009 @ 6:59 pm
  15. I do agree though, from the king’s perspective, “It’s good to be the king.”

    And from the top of the page,

    “They (the emperors) frequently abused their power arbitrarily to deprive their subjects of property or of life: their tyranny was extremely onerous to the few, but it did not reach the greater number; .. But it would seem that if despotism were to be established amongst the democratic nations of our days it might assume a different character; it would be more extensive and more mild, it would degrade men without tormenting them.” Alexis de Tocqueville

    Seems equally appropriate.

    Comment by John222 — May 27, 2009 @ 8:26 pm
  16. John,

    That would be the same guy, yes :-)

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — May 28, 2009 @ 10:16 am
  17. [...] Brad Warbiany: John, That would be the same guy, yes :-) [...]

    Pingback by The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » Does Sonia Sotomayor Believe that Some Individuals are More Equal than Others? — May 28, 2009 @ 10:51 am

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