|Joe Conasan takes the lash to the Sotomayor opposition over at Salon, describing the right's unpleasant experience with choosing a Justice simply because of the color of his skin, rather than the content of his intellect:
... why do some of Sotomayor's nastiest adversaries imagine that the public will accept these false characterizations of her intelligence and credentials? Perhaps that instinct follows from the right's own sad experiences with Republican affirmative action -- most notably in the matter of Justice Thomas, who embodied all of the problems that conservatives perceived in the pursuit of ethnic diversity. When the wingnuts attack Sotomayor with inaccurate stereotypes, they're projecting onto her the shortcomings of their own beloved Clarence.Conasan's damning conclusion about Thomas:
Eighteen years ago, the Senate confirmation of Thomas earned historic notoriety for its bizarre descent into conflicting recollections of sexual harassment and pornographic banter. But the lingering question about the man selected to replace the legendary Justice Thurgood Marshall was whether he fulfilled the White House description of him as "the most qualified [candidate] at this time." As Thomas confessed in his memoir a few years ago, "Even I had my doubts about so extravagant a claim."
So extravagant was Bush's assertion as to verge on comical. Far from being the "most qualified," Thomas was a nominee with no experience on the bench beyond the 18 months he had served on the U.S. District Court of Appeals. He had never written a significant legal brief or article. He had achieved no distinction in private practice or law enforcement. He had never even argued a case in federal court, let alone at the U.S. Supreme Court.
... Flash forward now to the discussions within the first Bush administration over how to replace Marshall, the liberal lion whose departure provided conservatives with a chance to spin the direction of the court. Every account of those deliberations indicates that Bush and his aides went through a list of potential African-American nominees to the high court -- and rejected politically moderate judges with better qualifications than Thomas, such as Amalya Kearse. They picked him because they had to fill a "black seat" on the court, and because he was prepared to enforce their ideology on the court -- a function he has reliably performed in lockstep with Justice Antonin Scalia.
In other words, Thomas was chosen from a Bush White House shortlist that excluded white males – supposedly a profound sin when committed by the Obama White House in selecting Sotomayor.
Yet the right can never bring its corrosive racial skepticism to bear on Thomas, a man who had proven his willingness to parrot reactionary bromides. He is the single most prominent beneficiary of the quest for diversity in American history, but he is their diversity candidate -- and thus deserved elevation, if not as a distinguished jurist, then because he had suffered discrimination as a conservative.
Meanwhile, Rich Lowry takes a shot at becoming the winger voice of reason:
My advice, which tracks with that of others today, is: 1) Don't call her names, and yes, "stupid" and "racist" are names; 2) Don't whine about the double standard when a) it's just a fact that a white male can't say the kind of things she did in her "Latina lecture" and survive (if you don't understand why, you haven't paid attention to American history) and b) liberal Democrats can get away with viciously opposing a Latino nominee like Miguel Estrada without paying a real political price because Latinos aren't primed to believe that liberal Democrats are hostile to them and their interests (plus, the public doesn't really pay attention to appeals-court nominees); 3) Do treat her personally with an extra measure of respect because old-fashioned people — and thank goodness, there are still a lot of them out there — will expect a woman to get more deference than a man.Good luck with that, man. And his pal Mark "Change Her Name to Suddamyah" Krikorian (and how DO you pronounce "Krikorian" in American, anyway...? ... tries to become the winger
sidekick of reason:Well what DID your name change thing have to do with, then, Krikorian? An inability to pronounce compound words??? Dude, your name is KRIKORIAN...!
I think Krauthammer's right in his column today: "Use the upcoming hearings not to deny her the seat, but to illuminate her views. . . . The argument should be elevated, respectful, and entirely about judicial philosophy." (My own observations about her name had nothing to do with her as such.) Gingrich, Limbaugh, and Tancredo crying "racist" isn't going to help at all. I know that's unfair, because any kind of Republican nominee, even a Hispanic woman judge, would already have been crucified based on the comments Judge Sotomayor has made, and any on the Left who deny that are simply lying. But that's the reality of the battlespace we're in.
Labels: Judge Sonia Sotomayor, right wing smear machine, Supreme Court