The media have almost warned senators not to oppose Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. To do so would be racist, they seem to suggest. Her confirmation is a foregone conclusion, we're supposed to believe.
Why? Especially when she's made an openly racist comment -- and her vote to discriminate against white firefighters in a case out of New Haven, Conn., may be overturned just before her confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill?
In milquetoast fashion, Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., has said he wants an "apology" from Sotomayor for once saying she "would hope" Latinas make better decisions than white males because of their rich life experiences. An apology? That would make it OK?
With all due respect to our friend Sen. Graham, his frayed feelings aren't the issue. Ms. Sotomayor's thought processes are.
More troubling still is the fact that her decision in the New Haven case could be overturned just as she's applying for a job on the Supreme Court. That would necessarily call into question the soundness of her judgment.
The questions that will linger until Sotomayor's confirmation hearings before the Senate are:
- Do racist views matter?
- Does judgment matter?
If the answer to either of those questions is "yes," then Sotomayor had better hold off sending out invitations to her swearing in.
In the New Haven case, 19 white firefighters -- and, notably, one Hispanic firefighter -- sued the city after they were denied promotions. The city denied them promotions and threw out the promotion test because no black firefighters scored well enough to advance.
The effect of the ruling was that the white and Hispanic firefighters were penalized for their race.
Sotomayor was one of two judges on a three-judge federal appeals court panel to side with the city in denying the white and Hispanic firefighters promotions.
"The high court this month is expected to overrule" Sotomayor, writes the Los Angeles Times .
It's interesting, too, that the conventional wisdom in the media is that Sotomayor's ideology can't be an issue. But when he was a senator, Barack Obama by his own admission voted against Supreme Court justices based on ideology alone.
We're not saying Sotomayor's nomination shouldn't succeed. But neither should it be a fait accompli .
Her views on race, her ideology and her judgment are all fair game -- and in question.