ChrisWeigant.com

Addressing Sotomayor's Critics

[ Posted Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 – 18:13 PDT ]

Senator Dianne Feinstein finally said what I've been waiting for someone to say about the whole "reverse racism" charge now being levied by Republicans against President Barack Obama's first Supreme Court pick, Judge Sonia Sotomayor. From this weekend's Face The Nation, Feinstein summed the entire controversy up in her first response to moderator Bob Schieffer:

Well, there's one word, Bob, in the statement. It's the word "better." That a Latina woman who has gone through these experiences, that her views would be better. And without that one word, it's a perfectly fine statement. And I understand what she meant by it.

So you could say the use of that word was inartful. But I think you have to look at an individual in their total context. This is, in fact, an amazing woman. She is, in fact, the American dream.

Sotomayor's full quote, utterly removed from the context of her full speech, was: "I would hope that a Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life." I won't get into putting her entire speech in context, because many others have already adequately done so. Instead, I'd like to focus on the point Feinstein was making.

OK, one tiny bit of context is necessary. From the same paragraph as the quote Republicans are focusing on, Sotomayor leads in with the original quote she is riffing off of (the paragraph can be found on page five of her speech), which she attributes to both Justice O'Connor and (possibly) Justice Coyle: "a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases."

Feinstein is right. If Sotomayor had paraphrased a little more closely, she would have kept the final clause intact (the "same conclusion" instead of "a better conclusion"). She didn't, which is where the controversy arises. But even for what right-wingers are calling "reverse racism," this is pretty tame stuff. The preceding clause to the offending "better" is also important -- "more often than not." This means, taken at her literal wording, Sotomayor believes a Latina would come to a better conclusion than a white man something more than 50 percent of the time. As racial superiority rhetoric goes, this is not exactly bomb-throwing language.

But Feinstein correctly focuses in on the one word which is deemed not acceptible to the public at large. This isn't racism so much as egalitarianism. Americans feel resentful against anyone -- of any race or class or status -- who espouses that they are superior to others by dint of their situation. This abhorrence of what is properly called "elitism" runs deep in the American psyche and always has.

But who knew white males had such thin skins? Up until about a half-century ago (and much later, in some areas) -- for centuries before, I might add -- it was socially quite acceptible to espouse that white males were superior to every other demographic in this country. This country was founded not upon rights for all, but instead upon rights not just for white males but white property-owning males. Poor white males couldn't even vote in a lot of places long after the Constitution's ink was dry. Everybody else had to fight to slowly get the rights (like voting or serving on a jury) that property-owning males have enjoyed since the beginning.

You just can't escape from the fact that of the 110 Supreme Court justices over our country's history, 106 of them have been white males. Two women, and two African-Americans, have also served on our highest court. Until roughly thirty years ago, a woman had never sat on that bench.

So it's not like white males should really feel all that threatened, even though technically they are a minority themselves (white women are the largest demographic in this country).

But the question itself should be addressed: will Sotomayor be some sort of "reverse racist" judge -- an "activist" judge to boot, no doubt -- or will she apply the law fairly no matter who comes before her in court?

The second arrow in the quiver of the Republicans attacking Sotomayor is a case currently before the Supreme Court, where her appellate decision may be overturned -- the Ricci case (Ricci v. DeStefano). This case, which pitted firefighters against the city of New Haven, Connecticut, was decided unanimously by the Second Circuit in a very brief and unsigned opinion which upheld the lower court's ruling on the case.

To use this case against Sotomayor in trying to paint her as some sort of "activist judge" (a label I called an oxymoron last week) is such a profound example of doublethink that I'm surprised Republicans haven't had an epidemic of whiplash from snapping their heads around in the opposite direction so fast.

Again, without getting into the facts of the case (which many others have done a much better job than I ever could), Republicans are actually arguing here that Sotomayor should have been an activist judge in this case. The question before her, as a member of an appellate circuit court, was whether the law had been applied correctly in the lower court's ruling. What was the law? Did the ruling follow the law? Is the law constitutional? Sotomayor, in this case, decided that whatever her own personal empathetic feelings were, that the law was clear -- what New Haven had done was legal, in other words -- and that the ruling did indeed follow the law as written. Republicans are insisting that she should have come to some other conclusion, but that would have been their exact definition of "judicial activism" -- a judge making law from the bench, in other words. And we all know how much Republicans are against legislating from the bench, right? Except in this case, it appears, when that is exactly what they are saying Sotomayor (and the other judges on the circuit court -- this was a unanimous ruling, remember, not Sotomayor's alone) should have done.

Intellectually, the Republicans' argument -- taken in the context of just about everything else they've ever said on the subject of judicial activism -- is laughable in its inconsistency.

Which brings us to a third subject which may get a bit more play in the days ahead. Glenn Greenwald over at Salon has the story (which he credits a commenter on Andrew Sullivan's blog for pointing out).

This is an interesting case, which (had Sotomayor actually been a white male) may have been brought up against her (or him, in this example) in the context of judicial attitudes towards racism. The case is known as Pappas v. Giuliani and involved a white policeman who was apparently fed up with getting donation pleas in the mail from various organizations. So he -- completely anonymously, and not identifying himself as a New York City police officer -- stuffed their return envelopes with blatant and quite ugly racist pamphlets, which he then mailed back to the organization "in protest" (as he later averred in his court case). After a lengthy investigation involving coded return envelopes being sent out in subsequent mailings, Pappas was identified as the source of the racist propaganda (which was quite ugly, as racial statements tend to be). The city fired him (which is why Rudy Giuliani is the first named defendant). Pappas sued. He lost when his case was dismissed. The court found that the NYPD were within their rights to weed out racists within their ranks, even if such racist speech was anonymous, did not identify the city or the police department, and was done on his own time.

Sotomayor's circuit court handled Pappas' appeal. In a split decision, two out of three of the judges who heard the appeal ruled with the lower court. But Sotomayor dissented, and wrote the dissent herself. She held that Pappas' First Amendment rights allowed him to be a racist on his own time, especially since he was doing so anonymously and not identifying himself as a police officer. You can read her whole dissent from the trial transcript, if interested.

Meaning Sotomayor stood up for the rights of a white racist cop over the city's right to fire him for being a white racist cop. This doesn't exactly fit with the caricature Republicans are drawing of her right now. And, as I said (in an ironic twist), if Sotomayor had been a white male, this case would now be getting a lot more attention, to say the least.

So when fairly examining the charge from the right that Sotomayor is some species of Latina-power "racist" who is on a judicial activist mission to favor minorities over white folks from the bench, it's fairly easy to see that the charge just isn't going to stick. They are reduced to making their argument over one word from one sentence from one speech given years ago. That word -- "better" -- was indeed inartfully chosen. But if she truly believed what her critics are accusing her of believing, some other evidence of her beliefs would have surfaced by now. Thousands of people, both professional and amateur, are combing her voluminous writings and decisions for political reasons right now. And all they've found is one word from one speech.

Sotomayor's critics then try to pirouette into painting her as some sort of "judicial activist" favoring minorities by using a case where she showed judicial restraint, and ignored whatever empathetic urges she may have had to legislate from the bench. That this argument makes absolutely no sense when measured against virtually every other thing Republicans have ever said about judges simply has not dawned on the mainstream media quite yet.

And in what could be called her most racially explosive case so far unearthed, Sotomayor did indeed buck the majority on her court -- in favor of a white supremacist racist cop. She's hardly a Latina Malcolm X, in other words.

What these cases prove to me, so far (there's always the possibility of "the other shoe dropping" of course) is that if anything, Sotomayor scrupulously avoids letting her heritage have any sort of bias in her decision-making as a judge, no matter how strong the provocation, or how strong the urge to legislate from the bench.

In other words, if she wasn't a Latina and a woman, she would be exactly the kind of judge Republicans have always said they support. Which begs the question, what is it exactly about Sotomayor which enrages her critics? The only difference between her and their professed ideal judge seems to be her ethnic background and her gender. I leave it for everyone to make their own conclusions as to how racism (and sexism) is truly a part of this debate.

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

46 Comments on “Addressing Sotomayor's Critics”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    While watching FTN, I was thinking that Senator Feinstein just played into the crazy argument that many Republicans have been making over the now infamous Sotomayor quote.

    I don’t think that replacing ‘better’ with ‘different’, as some are suggesting, makes a whole lot of sense. I mean, the point of what Judge Sotomayor said, as far as I understand, is that a different background/race/gender (as opposed to privileged white males) can lead to judgements that are more sound, not judgements that are just different. Isn’t that the whole idea of wanting to make sure that the justices that make up the Supreme Court are from diverse backgrounds and are more representative of what America is?

    I guess what I’m saying is that the use of the word ‘better’ is entirely appropriate in the context of Judge Sotomayor’s entire speech. Far from being ‘racist’ or expressing a notion of superiority, the quote in question simply states the obvious about how diversity based on gender, race, socio-economic position etc. can help to improve the odds of reaching a more sound judgement and decision when resolving legal issues, especially those issues involving discrimination, the American psyche notwithstanding.

    In any event, I just think this whole uproar is so much ado about nothing. Now, if anyone can point to a case and decision in which she espoused her superior judicial philosophy, then there would be something to talk about.

    But, it's a pretty safe bet that she’s going to be asked about this at her Senate confirmation hearing - the senators on the committee are probably now sparring over who's going to ask it. Here’s hoping she doesn’t pull a Dianne Feinstein!

  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Elizabeth -

    Now, I'm no big fan of Feinstein or anything, but I thought she did a pretty good job summing the issue up.

    I also read something by the Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting folks after I had posted this which pointed out how many news orgs chop off the beginning of her sentence too, which is also a qualifier on what she was saying: "I would hope that..."

    I thought that was a good point, and one that I had missed (I notice more when people drop the "more often than not" personally).

    -CW

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    @Liz

    In any event, I just think this whole uproar is so much ado about nothing.

    That's pretty much the whole attitude from the Left in general and is my exact point.

    That point being, if it had been Bush that nominated a Republican White Male and said male had made the comment that

    "I would hope that a Caucasian man with the richness of his experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a black female who hasn’t lived that life."

    would the Left not be reacting with MORE hysterics than the Right is acting now??

    Of course they would.

    Personally, it IS much ado about nothing, since the comment, while being racist, is one little grain of salt in a sea of other information and data.

    The GOP is simply reacting hysterically about this to serve a political agenda.

    As the Democrats would do if the situation was reversed.

    That has been and will always be my only point..

    Michale....

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    If President Bush - or any other president, Democratic or Republican - had nominated for Supreme Court justice - or for anything else - any white male who would say that a “Caucasian man with the richness of his experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a black female who hasn’t lived that life”, then that would be grounds, in my book for impeachment of the President, ridiculing of the nominee, and shame on everyone else who would not call for the same action!!!

    Seriously, if a white male appointed to any high office ever made a comment like that, he’d be laughed out of court, so to speak.

    You may be right that the GOP is simply reacting hysterically about this to serve a political agenda. I also agree that, Democrats may act similarly in a reversed situation.

    But, my point is simply this.. the situation you describe here is NOT the equivalent of a ‘reverse situation’ but rather a situation that, should it ever occur, would be hysterically funny, if not entirely pathetic. In other words, find a better analogy, or reverse situation, and your arguments may make more sense.

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    Actually, I don’t think Senator Feinstein read the entire Sotomayor speech in question. If she had, then she would know that Judge Sotomayor did not mean to say ‘different’ instead of ‘better’. A careful read of that speech clearly shows the point that the judge was making and her quote makes perfect common sense within that context.

    There is another part of that speech that everyone seems to ignore - the part where Sotomayor suggests her disagreement with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s quote that, to paraphrase, a wise old male and a wise old women would reach the same conclusion. I tend to agree with Judge Sotomayor.

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    @Liz

    Seriously, if a white male appointed to any high office ever made a comment like that, he’d be laughed out of court, so to speak.

    So, you are saying that it's OK for a hispanic female to make a comment that a white male could not make?? (Besides the obvious gender-related statements??)

    How is this not bigotry and racism??

    the situation you describe here is NOT the equivalent of a ‘reverse situation’ but rather a situation that, should it ever occur, would be hysterically funny, if not entirely pathetic.

    Explain??

    It sounds like you are buying into the racist idea that one race CAN BE superior to another race.

    That isn't what you are claiming, is it?

    Michale....

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    I'm saying that the two situations you describe are simply not equivalent...unless you are saying that the white man's experience in America is no different from the experience of any man of colour or of any woman. If you are saying that the experiences of these groups ARE the same, then we have nothing further to discuss on this issue.

    If you want to provide an equivalent or reverse situation, then provide one that makes sense. For example, how would the Democrats react if a Republican president had nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the high court, or someone who had made a similar statement? Would they be jumping all over this infamous quote? Maybe they would.

    Judge Sotomayor's quote has nothing to do, whatsoever, with superiority of one race over another. Have your read her entire speech? It's a dandy and I'll bet that she had a similar conversation with President Obama and that it made his decision an easy one!

    Once again, if I may add, the media is proving its collective cluelessness on this one. But, what the heck else is new.

  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    I just saw a news report in which I think Senator Feinstein said that Judge Sotomayor indicated that she used a poor choice of words in the infamous quote.

    I still strongly disagree that her choice of words was a poor one, though it certainly is one that most people refuse to understand. But, that may be just me...literally. So be it.

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    @Liz

    I'm saying that the two situations you describe are simply not equivalent…unless you are saying that the white man's experience in America is no different from the experience of any man of colour or of any woman. If you are saying that the experiences of these groups ARE the same, then we have nothing further to discuss on this issue.

    You are keying on the accuracy of the statement itself.

    Whether or not a white male's experiences can makes one's wisdom superior or inferior to a hispanic female's experiences is completely irrelevant.

    The claim that a white male's wisdom is superior to a hispanic female's wisdom is racist, pure and simple..

    Just as claiming that a hispanic female's wisdom is superior to a white male's wisdom is racist.

    The validity of the claim is not the question here. The question is, "Is such claims of superiority racist."

    And, by definition, the answer is a logical and factual YES...

    Judge Sotomayor's quote has nothing to do, whatsoever, with superiority of one race over another. Have your read her entire speech? It's a dandy and I'll bet that she had a similar conversation with President Obama and that it made his decision an easy one!

    Sotomayor's speech may not have nothing to do with race. But that quote does..

    If the quote had nothing to do with race, then why did Sotomayor mention race in the quote??

    Once again, if I may add, the media is proving its collective cluelessness on this one. But, what the heck else is new.

    Agreed..

    I just saw a news report in which I think Senator Feinstein said that Judge Sotomayor indicated that she used a poor choice of words in the infamous quote.

    Online or on TV?? If online, I would like a link, if you could. It seems like, to date, everyone BUT Sotomayor has agreed that it was a poor choice of words.. Anytime a public figure tries to express superiority using racial criteria, it's ALWAYS a poor choice.. Regardless if it is a white person, a black person, a hispanic person or a vulcan person.

    Michale.....

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    Totally off topic, just because it's funny... :D

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/cartoons/gallery/69175.html

    Michale.....

  11. [11] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i think what elizabeth meant was that a white man would have no legitimate reason to say such a thing about himself joining the highest positions of power and influence. he would be unjustified in saying it about himself because there is no question of white men being underprivileged or under-represented. instead he would focus on some other aspect of his upbringing that led him to become who he is.

    on the other hand, our country has a very real dearth of women and minorities in power. furthermore, there is a widespread and unfair belief that this is due to women and minorities lacking the inherent merit (see "the bell curve"), or because their cultural experiences put them at a disadvantage. the first page and a half of that speech is about judge sotomayor's personal history, and the snippet in question is about whether or not that history matters in the judgment she brings to a case.

    after reading the whole speech, i see it as unequivocal that she was not talking about the experiences of just ANY hispanic female, she was talking about herself in particular, or any superior INDIVIDUAL who might have to deal with the stereotypes of the "lesser" arrayed against them.

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    @NYpoet

    And, like Liz, you buy into the accuracy of the statement itself..

    It doesn't matter if the claim is ludicrous or not.

    The fact that there is a claim of superiority based on racial criteria is what makes the statement a racist statement..

    after reading the whole speech, i see it as unequivocal that she was not talking about the experiences of just ANY hispanic female, she was talking about herself in particular,

    Then why bring race into it at all???

    Why didn't she say, "A person of my experiences would make more wise judicial choices than a person who didn't have my experiences."

    That conveys the exact same point (as you claim the point to be) without ANY racial overtones whatsoever..

    The **FACT** that Sotomayor chose to invoke race as the deciding criteria is what makes the statement racist.

    And no amount of liberal spin will change that one simple fact..

    By invoking race as the determinative criteria, Sotomayor made a racist statement.

    Period..

    Michale.....

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    Because I am a really nice guy (no, really.. I am.. :D) allow me to give ya'all the "spin" that you are groping and struggling for...

    "Yes, Judge Sotomayor, in the context of a racially exclusive lecture, made a comment in a speech that was racist in nature. But to claim that Judge Sotomayor is racist due to that one in context comment is ludicrous. Given Judge Sotomayor's history prior and subsequent to that one comment, it's impossible that one can make the case that Judge Sotomayor is a racist."

    A perfectly logical, rational and non-emotional response to the FACTS of the issue...

    By trying to re-define what the meaning of 'is' is, ya'all are doing more harm to your argument then you can possibly imagine..

    Call a spade a spade and move on.

    Michale.....

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Michale, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that YOUR interpretation of the facts ARE the facts. it is a fact that the statement was made. labeling the statement "racist" is your own extrapolation from that fact. the axiom underlying that extrapolation appears to be that a statement can be defined as racist 100% independently of the identity or intent of the speaker. i accept that you believe this, but elizabeth and i do not.

    it is not a racist statement because the individual making it (judge sotomayor) and the context in which it was stated (seeking equality within a racist society) imply neither racial superiority, nor the right to rule over other races. if you can establish some alternate theory of context or intent, i'd be interested to hear it, but otherwise you must accept that your "fact" is not quite as factual as you think it is.

  15. [15] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Elizabeth -

    I think "poor choice of words" is code for "politically, this is a headache that could have been avoided by changing one word." It's kind of Washington-speak, and should be seen through that lens.

    Michale -

    It wasn't so long ago that white men WERE making statements like the one you put together, in public, and quite often. Look at "the other side" in the Civil Rights era, for instance. Women and minorities have always fought against this historic headwind, and they sometimes feel that they have to be twice as good as a white man to get half as far. This is the underlying context to Sotomayor's comment, in my opinion. She is saying she "hopes" that she'll make a "better" decision than a white male "more often than not." Now compare that to the actual racist and sexist commentary from the 1960s or even 1970s when it came to minorities or women advancing professionally. Sotomayor isn't claiming racial superiority, as I see it, she is making a personal statement that she aspires ("would hope") to be better than a white man "more often than not." Maybe that's a racial criterion she is holding up for herself (see comment about twice as good to get half as far)? She mentioned race because the whole speech is about race, and her pride at being a Latina judge.

    I actually agree with the spin paragraph you wrote, except I would phrase it as "...in the context of a speech on race and justice, made a comment that, taken out of this context, has been called "racist in nature" by her opponents." But, on the whole, that's a fairly good paragraph.

    I think Rush and Newt are getting a few talkings-to by Republicans who actually have to run for office, as I see they're both backing away from their previous statements. Demographically, this could kill the Republican Party's chances to attract Latinos for a generation.

    -CW

  16. [16] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Tossing another log on the fire, as it were...

    Sotomayor, from a speech years earlier (1994):

    "Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that “a wise old man and a wise old woman reach the same conclusion in dueling cases. I am not so sure Justice O’Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes the line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, if Prof. Martha Minnow is correct, there can never be a universal definition of 'wise.' Second, I would hope that a wise woman with the richness of her experience would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion."

    This remark didn't even come up during her confirmation hearing for the Second Circuit...

    -CW

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    @nypoet

    So you, like Bashi, want to discuss the mechanics of the language. You want to determine what the meaning of 'is' is.. :^/

    It's a racist statement that no amount of spin can change..

    It's irrelevant as to whether or not Sotomayor *MEANT* it as a racist statement. As I have proven by the dictionary definition of "racist" and by giving comparable examples that are also undeniably racist. I have also shown that, if a comparable statement had been made by a white Republican male, ya'all would have screamed RACIST to the moon and back..

    If you have any FACTS to dispute the afore, then (as Ross Perot said in the 1992 Presidential Debates) "I am all ears."

    imply neither racial superiority

    Sorry, you are wrong. Sotomayor said that a Latino woman would make a BETTER judicial decision than a white male..

    BETTER = Superior

    And when given a racial criteria (as Sotomayor did) Superior = Racist..

    I am really surprised I have to explain this stuff. All I need to do is remind ya'all of the converse. If a Republican Male had made the same comment, ya'all would be screaming RACIST to the roof tops...

    What more proof do ya'all need???

    @CW

    It wasn't so long ago that white men WERE making statements like the one you put together, in public, and quite often.

    And, we are all agreed, that was racist..

    Sotomayor isn't claiming racial superiority, as I see it, she is making a personal statement that she aspires ("would hope") to be better than a white man "more often than not."

    If it was her intent to hold herself up solely, then she should have said that "I would hope that I, with the richness of my experience, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than any other who hasn’t lived that life."

    But by invoking her race and comparing it to another race, she made the statement a racist one..

    At the risk of being looked upon as an arrogant ass (too late!! :D) I am surprised I have to explain this to liberals! :D

    I actually agree with the spin paragraph you wrote, except I would phrase it as "…in the context of a speech on race and justice, made a comment that, taken out of this context, has been called "racist in nature" by her opponents." But, on the whole, that's a fairly good paragraph.

    I am not her "opponent".. I am completely and 1000% objective in this issue. I have no dog in the hunt, no axe to grind and no political agenda to serve.

    Regardless of Sotomayor's intent, regardless of the context of her audience and regardless of ANY political consideration whatsoever..... When one looks at the FACTS in a cold, impartial and objective manner, the statement is a racist statement. Pure and simple..

    That is all that I am claiming..

    Just the facts.....

    Michale

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    This definitely has been an interesting sociology experiment that shows how political bigotry can color how we think and what we say...

    Let's review the FACTS.

    We have a person of one political persuasion who makes a racist statement.

    Her opponents jump on this racist statement and, ignoring the facts of other data, attempt to use this statement to paint this person in a BAD political light.

    On the other side, we have her supporters who ignore the FACTS of the statement itself in an attempt to paint her in a GOOD political light..

    In essence, BOTH sides are guilty of playing political games, picking and choosing which facts they want to present and which facts they want to ignore, all in pursuit of pushing their specific political agenda..

    And yet, the facts remain.

    Sotomayor made a racist statement.

    Sotomayor has, to the best of my knowledge, not exhibited any other racial prejudices.

    "These are the facts. And they are undisputed."
    -Captain Jack Ross, A FEW GOOD MEN

    As I said.... Fascinating... :D

    Michale.....

  19. [19] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    michale:

    So you, like Bashi, want to discuss the mechanics of the language. You want to determine what the meaning of 'is' is.

    incorrect. i want to discuss what the MEANING of language; specifically the meaning of 'RACISM,' not the meaning of 'IS.' the "mechanics" of language are called syntax, which is not what we're discussing at all. the study of meaning is called "semantics," which is much more germane.

    1. unlike the verb form 'is,' or any number of other words, the noun 'racism' and associated adjective form 'racist' has a certain quality known as being ABSTRACT. this means that it is something that does not exist in the mass, and can therefore not be defined in concrete terms.

    2. because they cannot be measured concretely, abstract concepts differ according to an individual's perception of them, and can therefore only be termed factual inasmuch as there is a general consensus (presumably among most educated people).

    3. between myself, liz bashi and (certainly not least) cw, at least four presumably educated people disagree with you about the factuality of your interpretation RE: the semantic range of the dictionary's definition of racism.

    4. there exists no consensus regarding the abstract concept which you claim as fact.

    Q.E.D. that which you consider fact has not been adequately established as such.

    i have provided a philosophical proof to back up my point of view. what have you provided, other than:

    "It's a racist statement that no amount of spin can change... (i.e. nyah nyah, i can't hear you)

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    3. between myself, liz bashi and (certainly not least) cw, at least four presumably educated people disagree with you about the factuality of your interpretation RE: the semantic range of the dictionary's definition of racism.

    But ya'all have an inherent bias that I am not suffering from.

    Ya'all are biased against anything Republican and, by extension of that, you would be prejudiced against the claim of racism.. In your mind, it is simply inconceivable that a Republican claim could possibly be true.. Granted, amongst ya'all, there are different levels of inconceivability, but it is nonetheless, present...

    Rush and Newt have stated that Sotomayor's statement was racist and you, by darn, will NEVER agree that Rush and Newt could POSSIBLY make a correct statement. You would disagree with Rush and Newt if they said that the sky is blue and water is wet.

    Ergo, you simply ignore the facts because they are inconvenient to the political virtual reality that you have created for yourself..

    You offer PHILOSOPHICAL proof..

    I offer facts..

    And the fact is that racism is defined as an expression of superiority of one race over another.

    And Sotormayor expressed that she hoped her race would have superior judicial wisdom over another's race..

    THAT is the very definition of racism..

    And your refusal to accept this simple fact is the very definition of political bigotry..

    These are the facts, your philosophical argument notwithstanding....

    Michale.....

  21. [21] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    And your refusal to accept this simple fact is the very definition of political bigotry...

    ah, so we're all politically bigoted. that's a much neater explanation than admitting the possibility that you might be wrong. do you have any proof to offer for my political bigotry against republicans, other than the fact that i frequently disagree with you?

    as it happens, i've supported and voted for certain republicans as recently as this past november. got any other pet theories?

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    do you have any proof to offer for my political bigotry against republicans,

    Is it possible that Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh could ever be right in how they describe Republicans??

    A simple YES or NO will suffice..

    Regardless of that, please offer into evidence ANY points that might show you to be politically agnostic...

    My liberal bona fides are well established... What exactly are your conservative bona fides??

    Michale.....

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    ACK!!!!

    Is it possible that Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh could ever be right in how they describe Republicans??

    Please change that to read "Is it possible that Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh could ever be right in how they describe DEMOCRATS???

    One tee meenie martoonies... :D

    Michale....

  24. [24] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Is it possible that Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh could ever be right in how they describe Republicans (or democrats)??

    even broken clocks are right twice a day. three times if they're stuck on twelve when daylight savings ends. i think newt is right more frequently than rush, probably because he doesn't have to worry about ratings (and neither is right even close to as frequently as CW, which is why i continue to comment here). though i don't recall the specific instance, i remember at some point thinking newt was way smarter than he's given credit for.

    i don't recall all my votes that have gone to republicans, but i did vote for marcelo llorente for state house this time around.

    http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/SECTIONS/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4286

    not that i agree with most of his views, but i think he's sincerely trying to help our district, and his democratic opponent i wasn't so sure about.

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK, fair enough..

    I accept that you have voted Republican on occasion..

    But, other than voting, (I have voted Democrat in the 2006 and 2008 elections) what Republican positions do you support?

    As I indicated previously, with 4 exceptions, I support all liberal positions. Being a registered NPA (No Political Affiliation) here in FL, I am completely and 1000% politically agnostic.

    Which is why I can be completely objective in the political arena as far as Political Parties are concerned..

    It is this objectivity that allows me to view the FACTS in a completely cold, objective and logical manner..

    And, in this case, the facts are that Sotomayor made a racist statement. Period..

    Her intent, her meaning and the context is completely irrelevant to a logical and rational assessment.

    These are the facts, stripped bare of all political bigotry or spin...

    Michale.....

  26. [26] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i support very few democratic positions, much less republican ones. at the moment i support the democratic party in general and the president in particular, primarily because of fairness issues; though i could fill a book on why the Democratic policies aren't too smart either. in general the conservative side of me has to do with police, law enforcement, the death penalty, budget-balancing (there's one the cons USED to be good at before reagan, but by being born in '75 i guess i missed the boat), and i'm sure there are a few others i'm not thinking of.

    but that aside, michale, you really are completely off in the way you're interpreting the dictionary definition you cited. the word "superior" in that definition of racism refers for the most part to being more able or more desirable in general.

    merriam-webster phrases it differently:

    "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."

    in my view, there is NO way any sane individual could read that speech and come away thinking she espoused that definition of racism. i'm not calling you crazy, but i think we may have to agree to disagree on this one. or i'll agree to disagree and you'll refuse to acknowledge. either way.

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    @nypoet

    OK, I like the Miriam definition better because it proves even MORE so that the statement in question from Sotomayor is, indeed, racist.

    The definition:

    "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."

    Sotomayor's statement:

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

    Sotomayor stated that she would hope that a Latina woman would come to a BETTER (IE "superior") judicial decision than a white male.

    Looking at your definition as well as mine, there are two factors that determine racism.

    1. Mention of race as a determinative criteria
    2. An expression of superiority or inferiority

    Now, looking at Sotomayor's statement, is there a mention of race in a determinative manner? Yes there is.

    Is there an expression or statement of superiority. Yes there is.

    Ergo, with BOTH elements of the definition of racism satisfied, it is therefore factually determined that the statement is a racist statement.

    in my view, there is NO way any sane individual could read that speech and come away thinking she espoused that definition of racism.

    I have already conceded that the speech may or may not be a racist speech. I don't know because I haven't read it as it is not relevant to my point. But I will trust you and Liz's et al word that the speech is not a racist speech.

    However, that one particular statement IS a racist statement.

    This has been PROVEN by two different definitions and by the fact that, if the same sort of statement had been uttered by a GOP white male, ya'all would AGREE with me that it is a racist statement..

    What more do ya'all want?? A signed document from the gods?? :D

    Michale.....

  28. [28] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    But ya'all have an inherent bias that I am not suffering from.

    I can assure you of two things. One: you definitely have an inherent bias (everyone does) and two: you do not know the inherent bias of everyone here.

    The problem with your dictionary definition of racism is it's clinical nature. It does not show the strong emotional charge of the term. Because of this emotional charge, attempting to force an absolutist binary determination to the word does not add anything to the conversation. Hence, no one falling for your game. It's the shades of gray that are important not the black or white. That if you force a binary determination of racist or not racist on to a statement someone makes, everyone applies their own personal threshold filter to it. This threshold is not like tennis where 99% out is 100% in. Each person has a different threshold as to what is racist. This puts that determination thoroughly in to the realm of opinion.

    Personally, the preface of Sotomayor's quote, "I would hope..." does not pass my racist threshold filter, therefore I would deem it not racist. On the other hand if you wanted an honest discussion of the subject, on a graduated scale from black being extreme "I like to lynch someone of another race before breakfast" racist to white, "I don't understand why skin color is used as a differentiation at all" not racist, I would put her statement at about light gray.

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    @Bashi

    Because of this emotional charge, attempting to force an absolutist binary determination to the word does not add anything to the conversation.

    Any emotional charge is completely irrelevant to the topic and is only invoked to obfuscate the facts.

    The facts being that, by definition, Sotomayor's statement was a racist statement.

    Personally, the preface of Sotomayor's quote, "I would hope…" does not pass my racist threshold filter, therefore I would deem it not racist.

    However, if a white Republican male would make the same claim using the same "I would hope" phrase, you WOULD consider it racist.

    Don't bother denying it because we both know it to be true.

    The simple fact that ya'all would consider the statement racist if it came from someone you politically disagree with simply supports the validity of my argument.

    There is no gray area..

    There is no "emotional charge".

    There is only logic and facts.

    Racism is defined as an expression of superiority or inferiority using race-based criteria..

    FACT...

    Sotomayor's statement included an expression of superiority.

    FACT...

    Sotomayor's statement included race in a determinative and/or criterial context.

    FACT...

    Ergo, by any logical or rational thought process, the only possible conclusion is that the statement was racist.

    Now, if you want to throw in an emotional argument that is, of course, your prerogative.

    But logic always trumps emotionalism..

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    Consider these 4 statements:

    1. "I would hope that a black man with the richness of his experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."

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

    3. "I would hope that a white woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a black male who hasn’t lived that life."

    4. "I would hope that a white man with the richness of his experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a hispanic female who hasn’t lived that life."

    Using your argument, NONE of these statements would be racist..

    Yet, it is obvious to a logical and objective person that ALL of these statements are racist statements.

    They ALL have BOTH elements that define a racist statement.

    An expression of superiority or inferiority.
    Race-based criteria as a determinative factor.

    ALL 4 of those statements satisfy the definition of being racist statements.

    Michale.....

  31. [31] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Blah, blah, blah...

    To paraphrase: you don't want an honest discussion of racism, you just want others to agree with you.

    Good luck with that.

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    The "honest" discussion went out the window when the facts of the issue were denied in favor of an "emotional" argument...

    Let's face it. The facts are not on your side in this issue..

    Rather than concede the point, you try and obfuscate the argument with an emotional appeal.

    Why can't you just acknowledge the facts and concede that you let partisan bigotry color your assessment of the facts in this issue??

    Because that is exactly what has occurred..

    Michale.....

  33. [33] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    michale, yet again you conveniently latched onto (and quoted) those words that support your claim, and conspicuously ignored those parts that did not. Let's compare:

    Dictionary:
    "a BELIEF that race is THE PRIMARY determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."

    Michale:
    1. Mention of race as a determinative criteria
    2. An expression of superiority or inferiority

    Criteria abjectly ignored
    3. The person must BELIEVE in race as the criterion.
    4. race must be THE PRIMARY determinant of differences.
    5. those differences must produce an INHERENT (i.e. not learned) superiority.

    Other Michale arguments:
    you let partisan bigotry color your assessment
    These are the facts, stripped bare of all political bigotry or spin…
    This has been PROVEN
    the facts are
    the answer is a logical and factual
    etc. etc. ad nauseum.

    You're not arguing with a full deck michale, or even a half deck for that matter, but you sure can stay on-message.

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    You're not arguing with a full deck michale, or even a half deck for that matter, but you sure can stay on-message.

    As with Osborne, you can't win the debate on the facts, so you take to insulting your opponent..

    I accept your concession of the debate.

    As to your "criteria"..

    3. The person must BELIEVE in race as the criterion.

    This is only required as to prove that the person making the statement is a racist.

    It is not required to prove that the statement in and of itself, is racist..

    Example:

    "Black people are lazy" is a racist statement in and of itself.

    If I were to BELIEVE that black people are lazy, that would make me a racist. However, my belief (or disbelief) in the validity of the statement has absolutely NO BEARING on the fact that the statement, in and of itself, IS a racist statement..

    Do you comprehend the logic of this position? Do you understand the difference between the person making the statement and the statement itself?

    "Belief", like "emotion", has absolutely NO bearing in the determination as to whether or not the statement is a racist statement..

    4. race must be THE PRIMARY determinant of differences.

    In Sotomayor's statement, race WAS one of the primary determinants. Along with gender.. So, by your own criteria, Sotomayor's statement was a racist statement.

    5. those differences must produce an INHERENT (i.e. not learned) superiority.

    Again, your criteria proves my argument to be true and valid. Sotomayor's statement claims that a Latina female's wisdom is inherently superior than a white male's wisdom. If she wanted to indicate HER OWN PERSONAL wisdom would be "better", why did she bring her race into the discussion at all??

    Why are you so adamant about ignoring the facts?? You claim no political bias, yet you are fighting tooth and nail the reality of her statement and the FACTS that define her statement.

    The simple fact that you have to resort to childish and immature personal attacks simply proves to me that you have run out of any sane arguments, emotional or otherwise...

    Michale.....

  35. [35] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    michale:

    I accept your concession of the debate.

    you accept an awful lot of concessions that were never offered. i never conceded anything, but i accept your tactic of incitement. well done. *golf clap*

    the validity of the statement has absolutely NO BEARING on the fact that the statement, in and of itself, IS a racist statement...

    a distinction that has been offered by you, but by neither dictionary you cited. oh yeah, i forgot; you say it's a fact, therefore it must be a fact.

    your criteria proves my argument to be true and valid.

    first of all, the singular form is "criterion." secondly, it does no such thing. Sotomayor's statement does not claim that Latina females have inherently superior wisdom, nor does any of the surrounding context imply that to be her meaning.

    As with Osborne, you can't win the debate on the facts, so you take to insulting your opponent... [snip] you have to resort to childish and immature personal attacks

    aw, don't go and get all defensive now, buddy, and imagine all these presumed insults. the deck of cards analogy is just an abstraction to your refusal to address the full measure of the facts, rather than just a few selected ones. considering how many people here you've called bigots and other pejoratives, i don't think you can sit there and call anyone else a hypocrite, "cupcake."

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    Actually, I can.. :D

    It's quite easy...

    You wanna know why??

    Because no one, repeat NO ONE, has denied my assertion that, if a white Republican male had made a similar statement to what Sotomayor had made, ya'all would scream RACIST to the high heavens..

    Ergo, if the statement is racist if a white Republican male says it, then it is racist when a hispanic Democrat female says it.

    I am honestly surprised I have to explain such basic logic...

    But, if you want to continue to play, by all means, let's play..

    Question #1:
    Does the definition of racist include a stated claim of superiority or inferiority?

    YES or NO... Of course, the answer is YES...

    Question #2:
    Does the definition of racist require a declaration of race as a determinative factor?

    YES or NO... Of course, the answer is YES.

    Question #3:
    Does Sotomayor's statement express a claim of superiority?

    YES or NO... Of course, the answer is YES.

    Question #4:
    Does Sotomayor's statement include a comparison of race?

    YES or NO... Of course, the answer is YES.

    These are FACTS.. Not "emotions" or "beliefs". These are FACTS.. Not because I say they are, but because they simply are.

    What is happening here is that ya'all, due to political bigotry and emotionalism, are trying ever so hard to convince me that the sky is green and that water is dry. You have been sucked in by your own partisanship that you are forced to deny reality to further your own argument. When that fails, you make emotional or belief-based arguments. And when THAT fails, you resort to childish and immature personal attacks...

    Sorry, son.. I don't ride that bike...

    NO ONE has been able to refute the facts with facts of their own.

    Until such time as you are able to do so, you will always come out of this debate, wanting...

    It's really that simple...

    Michale.....

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    Since you have decided to make this discussion about me personally, I would like to clue you in on a few things, not the least of which is that you are operating under a misconception about me.

    I have absolutely NO problem admitting when I am wrong. As many here who know me can attest to, when confronted with the facts, logically and rationally delivered, I am ECSTATIC to concede the point. It means I have learned something new and it thrills me to no end..

    But, as those same people can tell you, when I am right, when I KNOW I am right, when I have logic and the facts on my side, I am like a pit bull insofar as I will never let it go.

    So, if you want to prevail, your choice is simple.. Provide me with FACTS and do so in a logical, rational and, above all else, mature and adult manner...

    Until you can, we'll simply have more of the same... You with your emotional and subjective arguments and me wiping the floor with same... :D

    Michale.....

  38. [38] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    michale:

    even if one were to concede your limitation to the concrete definition without context, which i don't, the first two words of the definition of racism are "a belief." if racism is a belief regarding the rest of the definition, even under your own terms of interpretation a statement could not be racist unless it also were proven to be a belief, which in this case, it hasn't.

    instead of addressing criticisms of the vast holes in your argument, you simply name-call and refer to these criticisms as childish and immature personal attacks. therefore, i accept your concession of the argument.

  39. [39] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    that last paragraph was tongue-in-cheek, by the way. sometimes it's difficult to imply in written words the tone in which one would say them.

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    Do Sotomayor's statements express racial and gender superiority?

    Yes they do.

    The fact that she has made nearly the same statement at least a half-dozen times also puts lie to Obama's claim that Sotomayor "misspoke"..

    We can dance around the definition of 'is' all night long. But that will not change the facts.

    And the facts are that Sotomayor, on many occasions, has made statements expressing a racial and gender superiority.

    To paraphrase:

    "These are the facts. And they are {indisputable}."
    -Captain Jack Ross

    you simply name-call and refer to these criticisms as childish and immature personal attacks.

    I stated that your argument is childish and immature. I didn't say that YOU were.

    You see, unlike some on here, I attack the message and not the messenger...

    It's why I always win these debates. :D

    Michale.....

  41. [41] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Do Sotomayor's statements express racial and gender superiority?
    Yes they do.

    i understand why you believe they do, and if your limited perspective were the only valid one, you'd be right. but it isn't, and you're not.

    We can dance around the definition of 'is' all night long.

    the definition of 'is' is concrete. either something exists, or it doesn't. the definition of 'racism' on the other hand, is defined as "a belief," abstract and therefore subject to consensus and context, like Love, Success, Freedom, or Feminism.

    And the facts are that Sotomayor, on many occasions, has made statements expressing a racial and gender superiority.

    OR she's expressed her own individual superiority as a means to empower a disadvantaged minority, which does not imply a belief in racial and gender superiority. but you have chosen not to see that possibility.

    to paraphrase:
    "it is futile to try to prove that there was {racism}"
    Lt. Kaffee

    or if you wish:
    "{michale} hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest"
    -paul simon

    You see, unlike some on here, I attack the message and not the messenger…

    It's why I always win these debates. :D

    the undisputed fact is that you do tend to attack, apparently without the consideration that your position might be wrong. your argument is insular and circular, without any opening for the possibility of a different understanding of the issue. this is why, (and i write this in concern, not in contempt) even if in your own paradigm you win, you still lose.

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    i understand why you believe they do, and if your limited perspective were the only valid one, you'd be right. but it isn't, and you're not.

    PROVE IT..

    All you have been able to come up with is a "belief" argument which is, like Bashi's argument, an emotional argument..

    Show me FACTS that support your contention that an expression of racial superiority is not a racist statement.

    Do you have any facts??

    No, you do not..

    Do I have any facts?

    Yes I do...

    For sheets and greens, let's take Judge Sotomayor's speech and plug in a different race into the values where she makes claims of race.....


    "I intend tonight to touch upon the themes that this conference will be discussing this weekend and to talk to you about my WHITE identity, where it came from, and the influence I perceive it has on my presence on the bench.

    Who am I? I am a “Newyork-Caucasian.” For those of you on the West Coast who do not know what that term means: I am a born and bred New Yorker of WHITE-born parents who came to the states during World War II…

    The story of that success is what made me and what makes me the WHITE person that I am. The WHITE side of my identity was forged and closely nurtured by my family through our shared experiences and traditions…

    My family showed me by their example how wonderful and vibrant life is and how wonderful and magical it is to have a WHITE soul. They taught me to love being a WHITE person and to love America and value its lesson that great things could be achieved if one works hard for it. But achieving success here is no easy accomplishment for WHITES, and although that struggle did not and does not create a WHITE identity, it does inspire how I live my life…

    As of September 20, 1998, of the then 195 circuit court judges only two were… two WHITE women. Of the 641 district court judges only … eleven WHITE women. WHITE-American women comprise only 1% of the judiciary… And no WHITES, male or female, sit on the Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, District of Columbia or Federal Circuits.

    Sort of shocking, isn’t it? This is the year 2002. We have a long way to go. Unfortunately, there are some very deep storm warnings we must keep in mind. In at least the last five years the majority of nominated judges the Senate delayed more than one year before confirming or never confirming were WHITE men or women… These figures demonstrate that there is a real and continuing need for WHITE organizations and community groups throughout the country to exist and to continue their efforts of promoting WHITE women and men in their pursuit for equality in the judicial system…

    The focus of my speech tonight, however, is not about the struggle to get us where we are and where we need to go but instead to discuss with you what it all will mean to have more WHITES on the bench…

    Yet, we do have WHITES in more significant numbers on the bench and no one can or should ignore pondering what that will mean or not mean in the development of the law…

    Now Judge Cedarbaum expresses concern with any analysis of women and presumably against WHITE women on the bench, which begins and presumably ends with the conclusion that women or WHITES are different from men generally. She sees danger in presuming that judging should be gender or anything else based…

    While recognizing the potential effect of individual experiences on perception, Judge Cedarbaum nevertheless believes that judges must transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices and aspire to achieve a greater degree of fairness and integrity based on the reason of law. Although I agree with and attempt to work toward Judge Cedarbaum’s aspiration, I wonder whether achieving that goal is possible in all or even in most cases. And I wonder whether by ignoring our differences as WHITE people we do a disservice both to the law and society. Whatever the reasons why we may have different perspectives, either as some theorists suggest because of our cultural experiences or as others postulate because we have basic differences in logic and reasoning, are in many respects a small part of a larger practical question we as WHITE judges in society in general must address.

    I accept the thesis of a law school classmate, Professor Steven Carter of Yale Law School, in his affirmative action book that in any group of human beings there is a diversity of opinion because there is both a diversity of experiences and of thought…

    Yet, because I accept the proposition that, as Judge Resnik describes it, “to judge is an exercise of power” and because as, another former law school classmate, Professor Martha Minnow of Harvard Law School, states “there is no objective stance but only a series of perspectives — no neutrality, no escape from choice in judging,” I further accept that our experiences as WHITE women affect our decisions. The aspiration to impartiality is just that — it’s an aspiration because it denies the fact that we are by our experiences making different choices than others. Not all WHITES, in all or some circumstances or indeed in any particular case or circumstance, but enough WHITES in enough cases, will make a difference in the process of judging…

    The Judicature Journal has at least two excellent studies on how women on the courts of appeal and state supreme courts have tended to vote more often than their male counterpart to uphold women’s claims in sex discrimination cases and criminal defendants’ claims in search and seizure cases. As recognized by legal scholars, whatever the reason, not one WHITE woman in any one position, but as a group we will have an effect on the development of the law and on judging.

    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 NON-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 WHITE and women…

    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 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 WHITE woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a NON-WHITE male who hasn’t lived that life…

    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…

    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 WHITE women and WHITE people on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my WHITE heritage…

    I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate…"

    Now, tell me.. Honestly and truly.. If a white Republican had made a speech such as that you and people like you would be screaming to the high heavens and making racist claims left and right.

    Is this or is this not true?

    Yes it is...

    So please don't insult my intelligence by trying to define what 'is' means. I know what it means.. I also know that an expression of racial superiority is a racist statement...

    Michale.....

  43. [43] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    PROVE IT
    All you have been able to come up with is a "belief" argument which is, like Bashi's argument, an emotional argument...

    incorrect on both counts, it's a factual argument, and not my only argument. the word "belief" is the second word of the definition of racism, after "the." that's a fact. The term racism is abstract, just like love and freedom; another fact. abstractions can only be termed factual when a consensus has been established (fact). a consensus has not been established (fact).

    Q.E.D.

    which leaves us back where we were, gathering empirical data to build a consensus and determine whether or not your point of view is as factual as you've claimed it to be.

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    incorrect on both counts, it's a factual argument, and not my only argument. the word "belief" is the second word of the definition of racism, after "the." that's a fact. The term racism is abstract, just like love and freedom; another fact. abstractions can only be termed factual when a consensus has been established (fact). a consensus has not been established (fact).

    Considering all the empirical evidence that shows Sotomayor's continuous expression of racial superiority, it's well established that this is, in fact, her true "belief" and not just a random or single miss-utterance.

    It is clear from Sotomayor's own words, spanning more than a decade that she believes that a Latina woman with her experiences is superior to a white male without those experiences.

    That is, by definition, a racist claim.

    Now, if her words had expressed that she believes that HER experiences (PERIOD) makes her wisdom superior to another person's wisdom that DOESN'T have those experiences, THAT would not be a racist statement.

    But, by stating that "a Latina woman" (ANY Latina woman) with her experiences would have superior judgement, that, BY DEFINITION, makes it a racist statement.

    Even taking into account your "belief/emotional" argument, it is clear that, due to MULTIPLE INSTANCES of Sotomayor making this "Latina woman's wisdom is superior" claim, Sotomayor, in fact, believes her race is superior to another's race..

    A textbook definition of racism... But I understand how you cannot concede the point because it would force you to agree with Republicans like Limbaugh and Gingrich. And, gods know, we can't have THAT, now can we??? :D Political bigotry at it's finest..

    @CW

    The question before her, as a member of an appellate circuit court, was whether the law had been applied correctly in the lower court's ruling. What was the law? Did the ruling follow the law? Is the law constitutional? Sotomayor, in this case, decided that whatever her own personal empathetic feelings were, that the law was clear — what New Haven had done was legal, in other words — and that the ruling did indeed follow the law as written.

    I dispute the claim that Sotomayor et al followed the law..

    http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=Ricci,_et_al._v._DeStefano,_et_al.

    There are actually two competing "laws" in this regard. In short, you have the "law" that requires that minorities be well represented in promotions.. On the other hand, you have the "law" that requires the city to certify the results of a promotion test, unless the test itself can be shown to be flawed..

    Pursuant to a City regulation known as the “rule of three,” once test results are “certified,” the Department must promote from the group of applicants achieving the top three scores. Immediate application of the “rule of three” to these exams would not have allowed for the promotion of any black firefighters. More broadly, black applicants’ pass rate on the lieutenant exam was approximately half of the rate for white applicants – a disparity more marked than for prior exams. However, if additional vacancies opened, black applicants would have been eligible to be considered for those promotions, based upon these exams’ results.

    By failure to certify the exam scores, the city violated Title VII and the Equal Protection Clause.

    Who are the Plaintiffs?? The lead plaintiff is Frank Ricci who is representative of the 18 New Haven firefighters. Ricci is dyslexic and spent $1,000 of his own money buying books and getting some texts recorded so he could study more effectively. He finished sixth out of 77 and earned promotion. But Ricci failed one test and one test only. Ricci was white.

    So, Sotomayor chose to support the law that would benefit minorities at the expense of the white and hispanic firefighters..

    The City of New Haven's position is blatant racism, as they refuse to certify the test results because there were no black people amongst the top three.

    ANY person who would side with the City in this instance has no business even being considered for the SCOTUS.

    The more I learn of Sotomayor, the more I believe she is NOT well-suited to be appointed to the Supreme Court Of The United States.

    Michale.....

  45. [45] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Considering all the empirical evidence that shows Sotomayor's continuous expression of racial superiority...

    again, i don't dispute that you believe this, but there is no established consensus that such is the case. thus, we're back at gathering data. if you're right, then the results will bear out your view. if i'm right, then they won't.

  46. [46] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Now, tell me.. Honestly and truly.. If a white Republican had made a speech such as that you and people like you would be screaming to the high heavens and making racist claims left and right.

    See, this is where your appeal to logic and reason completely breaks down.

    I'm curious. Who are people like me? Unlike you I won't speak for others that I do not know, but personally I would not be "screaming to the high heavens and making racist claims left and right." And I challenge you to find something I have written that would lead you to that conclusion. Though the irony of this statement in context of the current discussion is not lost on me.

    You are trying to prove your point by defining the parameters for the discussion and so far no one seems to agree with those parameters. That alone should be proof that what is racism is more in the realm of opinion than fact or FACT or even Fact.

    It's why I always win these debates. :D

    Yes, you are truly a legend in your own mind... ;-)

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