Skip to main content

Justice Sotomayor: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Justice David Souter is said to be retiring. We should all thank him for his service to our country. But it's time to look forward.

U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court is an idea whose time has come.

If you look at the federal judiciary, it is overwhelmingly white and male. When a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit was asked by one of my law students the career path to becoming a judge, he gave the pithy reply, "It helps if you know your U.S. Senator."

Mind you, as a professor, I had hoped for an insightful answer -- that perhaps he had toiled as a prosecutor or public defender or rose through the ranks at a law firm to make partner. That he had argued x number of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. That he had been attorney general for his state.

"It helps if you know your U.S. Senator."

How many women or people of color can say that? When you add to that the dearth of women and people of color in the federal judiciary -- although it's getting better, the numbers aren't what they should be given the advances made during the Carter and Clinton administrations -- of course it comes down to not much more than social ties, assuming all the qualifications are in place.

It shouldn't be that way.

I don't know Judge Sotomayor other than knowing that she was on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. When I Googled her this morning, I found out that clearly I wasn't the only one who had the same idea: It's time to put a woman of color on the U.S. Supreme Court. Because race and gender do matter.

When I think of how Justice Ginsburg has stood up for the rights of women and people of color precisely because she has been discriminated against because of her gender and religion, I know that when issues of race and gender come before the court -- issues of marginalized people in general -- that she is going to give these issues a fair hearing AND a different perspective based on her own life experience, a life experience not shared by Justices Kennedy, Scalia, Roberts, Stevens, Alito, Souter, Breyer, and even Justice Thomas, to a certain extent.

Judge Sotomayor's got all the goods: A summa cum laude graduate of Princeton, Yale Law School graduate, editor of the Yale Law Journal, U.S. District Court judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit judge. She's enjoyed bipartisan support in the past, and I can't imagine that she wouldn't this time around.

A Latina on the U.S. Supreme Court: An idea whose time has come.


Eponymous said…
A locomotive for Judge Sotomayor. Yeah, Princeton. Black and orange for life.

Popular posts from this blog

Retired Man Walking: Too Young to Retire, Too Old to Take Shit

A while back I ran into a friend and fellow professional employed by the State of California, and he offered me his perspective on State employment as a tail-end Baby Boomer like myself -- someone who can't retire because he lacks the requisite age or years of service, but, unlike myself, is tired of taking shit from superiors who don't know what to do with you.

Although my friend gave his permission for me to use his name in this blog entry, I decline to do so because what he does is so specialized that it would not be hard for anyone to identify him as one of the few African American men, if not the only African-American man, in California state civil service who does what he does. For purposes of this blog entry, I will refer to him as he now refers to himself:  Retired Man Walking.

Retired Man Walking, or RMW, has an interesting philosophy he applies to working for the State as a professional who isn't old enough to retire but has been around long enough to know the s…

Hillary Clinton Can Stop Trump -- If She Releases Her Electors

Hillary Clinton isn't going to be President of the United States.  At least not yet.  And not in 2017.

But she can possibly stop Donald Trump from being President by releasing her pledged electors  in the Electoral College to vote for a compromise Republican candidate.

This is part of the strategy of the Hamilton Electors, members of the Electoral College who see that Donald Trump is not qualified to be President.  They argue that the Electoral College's role is not to rubber-stamp the popular vote -- which, in this case, would belong to Clinton -- but to serve as a check on the popular vote to make sure that no one who is unfit assumes the office of President.

According to the Hamilton Electors, named for Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (Yes, he of the very popular musical for which I can't get tickets) Hamilton stated that the Electoral College's test for fitness to be the President was as follows (and I'm quoting):

Election of a Qualified Person: As Hamilton s…

My Prayer and Mantra for 2017 -- Do Not Waste Time on People and Things That Don't Matter

In this era of fake news, fake political candidates, and fake people all around, my prayer and mantra for 2017 is simple:  Do not waste time on people and things that don't matter.

In 2016, I spent too much time and money on things and people who didn't matter.  I allowed myself to become distracted by stuff that, for me and Black Man Not Blogging, didn't really matter for our happiness.  These distractions not only didn't improve the quality of our life together; they decreased it with additional and unnecessary stress.

The good news is that, for the most part, we're okay.  Yeah, Trump and his ilk really suck, but instead of a lot of hand wringing and commiserating, I'm going to do the one thing my late mother She Who  Is Exalted (SWIE) did better than anyone I know:  Play the hand you've been dealt.  My mother was a black female without a college education and with six kids, so playing the hand she was dealt was her survival skill.  Now it will be mine.