Don't get that excited.

I am a social liberal, but this morning’s Sotomayor nomination riled me up. Firstly, the nomination continues the recent political trend to nominate judges who are far removed from the actual governing. The best courts had at least one legislator–Sandra Day O’Connor, Hugo Black, Abe Fortas, Earl Warren, etc.

The nomination of a female, colored supreme court justice is exciting, but concerning ourselves with racial debates vitiates the very relevance and impartiality of the highest court of the realm. It is false and presumptive to assume that a colored candidate should (blindly) advocate for that race. I am not saying Justice Sotomayor will favor Hispanics, but that is what the Hispanic community expects of her….and there are detrimental precedents too: Every time the name of an African American justice is mentioned, there are shrill calls, “Marshall, not Thomas,” indicating that the black community wants someone as vocal as Thurgood Marshall as if a justice of another calibre or reticence is not representative of their cause. Sotomayor’s nomination is already clouded by her decision in Ricci v. DeStefano, in which she threw out the results of a firefighter promotion exam in which no minorities qualified for promotions. This is not the impartiality we want at the supreme court, which is currently debating to overturn Sotomayor’s decision. It is not fixing history’s mistakes. It is a reverse discrimination.

Some say the president is saving political capital by nominating a moderate liberal for a seat vacated by similar moderate. However, some (by which, I mean, I) see a wasted opportunity–the presidency sadly is limited in length, scope and breadth. The next year, the Mid Terms will come and who knows whether the democrats will be able to maintain its filibuster-proof majority. With relatively young Roberts, Scalia and Thomas firmly in conservative docket (with Alito sitting with them more often than not), the Americans need more liberal voices to balance the court, just to service what William J. Brennan called the first rule of the Supreme Court (rulings by five of the nine justices).

The next big debate for the supreme court would be with the same sex marriages since states from New Hampshire to Iowa are seriously debating and changing the existing legislation. The supreme court must gear itself for at least one issue concerning DOMA or same sex marriage in next few years. It is a sad missed opportunity that the nominee is neither Kath Sullivan or Pamela Karlan–openly gay legal scholars no less distinguished than Sotomayor.

When Justice David H. Souter retired, New York Times ran an article noting (perhaps somewhat disparagingly) that Souter was no Warren or Brennan. Most of us will agree, and if Sotomayor got confirmed, we will have to face twenty years or so (just pray her diabetes don’t interfere) of moderation. In the face of modernity, such stagnancy can be fatal. Yes, the centre of the court will be well tended, but it is to be noted that she is no Antonin Scalia or Pamela S. Karlan.

3 Responses to “Don't get that excited.”
  1. p of v says:

    Please do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with the Ricci case before you make any more ridiculous posts like this.

    • thequintessential says:

      I may have done some generalizations. Yes. It was the city that threw the results out. Yes. One minority (Frank Ricci) indeed passed the exam. That does not mitigate this reverse racism case anyhow.

  2. p of v says:

    No one was hired or fired. All they did was throw out the test. Case closed.

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