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Sotomayor: Who's afraid of a 'wise Latina'?

Sotomayor: Who's afraid of a 'wise Latina'?

I can see how some sheltered persons could be intimidated by a Supreme Court justice nominee who was quoted saying, as Sonia Sotomayor told a crowd at Berzerkley seven years ago in re judicial selection, "I would hope that a wise 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." ("Racist statement," says Rush Limbaugh here.)

I wish I could have asked my late grandfather, a Cuban citizen who graduated first in his class at a Boston night law school that Harvard tried to shut down, what he thought of this. As befit a corporate counsel, he was skeptical of politicizing the judiciary: "I don't agree with the idea that we need one Catholic, one Jew, one Anglo-Saxon on the Supreme Court." Good justices are rare; they need to make law for everyone; no ghetto. (Sotomayor would make the court two-thirds Catholic; nobody seems much worried about that.)

On the other hand, as befit the son of a revolutionary, Grandpa was also an ardent Latin American nationalist. And in our family we knew lots of wise Latinas in his and the next generation: My Cuba-born mother, my Mexican grandmother, my Puerto Rican godmother, and their pan-American amigas y companeras who filled our home en tiempos festivos gave me harto excellent advice, on education, money, women, family, and what constitutes true success. In those cases where I didn't follow it, I came to wish I had.

I expect they'd have been at least a match for Grandpa, if women from those communities had gone to law school then. Entonces pues si, why not put some more wise Latinas on the bench. Then let's concentrate on the main issue -- Sotomayor's ability to handle this big job. Is she prepared? Is she smart? Is she deep? Is she fair?