Times Plays Identity Politics with Supreme Court Nomination
By Don Feder
Thursday May 28, 2009

It was a foregone conclusion that The New York Times would love Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

A long-time practitioner of identity politics, the paper is fixated on race, gender and class. With Sotomayor, it has a nominee who satisfies all three.

In yesterday’s editorial, The Times trilled, “It’s impossible not to be moved by Judge Sotomayor’s story — born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents and brought up in a city housing project.”

The left believes quotas should even be applied to seats on the Supreme Court. At last, we have an Hispanic nominee — hooray, hooray.

Sotomayer herself is an advocate of identity politics. In one of her lectures, she opined, “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” — as if race and gender conferred some special wisdom.

Lady Justice wears a blindfold for a reason. Cases are to be decided on their merits, not on the race, gender, ethnicity or income of litigants. The same should apply to candidates for the highest court in the land.

We should judge nominees on experience, integrity and adherence to the original intent of the Founding Fathers. Race, gender, ethnicity, religion and class background should be irrelevant here.

We don’t need a Supreme Court that “looks like America” but one whose thinking reflects authentic American values and adherence to the Constitution as it was written.

In this regard, Sotomayer fails miserably.

In a 2005 lecture at the Duke University Law School, Sotomayor as much as said she believes the role of the courts is to make law. She also wrote the forward to a book called “The International Judge: An Introduction to the Men and Women Who Decide The World’s Cases,” which strongly suggests she believes foreign law should be applied to U.S. cases.

In deciding whether Sonia Sotomayer should join the Supreme Court, her race and gender should be as relevant as her taste in music or breakfast cereal.

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