Thursday, June 04, 2009

The right's staggering hypocrisy over Judge Sotomayor

In an effort to prove that Sonia Sotomayor is some kind of racist against whites, conservatives are pointing to her decision in Ricci. In the case, the panel she was on ruled against a discrimination claim from a white firefighter who was denied a promotion when the city of New Haven threw out an exam that few minorities passed. Their thinking, of course, is that she herself was discriminating against this white man by not taking the claim seriously (even though her actual record shows no greater frequency in siding with minorities with discrimination cases). Conservatives are only emboldened in that many court observers think Ricci will likely be overruled by the Supreme Court (though probably in a 5-4 decision) prior to Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearings.

But what's funny about this is that her decision is actually one of judicial restraint - she sided with the city's decision which itself was trying to comply with Title VII of civil rights law, and if the Supreme Court overrules this decision it will be sailing a new course. Normally, conservatives aren't supposed to like it when judges override legislative and executive governments. So could it be in this case conservatives just didn't like the outcome of this decision - something they see as "reverse racism?" (Perhaps they just have empathy towards the white firefighter in this case?). The problem is their whole argument against Sotomayor's nomination is that a judge isn't supposed to care about the outcome of a case. That they are supposed to just "follow the law" and not act like an activist judge (by, say, overriding the decisions of elected officials).

The real problem is that they think Sotomayor will be too predisposed towards outcomes that favor minorities (which, again, the record does not show) and not whites (which would be an irrational, racist fear). It has nothing to do with any intellectually honest or consistent argument surrounding judicial philosophy whatsoever. And that's why this line of attack should be completely disregarded by any conservative who wants to have a real debate on the role of the Constitution and other substantive disagreements in the upcoming debate on this nominee.

1 comment:

Xanthippas said...

Conservatives are morons. You should've seen the blog comments I saw after the 7th Circuit released their decision upholding Chicago's handgun ban. Even though they decision was made by two prominent conservative judges, Posner and Easterbrook, there were howls about the "distortion" of the plain meaning of the 2nd Amendment. What actually happened, which is clear to anyone with a brain who bothers to read the opinion, is that Easterbrook and Posner were clearly constrained by Supreme Court precedent on the matter. The said as much, repeatedly, in a way that to me seems as if they were practically begging for Supreme Court review and reversal. Their decision was the exact opposite of judicial "activism" in that it was moderate and restrained, but because it didn't reach the "right" political outcome the legacy of the 2nd Amendment was betrayed. Utter and complete morons.