Republican Sour Grapes

Judge Sonia Sotomayor
Judge Sonia Sotomayor
Republican Sour Grapes
Republican Sour Grapes

The Confirmation Hearings

President Obama's candidate to be the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, has been grilled recently by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee about a comment she made nearly ten years ago. The irony of the Republican grilling at a nominee described by Sean Hannity as a "liberal activist judge" is that she was originally appointed to the Federal Bench by President George Herbert Walker Bush.

What is most obvious from the confirmation hearings is none of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have any substantive disagreement with Sotomayor. After 18 years of sitting on the bench with over 3000 opinions to her credit, very little has been said about her judicial record. Instead, the Republican members of the committee have grasped at straws and solely concentrated on Sotomayor's "Wise Latina" statement apparently insulted that she would insinuate that a minority could actually be smarter than a white male. Yet, while doing this, some of the members have managed to be respectful and have done their cause and issues well. But the ranking member of the committee, who was rejected by the same committee has no moral standing to attack and accuse Sotomayor of anything given his background.

Jeff Sessions Was Nominated To The Federal Bench In 1986
Jeff Sessions Was Nominated To The Federal Bench In 1986
Sessions Nomination Stalled When It Came Out That He Thought These Were Good Guys Except For The Pot Smoking
Sessions Nomination Stalled When It Came Out That He Thought These Were Good Guys Except For The Pot Smoking
Sessions Now Sees Himself Fit To Attack This Wise Latina For Apparently Believing That A Latina Could Be Smarter Than A White Male
Sessions Now Sees Himself Fit To Attack This Wise Latina For Apparently Believing That A Latina Could Be Smarter Than A White Male

Jeff Sessions

Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III in the Junior Senator from Alabama. Named after Jefferson Davis, Sessions is the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. During the Sotomayor confirmation hearings, Sessions has been the most vocal opponent to the candidate. He repeatedly brings up the "Wise Latina" comment. Sessions stated: ""I will not vote for, and no senator should vote for an individual nominated by any president who believes it is acceptable for a judge to allow their own personal background, gender, prejudices or sympathies to sway their decision."

Perhaps Sessions is engaging in a practice most would call sour grapes. Sessions was nominated to the Federal Bench in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. However, Sessions nomination was not even voted out of committee.

The reason Sessions was not confirmed is evidence surfaced that Sessions was, in fact, a racist. Sessions was quoted as saying, "I thought the Klu Klux Klan was a pretty good group of guys until I heard they smoked pot." Sessions claims it was a joke.

However, unlike Judge Sotomayor, Senator Sessions has a history of less than sensitive opinions about minorities. During his confirmation hearings in 1986, Sessions referred to the NAACP and the ACLU as "un-American" and "Communist inspired" because they had the audacity to "force civil rights down people's throats."

Before the nomination, Sessions also made news. In 1985, Sessions prosecuted three civil rights workers, including a former aide to Martin Luther King, Jr.,on a case for election fraud. Sessions spent hours interrogating African American voters and was able to come up with 14 suspected tampered ballots out of the 1.7 ballots case. It took the Alabama jury all of 4 hours to acquit the civil rights workers of all charges. Further, Sessions has called any white civil rights lawyer a race traitor and commonly called African American lawyers "Boy."

Jeff Sessions now seeks to attack Judge Sonia Sotomayor for a statement she made giving a speech ten years ago despite the fact that her judicial record shows no signs of impartiality or unfairness. Republican Sour Grapes.

Senator Lindsey Graham Has Done His State And Country A Service By Respectfully Asking Tough Questions
Senator Lindsey Graham Has Done His State And Country A Service By Respectfully Asking Tough Questions

By Contrast, Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham is the senior Senator from South Carolina. He currently serves on the Armed Services and Judiciary Committees of the Senate.

Graham too, grilled Sotomayor on a number of issues. He questioned her temperament, judicial philosophies and membership in what he deems as a liberal group. Yet, Senator Graham asked his questions with the skill of a true lawyer; respectful, deliberate and professional. His questions were difficult and pointed, yet in no way unfair. When Sotomayor could not provide an adequate answer, which did happen, Graham did not let her free.

Unlike Sessions, however, at no time did Graham appear to be enjoying the moment. He simply appeared as a man who sincerely believes in his causes and had honest concerns about the nominee. Not to mention Graham is not saddled with Sessions' history.

While Liberals may not like the questions Senator Graham asked or the skill in which he fired them at the nominee, Senator Graham did his party, constituents and nation a service. Jeff Sessions' time asking questions was simply a service to himself and an attempt to exact revenge.

Despite The Sour Grapes, There Will Soon Be Associate Justice Sotomayor
Despite The Sour Grapes, There Will Soon Be Associate Justice Sotomayor

Associate Justice Sotomayor

The good news is despite Sessions' obvious bias, Sotomayor will be confirmed.  And most likely she will receive Republican votes.  She is qualified, experienced and intelligent and will make a good justice.  One that all Americans can take pride in.

It is appropriate for conservatives to question Sotomayor on her judicial philosophy and even the "Wise Latina" comment. In fact, it is their duty.  Yet, as Senator Sessions shows the background of the person asking the tough questions and making decisions matters.  Hopefully Sessions will follow his own advice and not allow "personal background, gender, prejudices, or sympathies" sway his decision.

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Comments 31 comments

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

An interesting article, thanks. I think she was a bit silly to make the "wise Latina" comment, but silly is the end of it.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

I agree, on paper it is a bad comment. But when you watch the video it is much more innocent.

Thanks for the comment.


JonTutor profile image

JonTutor 7 years ago from USA

OMG... A KKK member nominated for the office... Isn't there a background check done in those days..... Earlier today I was going through topics and found a guy calling all liberals as idiots...nice to meet ya.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Ya, a lot of that going around from conservaties. Notice they offer no ideas, plans or solutions, just insults. I don't know if Jeff Sessions was a KKK member, but surely has racist leaning. The part that bothered me is he tried to pin down Sotomayor as being racist when he in fact was denied the same position for being one. Sour grapes.

Thanks for the comment and thanks for reading.


JonTutor profile image

JonTutor 7 years ago from USA

I'm from Washington... I read that in Deep south still KKK exists...any idea...some of those racists bring a bad name to all caucasians...just like Bush policies bringing a bad name to all Americans...arrogant invasions and brutal treatment of prisoners...hoping for Obama redemption...Gobama.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Oh, I agree the KKK still exists and they bring a bad name to everyone. But the good news is that they are now on the outskirts of society and no longer mainstream.

Thanks for the comment


BudHasherdashery profile image

BudHasherdashery 7 years ago from Metro New York

Well written article, but some of us Democrats are not happy with her as a choice either. For starters, I think Affirmative Action has outlived its purpose and needs to be done away with, or changed to a need based program, yet Sotomayer has said she sees nothing wrong with using Affirmative Action to give minorities a opportunity they might not otherwise get...hold that up against the reality that the New Haven firefighters won their case before the Supreme court in a 5-4 decision.

Her "wise Latino" remark also should have sent her nomination down in flames. As a male, I could not make that remark, and in a nation of supposed equal rights, she should not have been allowed to make that remark and have her nomination survive. Her deep involvements with racist groups like LaRaza are also disconcerting.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Thanks for the comment.

I disagree about the New Haven Firefighters case. The Supreme Court used a new rule to make the ruling, changing the existing law, which was used by the Panel at the Appellate level. She followed the law as it existed at the time.

I can understand people not liking her statement. But the Republicans seemed more upset at the notion that a minority could be smarter than a white person and that I cannot agree with.

Thanks for reading.


EdG. profile image

EdG. 7 years ago

I found the "wise latina" comment much less disturbing than the fact that she could not give a straightforward answer to the question of whether Americans had the right to self defense.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Thanks for the comment.

I think your concerns are valid, and if any Republican Senator had phrased it the way you did, not only is that fair game but it would be their duty to do so. The issue I present in this hub is less about the State of the Supreme Court, but the state of politics.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

bgpappa, if Christ Himself was Obama's candidate for Supreme court Justice, the Republicans would fight tooth and claw. Rush Limberger made a big noise early on that the right wing needed to fight every move the Democrats make, even if it's a good idea.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Thanks DM.

I agree, the Republicans are just saying no right now to everything. Even wrote an article about it.

Thanks for the comment


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 7 years ago from United States of America

In my opinion, the 'wise latino comment' was nothing more than a smoke screen, or point of entry of discussion for those who oppose her. I personally put little emphasis on the comment particularly in consideration of the context in which it was made. No, it was not the wisest comment one in her position could make but it was far less offensive than comments made by others about her ethnicity and sexual orientation.

She will be confirmed so people need to let it go. Great insightful article - thanks for sharing.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

I agree, in context it was about inspiring others as she said. But nothing could be said about her judicial record so they attacked here.

Thanks for reading


A Texan 7 years ago

Ok Thats a good read but you claim sessions said these things but offer no proof they were actually said. Where is the proof he called black lawyers Boy? The KKK thing actually is a joke and a kind of funny one if you think about it (Absurd that killers were ok if not for the pot ). So lets go down memory lane Senator Robert Byrd (D)was an actual member of the Klan, and probably still is! http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/827607/post...

Judge Sotomayor was definitely nominated to the Federal Bench by G HW Bush! But he nominated the one she would replace if confirmed David Hackett Souter, who has turned out to be a conservatives nightmare! So maybe he made a mistake with sotomayor to! He did.

The wise latina statement is not a sign of her thinking she is smarter than a whiteman, it is a sign that she is in fact a racist, Imagine what you would say If a white judge had said that! If you are intellectually honest you know you would have said he was a racist!

Judge Sotomayor simply is not qualified to sit on the highest court of our land, she is not qualified to sit on the bench she currently lords over!


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Jeff Sessions' statements have been widely published as of late. However, if you want a quick read, look at Wikepedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Sessions#Controv...

I will give you Sen Byrd because I have too. He should be replaced.

Sotomayor is very qualifed. She has more judicial experience than any past nominee. If your argument is that she shouldn't sit on the bench because of one statement that minorities could be smarter than white males, then say so. But don't claim that she is not qualifed.

Thanks for the comment


A Texan 7 years ago

Is length of time on the bench your basis for this statement?

"She has more judicial experience than any past nominee."

I would counter that her rulings should be the basis of her experience! Out of 7? rulings she has had looked at by the Supreme Court 4 or 5 have been reversed? I read in an earlier response to someone where you said you disagree with the supreme court on the firefighter case. You said they used a new rule to determine their findings. What was the old rule and what is the new rule? And finally since she just dismissed the case outright what rule did she even consider.

There are many minorities smarter than whites, Thomas Sowell comes to mind, Clarence Thomas clearly more intelligent than Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and the list could go on, nice try at creating racism where it does not exist, typical liberal tactic!

NEXT!


A Texan 7 years ago

I followed the link to wikipedia not the best source for info by the way. I saw nothing in their about calling black lawyers "Boy" could you provide a link that shows proof of your accusation, not just more accusations from someone else!


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Wow, Texan, you said next as if you actually proved something. Typical Republican rant, grand statements with no proof.

Length on the bench, her academic record, etc make her qualifed. What you are talking about is whether she should be on the bench is a different issue.

Read the firefighter case. She dismissed it because it was procedurally defective under the old rule in terms of what type of action was brought. The Supreme Court said that the old rule was wrong.

Wikipedia has links to its references, go there.


A Texan 7 years ago

No proof of what? you are the one making accusations that you do not back up. Her academic record has no bearing on her ability to apply law to a case that comes before her! I have looked at the case and it is clear that the 3 judge panel screwed it up, there is no old rule there is no new rule. They dismissed the case because they said "there were no good alternatives" in the case. If you are going to lie to make an argument then say so!

NEXT!


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

If you read the case and the Supreme Court ruling then either you won't admit what happened or you don't understand what you are reading. The Appellate Court followed the stated standards at the time, the Supreme Court allowed for one more. Old rule, new rule. The accusation against Sessions is linked and he has admitted to the statements.

If you don't like the ruling that is one thing, but don't try to make it more than what it really is. You keep saying that she isn't qualifed, which simply isn't true. Just admit the truth that you don't like her because she is a latina or because she is liberal, whatever your prejudice. At least then you are being honest. But to argue that she is some kind of radical is untruthful, even conservative members of the judiciary committee admit that her rulings are well within the mainstream (Senator Graham for example)


A Texan 7 years ago

As far as sessions I really dont care what he did, I heard these allegations when they happened and that is all they are allegations I am specifically talking about the use of the word "Boy." That is a common term in the south and is applied to people of all colors. However there is nothing stating that he admitted to using the word other than you saying he admitted it.

I am not going to debate about what the case was decided on by the appellate court on which Sotomayor sits, reading the convoluted reasoning of Ginsbergs dissent is aggravating enough. It comes down to this was the test given the firefighters biased? No, the test is how a firefighter should respond to scenarios, the reaction of a firefighter is not based on the firefighters race but rather the training. The city tossed the results because of threatened lawsuits and that is the only reason! The lower courts new this and dismissed them anyway. It took competent judges to repair the situation and give the ruling they did.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Read the newspapers, read the transcripts of the 86 hearings.

As for your analysis, I find it interesting that you give a conclusion based analysis. Nothing about the law or how it was written but what you think the result should be. Isn't that the very definition of judicial activism? Its ok apparently when it fits your needs.


A Texan 7 years ago

I gave an analysis of what the supreme court ruled, granted in words that are easily understandable. Is my analysis wrong? If so how?


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Sure, the Supreme Court's ruling was based on the standard on proof needed to show whether the case reaches the disparate treatment threshold of Title VII. The Supreme Court held that standard is a strong basis in evidence rather than the former rule of strict approach. In making the decision, the Supreme Court believes it gives employers more flexibilty to comply with the law.

Has nothing to do with fair or not fair, biased or not biased. It has to do with the justification at the employer level. The appellate court ruled according to the strict approach standard, which was the law. The Supreme Court ruled that the law needs changing and did so. Under the new standard, the case was reversed.

I am not saying the ruling is bad or wrong or anything. Don't really care. What bothers me is how people try to use this as evidence that Sotomayor is some kind of radical. The Appellate Court ruling followed the law, the Supreme Court changed the law and reapplied the facts. It happens all the time with no media coverage. So at the end of the day most agree with the ruling in this case. The only disagreement is its effect on Sotomayor which should be she made a ruling on the law as it existed, which is her pattern.

The funny thing about all of this is that many liberals are not happy with her selection because she is not a judicial activist. She does not make rulings based on emotions or sympathy. She is actually a judicial moderate, despite her liberal personal associations. So this is another case of many Republicans saying so simply because she was picked by Obama. In reality, she is very close to the best conservatives could have hoped for under a Democratic administration as her judical records shows she follows the standard quo. Great debate.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Isn't it the sworn duty of the opposing party to put up as many roadblocks as possible to any proposed Supreme Court Justice nomination by the sitting president? I mean, even if the candidate is Jesus himself (as suggested above), due diligence requires a multi-pronged, full-frontal attack on His judicial experience, political leanings, ethnic background, alma mater, shoe size, eye color and favorite pie (if it ain't apple, forget it!).

I am thrilled that Sotomayor is on her way to approval. This is great news for the country! MM

P.S. LOVE the accusation of "shoving civil rights down people's throats..." How insane is that!!???


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

MM,

I think it is the duty of any Senator to do what he was elected to do for the good of his or her constiuents. That is why I wroted the section about Lyndsey Graham, who did his cause well by not being a typical politician. Of course, now it appears he will even vote for her because as he says, "Elections have consequences."

But your comment seems to be the way it is today, which is sad. And when I say today, I also include the democrats as well.

Thanks for the comment.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

bgpappa -- I hope you know me well enough that my comment was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek. I actually was "proud" of Lyndsey Graham's posture on this. But that in and of itself is sad, isn't it? We expect the worst and when someone actually does "better than the worst" we are pleasantly shocked.

And yes, Democrats do the same thing. Not that Robert Bjork was ever, ever qualified for the bench. Or that woman W tried to slide in. *shudder* MM


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

MM, yes, I knew your comment was tongue and cheek, but a good point was made.

And Bjork was a horrible choice as was Harriet Myers. But the Senate does have the right to advise and consent. Graham did his job and ask his questions. But he didn't try to destroy her for sport. It is sad when we rejoice when someone does their job. lol. By the way, he voted for her out of committee, the only Republican to do so.

Thanks for the comment MM. Your thoughts are always welcomed here.


A Texan 7 years ago

So your proud a republican voted for her? No it isn't her rulings that lead me to believe she is a judicial activist, its her own words. Policy is not made at the appellate court level but she said it was, then laughed as if she were caught doing something cute.What I find most amazing about some of the comments made is Graham is somehow doing something noble for voting for her. There is no way to stop her confirmation by the Republicans just as there is no way they can prevent health care. The Democrats control everything and can't seem to get anything done, whether Bork was qualified or not is a debate that we don't have to have, I do agree Myers was an odd choice.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

A Texan, I think just because Republicans lost the last elections doesn't mean that the Republicans that are there should just stop doing anything to help. I am not proud of Graham, I appreciated what he did. Not because I agree with him, but because I don't. I hardly ever agree with anything he says. He was the only Republican to actually stump Sotomayor. He deserved credit for doing his job masterfully, but also respectfully. If all the Republicans acted like him, they would still be in the majority. And please remember, I hope he gets defeated the next time he runs.

I understand people don't like what she says, but 17 years of what she did is relevant. In those 17 years there is no evidence of any judicial activism. I think Republicans are just grasping at staws here. Not even Graham attacked her on the statement but found things that were very releveant. Temperment, actual associations, rulings in other cases. Having Sessions state over and over again that one statement makes her a racist doesn't help anyone.

I agree Bork isn't the issue and neither is Myers, but yes, she was an odd choice. As was Roberts, but he did well in the hearings and even got some Democrats to vote his way. elections have consequences no matter who wins.

Thanks for the comments.

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