It’s fun to see the attitudes of early critics of President Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Nationally, and locally, people are picking up in her outrageous claim that, since she’s a woman and a Hispanic, she might decide things differently than a white guy.
Especially interesting is newly minted Senatorial Candidate Mark Shurtleff, who said ‘She clearly has to answer some questions about her judicial attitude about who she is and whether that’s going to make her any better of a judge.”
The same could, of course, be said about Shurtleff, but his tone is that, since she’s a woman and a Hispanic who had the audacity to say those things out loud, this somehow makes her unable to be “fair” whatever that is. Shurtleff, of course, would never, ever, be unfair or biased in his decisions.
Numerous other critics have chimed in similarly: Sen. Hatch said she sounds like an “activist” of some sort. Rush Limbaugh accused her of “reverse racism,” which is a real head-scratcher.
Truth: Everyone has biases based on who they are. I do. You do. Your mother does. Everyone.
Sotomayor should be praised for admitting that she has biases and things that make her decide things in certain ways. Only by admitting and recognizing our built-in hard wired prejudices can we overcome them, or at least allow for them.
I’m more worried, frankly, by white guys who seem to what us to think that white guys never, ever, have any biases and so are better picks. Even when the Supreme Court was nothing but white guys, there were plenty of 5-4 decisions handed down.
Women need to be part of the decision making process. They are more than half the population, so fairness demands that they be on the court.
More important, women see things that men are not capable of seeing — for example, when Weber State was designing a new bus shelter for its campus it couldn’t figure out why no women would use the old ones. Finally someone asked the woman on the design committee and the answer was simple: It only had one entrance, no exit.
Guys don’t worry about being trapped — it’s not in their world view — but women ponder such things daily, and for good reason.
Hatch’s claim that Sotomayor might be “activist” is simply silly. Everyone’s an “activist” who doesn’t vote the way he wants, based on his prejudices. The degree of ego such an attitude displays is one of the most disturbing things about politics today: People who think they are so right that all debate must stop.
I will be very interested to see whether Hatch or Bennett try to block votes on Sotomayor. Considering that Hatch, especially, constantly called for “an up or down vote” when his pet nominee was being blocked in past administrations, one would think he’d have no objections now, but that’s never, ever, how these things work.