Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tom Tancredo: Obama's Supreme Court Nominee's A Racist!

So, Obama has finally revealed his choice for the place on the Supreme Court.

Obama, whose life story is mirrored to a large extent by Sotomayor, introduced her at the White House today as "an inspiring woman who I believe will make a great justice", but some Republicans have described her as coming from the "hard left".

Speaking about her rise from the Bronx in New York to Princeton and Yale and then onto the judicial bench, Obama presented her as a symbol of America's diversity. "You've shown in your life that it doesn't matter where you come from, what you look like, or what challenges life throws your way," he said.

If confirmed by the Senate, Sotomayor would not alter significantly the overall balance of the nine-member court, which has five conservatives and four liberals.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank in Washington, labelled her "hard left" but there is little in her background to emerge so far to sustain that. It seems to be more a case of like-for-like, replacing the liberal Justice David Souter, who has opted for early retirement.

We will now hear the usual noises from the Republicans, decrying her as "hard left", and zooming in on this one comment that she made where she stated that the supreme court is "where policy is made". Republicans will be all over that like a rash.

All of this is to be expected. What I didn't expect was this exchange with Tom Tancredo, where he claims that Sotomayor is a racist. You'll note that he brings no specific examples to the table to back up this extraordinary charge, but a Google search reveals that the charge that Obama and Sotomayor are both racists was actually raised by that professional windbag Rush Limbaugh who said this:
So here you have a racist. You might want to soften that, and you might want to say a reverse racist. And the libs, of course, say that minorities cannot be racists because they don't have the power to implement their racism. Well, those days are gone, because reverse racists certainly do have the power to implement their power. Obama is the greatest living example of a reverse racist, and now he's appointed one.
He bases this, as far as I can tell, on this comment which Sotomayor made:
"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
She's talking about experience and the life that she has lived and, I presume, that dreaded word; empathy. And, whilst one could argue that she perhaps is being terribly presumptive in the conclusion she reaches, I find it hard to take this charge seriously coming from a man who played the song, "Barack the Magic Negro" on his show.

I don't think Limbaugh is in any position to charge anyone else with reverse racism.


Crooks and Liars have some interesting links which imply that Tancredo is the very last person who should be accusing others of racism:
Why is this man on TV talking about race in America? What does he have to add? Here's one of Tancredo's racist campaign ads.

Tancredo's racism is such that he's the darling of the Malkin wing of the GOP. He's a man who even called Miami a "Third World country.”

I'm not kidding. And let's not forget his "bombing Mecca," statements either.

This isn't the pot calling the kettle black. It's the pot calling the tablecloth black.


nunya said...

Dude, I know more Mexicans than Puerto Ricans and they don't much like each other, but the Hispanics are sticking together on this one and there is pride there. I know that there are a hell of a lot of conservative Mexicans, so we'll see how this pans out. Souter was supposed to be a conservative
Republican and turned out to be pretty liberal on the Supreme Court.

Steel Phoenix said...

It's very rare for me to cry racism on much of anything, but this one bugs me.

Last week, CNN put up a grid of pictures of a dozen or so top contenders for Obama's supreme court pick. It took me less than a second of nothing but a set of pictures for me to decide who he would pick. The Hispanic woman was a political no-brainer.

Obviously this is no reason to reject her, as there is a small chance she really was the best of the bunch, but statements like the one Tancredo quoted (she has made other similar statements) revolt me, and are more than enough reason for me to reject her.

I'm against any metric for choosing a justice other than their strong understanding and devotion to the constitution. Under a quota there would be far too many Catholics on the court for instance, but if they weren't chosen for their Catholicism, then it isn't an issue. It looks obvious to me that this was a racially motivated pick, which isn't fair to the other applicants or to the nation.

Kel said...

I think no matter who Obama chose the Republicans would have found a way to criticise them. This supposed "racism" is only one of many things which I have read them objecting to.

However, as a party which desperately needs to appeal to both women and Hispanics, if they are to have any chance of being re-elected, I can see why this provides a big problem for them.

Steel Phoenix said...

I don't base my opinions on the latest wheedling by republicans.

Both parties desperately need women and Hispanics, that is why we see this nominee. In a nearly evenly divided democracy, any group that is willing to stand on the fence gains near total control of the system.

Joe Leiberman in the Senate, the Israeli lobby, neocons, the Hispanic vote, and the big corporate groups are all examples of this theory in action. The pandering is a little out of control.

Kel said...

SP, I simply don't agree that what she said was racist. I think it was crudely put, but what she meant was that, in cases involving discrimination, she felt her background gave her a greater understanding.

I don't personally believe that is necessarily true, but neither can I agree with your reading that this is in some way racist. It's no different at all from Alito's claim that his immigrant background gave him an insight in certain cases. I don't argue that either point of view is correct, I simply don't think either Alito or Sotomayer is being racist.

Steel Phoenix said...

I suppose it depends on where you draw the line of racism. If it is a genetic thing, then her saying that being raised Latina gives her better judgment than if she had been raised white, suggests cultural superiority (or adversity crating strength), rather than genetic superiority if she were to say that Latina women are just born smarter than white men. There is certainly a distinction, but neither leads me to believe in her impartiality.

Here in California, the scope of racism is expanding out of control. You would be accused of racism for wanting Israel to stop bombing Palestinians, because Israel is a Jewish state, you are favoring Arabs over Jews, Judaism is somehow now a race rather than a spiritual choice, etc. This lingual erosion leaves us with one term that now describes both the KKK and La Raza. Clearly this is a problem. If you would rather I just accuse her of ethnic discrimination, then I'm game, but the U.N. doesn't even recognize the difference between the two terms.

Kel said...

I suppose it depends on where you draw the line of racism. If it is a genetic thing, then her saying that being raised Latina gives her better judgment than if she had been raised white, suggests cultural superiorityIf we were talking about cases involving Hispanics then I presume she would come to the issue with more understanding than others not from that background, just as she would not be as well qualified as others in areas where her experience was more limited. That was what she was saying wasn't it?

Or are you arguing that you understand the workings and beliefs and prejudices of black culture as well as any black person who has lived through that experience?

Her argument is that ALL judges must work to widen their experiences, herself included.

"I am reminded each day that I render decisions that affect people concretely and that I owe them constant and complete vigilance in checking my assumptions, presumptions and perspectives and ensuring that to the extent that my limited abilities and capabilities permit me, that I reevaluate them and change as circumstances and cases before me requires."

She is saying that ALL judges have to work to better understand the people that come before them and the society they serve. Judges, herself included, must work to make sure that they check that "the assumptions, presumptions and perspectives" which they were brought up with are, in fact, appropriate to the case before them. And, if not, then they must try to adjust.

I doubt that you have taken the time to read her entire speech as you are too intelligent to have done so and still be insiting that she said that her judgement was superior to others in all cases simply because she is a Latina.

That's such a misrepresentation of what she said, that's it's almost wilful.

Anonymous said...

you guys need to chill hes right

Kel said...

What, you think Tancredo is right?