[Live video moved to more recent thread]
UPDATE: Question for Sen. Jeff Sessions, who seems to have a problem with the notion that judges are influenced by their background and experiences. Who said this:
When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account.
Those words were spoken by Judge Samuel Alito during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing.
And yet, every Republican on the Judiciary Committee–including Jeff Sessions–voted to advance Alito’s nomination to the full Senate. Jeff Sessions then voted to confirm Alito as a Supreme Court Associate Justice.
Funny how that works.
UPDATE II: Glenn Greenwald makes a good point:
Two weeks ago, Alito cast the deciding vote in Ricci v. DeStefano, an intensely contested affirmative action case. He did so by ruling in favor of the Italian-American firefighters, finding that they were unlawfully discriminated against, even though the district court judge who heard all the evidence and the three-judge appellate panel ruled against them and dismissed their case. Notably, the majority Supreme Court opinion Alito joined (.pdf) began by highlighting not the relevant legal doctrine, but rather, the emotional factors that made the Italian-American-plaintiffs empathetic.
Did Alito’s Italian-American ethnic background cause him to cast his vote in favor of the Italian-American plaintiffs? Has anyone raised that question? Given that he himself said that he “do[es] take that into account” — and given that Sonia Sotomayor spent 6 straight hours today being accused by GOP Senators and Fox News commentators of allowing her Puerto Rican heritage to lead her to discriminate against white litigants — why isn’t that question being asked about Alito’s vote in Ricci?
Again, funny how that works.
UPDATE III: Also, keep in mind that one of the plaintiffs in Ricci v. DeStefano, Lt. Ben Vargas, is Hispanic–meaning that, in ruling the way she did in Ricci, Judge Sotomayor ruled against a fellow Hispanic.
That kinda pokes a hole in the idea that Judge Sotomayor would let her Hispanic heritage unfairly bias her decisions, huh?
UPDATE IV: Lindsey Graham’s questioning of Judge Sotomayor is just appalling.
Judge Sotomayor has been a federal judge for 17 years, giving her more judicial experience than any other sitting Supreme Court Justice. She has written hundreds of decisions and participated in hundreds more, yet what is Sen. Graham and the GOP asking her about?
- Her “wise Latina” remarks.
- Her membership in a Hispanic-rights organization.
- Her “temperament.”
Someone claimed that watching the GOP’s behavior during the Sotomayor hearings is “watching demographic suicide.”
Looking at Lindesy Graham’s bizarre, condescending handling of a competent, qualified and accomplished federal judge, I can’t help but agree.
UPDATE V: I pretty much agree with Craig Crawford here:
Watching Lindsey Graham’s gotcha grin as he needled Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor with disingenuous and rhetorical questions you had to wonder what was so funny.
Does the Republican senator think it is amusing that he and his party’s condescending tone toward the Hispanic woman was costing them ethnic votes with each passing hour of Tuesday’s Judiciary Committee hearing?
Even if they vote for her, the fallout for Republicans could reach well beyond Hispanic voters. They are coming across as a bunch of snarky and bitter old white men who cannot bear the thought of their kind losing power.
The impact of this story on the political scoreboard should give Democrats much more to smile about.