Tuesday, June 29, 2010

File This Under "You've Got to be Kidding Me"

Last year, President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, went through a farce of a confirmation hearing. Democrats, Republicans, everyone knew she would be confirmed. They knew she was qualified. But because she had called herself a "wise Latina," Republicans smelled blood, Newt Gingrich called her a racist, and Sotomayor was reduced to backtracking. She said, "I do not believe that any ethnic, racial, or gender group has an advantage in sound judgment."

She was confirmed, 68-31, but the Republican party continues to paint itself as the party of exclusion. This country is becoming more and more diverse, a trend that hurts the Republicans, and so their success is predicated on marginalizing and disenfranchising a large number of people. How can they think that, long-term, this is a) good strategy and b) moral?

Elena Kagan is the President's nominee to replace Justice Stevens, and hearings began yesterday. It is another farce, as Kagan is not allowed to give any real opinion. But knowing that it's a farce, I have to wonder why in the world the Republicans would focus their objections on Kagan's reverence for Thurgood Marshall? They repeatedly referred to him as an "activist judge" (now code for any hint of progressivism?), suggesting that the Supreme Court's first African-American judge was out of the "mainstream."

Just liked Sotomayor before her, Kagan will be confirmed. It will be along party lines, with a few Republicans crossing over. Perhaps the same farce probably would have taken place were both nominees white men; after all, they were nominated by a democratic president. But these hearings illustrate how out of touch they are and just who they are looking out for.

America is a living, breathing country. It adapts, slowly. It corrects mistakes, eventually. It bends toward justice. I'd like my America to go a little faster, but I can handle this pace: it's those who refuse to let it change at all that challenge me and my patience.


Aki Mori said...

The sad fact is that you can hardly blame the senators for their comments. They are, after all, only reflecting the kind of thoughts that are popular among large chunks of their constituencies back home. Sessions is from AL, Hatch UT, Kyl AZ, Cornyn TX, and Coburn OK. Just look at those states and you can see how trashing Thurgood Marshall might not be as out-of-the-mainstream as we would like to think.

August said...

I don't disagree - when they ask their questions, they're asking the same ones asked by the guys on talk radio or by the average citizen they represent. When Senator Grassley asked if the right to bear arms came not from the second amendment but from GOD, he was speaking for a lot of people in Iowa. Maybe that's part of my problem, not being able to understand large swaths of the American public and the men and women they ask to represent them!