Is Sotomayor’s confirmation the olive branch from Repubicans to Latinos?

LatinaLista — There’s no two ways about it — the treatment by Republican senators of Judge Sonia Sotomayor during this week’s confirmation hearings had a lot of Latinos/as seeing red.

It wasn’t the questioning that dealt with her views on the death penalty or abortion or reverse discrimination — those were legitimate questions that any Supreme Court nominee should have to answer.
It was the side remarks, the insults thrown her way over her speech writing, the stupid attempt at a Ricky Ricardo impersonation, the chastisement of comments that dealt with her heritage, the presumptuous lecturing about is she understood the proper role of the judiciary and the incessant browbeating to make her apologize for the infamous “wise Latina” reference.
That this behavior was mixed with tight-lipped smiles, half-hearted compliments and assurances that she had their votes doesn’t justify this treatment of Sotomayor.
Nor does it show the Latino community that the Republican leaders have matured when it comes to knowing how to treat people of different ethnicities — and in this case a Latina.


Columnists and commentators, from both sides of the aisle, took notice of how Republican senators treated Sotomayor.
While the decibel level was civil, it was far from respectful — no matter how many times they said they respected her.
That Sotomayor didn’t rise to the occasion and deliver a tongue-lashing that every Latina, and probably woman, wanted to give these “angry, white Republican male senators,” was probably the one factor that made several of them begrudgingly admit when it was all over that they had a newfound respect for the federal judge.
Since she finished her verbal testimony, several Republicans have vouched support of Sotomayor. But the ones who stubbornly refuse to support her continue to do so for the very reason Latinos distrust Republicans.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has said he still opposes Sotomayor’s confirmation.
Why?

…But one thing Americans will never tolerate in a nominee is a belief that some groups are more deserving of a fair shake than others. Nothing could be more offensive to the American sensibility than that. Judge Sotomayor is a fine person with an impressive story and a distinguished background. But above all else, a judge must check his or her personal or political agenda at the courtroom door and do justice even-handedly, as the judicial oath requires.”
“Judge Sotomayor’s record of written statements suggests an alarming lack of respect for the notion of equal justice, and therefore, in my view, an insufficient willingness to abide by the judicial oath. This is particularly important when considering someone for the Supreme Court since, if she were confirmed, there would be no higher court to deter or prevent her from injecting into the law the various disconcerting principles that recur throughout her public statements. For that reason, I will oppose her nomination.


Unfortunately, while Sen. McConnell accuses Judge Sotomayor of not being able to dispense justice fairly, it’s obvious that he is not taking into account Sotomayor’s proven record that she dispenses law in accordance with the Constitution and is only looking at one thing — her race.
His fear of her being Latina resonates louder than his fear that she is not a good judge.
It’s his attitude that is so prevalent among the Republican Party that has many Latinos not even wanting to try to join a party that used to declare they shared our values.
How can any party claim to share the values of the Latino community but blatantly illustrate that they have a problem with Latino ethnicity when it comes to being in positions of power?
Do they not realize that most Latinos interpret this action as a way of saying that while the Republican party wants the Latino vote, they will never elevate Latinos into any kind of leadership position within the party because they don’t fully “trust” Latinos.
If they did, why aren’t there more Cuban Republicans in national leadership positions?
Republican leadership may think that if the majority of them vote their approval of Sotomayor that it is an olive branch that will be accepted by Latino voters.
Hardly. It’s been learned only too well how easily branches break and how quickly individual trees can be cut down, without anyone ever noticing.
Yet, it’s a lot harder to do away with entire forests — especially when everyone is watching.

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22 Comments

  1. Horace said:

    “….the presumptuous lecturing about is she understood the proper role of the judiciary…”
    For God’s sake! Her own words could be easily be construed by a reasonable person as an assertion that it is the purpose of the Court of Appeals to make policy, and she never explained her point, only stating that she didn’t really believe what she said. Is she in the habit of mouthing off with outrageous and provocative statements, and arrogantly believing that she wouldn’t be called on it? Even if she didn’t believe in what she said, it appeared that she did. This would have provoked the democrats to do the same thing if they were vetting a conservitive of any other race. Check out the history of the Bork hearings if you want to hear real mean spiritedness. If you bothered you wouldn’t have the nerve to mention SM’s hearing. If you weren’t so biased towards her in the first place you wouldn’t make this an issue in this blog and working so hard to attack the Republican congress.

  2. cookie said:

    Why in the world would the Republicans need to extend an olive branch to Latinos? What have they done to Latinos?

  3. Alessandra said:

    Ok, I’ve held my tongue on this issue up until now, but this was just too much, so clear the decks.
    Republicans should learn “how to treat different ethnicities?” Is this for real???? This has nothing to do with ethnicity or race and EVERYTHING to do with politics. Furthermore, were liberals this upset by the savaging that was leveled at Sam Alito? I remember that hearing and it was brutal; his wife was in tears. Were Democrats worried about alienating Italian-Americans? I don’t think so!
    I am too young to remember Robert Bork, or the treatment of Clarence Thomas by the Democrats, but I have read that it was brutal. Miquel Estrada didn’t even get an up or down vote; at least one Democrat made negative comments about his ethnicity in regards to his appointment to the judiciary. The treatment received by Bork coined a new phrase, “getting Borked.” It was then that this process became politicized.
    Why is it that the “treatment of minorities” only becomes an issue when it is a liberal minority? Nobody worries about the treatment by Democrats of a conservative minority. In fact, conservative minorities are often savaged by liberal Democrats. I remember some very, VERY nasty things said about Condoleeza Rica, even caricatures made of her by liberals. It was disgusting. Colin Powell was also viciously insulted, and called a “house boy,” albeit not by Senators, but by liberal Democrats nonetheless.
    Again, it is all about politics, not race/ethnicity. If it were truly a concern about the treatment of minorities, liberals would be up in arms about the shoddy treatment of conservative minorities as well, but they are not. Any conservative who wanders off the liberal plantation paints a bulls-eye on his/her back for liberals to take mighty aim at. In the same way, “women’s groups” are nowhere to be found when conservative women are treated viciously. It is all about the politics; let’s stop pretending that it is otherwise.
    I don’t even consider myself a conservative, holding views ranging from conservative in some issues all the way to liberal on others, and I am not affiliated with any political party. But any fair-minded person can see the double standards at play here

  4. Michaela said:

    Judge Sotomayor was treated exceptionally well by the Republicans. Your article is the typical attempt by the “latinos” to continue to play the victim card. It has gotten real, real old.

  5. Evelyn said:

    Why in the world would the Republicans need to extend an olive branch to Latinos?
    Duh! So they could win an election, instead of wondering out in the wilderness looking for a brain and common sense.

  6. Horace said:

    “Nor does it show the Latino community that the Republican leaders have matured when it comes to knowing how to treat people of different ethnicities — and in this case a Latina.”
    Where do I find a copy of “How to Treat Latinos 101″? Maybe I should be looking for “How to Coddle Latinos 101″, instead. Perhaps Latinos should conform to rest of the world and not expect special treatment. Perhaps they should lighten up and understand that not everybody has taken Latinos 101. Perhaps it’s their turn to forgive and forget, instead of making a federal case out of every perceived offense to their sensibilities. Latinos seem to have no compunctions in stereotyping white people, yet they seem to expect everyone to coddle them. The superior “wise Latina” comment would be nice place to start for Sotomayor. Did you ever think that the congressmen may have been personally offended by that remark? Instead, we’re asked to suck it up as a “misunderstanding” and forgive a Latino. Understanding and forgiveness are a two way street, except when it comes to Latinos.

  7. cookie said:

    Hispanics only make a small number of Americans. There are only about 40 million of them including children. So how is their vote important to go after? The Republicans didn’t lose the election because of the Hispanic vote…duh!
    You still didn’t answer my question what did the Republicans do to owe an olive branch to them? Even McCain was for amnesty for illegal aliens.

  8. Evelyn said:

    cookie :
    Hispanics only make a small number of Americans. There are only about 40 million of them including children. So how is their vote important to go after? The Republicans didn’t lose the election because of the Hispanic vote…duh!
    E
    When Barack Obama won the presidential election last week over John McCain, he did so with substantial help from Hispanic voters in four critical swing states. Nationwide, Hispanics supported Obama by better then two-to-one, Edison-Mitofsky exit polls showed, helping boost him to easy victories in such major electoral-count states as California, New York and Illinois.
    At least 10 million Latinos voted, surmises Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza. NCLR was part of the coalition effort by Hispanic organizations to boost voter registrations by more than a million. Preliminary figures show Latino voters made up nine percent of the total national electorate, or just over 10 million.
    The oft-mentioned swing state scenario — involving Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, all with sizeable Hispanic population — proved true. The policy analysis group NDN reported the day after the election that Obama’s victory margins in those four states were attributable to the Latino vote.
    http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/37911
    ~~
    You still didn’t answer my question what did the Republicans do to owe an olive branch to them?
    E
    I never intended to answer you question.
    My intention was to point out the fact that without the Hispanic vote Republicans have no chance in hell of winning a presidential election.
    ~~
    Even McCain was for amnesty for illegal aliens.
    E
    No president has supported amnesty since Reagen.
    McCain, Bush and Obama support Comprehensive Immigration Reform which includes paying a fine for entering and living in this country under illegal status.
    Main Entry: am·nes·ty
    Pronunciation: \ˈam-nə-stē\
    Function: noun
    : the act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/amnesty
    Paying a fine is not amnesty.

  9. Che said:

    So true.
    The treatment of conservative minorities by the left is sickening.
    … Latina Lista doesn’t speak for all latinos, believe me… she only speaks for liberal brainwashed latinos.

  10. cookie said:

    10 million Hispanic votes equaling only 2/3 that voted for Obama is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the total number of voters in this country. So it was mostly non-Hispanics that elected Obama.
    The Republicans lost because of the war and the failed Bush Administration not because of their stance on illegal immigration. As I said, McCain was for amnesty for illegal aliens. He co-authored a bill with Kennedy for that. Get your facts straight!
    Doesn’t matter if we call it amnesty or legalization, it would still have allowed illegal aliens to stay in this country and that is the bottom line! McCain was for that.

  11. Marisa Treviño said:

    You’re wrong, Che. I speak for myself. If there are those who agree with me, they agree with me on their own terms. And as far as that crack about being brainwashed, the same can be said for people like you who think all Latinos have gotten a fair shake in life from federal policies in this country. So, I guess that would make you a conservative, brainwashed Latino – if you’re even Latino!

  12. Evelyn said:

    cookie :
    10 million Hispanic votes equaling only 2/3 that voted for Obama is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the total number of voters in this country. So it was mostly non-Hispanics that elected Obama.
    The Republicans lost because of the war and the failed Bush Administration not because of their stance on illegal immigration. As I said, McCain was for amnesty for illegal aliens. He co-authored a bill with Kennedy for that. Get your facts straight!
    Doesn’t matter if we call it amnesty or legalization, it would still have allowed illegal aliens to stay in this country and that is the bottom line! McCain was for that.
    E
    My facts are straight,including the one from the Dictionary about what constitutes “amnesty” and what doesent.
    The article about how Latinos gave Obama the crucial win in the four critical swing states and pushed him over the top to win the presidential election are also straight facts.
    The fact that your ignorance impedes you from understanding those facts is no ones fault but your own. Get an education.
    By contrast, none of your opinions are backed by fact.

  13. cookie said:

    As it is only YOUR opinion that the Republicans lost because of immigration and not based on facts, Evelyn! Proof is that McCain was on YOUR side of this issue and that is a FACT! So how did he lose because of immigration???
    Obama could not have won this election without the white, black and other non-hispanic votes. You give way to much credit to the outcome of the election to Hispanics. They were a mere pittance of the total votes cast.

  14. Evelyn said:

    cookie :
    As it is only YOUR opinion that the Republicans lost because of immigration and not based on facts, Evelyn! Proof is that McCain was on YOUR side of this issue and that is a FACT! So how did he lose because of immigration???
    E
    Because of pressure from Repukkk homophobics McCain changed his mind on Immigration. Thats why he lost the Hispanic vote.
    McCain Flip-Flops on Immigration
    During the course of the Republican primary, McCain veered away from his support of a comprehensive immigration reform bill, citing, openly, the political pressures being put on him by the conservative base.
    McCain, the so called “maverick” who allegedly isn’t afraid to stand up for his principles, doesn’t deny the flip-flop, either. Media Matters gives this November 2007 AP article as an example:
    “I understand why you would call it a, quote, shift,” McCain told reporters Saturday after voters questioned him on his position during back-to-back appearances in this early voting state. “I say it is a lesson learned about what the American people’s priorities are. And their priority is to secure the borders.”
    A quick look at McCain’s position on immigration shows that the old McCain was nothing like the McCain of today. In 2005, McCain worked to develop a comprehensive immigration reform bill with other members of Congress, including Senators Kennedy and Obama.
    http://www.dmiblog.com/archives/2008/06/mccain_
    flipflops_on_immigratio_1.html
    Obama could not have won this election without the white, black and other non-hispanic votes.
    E
    Thats true, I have never disputed that fact. Trying spin as if I have wont work.
    ~
    You give way to much credit to the outcome of the election to Hispanics. They were a mere pittance of the total votes cast.
    E
    Facts shown above at the link I provided speak for themselves
    He also couldent have won the four crucial swing states he needed to win the election without the Hispanic vote. Hispanics pushed him over the top by giving him those states.
    How you wish to interpret those facts is entirely up to you. Americans are not so dumb that they cant tell the difference.

  15. Mario Varetti Jr. said:

    I believe that the questions posed to Judge Sotomayor by the Republican Senators were appropriate for a person who is about to occupy a seat in the Highest Court of this great nation.
    Judge Sotomayor has shown that she cannot be impartial and abide by the Constitution and the Statutes without interjecting her ethnic and cultural mindset.
    In fact many of her rulings have no judicial justification while others have been openly anti-White and racists.
    The “White”,(as the article mentions) Senators treated her very well indeed.
    As for her “wise Latina” comments she should know that we already have two Latinos Justices at the Court and they are:
    Justice Scalia and Justices Alito.
    Being of Italian descent these two are, in fact, 100% Latinos but during their confirmation hearing they never mentioned that fact and they never made any reference in the past that their personal views and cultural background would guide them in their judicial decisions.
    Judge Sotomayor,should also know that the Latin,be the language and culture comes from Italy and NOT from Spain and it would be of great help for her if she opened a book about Roman-Western Civilization.
    America Latina is a geographical designation of Spanish, French and Portuguese speaking territories of the Americas and in no way can be translated into a “Latino-Latina” racial or cultural denomination no matter what either the people from those areas or dictionaries say about this issue.
    I would hope,though,that once in office Judge Sonia Sotomayor will gain a reputation for upholding the U.S. Constitution and Statutes in an impartial manner.

  16. Mario Varetti Jr. said:

    I believe that the questions posed to Judge Sotomayor by the Republican Senators were appropriate for a person who is about to occupy a seat in the Highest Court of this great nation.
    Judge Sotomayor has shown that she cannot be impartial and abide by the Constitution and the Statutes without interjecting her ethnic and cultural mindset.
    In fact many of her rulings have no judicial justification while others have been openly anti-White and racists.
    The “White”,(as the article mentions) Senators treated her very well indeed.
    As for her “wise Latina” comments she should know that we already have two Latinos Justices at the Court and they are:
    Justice Scalia and Justices Alito.
    Being of Italian descent these two are, in fact, 100% Latinos but during their confirmation hearing they never mentioned that fact and they never made any reference in the past that their personal views and cultural background would guide them in their judicial decisions.
    Judge Sotomayor,should also know that the Latin,be the language and culture comes from Italy and NOT from Spain and it would be of great help for her if she opened a book about Roman-Western Civilization.
    America Latina is a geographical designation of Spanish, French and Portuguese speaking territories of the Americas and in no way can be translated into a “Latino-Latina” racial or cultural denomination no matter what either the people from those areas or dictionaries say about this issue.
    I would hope,though,that once in office Judge Sonia Sotomayor will gain a reputation for upholding the U.S. Constitution and Statutes in an impartial manner.

  17. Mario Varetti Jr. said:

    I believe that the questions posed to Judge Sotomayor by the Republican Senators were appropriate for a person who is about to occupy a seat in the Highest Court of this great nation.
    Judge Sotomayor has shown that she cannot be impartial and abide by the Constitution and the Statutes without interjecting her ethnic and cultural mindset.
    In fact many of her rulings have no judicial justification while others have been openly anti-White and racists.
    The “White”,(as the article mentions) Senators treated her very well indeed.
    As for her “wise Latina” comments she should know that we already have two Latinos Justices at the Court and they are:
    Justice Scalia and Justices Alito.
    Being of Italian descent these two are, in fact, 100% Latinos but during their confirmation hearing they never mentioned that fact and they never made any reference in the past that their personal views and cultural background would guide them in their judicial decisions.
    Judge Sotomayor,should also know that the Latin,be the language and culture comes from Italy and NOT from Spain and it would be of great help for her if she opened a book about Roman-Western Civilization.
    America Latina is a geographical designation of Spanish, French and Portuguese speaking territories of the Americas and in no way can be translated into a “Latino-Latina” racial or cultural denomination no matter what either the people from those areas or dictionaries say about this issue.
    I would hope,though,that once in office Judge Sonia Sotomayor will gain a reputation for upholding the U.S. Constitution and Statutes in an impartial manner.

  18. Mario Varetti Jr. said:

    I believe that the questions posed to Judge Sotomayor by the Republican Senators were appropriate for a person who is about to occupy a seat in the Highest Court of this great nation.
    Judge Sotomayor has shown that she cannot be impartial and abide by the Constitution and the Statutes without interjecting her ethnic and cultural mindset.
    In fact many of her rulings have no judicial justification while others have been openly anti-White and racists.
    The “White”,(as the article mentions) Senators treated her very well indeed.
    As for her “wise Latina” comments she should know that we already have two Latinos Justices at the Court and they are:
    Justice Scalia and Justices Alito.
    Being of Italian descent these two are, in fact, 100% Latinos but during their confirmation hearing they never mentioned that fact and they never made any reference in the past that their personal views and cultural background would guide them in their judicial decisions.
    Judge Sotomayor,should also know that the Latin,be the language and culture comes from Italy and NOT from Spain and it would be of great help for her if she opened a book about Roman-Western Civilization.
    America Latina is a geographical designation of Spanish, French and Portuguese speaking territories of the Americas and in no way can be translated into a “Latino-Latina” racial or cultural denomination no matter what either the people from those areas or dictionaries say about this issue.
    I would hope,though,that once in office Judge Sonia Sotomayor will gain a reputation for upholding the U.S. Constitution and Statutes in an impartial manner.

  19. Mario Varetti Jr. said:

    I believe that the questions posed to Judge Sotomayor by the Republican Senators were appropriate for a person who is about to occupy a seat in the Highest Court of this great nation.
    Judge Sotomayor has shown that she cannot be impartial and abide by the Constitution and the Statutes without interjecting her ethnic and cultural mindset.
    In fact many of her rulings have no judicial justification while others have been openly anti-White and racists.
    The “White”,(as the article mentions) Senators treated her very well indeed.
    As for her “wise Latina” comments she should know that we already have two Latinos Justices at the Court and they are:
    Justice Scalia and Justices Alito.
    Being of Italian descent these two are, in fact, 100% Latinos but during their confirmation hearing they never mentioned that fact and they never made any reference in the past that their personal views and cultural background would guide them in their judicial decisions.
    Judge Sotomayor,should also know that the Latin,be the language and culture comes from Italy and NOT from Spain and it would be of great help for her if she opened a book about Roman-Western Civilization.
    America Latina is a geographical designation of Spanish, French and Portuguese speaking territories of the Americas and in no way can be translated into a “Latino-Latina” racial or cultural denomination no matter what either the people from those areas or dictionaries say about this issue.
    I would hope,though,that once in office Judge Sonia Sotomayor will gain a reputation for upholding the U.S. Constitution and Statutes in an impartial manner.

  20. Marisa Treviño said:

    “Mario” – because your email doesn’t even come close to the name you’re using- your response that Judge Sotomayor “has shown that she cannot be impartial without injecting her ethnic and cultural mindset” is a strong accusation. Please show specifically a case that supports your opinion because in the end, that’s all we express on this site, are opinions.

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