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.
...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.