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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 3, 2009 / 11 Sivan 5769

Yes, America should read Sotomayor's speech in context

By Glenn Garvin


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Years ago when I was living in Texas, a small-town police chief whose brains had baked too long in the desert sun got himself into trouble by telling a reporter that blacks and women didn't make good cops because they were variously drunken and promiscuous. When the understandable uproar erupted, the chief protested that his remarks had been taken out of context. ''We give up,'' wondered Texas Monthly magazine. "What was the context?''

That's a good question to put to supporters of Sonia Sotomayor who insist that her remark that Latin women make better judges than white men must be taken in context — or, as President Obama says, in ''the entire sweep of the essay that she wrote.'' The problem for Obama is that the more most people read of the speech his first Supreme Court nominee made in 2001, the less they are going to like it.

Sotomayor's claim 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'' wasn't some blundering parenthetical reference. It was part of a full-scale repudiation of the idea that the law, or the judges who interpret it, should be color-blind. It even questions whether judicial objectivity is a desirable goal.

Sotomayor starts by noting that the number of females and Hispanics in the federal judiciary is growing, but still comparatively low — ''grossly below our proportion of the population.'' Fair enough. But then she moves on to criticize a speech by another federal judge — Miriam Cedarbaum, best known for throwing Martha Stewart in the slammer.

Cedarbaum ''believes that judges must transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices and aspire to achieve a greater degree of fairness and integrity based on the reason of law,'' says Sotomayor. She first expresses her token agreement, then immediately deep-sixes it: "I wonder whether achieving that goal is possible in all or even in most cases. And I wonder whether by ignoring our differences as women or men of color we do a disservice both to the law and society.''

As astonishing as I find it that a judge — any judge, much less one sitting on the second-highest judicial tier in America — would say that she can't put her ''personal sympathies and prejudices'' aside while deciding cases, her next statement is even more troubling. ''Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum,'' Sotomayor says, "our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.''

So there, with her reference to inherent physiological differences — a refined euphemism for ''skin color'' — is the context for Sotomayor's next statement, the now infamous line about how wise Latina women reach better conclusions than white men. There is not, as many of her supporters have implied, some economic patina to Sotomayor's argument, nothing about how pulling yourself up by your bootstraps develops character or tolerance. She is saying judicial capacity is linked to race and ethnicity, period. Somewhere, that old Texas cop is smiling in appreciation.

Of course, neither Sotomayor nor her Democratic backers really believe that. If they did, Miguel Estrada, not Sotomayor, might have been the first Hispanic Supreme Court nominee. When George W. Bush tied to make Estrada a federal circuit-court judge in 2001, Democrats killed the appointment with a 28-month filibuster.

Though Estrada is a Honduran immigrant, it turned out there was no ''richness'' to his Latino life, because he was a conservative. Estrada ''has lived a very different life from that of most Latinos, a life isolated from their experience and concerns,'' said the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund — an organization of which Sotomayor was once a director — in denouncing his appointment.

That's the ugly flip side of identity-group politics like those extolled by Sotomayor: The wrong political allegiance gets you drummed out of your race. How many times have I heard liberal friends sneeringly refer to Clarence Thomas as an Oreo, black on the outside but white on the inside, because he's got the wrong opinion on affirmative action? To be black, you can't have more than six degrees of political separation from Al Sharpton. Just ask Condoleezza Rice.

President Obama ought to understand this; he's had his own troubles. When he first declared for the presidency, the press was full of speculation about whether a guy who grew up in Hawaii with a white mother could really be black. Time magazine: IS OBAMA BLACK ENOUGH? New York Daily News: WHAT OBAMA ISN'T: BLACK LIKE ME. Replied Obama: ''I am rooted in the African-American community, but I'm not defined by it.'' Maybe you should have a talk with the judge, Mr. President.

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Glenn Garvin is a columnist for the Miami Herald

Previously:


05/20/09: ‘Bloody’ mission goes awry
05/07/09: The problem is they aren't just goofin'
04/30/09: Why can't students say ‘guns’ in school?
04/08/09: When non-U.S. citizens vote
03/2e/09: Of course the AIG bonus boys — the ‘best and the brightest‘ — deserve their loot
03/12/09: No choice in Free Choice Act

© 2009, The Miami Herald Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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