Author Topic: WHY AFRICAN AMERICANS MUST UNITE BEHIND SONIA SOTOMAYOR by Kamala Harris  (Read 3490 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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I watched the announcement of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's appointment to the United States Supreme Court, I, like many Americans, was struck by the historic picture on my television screen. The nation's first African American president nominating the first Latina as a potential Supreme Court Justice.

Few things have made me prouder as an American than seeing our country put aside age-old prejudices and in choosing hope over fear, elect the first African American President. We elected Barack Obama not because of his race, but because he was the best person to lead our country.

Today we face a similar choice as the Senate considers President Obama's nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court.

Opponents of Judge Sotomayor, such as Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and Ann Coulter, are calling her a "racist" for expressing view that we need judges with a diversity of life experiences.

There is something tragic in the transparent cynicism of this charge. Do they also intend to condemn Abraham Lincoln for the pride he took in his hardscrabble roots on the western frontier? This is America, where people of all races are rightly proud of accomplishments in the face of adversity.

As Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall said while celebrating the bicentennial of our constitution in 1987: "The men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787...could not have imagined, nor would they have accepted, that the document they were drafting would one day be construed by a Supreme Court to which had been appointed a woman and the descendant of an African slave."

Yet today a Latina Judge has been nominated by an African American president for the job of construing our constitution. As the president noted during his announcement of her appointment, there are few presidential decisions as important as the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice. Over the coming years the Supreme Court will likely rule on such critical issues as voting rights, gun control and the regulation of Wall Street.

I intend to make it my mission to galvanize my community in support of Judge Sotomayor's confirmation. And I will make the same case for Judge Sotomayor that I made for then-Senator Barack Obama. It is very simple: Judge Sotomayor is the best qualified American for this job.

Judge Sotomayor has all of the legal and life experience to be an excellent Supreme Court Justice. She grew up in a public housing project in the South Bronx and was raised by a single mom who also found time to attend community college, work full-time and train to become a registered nurse.

Judge Sotomayor worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, where she prosecuted dozens of serious criminal cases. As a former prosecutor, Judge Sotomayor has the courtroom experience necessary to make rulings based on a working knowledge of our courts.

Judge Sotomayor has a history of bipartisanship and a wealth of experience on the bench. She has been appointed to judicial positions by both President George H. W. Bush and President Clinton. Serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, one of the most demanding in the nation, she has participated in more than 3000 panel decisions and authored 400 opinions on a multitude of complex issues. As the President noted, Judge Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100 years.

I strongly believe that all Americans benefit when we have leaders who represent the broad diversity of the American experience. Too often, people have tried to create false divisions between the African-American and Latino communities.

Regardless of our differences, the truth is that we all share the same hopes and dreams. We should stand together against bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and fight for the confirmation of Judge Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.



Offline Princesa

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Hear hear I couldn't agree more :)

Online Hypestyle

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I hope that the sensible folks out there make their voices heard in support of justice sotomayor..
when stuff like "this" comes out-- http://www.hudlinentertainment.com/smf/index.php?topic=4648.0
the reactionaries of the community view it as "proof" of across-the-board Latin animosity against blacks, and label anyone who supports immigration rights/black-brown unity deluded at best and a sellout at worst..
Be Kind to Someone Today.

Offline Battle

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I think I know where the source of all this attention (and outrage) is given to a throwaway remark in Ms. Sotomayor's speech in 2001.

It came from the Star Chamber itself!  I seem to recall a  certain 2003 ABC televised interview with two supreme court justices, Sandra Day O' Conner and Stephen Breyer  on a program called "this WEEK  with George Stephanopoulos" where some elements of Ms. Sotomayor's were discussed.
At some point in the interview, Breyer had posited that the judicial system "sets up the framework of democratic government so If you have a country of tens or hundreds of different kinds of people or different groups of people, they can get together and make thier own decisions to the democratic process governed by this framework which, more or less, keeps the system on track."

Stephanopoulos: Is it flawed in any way?

O' Conner: Well...  It was originally, because originally only white males owning property could vote, and we would find that notion an acronism today, I think.  So it took a great many years and a Civil War before it became more 'inclusive' in terms of voter rights and participation.

Stephanopoulos: Justice O' Conner, you were very dismissive about these questions about your power. You also seem impatient with the notion that your decision-making is somewhat distinctive because you're a woman.  Why does it bother you so much?

O' Conner: Well, it's just a product of a lifetime of experiences, I guess... Looking back over time, I can't see that on issues that we address at the court, that a wise old woman is going to decide a case differently than a wise old man. I just don't think that's the case.

Stephanopoulos:[to Breyer] Do you agree with that?

Breyer: I do, actually.  We're good friends.  The people in the courts are pretty good friends, then when we get down to business which is the question of how the cases should be decided, we're thinking about the case, you're going through it, you get caught up in these questions. they're very difficult questions. They're very human questions because  they'll affect people and I don't think I've noticed any gender-based difference.

Stephanopoulos: ...but, as a matter of principle and philosophy, is a more diverse court a better court?

O' Conner: I think it helps with 9 members to have some different background experience.  You don't want 9 clones. That's what Franklin Roosevelt was trying to get, I guess... court packing!  The nation didn't approve that program and we've had diverse courts over the years that's worked well.

Offline jefferson L.O.B. sergeant

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I'm going to explore becoming a political consultant. ;)

My first step will be to take all of the "Wise Latina" inquisitors and form a loop and use it as an ad campaign.

These guys are making much too easy to assault them.

"Splainin to do" 8)

Really? HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA ;D