Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Sotomayor's record is there to examine

Sonia Sotomayor has 17 years of experience on the federal bench. There's plenty of material in her writings and decisions to mine for how she might act as a member of the Supreme Court.

Of course there are members of the Republican Party that will oppose her because they would oppose anyone President Barack Obama nominated. Yes, there are right-wing commentators who will call her a "racist," based on an away-from-the-courtroom remark she made that rubbed them the wrong way.

Like most of us, Sotomayor has surely made remarks that she would rephrase, if she got the chance. The difference in what is said offhand and what is written after reflection is something anybody trying to understand truth and proportion can grasp.

If any serious person wants to know how Sotomayor's life experience, including her heritage and her training as a lawyer, will come to bear on her decisions, they need only look at the record -- she has 17 years on experience on the federal bench.

That record as a judge is most of what Sotomayor's confirmation hearing should be about. Don't be surprised if it seems at times to be about everything but that record.

Still, from a political games standpoint, it's amazing that Republicans attacking Sotomayor using her background against her have taken the bait. By using attacks based entirely upon her Hispanic roots they are making it more and more difficult for the young people of any background to relate to their strategy.

The Republican's most visible geezer spokespersons -- Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich -- seem unaware of the trend that has young Americans less racist, homophobic and generally less intolerant than their predecessors. Any strategy that ignores that trend is doomed.

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