Senate hearings began today for the confirmation of SCOTUS nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Make no mistake, she will be confirmed, and quite likely with a large number of Republican votes, since Democrats control the Senate and the Republicans are, well… cowards.
The big issue over Sotomayor is not her famous “wise Latina” comments, nor even the “empathy” that Obama famously said that he hopes judges will employ. The real issue with her nomination, as with almost everything else Democrats have done in the last 30 years, is her ethnic background. Obama did not nominate Sotomayor because of her judicial credentials, her liberal leanings, her stellar legal mind.
He nominated her because she is of Puerto Rican descent. There are many other equally (if not more) qualified people around with liberal views that Obama could have nominated, but in selecting Sotomayor, the Democrats with the help of scaredy cat Republicans, can continue to pretend to be the party of racial equality and social uplift while all the while continuing in their historic tradition of using race as a wedge to secure power.
Sure, the raw policies have changed. Democrats no longer stand in doorways to declare, “Segregation now!! Segregation forever!!” as they once did. And no, they don’t turn firehoses on little black kids in the street. Instead they stand in suits in the hushed hallways of Congress and say things like: “Let no one demean this extraordinary woman,”
as Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont did today, while comparing her to Brandeis, Marshall, and O’Connor, all barrier breakers on the high court. This he did as a nice shot across the bow to any Republicans as a warning that opposition, whether based on principle or anything else, would be construed in the ugliest racial terms possible.
Republicans have by and large bought this narrative about themselves, probably because some of them are indeed racists, but more likely because they don’t want to be thought of as being racist. And so, just like the compromisers of the antebellum (that’s pre-Civil War for you) period who didn’t want to rock the boat by advocating for abolition, they continue to sit back and allow race politics to divide our nation, strangle our culture, and hurt the very people that the liberal entitlement plantation politics purports to save.
But hey, at least everyone will know that Lindsay Graham is not a racist!