Who’s this? She grew up in the Bronx, is Hispanic, a woman, thanked her mother during her first speech, and is currently living and working in New York. She’s Sonia Sotomayor, and barring any back taxes, unpaid nannies, or anything else untoward in her background, she is to become our first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.
And the people at the top are finally starting to look like the people in the middle and everywhere else in this great nation.
Say this for Obama, he’s really getting into the whole “melting pot” ideal. The justices are truly starting to represent the faces and ideals of just about everyone in the country. And that is a very good thing. Believe it or not, I don’t want everyone the Court to look, act, and sound like me. I don’t want all of them to hold the same opinions as I do about abortion, affirmative action, immigration, and a host of other hot topics. We need debate. Because somewhere between the left and the right is the truth and that is what having all of these different people, with dissenting opinions—and most importantly, different backgrounds—is for.
Of course, these nominations are always a crap shoot. George H.W. Bush thought he was getting a by-the-book conservative when he appointed Justice David Souter, who turned out to have a few leftie ideas of his own when it came time to rule. But even Sotomayor herself has admitted to the fact that being an Hispanic female makes her more qualified to sympathize with those like her—those who were raised by single mothers in the poorer areas of our inner cities who had to make it on their own. Time will tell, as will rulings. But I have a feeling that she’s sincere when she talks about that empathy for the “little guy,” as we used to call the downtrodden back in the day and that that will shape how she decides certain cases. Case in point: she is most well known for her rulings on discrimination cases involving people with disabilities.
Whatever you feel about the direction the country is taking and despite how you might have voted in the last election, you can’t say that it isn’t an interesting time to be an American. I can’t remember being a teen and thinking about who might be the next Supreme Court nominee because I was certain it would be an old white guy. Same for presidential candidates. We had Geraldine Ferraro that one time and that in itself was exciting, but I think we all had a sneaking suspicion that she wouldn’t be one heartbeat away from the presidency and that her candidacy alongside Walter Mondale was really just a parlor game. But now? To paraphrase a song: the rules, they are a’changin’. And I for one, am feeling groovy.