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Sonia Sotomayor and race

The first Latina Supreme Court nominee and the pursuit of "colorblind" justice

"I detect the whiff of elitism-cum-racism emanating from the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court," said Richard Cohen in The Washington Post. Not from Sotomayor's statements on how a "wise Latina" might reach better decisions than a white man, nor from Sotomayor's controversial ruling upholding affirmative action. The odor comes from the "general expression of wow about her background," as if it's unusual for someone who grew up in housing projects to achieve great things.

If anyone's injecting race into the discussion of Sonia Sotomayor nomination, said Jonah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times, it's Sotomayor herself. Just ask Frank Ricci, the New Haven, Conn., firefighter denied a promotion because he's white, but denied a fair hearing from Judge Sotomayor. It's pefectly legitimate to question Sotomayor's rejection of "colorblindness" in the courtroom, but point that out and liberals determined to seat the first Latina justice "shout 'bigot' at anyone who fails to throw rose petals at her feet."

Some conservatives -- I emphasize some, because many "smart conservatives" are avoiding the trap -- seem concerned "that Sonia Sotomayor’s so-called identity politics have compromised her legal judgments," said Elaine Lafferty in The Daily Beast. "Oh, horse hockey, as the white guys used to say." The legal system has never really been colorblind. "All Judge Sotomayor was saying in that 2001 speech was that who she is -- indeed, who each of us is -- matters."

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