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May 29, 2009

Democrats Now Urging White House to Do Something About Sotomayor's Race- and Gender-Biased Comments

But, but, we were told this was a nothing story!

“She misspoke,” said Lanny Davis, a White House lawyer and spokesman for President Bill Clinton. “Every day that goes by that they don’t say she misspoke and she used the wrong words ... they just feed it and give it life and give Rush [Limbaugh] and [Sean] Hannity more airtime unnecessarily.”

Said Democratic strategist Chris Lehane: “In this day and age, six or seven or eight weeks is a long time to go without addressing an issue that can potentially take on a life of its own and evolve and grow.”

As I wrote yesterday, this is an issue that can split even the Democrats, but only if we have the guts to keep pressing it. Both Democratic strategists quoted are afraid of what happens if Republicans stay on this message without a response from the White House. Because even if he doesn't withdraw her nomination, Obama is going to take a beating for this nominee.

Judge Sotomayor has openly admitted bias based on race and gender. Now, as Americans we put up with a lot of peculiarities when it comes to people's personal beliefs. But one that is beyond the pale is discrimination based on race. The judge and the White House should immediately explain why her racial comments are not disqualifying. I think we all deserve reassurance that Judge Sotomayor will be able to set aside her bias if she were to join the Supreme Court.

Not Just For Now, But For Always: There has been some talk that Republicans should not press too hard on this. My fear is that if we do not take a stand now against the racism implied in Judge Sotomayor's statement--"a wise Latina better than a wise white man"--it will be more difficult to make a stand against it later.

We need to get it into people's heads that this type of thing is not appropriate for Supreme Court justices. Judge Sotomayor's opinion is popular with many Leftists. In fact, I'm sure that the fuss has left Obama and many in the White House scratching their heads because they don't understand what we're objecting to. So I have no doubt that they will keep proposing judges and justices who hold similar views. Unless we tell them clearly in a way they're never going to forget that this will not fly. Firmly opposing Judge Sotomayor on the basis of her comments is the best way to do that.

And let's make clear where she went wrong. For Judge Sotomayor, and for many people, it is an article of faith that racial and gender diversity in institutions like the courts is a good thing in itself. Well, fine, that's not a disqualifying offense. But she took it a step further. She suggested that particular race and gender combinations are actually better than others. That is racism. That is sexism. That is unacceptable.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 08:45 AM

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