While most of us hoped it would not be so, it took less than 24 hours for Republicans to start attacking the race of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. The Judicial Confirmation Network, a Republican organization created to promote Republican nominees to the Supreme Court, sent out a press release attacking Judge Sotomayor as a "Liberal Judicial Activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important than the law as written."
Hearing that, you might ask yourself, "What is Judge Sotomayor's 'personal political agenda?'" (or at least, what does the Judicial Confirmation Network think is her agenda)
The Judicial Confirmation Network sent out Wendy Long to do the talk show circuit to explain what that is. She hit Fox News Tuesday morning and by Tuesday evening, she was on CNN's AC360 attacking Judge Sotomayor by saying:
"She herself has said that she thinks it is appropriate for her to make decisions as a Latina woman, from that perspective bringing to bear those demographics on her decision making."
Ms. Long went on to spout additional craziness about Sotomayor, but look at what she led with. I can tell you as someone who has been on political talk shows on national cable channels a few times now that you lead with your most important point first because you don't know how much time you are going to get to say anything else. Keeping that in mind, according to Wendy Long, the Judicial Confirmation Network and by extension, the Republican Party, the most compelling negative point they have about Sonia Sotomayor is that she is a Latina woman and comes from that background and has that perspective.
I have DVR (for those of you not familiar with DVR, it is a technology like TIVO that allows one to record TV channels from cable television) at home and after I heard Ms. Long say that, I hit record and rewound it and listened to it several times to make sure I got it right. It took four or five replays to make me believe I heard correctly. For those of you reading this, pause here and reread what she said a few times and think about it. The Republican Party has declared war on Latinos and Latino values. Of course, those of us who have studied the Republican Party already knew that it is an organization that hates minorities but they are usually more subtle about it than this. I can just imagine members of racist hate groups sitting around their TV sets watching this statement being made by Wendy Long and saying "Whoa now, take it easy lady!"
All kidding aside, as a Latino, I am extremely offended by what Ms. Long said. I expected the regular silliness from Republicans about "Liberal activist judge, blah, blah, blah" but to attack Judge Sotomayor because she is a Latina woman and comes from that perspective is not even making an attempt to hide the racism. Wendy Long and the Judicial Confirmation Network should apologize for having said that and they ought to sit down and shut up for the remainder of the process.
Not being happy with one major miscue in a day, the Republican Party made it a twofer by mailing to various journalists the anti-Sotomayor talking points intended for GOP operatives only. As reported in "The Hill's Blog Briefing Room", see http://briefingroom.thehill.com/2009/05/26/rnc-fumbles-sotomayor-talking-points/ , here are some of the points:
o To be clear, Republicans do not view this nomination without concern. Judge Sotomayor has received praise and high ratings from liberal special interest groups. Judge Sotomayor has also said that policy is made on the U.S. Court of Appeals.
o Liberal ideology, not legal qualification, is likely to guide the president's choice of judicial nominees.
o Obama has said his criterion for nominating judges would be their "heart" and "empathy."
o Obama said he believes Supreme Court justices should understand the Court's role "to protect people who may be vulnerable in the political process."
o Obama has declared: "We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old-and that's the criterion by which I'll be selecting my judges."