Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Is Sotomayor Off Limits?

This blog post by Craig Crawford has me puzzled:

Watching Lindsey Graham's gotcha grin as he needled Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor with disingenuous and rhetorical questions you had to wonder what was so funny.

Does the Republican senator think it is amusing that he and his party's condescending tone toward the Hispanic woman was costing them ethnic votes with each passing hour of Tuesday's Judiciary Committee hearing?

It is not that the Republican inquiries were out of bounds in legal terms. But a confirmation hearing like this is a political forum.

Even if they vote for her, the fallout for Republicans could reach well beyond Hispanic voters. They are coming across as a bunch of snarky and bitter old white men who cannot bear the thought of their kind losing power.

The impact of this story on the political scoreboard should give Democrats much more to smile about.

This post and another one by fellow moderate GOPer Sophia Nelson, has me wondering: are liberal persons of color who are to be nominated just supossed to glide through hearings, never asked any tough questions?

I have argued in the past and still maintain that Republicans should not try to block Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court because for the very same reasons. And I would certainly agree that there needs to be more diversity among the GOP.

That said, I think the GOP can and should ask some probing questions. What did she mean by her "wise Latina" remark? Can she explain her ruling in the Ricci case? Probing the judge is not akin to being a racist.

The thing is, if the circumstance were reversed, and it was President Bush nominating a Hispanic judge to the Supreme Court, I doubt that Crawford would be wagging his finger when Democratic Senators starting asking tough questions to the nominee, as would be their right.

The fact that persons of color such as President Obama and Sotomayor are taking positions of power in our society is a great thing and it means we are living up to the promise E Pluribus Unum. But that also means we as persons of color have to be big boys and girls and take the slings and arros that come on the political stage.

As a fellow Puerto Rican, I am proud to see Sotomayor being considered, and hope that she will make a good justice. But that Pride doesn't mean tossing her softball questions.

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