The X Fact(her): Lady Justice is Latina

“Do I

want her to fail? Yeah. Do I want her to fail to get on the court? Yes.

She’d be a disaster on the court. Do I still want Obama to fail as

president? Yeah. AP, you getting this?” – Rush LimbaughI know

more about Sonia Sotomayor than I do my next door neighbor. Since being

announced as Prez Obama’s pick to replace retiring Justice David Souter

of the U.S. Supreme Court, her life has become plastered all over the

media. The last time I took note of a Supreme Court nominee was

Clarence Thomas, whose hearings regarding sexual harassment charges by

former colleague Anita Hill made him a household name.

It’s

safe to say the reason why Sotomayor is getting so much coverage is

because she is Latina and grew up poor. Period. End of Story.

Don’t

believe it. Check the headlines: “Sonia Maria Sotomayor rose from the

projects”; “Sotomayor seen through filter of ethnicity”; “Sonia

Sotomayor a Role Model for Kids with Diabetes”

Why,

after the historic election of President Obama, are we will awe struck

by accomplished folks of color? The focus on Sotomayor growing up in

the projects (for the record she only lived there for a short number of

years before her family moved to a co-op), her parents being from

Puetro Rico and being diagnosed with child diabetes is touching, but

should that matter? Is that more important than her stance on abortion,

gun rights, civil rights and employment discrimination?

Conservatives are having a field day with Sotomayor’s nomination.

“Do I

want her to fail? Yeah. Do I want her to fail to get on the court? Yes.

She’d be a disaster on the court. Do I still want Obama to fail as

president? Yeah. AP, you getting this?” – Rush Limbaugh

“She

may have empathy for the poor, gays and minorities — but she is likely

to ignore the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law.” – The Traditional

Values Coalition, claiming to speak for 43,000 American churches

Then

there’s the flipside to her nomination, or shall we call it the race

card. Republicans acknowledge that the Hispanic vote has been good to

them in recent elections and the rejection of Sotomayor will leave a

bad taste in the mouths of brown voters.

Manu Raju writes on Politico.com:

Republicans

may face a backlash if they’re seen as charging too hard against a

nominee who’s both a woman and a Hispanic. Red-state Democrats will be

under pressure from the right, which will make sure that their

conservative-to-moderate constituents know all about Sotomayor’s most

controversial views. And some GOP Senate candidates may find themselves

on the horns of an unhappy dilemma: Do you play to the conservative base or to Hispanic voters who could play a huge role in their 2010 races?

While Republicans have a lot to lose or gain from Sotomayor joining the Supreme Court, what will it mean for the rest of us?

Black

people of America thought Clarence Thomas was going to do major work on

our behalf once he was appointed to the Supreme Court but haven’t heard

as much as a peep out of him.

There

is no denying that Sotomayor is a success story. She’s the result of a

single mother household and received a world class education, 

attending private school to graduating from Princeton and Yale Law

School. Prez Obama spoke so highly of her during this week’s press

conference stating that Sotomayor is more distinguished than any

current Justice was when they were nominated. Talk about a diss to the

sitting judges. But that got me to thinking about something my parents

always told me, “In order for you to compete in society you have to

work twice as hard just to be acknowledged.” It’s true; it takes a lot

of work and accomplishment for folks to see past your skin color so why

are we focusing on Sotomayor’s pigmentation and not her platform?

Forgive me for not judging a book by its cover.- CH

The X Fact(her) is a weekly column that appears on 99problems.org. Started on Inauguration Day 2009 by the League of Young Voter’s Education Fund, 99problems.org is a non-profit initiative that aims to keep young people engaged in the political process through activism and community involvement. Please visit 99problems.org to find out how you can get involved right now! For more on Chloé A. Hilliard visitwww.chloehilliard.com 

Related Stories