Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Judge Sonia Has Her Day

"I chose to be a lawyer and ultimately a judge because I find endless challenge in the complexities of the law. I firmly believe in the rule of law as the foundation for all of our basic rights."

Sonia Sotomayor
26 May 2009

The latest talking point on both sides of the aisle is that she came from nothing. That's not true. Nobody comes from nothing. Every human being on earth, whether they are born in a mansion or a ghetto, is priceless. Still, it's a good thing to know that in an age when America is starting to look more and more like a Plutocracy, that a person of Judge Sotomayor's humble origin can climb to the pinnacle of her profession without turning her back on from whence she came. It's quite curious; why does Clarence Thomas and Alberto Gozalez immediately come to mind?

Her biography is beyond impressive. Born in the Bronx fifty-five years ago this June 23, to Puerto Rican parents, she was raised in a housing project that was rife with vice and violence. A year after she was diagnosed with diabetes at the tender age of eight, her father died. Her mother insisted that she and her younger brother receive a private Catholic education - an expensive proposition under any circumstances. Back then (as now) Parochial schools were far superior to the public schools in most American cities. A few years after graduating from Cardinal Spellman High School, she received her A.B. from Princeton University.

According to some scholars, she has more judicial and legal experience than any proposed nominee in at least a century. You would assume that a person with her credentials would be easily confirmed by the Senate, wouldn't you? In fact as things now stand, that just may happen. While the Republicans are just itching to block her nomination with every possible legislative trick at their disposal, they have a bit of a problem: their hunting dog is dead.

The "party of Lincoln" has a really big dilemma on their hands. What we're talking about here is a classic Catch 22, damned if they do and damned if they don't scenario: It would be crazy on their part to obstruct the Sotomayor nomination for the simple reason that it would only further alienate the country's fastest growing demographic, Hispanics. A lot of them (for reasons I can't figure out for the life of me) vote against their best interests by habitually siding with the GOP. To throw a monkey wrench into this process is not likely to do the Republicans any good. You would think at least one of them would be smart enough to figure this out. The membership in that silly excuse of a party is dwindling at such an alarming rate, to do anything but grant the good judge a prompt and speedy confirmation would be foolhardy.

PROBLEM: That party is just chock full of fools. The next few days should be very interesting; very interesting indeed.

Every day in every way, they spiral further and further into the abyss of irrelevancy. To do anything as politically suicidal as attempting to sabotage President Obama's nominee would only be further proof (as if any more were needed) that our Republican representatives, within congress and without, are beyond psychotherapy and need to be seriously medicated for their own safety and ours.

The other day on television, Mitch McConnell (What would I do without you, Mitch?) was saying that the last thing the American people needed was a Supreme Court Justice setting judicial precedent via any preconceived political conviction. It's a good argument, one that begs the following question: Has it occurred to Senator McConnell that there are already four Right Wing extremists on that court? It's time to take a very slight turn towards the left. In fact it's long overdue. And while Judge Sotomayor's record does lean toward a liberal point-of-view, she can hardly be described as a fire-breathing Lefty. Remember it was George H. W. Bush who on November 27, 1991 nominated her to hold a seat on the U.S District Court. What does that tell you?

Don't fall for the onslaught of propaganda that is about to be hurled at you that will portray her as some kind of extremist. Sonia Sotomayer is, at best, a wishy washy moderate. In fact, she's boring. Radical Lefty? Please.

Truth be told, Eleanor Holmes Norton would have been my first choice. Between you and me, I think that gal is the bee's knees! I'm just crazy about her!

As of this hour, college drop-out Karl Rove is questioning Judge Sotomayor's intellect (She graduated second in her class at Princeton). Rush Limbaugh is calling her a "racist" (The same Rush Limbaugh who a few months ago broadcast the song parody, "Barack, The Magic Negro"). The Right Wing talking heads are now trying to portray her as the instrument of Satan's own wrath. They are in the process of obliterating whatever credibility they have left. And isn't it wonderful? You and I are going to have a front-row seat for their self-immolation!

Three years ago next week when I started this site (June 6, 2006) I made what at the time seemed a very bold, even preposterous prediction. It's not as bold or preposterous now as it once was. In fact it's almost a foregone conclusion. Please allow me to make that prediction again:

George W. Bush will be the last Republican president. There will never be another. The grand old party is over.

I concluded that first posing three years ago this Tuesday with these words:

"Sound crazy? Stay tuned."

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


In recent weeks, the site that monitors the global positions of the readers of "The Rant" has pinpointed a reader who has been tuning in every couple of days from about a hundred miles or so off the south-west corner of the coast of Africa.


Whether you be a passenger on a private yacht, a military vessel, or just a lone fisherman, please allow me to send out to you this hearty and heartfelt salutation:


and peace to you, brother or sister....


At 7:48 PM, Blogger Jill Peterson said...

horton? was it the colbert bump?
i was kinda hoping for our georgia chief justice leah ward sears.

At 11:45 PM, Blogger Barbara said...

Very well said, Tom. And I absolutely LOVE Eleanor Holmes Norton. Her confirmation hearings would have been Must See TV!

At 12:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The crazy right has polluted the minds of the elderly and the easily persuadable. I have seen this firsthand and it really pisses me off. They need to be stopped. I don't take anything they do lightly anymore.

At 3:23 PM, Blogger Laneman said...



At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was rooting for former AZ Governor and current head of DOHS Janet Napolitano. That would have been sweet - her sitting there next to Clarence Thomas on the bench! (For those too young to remember, during Thomas's confirmation, there were sexual harassment charges brought up against him by a young woman named Anita Hill. Janet was Anita's attorney for these proceedings.)

The Republican meltdown has been amusing. They don't understand that they have to at least PRETEND to care about the citizens of this country as much as they do about their campaigns and pet lobbyists. In the meantime, I am enjoying the show!

Jo in AZ

At 4:34 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

I would have much preferred an intellectual such as a constitutional law professor on the Court. I think a person with an understanding of the purpose of the U.S. Constitution would be more valuable than someone entrenched in the politics of the establishment. My constitutional law professor David E. Engdahl would have been a great choice but apparently Obama likes Ivy Leaguers !!!

At 2:36 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

Annoymous and Laneman,

I can assure you that as one of the elderly - not only elderly, but a white male to boot,my mind has NOT been polluted by the right; crazy or otherwise.

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Josh Justice said...

Are you at all concerned that if confirmed she will be the 5th catholic on the supreme court? I fear that if sworn in, the next time Roe v. Wade comes up it will be overturned.

At 3:13 PM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Not to worry, Josh. There is a fine Liberal tradition within the Catholic Church. I am living proof of that.

There are two kinds of Catholics, pal: Cardinal Spellman Catholics and Thomas Merton Catholics. Many of us identify with Brother Merton more than the late militaristic, New York cardinal.

When you have a moment or two, read Merton's autobiography, "Seven Storey Mountain". It is inspirational in more ways than one.


Tom Degan

At 7:32 AM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

It is now obvious that the GOP would like to have the confirmation hearings later rather than sooner. There plan is to keep going negative on Sotomayor all summer long. Their hope is that by Labor Day, the public's attitude toward her will be so negative, the Senate won't dare confirm her. Will it work? We shall see.


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