WEBCommentary Contributor

Author: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  June 16, 2009

Topic category:  Government/Politics

Say No to Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Self-Described "Perfect Affirmative Action Baby"

"Excuse me, but after all that self-taught grammar, etc., could 1976 Princeton summa Sonia Sonomayor really still believe, in 1996, that 'in Spanish we do not have adjectives. A noun is described with a preposition'?"

Should a United States Supreme Court Justiceship be awarded strictly on merit to the best available person, or awarded to a Hispanic woman as a matter of political strategy and payoff to La Raza and ACORN?

The concept of equal protection embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment supports merit selection and President Obama presented himself as a post-racial candidate who transcended race. ACORN and La Raza are understandably thrilled, but President Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for a Supreme Court Justiceship suggests that he shamelessly sought a "perfect affirmative action baby" to help him with female and Hispanic voters in 2012, not the best person for the position, regardless of race, color, creed, national origin or sex.

On May 26, 2009, ACORN issued this adjective-filled press release celebrating the Sotomayor nomination:

ACORN members celebrate President Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to Supreme Court

Statement from Maria Polanco, ACORN Vice-President:

"ACORN members across the country are inspired by President Obama's historic nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the pending vacancy on the United States Supreme Court. Judge Sotomayor brings a wealth of not only judicial experience, but experience in the real world as well. As a longtime practitioner of the law as private litigator, public prosecutor, and judge, Sonia Sotomayor has a profound understanding of how the law affects real families in real situations.

"Judge Sotomayor's incredible history of rising to the top of the legal profession from humble roots resonates deeply with ACORN members who work every day to open up opportunities for those in challenging circumstances. Coming from an immigrant family living in a public housing project in the Bronx, she called herself "an ordinary woman who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences." She may be an ordinary woman in some ways, but she is an extraordinary choice to serve as the next Supreme Court Justice.

"As a Latina woman from the Bronx myself, I know today's historic nomination will provide inspiration to millions of young girls and boys across the country, and provide renewed faith in a justice system that has often failed the poor and powerless. ACORN looks forward to a fair and even-handed confirmation process, and to welcoming Judge Sotomayor's brilliant mind and critical perspective to the Supreme Court by its fall session."

Judge Sotomayor may not have a formal connection to ACORN, but she serve (while a federal judge) on the National Council of ACORN ally La Raza from 1998 to 2004.

Predictably La Raza cheered her nomination (but without mentioning her Council service)in this May 26, 2009 press release:


Judge Sonia Sotomayor Would Be the First Hispanic on the Supreme Court if Confirmed

Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, applauds President Obama’s nomination for Supreme Court Justice, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, to replace retiring Justice David Souter.

“Today is a monumental day for Latinos. Finally, we see ourselves represented on the highest court in the land,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “Judge Sotomayor’s story personifies the American Dream for so many Latinos in this country.”

“By nominating someone with the experience, background, and superb legal credentials of Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama has made an excellent choice for the entire country,” added Murguía. “The President wanted a justice who not only is a respected jurist, but also understands how the law affects the lives of everyday people. Judge Sotomayor embodies those qualities.”

“We commend President Obama for making this historic appointment and for recognizing that excellence and diversity are not mutually exclusive,” concluded Murguía.

For more information, please visit www.nclr.org.

On June 3, 2009, La Raza followed up with this press release protesting criticism of the Sotomayor nomination:


Washington, DC—Saying that, “The Republican party is better than this,” Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza)—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—called on Republican party leaders to denounce the extremist rhetoric surrounding the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court and released a petition asking them to restore the debate to a more appropriate level of civil discourse. In just three days, the petition has already gathered nearly 2,500 signatures.

“The nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court was an historic and proud moment for Latinos in America,” said Murguía. “But as proud as our community is over her nomination, we have been stunned and repelled by the visceral reaction it has generated among many in the Republican party.”

Murguía cited a number of extreme statements by voices within the Republican party which have gone virtually unchallenged since the Sotomayor nomination by President Barack Obama.

Rush Limbaugh, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Congressman and presidential candidate Tom Tancredo, and others are claiming that Sotomayor is a “reverse racist.” Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies—the “think tank” of white supremacist John Tanton’s anti-immigrant groups—and the National Review online attacked Judge Sotomayor for pronouncing her own name correctly.

In an article that appeared in The Hill newspaper, Republican insiders are quoted as being "concerned" that Sotomayor's avowed love of arroz con gandules and other Puerto Rican delicacies will cloud her judicial decision-making. Conservative commentator Debbie Schlussel called Sotomayor "Judge J-Lo" and suggested that she was about as qualified to be on the Supreme Court as the well-known singer.

“Clearly,” said Murguía, “her ethnicity has proven to be too much of a temptation for those who give voice to hate and extremism. Instead of looking at her judicial record, they have launched a vocal rampage that has reached new heights of absurdity.”

“While we applaud Senator John Cornyn’s call for civility, these gross mischaracterizations of Judge Sotomayor coupled with the deafening silence of the Republican leadership are leaving many within our community with a disturbing picture of the Republican party. Much hangs in the balance, including our votes.”

“We are calling on Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele, House Minority Leader John Boehner, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to stand up to the extremists. Stand up for your party. Stand up for what is best in America. We are better than this. The Republican party is better than this.”

In one attack on Judge Sotomayor late last week, Tom Tancredo faulted the Justice nominee for being a member of “La Raza” and likened Murguía’s organization to a “Latino KKK.”

“It was offensive, shameful, and a slap in the face to my predecessor, Raul Yzaguirre, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to secure civil rights for all Americans,” said Murguía. “Raising questions and concerns about Judge Sotomayor’s 17-year record on the bench is legitimate. Resorting to outdated stereotypes, defamation of character, and outright falsehoods is not.”

For more information, visit www.nclr.org.

Let's put aside hyberpole, oversensitivity and stereotypes (whether outdated or current) and focus on character and facts.

National Journal's Stuart Taylor, in a June 13, 2009 article titled "Firefighters Case: What Really Happened" and subtitled "THE MORE YOU EXAMINE THE NEW HAVEN, CONN., AFFIRMATIVE-ACTION CASE, THE MORE INDEFENSIBLE IT LOOKS, kept his options on the Sotomayor nomination open, praising her as deeply compassionate while worrying that bias infects her judicial decisions


"I admire many things about Judge Sonia Sotomayor, especially her deep compassion for underprivileged people. I may well support her confirmation to the Supreme Court if her testimony next month dispels my concern that her decisions may be biased by the grievance-focused mind-set and the 'wise Latina woman' superiority complex displayed in some of her speeches.

"But close study of her most famous case only enhances my concern. That's the 2008 decision in which a panel composed of Sotomayor and two Appeals Court colleagues upheld New Haven's race-based denial of promotions to white (and two Hispanic) fire-fighters because too few African-Americans had done well on the qualifying exams.

"The panel's decision to adopt as its own U.S. District Judge Janet Arterton's opinion in the case looks much less defensible up close than it does in most media accounts. One reason is that the detailed factual record strongly suggests that -- contrary to Sotomayor's position -- the Connecticut city's decision to kill the promotions was driven less by its purported legal concerns than by raw racial politics.

"Whichever way the Supreme Court rules in the case later this month, I will be surprised if a single justice explicitly approves the specific, quota-friendly logic of the Sotomayor-endorsed Arterton opinion."

What is NOT surprising is Judge Sotomayor's personal identification with and enthusiasm for affirmative action.

In sharp contrast to ACORN and La Raza, the Judicial Confirmation Network press release issued on May 26, 2009 strongly challenged Judge Sotomayor's nomination based on her liberal judicial activism.

Judicial Confirmation Network:

"Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important than the law as written. She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one's sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.

"She reads racial preferences and quotas into the Constitution, even to the point of dishonoring those who preserve our public safety. On September 11, America saw firsthand the vital role of America's firefighters in protecting our citizens. They put their lives on the line for her and the other citizens of New York and the nation. But Judge Sotomayor would sacrifice their claims to fair treatment in employment promotions to racial preferences and quotas. The Supreme Court is now reviewing that decision.

"She has an extremely high rate of her decisions being reversed, indicating that she is far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal activist Supreme Court."

Additionally, in a National Review Online Bench Memo dated June 12, 2009, Judicial Confirmation Network legal counsel Wendy E. Long revealingly reported: "In a speech Sotomayor gave shortly after she became a federal court judge, she called herself 'the perfect affirmative action baby': She had not done as well on standardized tests as her fellow Princeton and Yale Law students, and she asserted that such tests are 'culturally biased.' She also said, 'I have difficulty defining merit and what merit alone means.'"

It has been reported often that Judge Sotomayor graduated from Princeton College summa cum laude and was an editor of the Yale Law Journal, each a very impressive accomplishment, if achieved on the basis of merit.

But, when Judge Sotomayor called herself "the perfect affirmative action baby" and claimed inability to define merit, what was she really saying about her fitness to be a Supreme Court Justice?

Did she mean that she was graded and judged less demandingly at Princeton and Yale and that was a good thing that paved her path to America's highest court?

Is she "perfect" for the position, or necessarily not up to par?

Personally, I prefer to choose professionals, such as surgeons and dentists, based solely on merit.

Likewise, I think that race-based grading and affirmative action Supreme Court Justices appointments are counterproductive indulgences better avoided.

I'd be delighted with a Latina or Latin Supreme Court Justice, if he or she is the best choice.

My wife is a Latina, and we have been married since 1972.

Our daughter is half Latina (or Hispanic).

In 1997, our daughter decided that she wanted to go to Wellesley College and applied for and received early admission.

That saved the time, trouble and expense of other college applications.

But our daughter received a series of telephone calls and a stack of mail, because on that "standardized test" for those planning to go to college she had duly noted that she qualified as Hispanic.

Since her test scores were higher than the average of those Wellesley admitted in 1998, her admission to Wellesley was predictable: she could be counted as Hispanic AND improve the overall average.

Because our daughter acknowledged her Hispanic heritage , Harvard and Brown, two New England Ivy League schools, tried to recruit her, solely because she qualified as Hispanic and her test scores were high.

Harvard and Brown were not the only colleges seeking my daughter Some even offered enticements, such as a free computer from a college in New York and an offer to treat her for billing purposes as a Texas resident even though she had never been in Texas and was not interested in changing her legal residence from the University of Texas.

Judge Sotomayor should not be rejected because she is a Latina.

Neither should she be confirmed because she is a Latina.

Even before Judge Sotomayor was nominated, Mrs. Long noted:

  • According to liberal legal commentator Jeffrey Rosen, lawyers and clerks who have worked with Sotomayor question her competence, saying that she's "not that smart and kind of a bully on the bench," and that there are concerns "about her command of technical legal details.'"

  • Sotomayor recently approved a city's racial quota system and its decision based on their skin color - to deny 18 firefighters earned promotions. Even the liberal Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen and her own colleague, Judge Jose Cabranes, a Clinton appointee, expressed shock and disappointment at Sotomayor's irresponsible attempt to reject the firefighters' important legal claims without even fairly analyzing them in her opinion approving racial discrimination.

  • Sotomayor said in a 2002 speech at Berkeley that she believes it is appropriate for a judge to consider their "experiences as women and people of color" in their decision-making, which she believes should "affect our decisions."

    But the American judicial system is NOT supposed to be "a respecter of persons" and IS supposed to be impartial.

    What IS a surprise, and ironic, is that the first Latina Supreme Court nominee was woefully ignorant about the rich Spanish language as late as 1996 (when she was serving as a federal district court judge).

    From http://www.discriminations.us/2009/06/sotomayor_no_spanish_adjective.html:

    "On the National Journal's new Ninth Justice blog yesterday Stuart Taylor passed on Brooklyn College history professor K.C. Johnson’s generally favorable comments on Sonia Sotomayor’s Princeton senior thesis, though Johnson did note a few discordant trendy leftist notes from the 1970s (such as her insistence on calling the U.S.Congress the 'North American Congress' or the 'mainland Congress'). "Perhaps more troubling, however, is something from a 1996 speech that Taylor quotes without comment:

    'Judge Sonia Sotomayor said in a 1996 speech at Princeton University’s Third World Center (now called the Carl A. Fields Center) that when she arrived at Princeton in 1972 as her high school’s valedictorian, “I found out that my Latina background had created difficulties in my writing that I needed to overcome. For example, in Spanish we do not have adjectives. A noun is described with a preposition.... My writing was stilted and overly complicated, my grammar and vocabulary skills weak.”

    'To catch up with her prep school classmates, Sotomayor recalled, “I spent one summer vacation reading children’s classics that I had missed in my prior education -- books like Alice in Wonderland, Huckleberry Finn and Pride and Prejudice. My parents spoke Spanish; they didn’t know about these books. I spent two other summers teaching myself anew to write.”

    "She taught herself well, graduating summa cum laude and winning the prestigious Pyne Prize in her senior year. The prize was for academic excellence and -- Judge Sotomayor said in the 1996 speech — “because of my work with Accion Puertorriquena, the Third World Center and other activities in which I participated, like the university’s Discipline Committee.”

    "Excuse me, but after all that self-taught grammar, etc., could 1976 Princeton summa Sonia Sonomayor really still believe, in 1996, that 'in Spanish we do not have adjectives. A noun is described with a preposition'?


    "As it happens, there is a perfectly appropriate Spanish adjective to describe this 'wise Latina’s' 1996 assertion that 'in Spanish we do not have adjectives': loco."

    Will Judge Sotomayor be rejected or rubberstamped and, if rubberstamped, will all adjectives be dropped from the Spanish language to spare her embarrassment?

    Stay tuned!

    Michael J. Gaynor

    Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

    Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

    Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

    The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

    Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

    Gaynor's email address is gaynormike@aol.com.

    Copyright © 2009 by Michael J. Gaynor
    All Rights Reserved.

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