In the US, we are going through a political process that is loosely designed to weed out poor nominees for a life time appointment. Over the years, that process has become very political. In the last few decades, it appears to have become political theater.
Currently, we have a Supreme Court nominee who is of Puerto Rican descent. Sonia Sotomayor* has an impressive life story, a good record on the bench (though not stellar), and will likely be confirmed easily.
But my question is why?
We seem to be embroiled once again in racial and gender politics. Questions over whether she would be biased, if she would use empathy (as a woman, one infers), and the meaning of certain statements she has made that seem to indicate these would be a part of her thinking when judging cases.
Yet nothing in her rulings actually seem to suggest this. Only statements and speeches made over the years.
Certain concerns arise when I think about her appointment.
Why was she nominated? Was it because she is a woman? Hispanic? Both? Did the administration search for a suitable gender and ethnicity? And then narrow the search to those who should be able to get through the nomination process?
And the big one: Is this how we should determine such an important selection?
I am, of course, not so naive as to think administrations actively seek out the best choice and ignore politics in the process.
That tiny little part of me that is optimistic says she will likely be a good Supreme Court Justice. The somewhat larger part that is pragmatic says her confirmation is a foregone conclusion so it doesn't matter what I think. My conservative side worries that she will be another liberal voice on the Court. But, retorts the pragmatist, "she is replacing one anyway so no harm, no foul."
And it is true; the balance of the Court will remain the same as it has been for some time. Almost evenly divided between Liberal and Conservative with a slight tilt toward Conservative.
Which, after all, probably best describes the country.
All of which tells me we have a truly fascinating system of government and quite a unique culture. And makes me very happy to have been fortunate enough to be born here.
* Two articles of interest on Judge Sotomayor:
A Night Unremembered
7 years ago