The Sotomayor hearings have finally ended on Capitol Hill, with the nominee gingerly dancing around any actual points of law while Republicans, led by Senator Jeff Sessions, continued--though mostly losing steam at this point--to hammer away on one sentence in one speech she made eight years ago. Sessions, along with Senators John Cornyn of Texas and John Kyl of Arizona (and I think that dick Lindsey Graham got in on it, too) continued to harp on Sotomayor's "wise Latina" comment, something that has gotten to "whaaazuuuuuuuuup" levels of historical tediousness in the space of an eyeblink.
Here's the thing: Her comment was unfortunate, no question. But what these cats seem to be implying is that the default setting for a human being is a(n affluent) white male. And to some extent the Democrats, in not calling the Republicans on their shit EVEN WHEN THEY, THE DEMOCRATS, ARE FUCKING IN POWER have tacitly upheld this little bit of mythology. Of course her background is going to inform her decisions. How could it not? Should we staff the court with Cylons? To seize on that comment, however, in the way that they did smacks of political posturing (knowing they don't have the votes to stop her) and a careful, quiet racism.
More than health care, more than the economy, more than two wars and the kind of tax cuts that work better for men like Sessions than Viagra, the Supreme Court was my issue going in to this election. Full disclosure: there was no way I was voting Republican, unless all the Democratic candidates were killed and they replaced McCain with himself from 2000 (kinda like Iron Man. That's right. I went there. Google THAT, bitches). But what for me more than anything else made the 2008 election so urgent was the idea that, if elected, John McCain would have the chance--and by verdict of his masters, the imperitive--to cast in the role of Supreme Court justices an ever increasing number of Complete Fucking Lunatics. I can only hope that President Obama remains in office long enough to affect real change on the Court; his appointment of Sotomayor merely keeps a balance up.
Of course in a perfect world, Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito would be killed in a fiery plane crash while making vehement gay love in a manner that allowed their corpses to be readily identifiable. In a perfect world they'd be replaced with 25-year-old Marxists, preferably ones with "Fuck You, Religious Fucking Lunatics" tattooed on their foreheads.
When they weren't harping on Sotomayor's speeches, the Republicans took special glee in pointing out the Court's reversal of one of her own decisions, the firefighter's union discrimination case. Well whoop-de-freakin' doo. So she didn't agree with the Supreme Court. Congratulations. SO DID FOUR MEMBERS OF THE SUPREME COURT! If the decision was unanimous then I could see it, but it squeaked by in another 5-4 ruling, one that underscores the absolute necessity of keeping the Court from sliding further to the right. Maybe not in this case specifically, which is full of a lot of vague generalities about how discrimination suits can be brought to bear, but the Court has had a lot of 5-4 rulings in the past few years. It would take only a nudge to bring us to Scary Town.