Sotomayor should recant

Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s 2001 statement — “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life” — is, by any honest definition, racist and sexist. Simply switch the order of “Latina woman” and “white male” and it is beyond further debate.

Smearing Republicans as racists or sexists for criticizing the nominee is blatant intimidation by the left. Lately, the left has become lazy and isn’t even compelled to provide evidence. They simply threaten to scream “racist” to silence opposition, confident the media will cheer.

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As a senator, Barack Obama supported a filibuster against now-Justice Samuel Alito based solely on disagreement with his judicial rulings, yet Obama was not labeled racist. Senators are clearly on terra firma should they oppose or filibuster Obama’s nominee. But it’s more likely they want reasons to confirm her.

Sotomayor can gracefully do herself, women, Latinos and just about any group that has been subjected to the various ugly “-isms” a very big favor by taking responsibility for her statement and apologizing.

This is what Sotomayor should say at her confirmation hearing:

“My 2001 statement that as a Latina woman I would be in a position to make better judicial decisions than a white male does not reflect my current opinion or sentiments. Those comments do not reflect what I believed in 2001, were poorly stated and, regrettably, reflected frustration at lingering sexism and racism in our society. As a nation we have come far in wiping away the ‘-isms.’ The fact that I am sitting here before you today as a nominee to the highest court is ample evidence.

“To help ensure we continue down the road of eliminating bigotry from our society, I will not justify, qualify, rationalize or attempt to sweep my comments under the rug. I do not wish to be graded on a curve because of my ethnicity or gender, coddled, or given a pass for my regrettable statement, for then my accomplishments, achievements and contributions would be subjected to that same grading curve.

“Therefore, I take full responsibility for my comments and I apologize for them. To suggest I am superior to a white male based on differences in race and gender was wrong. If I am a better jurist than another, that determination should be made based on my contributions, experience, qualifications and record. My life experiences as a Latina bring a perspective to the court I think is valuable, just as the personal experiences and background of any Supreme Court justice represent the richness of the great melting pot that is the United States of America.

“Bigotry should be eliminated, not simply transferred from one group to another, passed around like germs in a preschool. Eventually, it would come back around to land squarely on groups who have already been afflicted. So I choose to take back, if I may, my suggestion from eight years ago, that my, or any other judge’s, qualifications are determined by race or gender.”

This type of statement would pave the way for Senate Republicans to happily confirm. It would also make Sotomayor one hell of a class act.



Jacobus, president of Capitol Strategies PR, has managed congressional campaigns, worked on Capitol Hill and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.  She appears on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News as a GOP strategist.