Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Thursday, May 28, 2009


Several examples of a judge talking about empathy when ruling on certain cases:

"And that's why I went into that in my opening statement. Because when a case comes before me involving, let's say, someone who is an immigrant -- and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases -- I can't help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn't that long ago when they were in that position.

And so it's my job to apply the law. It's not my job to change the law or to bend the law to achieve any result.

But when I look at those cases, I have to say to myself, and I do say to myself, "You know, this could be your grandfather, this could be your grandmother. They were not citizens at one time, and they were people who came to this country.

When I have cases involving children, I can't help but think of my own children and think about my children being treated in the way that children may be treated in the case that's before me.

And that goes down the line. When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender.

And I do take that into account.

When I have a case involving someone who's been subjected to discrimination because of disability, I have to think of people who I've known and admire very greatly who've had disabilities, and I've watched them struggle to overcome the barriers that society puts up often just because it doesn't think of what it's doing -- the barriers that it puts up to them.

So those are some of the experiences that have shaped me as a person." --Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito

President Obama was criticized by conservatives for saying he would like to see a judge who would be empathetic on the Supreme Court. The Right was quick to say that empathy has no place in judicial decision-making; but as usual, the Right completely ignores the empathy-soaked testimony of Judge Samuel Alito when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and happily testified to his EMPATHY for certain ethnic and social groups in his judgments.

The Right is hypocritical, as usual, and its complaints against the "empathy" factor regarding Judge Sotomayor should be dismissed as such.

Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich have called for Judge Sotomayor to withdraw her nomination because they believe she's a racist and a bigot.

As Media Matters for America has documented, media figures have misrepresented Sotomayor's Berkeley remarks. For example, Fox News host Megyn Kelly said that Sotomayor was claiming "that Latina judges are obviously better than white male judges." In fact, Sotomayor was specifically discussing the importance of diversity in adjudicating race and sex discrimination cases.

Indeed, former Bush Justice Department lawyer John Yoo has similarly stressed that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas "is a black man with a much greater range of personal experience than most of the upper-class liberals who take potshots at him" and argued that Thomas' work on the court has been influenced by his understanding of the less fortunate acquired through personal experience. Thomas himself, in responding to the question during his confirmation hearing of why he "want[ed] this job," said in part: "I believe ... that I can make a contribution, that I can bring something different to the Court, that I can walk in the shoes of the people who are affected by what the Court does."


jparchery02 said...

if a white male had of said any thing remotely close to what this woman said he would be looking for a new job ...end of story

Shaw Kenawe said...

"if a white male had of said any thing remotely close to what this woman said he would be looking for a new job ...end of story"--jparchery02

Your parroting of conservative disinformation is duly noted and ignored.

Arthurstone said...

Golly it's fun watching Rush, Newt, Orrin hold forth on 'racism'.

I never knew they cared. 8>)


I look forward to Judge Sotomayor telling us what she believes during her hearings. Not just what anyone wants to hear.

Just a little kind and gentle advice jparchery dude. In the top right there's a thing that says create blog. Why don't you create a blog so 40 or 50 righties can sign up as followers and give you a bunch of cyber pats on the back. You look lonely and in need of attention.

dmarks said...

"In fact, Sotomayor was specifically discussing the importance of diversity in adjudicating race and sex discrimination cases"

Diversity requirements can and do sometimes cause discrimination. She'd do better to focus on equal rights and non-discrimination.

Arthurstone said...

Diversity requirements, affirmative action and racial preferences are all ethical, legal and worthwhile ways of dealing with the issues around equal rights.

And they likely will remain so for at least our lifetimes despite the brand-new GOP interest in racial equality.

David Letterman got it right last year:

"How many of you saw the Republican presidential debate? There are ten Republicans who want to be president of the United States. Did you see them? I mean, they looked like guys waiting to tee off at a restricted country club. "

dmarks said...

Racism is never ethical, and its presence negates equal rights. Preferences, which involve punishing and rewarding people for skin color (instead of real qualifications) are by definition racist. I would not say it is worthwhile, either.

Work to reduce racism, not add more.

"And they likely will remain so for at least our lifetimes despite the brand-new GOP interest in racial equality."

The Republicans have been antidiscrimination for a long time. More so than the Democrats.

The Letterman joke? Your inclusion of it in a discussion in racial preferences, Arthur, invites comparison to Democrats... and implies that Obama was there because of his skin color instead of real qualifications. (All worthwhile and ethical, according to you). That is what preferences cause. I don't buy that.

Princetone definition of racism: "racist - discriminatory especially on the basis of race..."

Do you really think that it is impossible to achieve more racial justice in this country without racist policies?

Thayer Nutz said...

Another idiot conservative getting it wrong and stupid. It never ends:

"Tom Tancredo, the former Colorado congressman and radical anti-immigration activist, stepped up his attacks on judge Sonia Sotomayor Thursday. Appearing on CNN, Tancredo suggested that Sotomayor's affiliation with the National Council of La Raza, a Latino civil rights group, was equivalent to being a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

TANCREDO: If you belong to an organization called La Raza, in this case, which is, from my point of view anyway, nothing more than a Latino -- it's a counterpart -- a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses. If you belong to something like that in a way that's going to convince me and a lot of other people that it's got nothing to do with race. Even though the logo of La Raza is "All for the race. Nothing for the rest." What does that tell you?

SANCHEZ: Alright. We're not talking about -- we're not talking about La Raza --

TANCREDO: She's a member! She's a member of La Raza!

The only problem with Tancredo's claim is that "All for the race. Nothing for the rest." is not La Raza's motto. Instead, the group's motto is the utterly uncontroversial "Strengthening America by promoting the advancement of Latino families."

The phrase that Tancredo incorrectly links to Sotomayor is, in fact, found only in the founding documents a wholly different group to which Sotomayor has no known affiliation.
Either the radical conservatives are lying all the time or they're just too stupid to get their facts right.

dmarks said...

I've always viewed Tancredo as a Pat Buchanan type of conservative.

Both sets of his grandparents emigrated from Italy. I guess it was OK that they got through.

As for La Raza, nothing looks out of place on their front page. I clicked on the advocacy link and found this quote: "NCLR believes that advocacy, civic engagement, and community-based support are essential parts of any community-empowerment strategy. Advocacy and voting are two of the critical tools needed for a community to make its voice heard in policy debates and achieve equal and fair representation."

I wonder if Tancredo has them confused with Latino quasi-Nazi groups that favor a racially pure "Aztlan" homeland carved out in the United States.

I searched on "Aztlan" at the La Raza web site and found this link in which they distance themselves from and condemn the views of the Latino racial supremacists.

Arthurstone said...

Heh. Heh.

The Letterman joke implies no such thing dmarks. It accurately described the palid mediocrities the GOP had to select a candidate from.

Hispanic. Female. Black. The Demos cast a far wider net for it's candidates.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

In a comment on NPR radio earlier today, Republican Senator John Cornyn Repudiates Gingrich And Limbaugh Comments About Sotomayor:

"I think it's terrible ... This is not the kind of tone any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advise and consent (…) Neither one of these men are elected Republican officials. I just don't think it's appropriate. I certainly don't endorse it. I think it's wrong."

Another Rightwing Extremist said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shaw Kenawe said...

To the troll who post under the nyme "Another Rightwing Conservative,"

Calling people vile names and behaving like a school yard bully is pathetic.

And will always get your posts deleted.

dmarks said...

Arthur said: "Hispanic. Female. Black. The Demos cast a far wider net for it's candidates."

Well, that is definitely a part of affirmative action that is ethical and worthwhile. In terms of hiring and university applications, that is. Casting a wide net to look for qualified applicants is much more worthwhile than racial discrimination.

Susannah said...

Shaw~ I apologize I haven't time to read this post yet. I'll be back.

Just wanted to thank you for coming by & let you know you've been a catalyst for a post, wherein I provided a link to your blog. I hope that's okay.

I think hearing other's voices is helpful & healthy.

Gotta walk the dog before it rains - again. Thanks again.

Arthurstone said...

dmarks typed:

'Well, that is definitely a part of affirmative action that is ethical and worthwhile. In terms of hiring and university applications, that is.'


9. Desert Confounded, Desert Misapplied



Just as Mary Anne Warren and James Rachels in the 1970s thought that the losers under affirmative action were losing only illicit privileges, and the gainers merely gaining what should have been theirs to start with, so Michel Rosenfeld in the 1990s, in his extended “dialogic” defense of affirmative action, echoes the same thought:

Although affirmative action treats innocent white males unequally, it need not deprive them of any genuine equal opportunity rights. Provided an affirmative action plan is precisely tailored to redress the losses in prospects of success [by African-Americans and women] attributable to racism and sexism, it only deprives innocent white males of the corresponding undeserved increases in their prospects of success…. [R]emedial affirmative action does not take away from innocent white males anything that they have rightfully earned or that they should be entitled to keep. (Rosenfeld 1991, 307–8, emphasis added)
However, programs that give blanket preferences by race or gender are hardly “precisely tailored” to match desert and reward since, as Lawrence and Matsuda themselves acknowledge at one place, the white male “privilege” is “statistical” (Lawrence & Matsuda 1997, 252). Yet it is individuals, not statistical averages, who gain or lose in admissions determinations and employment selections.

The persistence of this strategy of defense reflects a residual feeling that the fruits of affirmative are somehow spoiled if they are not deserved. Nevertheless, it is the wrong strategy for defending real world affirmative action. The programs legitimated under the Civil Rights Act, in both their nonpreferential and preferential forms, had—and have—a clear aim: to change institutions so that they can meet the nondiscrimination mandate of the Act. Selection by race or gender was—and is—a means to such change. To the extent that such selection also compensates individuals for past wrongs or puts people in places they really deserve, these are incidental by-products of a process aimed at something else.

The same is true with university admissions policy. When the Medical School of the University of California at Davis offered four reasons in defense of the special admissions program that left Bakke on the outside, none of these reasons said anything about matching admissions and desert. The criteria of the special admissions program—race and ethnicity—were instruments to further ends: integrating the classroom, the profession, and the delivery of medical services, and breaking the chain of self-reproducing societal discrimination. Likewise, when the University of Michigan defended its programs it pointed not to desert rewarded by admissions but to the value of students experiencing racial and ethnic pluralism in the classroom.

Now, if the neurosurgeon's son because of his race can advance each of these goals and the coal miner's son, because of his race, cannot, then isn't the selection decision easy? Pick the African-American neurosurgeon's son (however advantaged he may be) over the white coal miner's son (even if he is the most deserving creature imaginable). The aims of real world affirmative action make race and ethnicity (and sometimes gender) salient, not personal desert or merit. The test of real world affirmative action lies in the urgency of its ends (preventing discrimination, promoting diversity or integration) and the aptness (moral and causal) of its means (racial, ethnic, and gender preferences). The aptness remains much in dispute.

dmarks said...

Interesting that the U of Mich defended the racist part of its admissions policy out of a need to get more tokens into the classroom for others to look at.

Arthurstone said...

dmarks typed:

'Interesting that the U of Mich defended the racist part of its admissions policy out of a need to get more tokens into the classroom for others to look at.'

Actually there's nothing interesting about your observation at all. The 'racist' part of UM admissions (and admissions nationwide) occured and continue to occur in denying women and minorities opportunities.

dmarks said...

"The 'racist' part of UM admissions (and admissions nationwide) occured and continue to occur in denying women and minorities opportunities."

I oppose any such policies by that University, no matter who is singled out.

I would imagine that they'd get into legal trouble for having policies to discriminate against women and minorities, like they have for their explicitly racist anti-white admission policy.

Do you have any examples of their anti-minority discrimination in the modern era?

Also, the fact is, no matter how much you deny it, is that any policy designed to discriminate against anyone on the basis of race is racist. No matter which race is targetted for discrimination.

Arthurstone said...


You can 'imagine' whatever you like but we do not yet live in a color or gender blind society. Inequalities dog us at every step. We have decided as a people that integration is our goal in building equality and affirmative action is a tool, one among many, for achieving that goal.

Arthurstone said...


A quick question. Given UM's 'racist, anti-white' admissions policies what percentage of the latest incoming class are minorities?

Hint. Under 10%.