obama-sotomayor

“David himself declares in the Book of Psalms: ‘The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

Luke 20:42-43

President Obama has to be reciting that passage to himself each time he steps out of bed.

All throughout his presidential campaign, the media noted how collected and sensible Obama was. Fortunately for his supporters – and unfortunately for his opponents – he hasn’t let up a bit. That, to me, is one of the driving forces behind his popularity at this point (that, and the support from those darkies of course). President Obama exemplified his coolness the other week when he gave the commencement speech at Notre Dame, despite mounting opposition from pro-life activists. Instead of doing the politically expedient thing by skirting over the increasingly unpopular practice of abortion (or ignoring it altogether), he took it head on. Most interestingly, not only did he take it head on, he remained open and objective about the issue. Frankly, to watch him openly recognize the other side’s position while they continue with their attacks is what makes him seem so far above their petty and small minded thinking. 

Just when I thought he couldn’t get any better at keeping his enemies on the petty side of the coin, enter Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

In what I actually considered a pretty predictable move by the President, Sonia Sotomayor has been nominated to be the first Latino serving on the Supreme Court. This move became the latest from President Obama in adding a splash of color and ethnicity in Washington.

As to be expected, the nomination has been met with opposition. Also, as expected, the opposition Sotomayor is facing looks pretty…well…petty. Republicans find themselves in an unenviable position right now as they attempt to challenge the nomination. For starters, Judge Sotomayor has all the necessary qualifying credentials to be on the President’s short list so it will be hard for them to angle an attack from that perspective. She boasts an Ivy League education, graduating second in her class at Princeton and from Yale Law School. She has years of prosecutorial and commerical law under her belt, and federal appointments given by both Presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton. Moreover, as a comes from a poor and broken home, Sotomayor represents the ultimate in the “lifting oneself up by the bootstraps” mantra sung over and over again by the GOP. Though she definitely has left-leaning tendencies (but even most judicial and political analysts say she’s more of a Moderate Liberal), she has a proven track record of pragmatism and fairness on the bench.

Oh yeah, and she’s also a minority on at least two counts. The fact that Sotomayor’s appointment could represent the first Latino Justice sitting on the Supreme Court and one of only a few women sitting on the bench, it will be hard for the Republicans to mount very much opposition without being excoriated themselves. Let’s face facts, tearing Sotomayor down won’t be as easy as it was for Harriet Miers

Unless the Republicans are able to unearth something damning, Sotomayor should get confirmed with no problem. Rush is trying his hand at the “reverse” racist card, Rove is trying to challenge her intellect (as if his former employer was a Rhodes Scholar himself). Even people like Mark Krikorian are implicitly challenging her ethnicity by citing the “unnatural” pronounciation of her name – as if “Krikorian” is some type of cookie cutter name. But critiques like these have essentially been placed in pile somewhere off in a distant corner. None of these criticisms are likely to stick. When you consider the fact that a Republican-dominated Senate once confirmed her to the federal bench (with 25 Republicans including the likes of Orrin Hatch) siding with her, I suspect the windbags on the far right will find themselves in the silenced minority, even from within their own party. We shall see.

One thing is for sure, however. The Republicans should exercise extreme caution in going after Sotomayor too aggressively. The Proposition 187 backlash the GOP suffered from the Latino community in the early 90’s is still being felt today. The party’s unmitigating policies on immigration continue to hurt their chances with Latinos. And now, should they devote too much effort in trying to tear down a well-respected, highly qualified Latina, they will watch their shrinking support from Latinos match that of the virtually non-existent support from the black electorate. With minority groups increasing and the GOP base decreasing, the Republicans cannot afford to lose any more ground. W Bush knew this when he made some of his appointments, Obama knows this now.

This nomination was another signature move by President Obama. While I don’t think he is trying to employ some type of political Affirmative Action system here, I do believe that he is sending a message that QUALIFIED minorities who were once pushed away from certain institutions should rightly be offered a place at the table. Doing so will force the hands of bigots with an interested in keeping the Old Boy Network in tact.

Whether you like President Obama or not, you have to admit the dude is fierce.

– ACL

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