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Sotomayor Qualifications: Why Bother With The Constitution?

June 8, 2009

As the confirmation ritual of Sonia Sotomayor continues to play out, it is becoming grimly apparent that the only relevant issue, her worthiness (or more accurately, her total lack thereof) as a guardian of the Constitution, will be no more of a consideration for Republicans than it ever was for Barack Obama. Flowery rhetoric and her heart-wrenching biography notwithstanding, if Obama ever had any concern whatsoever for the nation's founding charter, he never would have nominated a radical judicial activist like Sotomayor in the first place.

Among Republicans, the big controversy on which the fate of the nation (or at least the electoral fortunes of some spineless career politicians) rests, is whether or not it is appropriate to deem Sotomayor's blatantly racist comments as "racist." Sadly, Republicans are once again running scared from the honest characterization of Sotomayor as unacceptably skewed in her adjudications as a result of blatant racial prejudices. In this poisoned age of "political correctness," it is obvious that only conservative white males will ever be assessed on such grounds.

Yet with the integrity of the Constitution likely facing a fatal final assault, supposedly stalwart conservatives such as Senator John Cornyn of Texas believe their time and energy is best spent castigating Rush Limbaugh for focusing on a remark by Sotomayor that clearly would have ended the political career of any white male public figure.

In a 2001 speech at the University of California Berkeley, Sotomayor asserted "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the riches of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." In a later decision that plainly reflects a consistency of such thought, she determined that minorities deserved promotion over white applicants in the New Haven Connecticut Fire Department, based solely on their race.

Sotomayor's personal beliefs on the topic of race might not seem to directly undermine her ability to uphold her duties as a Supreme Court justice. However, the New Haven Fire Department case, and in particular the flimsy basis of her opinion, indicate beyond any reasonable doubt that she is perfectly willing to mete out grave injustice provided she believes it can advance the race issue. Had her interest in righting racial injustice been at all counterbalanced by a reverence for constitutional principle, she should have run for a position on the city council of New Haven, which would have been a far more appropriate venue to alter its hiring practices.

No Democrats, and appallingly few Republicans, are even willing to contend that this background constitutes ample reason to summarily disqualify her as a Supreme Court nominee. However, it should do precisely that. And any who contend otherwise, rather than being treated as reasoned and temperate in their commentary, ought to ever after be branded as willing to sacrifice the inviolability of the Constitution to the political fads of the moment. One can support true constitutional law or one can remain in the good graces of the liberal media/political cabal. But one cannot do both.

Despite Obama's brazen effort to frame the Sotomayor nomination strictly in terms of the glory of her personal trials and achievements, or the ostensible "empathy" she possesses as a result of them, such topics are absolutely irrelevant to her fitness for office. Rather, the real nature of the Constitution, and thus its critical importance to the operation of the nation, must be understood. Only then can the current political circus be prevented from degenerating into yet another pathetic argument over racial and gender identity politics, which is where the liberals so desperately need to take it lest they have to face scrutiny of their seditious aspirations.

It is altogether necessary to recall the real nature of this debate, particularly with ignorance of the national heritage running so rampant in recent years. No amount of liberal drivel should be allowed to deflect attention from the enormity of what is at stake for Americans of this generation, and all future generations, if indeed they are to inherit an America bearing any similarity to the greatness it once embodied.

Unlike the many venerated pieces of parchment that sit silently under glass in the nation's museums, the Constitution is not merely some personal observation from a historic figure, or a collection of profoundly stirring but narrowly purposed oratory. It is the result of an ironclad agreement among the original states, as to how they would empower a federal government to collectively represent them among foreign powers, while assuring an equitable station for each within the nation. Only by universally recognizing it and, most importantly, abiding by it as such could America hope to maintain its national character and cohesiveness.

Capricious departures from that formula, even for seemingly noble goals (such as the forcible advancement of racial "equality" through hiring quotas) critically erode the foundation of that nation, and are thus a threat to all Americans. Judicial impartiality and commitment to constitutional boundaries are not only vitally necessary, they are the essence of what a Supreme Court Justice should be.

The case must be stridently made that nothing less is acceptable. And in the hands of a principled opposition party, this is achievable. It was done in 2005, during the confirmation hearings of Chief Justice John Roberts.

When appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Roberts was questioned by the liberal Senator Dick Durbin (D.-Il) as to whether or not he could be counted upon to support the "little guy." Roberts' response, while simple and direct enough to be understood by any average citizen, was so powerfully grounded in the real significance of the Constitution that Durbin and many of his other critics were ever after put on defensive.

Roberts simply explained that as a Supreme Court Justice, his purpose was not to favor either the lowly or powerful, but to honestly and impartially apply constitutional principle to their circumstances. Thus, neither could count on a favorable bias from him, but both could expect justice. And the promise of the diligent pursuit of justice for each individual, whether meek or mighty, is the surest guarantee of justice for all. It quickly became evident that by his succinct response, Roberts had completely redirected the debate back to constitutional premises not only for his own confirmation, but also during the confirmation of Samuel Alito, who was subsequently appointed to the court.

In the afterglow of such a commitment to real equality for all Americans, Sotomayor's twisted perspective, and the undiluted bitterness it reflects (the true consequence of her life circumstances) can be understood in their petty, poisonous, and ultimately dangerous reality. A racist jurist is a problem, but one who brazenly and unabashedly transforms that racism into "policy," recklessly administered from the bench, and thereafter backed by the full force of the federal government, will ultimately corrupt the character of the nation for every inhabitant.

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Copyright ©2009 Christopher G. Adamo

Christopher G. Adamo is a resident of southeastern Wyoming and has been involved in state and local politics for many years. He writes for several prominent conservative websites, and has written for regional and national magazines. He is currently the Chief Editorial Writer for The Proud Americans, an advocacy group for America’s seniors, and for all Americans. His contact information and article archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com, and he can be followed on Twitter @CGAdamo.