The Power of Global Networks - Blog Series

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quick Thoughts on Judge Sotomayor's Hearing

In following the confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor I have become increasingly frustrated with the emphasis being placed on her "wise Latina woman" comment. We should be praising Judge Sotomayor and including her because she does NOT match the uniform identity that currently dominates our Supreme Court.

These days, it is more important than ever that we diversify our leadership and include women in top decision making positions. With evidence that points to the success of organizations and institutions that include diverse perspectives in their leadership, we should be looking to these models for moving our country and the world forward.

Have you been following the confirmation hearings? What are your thoughts?


  1. It's no surprise to me that critics would pick up and focus on one possibly controversial comment. The press (and others) is being harder on her also because she is female, which is no surprise to me. Once again, it's the media making a big deal out of one thing and blowing it out of proportion. Once you say/do one thing, you can do miraculous things for your community and all over, but still be remembered for something else. A perfect example is Bill Clinton. I would hope that he gets remembered for being a great US President, rather than for cheating on his wife.

  2. I absolutely agree with you both. Harping on Sotomayor's "wise Latina" comment seems like a tactic to distract us from actually talking about her capacity as a judge, all that she has accomplished, and will accomplish as a justice of the Supreme Court. We've seen these bullying tactics against strong, successful women, and women of color especially, who dare to step outside of her gender and racial disciplining.

    Part of the bite of the comment, too, may be that Sotomayor dares to assert racial and gender difference rather than to elide it. I think there's a segment of society that would encourage an antiracialist approach and say, "let's not look at race and only look (objectively) at her merits." And she says no to that, because it does matter that she is a "wise LATINA woman." But then everyone is all over her about how her “experience and heritage” threatens to make her rule by empathy (where empathy = bias) rather than law. And yet no one questions the biases of 8 white male judges?