Sotomayor and Hispanic Cultural Values

By Thomas Kochman - 06.10.2009

Many conservatives expressed strong concern at the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, fearing her rulings will favor women or members of ethnic minority groups.  This concern is based on comments she made suggesting having lived as woman and Latina may give her an advantage in judgment in certain instances over a white male, for example, who has not lived that kind of life.

Some have even questioned whether that constitutes a personal bias and will affect her ability to effectively interpret the law or the Constitution. Wendy Long, a lawyer with the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network and a former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, has criticized Sotomayor as a judge who believes \”one\’s sex, race and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders.\”

Her supporters dismiss this concern citing among other things her dissenting opinion in the case Pappas vs. Giulani  in which she saw Pappas’ “anonymous dissemination of bigoted racist anti-black and anti-semitic materials” within the New York Police Department while “patently offensive, hateful, and insulting,” as nonetheless protected free speech under the First Amendment. Read more »