“Out of Context”, Part 2 — Judge Sonia Sotomayor and Rush Limbaugh

by | Jun 2, 2009

As the mainstream media circles the wagons around Judge Sonia Sotomayor, to protect her from the consequences of her own words and deeds, its main arguments are distractions from the issue at hand. A CNN reporter, for example, got all worked up because Rush Limbaugh had used the word “racist” to describe the judge’s words. […]

As the mainstream media circles the wagons around Judge Sonia Sotomayor, to protect her from the consequences of her own words and deeds, its main arguments are distractions from the issue at hand. A CNN reporter, for example, got all worked up because Rush Limbaugh had used the word “racist” to describe the judge’s words.

Since it has been repeated like a mantra that Judge Sotomayor’s words have been “taken out of context,” let us look at Rush Limbaugh in context. The cold fact is that Rush Limbaugh has not been nominated to sit on the highest court in the land, with a lifetime appointment, to have the lives and liberties of 300 million Americans in his hands.

Whatever you may think about his choice of words, those words and the ideas behind them do not change the law of the land. The words and actions of Supreme Court justices do. Anyone who doesn’t like what Rush Limbaugh says can simply turn off the radio or change the station. But you cannot escape the consequences of Supreme Court decisions. Nor will your children or grandchildren.

What does it say about a nominee to the Supreme Court that the most that her defenders can say in her defense is that her critics used words that her defenders don’t like?

What does it say about her qualifications to be on the Supreme Court when her supporters’ biggest talking points are that she had to struggle to rise in the world?

Bonnie and Clyde had to struggle. Al Capone had to struggle. The only President of the United States who was forced to resign for his misdeeds– Richard Nixon– had to struggle. For that matter, Adolf Hitler had to struggle! There is no evidence that struggle automatically makes you a better person.

Sometimes, instead of making you appreciative of a society in which someone born at the bottom can rise to the top, it leaves you embittered that you had to spend years struggling, and resentful of those who were born into circumstances where the easy way to the top was open to them.

Much in the past of Sonia Sotomayor, and of the president who nominated her, suggests such resentments. Both have a history of connections with people who promoted resentments against American society. La Raza (“the race”) was Judge Sotomayor’s Jeremiah Wright. If context is important, then look at that context.

Sonia Sotomayor has, in both her words and in her decision as a judge to dismiss out of hand the appeal of white firefighters who had been discriminated against, betrayed a racism that is no less racism because it is directed against different people than the old racism of the past.

The code word for the new racism is “diversity.” The Constitution of the United States says nothing about diversity and the Constitution is what a judge is supposed to pay attention to, not the prevailing buzzwords of the times.

What the Constitution says is “equal protection of the laws” for all Americans– and that is not taken out of context. People have put their lives on the line to make those words a reality. Now all of that is to be made to vanish into thin air by saying the magic word “diversity.”

The landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, like the Constitution, proclaimed equal rights for all, not special rights for those for whom judges have “empathy.”

When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was being debated in Congress, its opponents claimed that it would lead to discrimination against white people. Its supporters declared that it meant no such thing and added new provisions to make sure that it meant no such thing. That was the law that was passed.

It was not the law, but the judges, who changed equal rights into special rights and thereby set the stage for the new mantra of “diversity” that trumps equal rights. Diversity was Judge Sotomayor’s rationale for going along with the denial of equal rights for white firefighters in Connecticut.

When all else fails, supporters of Judge Sotomayor say that she is Hispanic and a woman, and that it would be politically dangerous to deny her a place on the Supreme Court. This is as much an insult to the intelligence of Hispanic and female voters as it is to the Constitution of the United States and to those who put their lives on the line for equal rights.

Thomas Sowell has published a large volume of writing. His dozen books, as well as numerous articles and essays, cover a wide range of topics, from classic economic theory to judicial activism, from civil rights to choosing the right college. Please contact your local newspaper editor if you want to read the THOMAS SOWELL column in your hometown paper.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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