Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is everybody in Alabama this stupid or only Sessions?

Jesus Christ, is everybody in Alabama this stupid or only U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions?

The Senate Republican who is charged with grilling Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation hearings told USA TODAY's Matt Kelley this morning that she needs to explain a 2001 speech in which she said a "wise Latina woman" might make better judicial decisions than a white man.

"The American people need an answer before she goes on the bench as to exactly what she meant by that," said Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

"It's on its face a troubling statement," Sessions continued. "It goes against the idea of color-blind justice -- blind justice, not just color-blind justice.", May 28, 2009

To it's credit the USAToday article linked to the original 2001 speech

...Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O'Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.

Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.

Keith Olbermann and his guest Eugene Robinson busted this canard on Countdown last night. I guess the stupid Sessions didn't get the memo.

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