My Questions For Sotomayor—Will Republicans Dare Ask Them?

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on
Obama`s Supreme Court nominee

Sonia Sotomayor
are currently scheduled to begin this
Monday, July 13.

The Democrats want to rush Sotomayor
through with merely some

celebrations of her Hispanicness
, and no tough
questioning. For example, these will be the first Supreme
Court nominee hearings in decades that

National Public Radio
, that

of the Obama Administration, won`t broadcast

Republican Senators have been talking about trying to
postpone the hearings until September, claiming that they
need more time to review her complex record.

reality, Sotomayor`s record isn`t all that complicated. It
consists of two parts.

  • Her
    legal opinions are those of a grind: not brilliant, but
    not so lame that you couldn`t imagine her as one of the

    dimmer bulbs
    on the Supreme Court.

Of course, the problem with being on the
Court of Appeals
Sotomayor at present) is that if you indulge your political
biases too much, you`ll get

embarrassingly overruled
by the Supreme Court (as
Sotomayor got overturned on the
Ricci v. DeStefano

Once you are on the
Supreme Court,
however, you are (effectively)
above the
. So past opinions you`ve written are of less
predictive value about how you will rule when unfettered
than your off-hours volunteering.

And this
is the second part of Sotomayor`s record:

preferences have been very, very good to Sonia Sotomayor.
And it would be only natural for her to be very, very good
to preferences when she`s on the Supreme Court.

Obviously, Sotomayor is going to be approved. The Democrats
have 60 Senators and she only needs 50.

And many Republican Senators would no doubt like to fold
quietly, what with, as we are constantly told in the media,
Hispanics accounting for nine percent of the vote according

exit polls
in 2008. (Actually, the Hispanic share of the
vote in 2008 turned out to be, according to the gold
standard Census Bureau survey of 50,000 households, only

7.4 percent
, but who cares about reality?)

tactical issue for the Republicans, however, is whether they
are going to forfeit all the political mileage they could
get out of the Ricci
victory—in which the Supreme Court brusquely junked
Sotomayor`s decision upholding corrupt racial discrimination
white firemen in New Haven.

The Main Stream Media, of course, has
every intention of shoving
Ricci far down the
Memory Hole. The only way to remind the public of what is at
stake is to make Ricci
the central focus of the Sotomayor hearings.

strategic issues for Republicans are manifold:

  • Are they
    going to acquiesce in the growing assumption in the press
    that minorities, such as Obama and Sotomayor, are beyond
    criticism on anything related to race? If so, what does that
    bode for the future of the GOP?

  • Will
    they forego their best opportunity to point out that Obama
    not the

    post-racial uniter of David Axelrod`s imagination,
    is merely Sotomayor with a more
    prose style

  • Will
    they use the high unemployment rate to go on the offensive
    against racial preferences, especially against preferences
    for immigrants?

Allow me
to offer some advice and questions for the Senators.

go easy on the excruciatingly boring questions about
judicial philosophy.

The Obama Administration will no doubt
have provided Judge Sotomayor with test-marketed talking
points. Anyway, the public doesn`t much care about judicial
philosophy in the abstract. It cares about philosophies when
they lead
to injustices done to actual people,
such as what
Sotomayor authorized be done to Ricci and his colleagues.

Second, you don`t have to ask Sotomayor
the toughest questions about the
Ricci case. The
media is all prepared to raise a stink about evil white male
Senators being unchivalrous and insensitive being toward a
Latina. But, fortunately, there`s a sleazy white male
stand-in for Sotomayor.

Ricci v. DeStefano
humanly vivid to the public by
calling as witnesses both parties: the victim-turned-winner,
fireman Frank Ricci, and the victimizer-turned-loser, New
Haven Mayor

John DeStefano, Jr

Then let
the eight-term politician (who happened to be a Democrat)
have it with both barrels for his slimy acts of racial
discrimination against Ricci.

As the basis for your questioning use
Justice Samuel Alito`s

blistering concurring opinion
Ricci, which

vividly spells out
how the mayor badgered the Civil
Service Board into cheating Ricci.

An argument among three Italian-American
guys—Ricci, DeStefano, and Alito—is less easy for the media
to spin along its

usual ethnic/gender
"Who? Whom?"
lines. So, for once, people will be
allowed to think simply about principles of justice.

It won`t be hard to show that, in
practice, "diversity"
is just another word for DeStefano`s
Boss Tweed-type

Here are my questions to ask the
you`ve worked out on DeStefano.

Obviously, she`ll bob and weave around most of them,
refusing to answer on the usual specious grounds employed by
past nominees. But these questions would be worth asking for
their own rhetorical sake:

  • Much as Chief Justice John Roberts asked during

    oral arguments
    over Ricci… Can you assure us, Judge
    Sotomayor, that your decision in
    Ricci for the City
    of New Haven would have been the same if
    firefighters scored highest on this test in disproportionate
    numbers, and the City said we don`t like that result, we
    think there should be more whites on the fire department,
    and so we`re going to throw the test out?

  • On the South Wall of the

    Supreme Court Building`s courtroom
    are carvings of the
    "great lawgivers of history." The second earliest lawgiver depicted
    , king of Babylon, who is honored for carving
    the laws in stone and putting them up in public—which meant
    that even the king couldn`t change the laws after the fact
    to suit his convenience. Why should Mayor DeStefano enjoy
    the privilege that King Hammurabi denied himself: to see
    what the final score turned out to be,
    then change the
    rules of the game?

  • In the Obama Administration`s friend of the court brief to
    the Supreme Court on the Ricci case, the Obama Administration called for your decision for
    summary judgment in favor of Mayor DeStefano to be
    overturned and the
    case to be remanded to local district court for
    retrial on the facts. Why did you vote for a more extremist
    outcome than the Obama Administration later called for?

  • Chief Justice Robert s recently

    , "[t]he way
    to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop
    discriminating on the basis of race."
    Do you agree?

  • Here`s a guest question from

    and the
    Yale Law School about your terse judgment in
    "The problem for
    Sotomayor, instead, is why she didn`t grapple with the
    difficult constitutional issues, the ones Cabranes pointed
    to. Did she really have nothing to add to the district court
    opinion? In a case of this magnitude and intricacy, why
    would that be?"

  • Is the
    primary point of our civil rights laws to protect minorities
    or to protect individuals of all races?

  • You have described yourself on

    as "a
    product of affirmative action"
    and an
    "affirmative action
    and that it is
    "critical that we
    promote diversity."
    Considering your often-expressed
    passionate views on the topic and personal self-interest in
    promoting ethnic preferences, how could Frank Ricci have

    even-handed, colorblind justice from you?

  • Yes, but, according to the Supreme Court, Frank Ricci didn`t
    get justice from
    you, now did he?

  • I
    realize you resent these questions, but aren`t doubts about
    racial bias inevitably created by the act of treating people
    of different races differently, acts which you endorse?

  • Considering
    personal benefits that ethnic preferences have provided you
    over the years,
    shouldn`t you have recused yourself from
    the Ricci case?

  • Will you promise to recuse yourself in all future cases
    involving quotas, affirmative action, discrimination, or
    disparate impact?

  • Six years ago, in the

    previous major affirmative action case
    , Justice

    Sandra Day O`Connor
    wrote in her

    decision in

    , "We
    expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences
    will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved
    today. "
    (That`s now only 19 years from 2009.) Do you

  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her dissenting opinion
    on Ricci:
    "The Court`s order
    and opinion, I anticipate, will not have staying power."

    Do you agree?

  • Should
    immigrants be

    racial and ethnic preferences

  • Why?

  • Judge
    Sotomayor, you were a member of the National Council of
    La Raza from

    1998 to 2004
    . What do the words
    mean in

[Steve Sailer (email
him) is

movie critic

The American Conservative

His website

features his daily blog. His new book,