The Thinking 

Why the World Beloves Me

January 16, 2013


ONE WOULD think that a Supreme Court justice might have a consuming interest in, well, the law. According to Damon W. Root at, Sonia Sotomayor’s new memoir My Beloved World contains “no discussion of Sotomayor’s many years as a federal judge and no mention of any sort of legal philosophy that might be guiding her approach to the law.” It does talk about her “struggles” with diabetes, her brilliant school career and her wedding night.

Sotomayor is the sort of intellectual lightweight that rises to the top today. Before the advent of feminist preferences, bright women found ways to succeed. With the reign of feminist preferences, not-so-bright women find ways to succeed.

—- Comments —–

Mary K. writes:

I don’t doubt that Sotomayor’s book contains plenty of navel-gazing nonsense. More to the point, however: Shouldn’t a Supreme Court Justice be far too busy to be writing her memoirs? That’s something one does after retiring from a fascinating career, not when it’s just begun. No wonder there isn’t much meat to the book! Ms. Sotomayor seems to share our President’s narcissistic weakness for premature memoirs.

Terry Morris writes:

Is that Roseanne Barr on the cover?

Also, I think that rather than not-so-bright women finding ways to succeed, under feminism ways to succeed find not-so-bright women.

Don Vincenzo writes:

In the nearly twenty years I spent overseas at six U.S. embassies, along with the near decade I spent in Washington, I never knew one – repeat: one – U.S. Foreign Service Office who ever admitted being a recipient of  “affirmative action.” Yet, programs to bring in minorities and women (originally, “affirmative action” at the U.S. State Department was aimed equally at white women as much as minorities) into the U.S. Diplomatic missions existed, but their reluctance was probably twofold: it implied that they “could not meet the standards required” that everyone else did, and perhaps a bit of guilt, too: for “affirmative action” is a zero sum game, and one candidate admitted through that process means that another candidate, perhaps more qualified, is not.

“Affirmative action” is also not a static, but an on-going process, that does not end with the initial favoring of someone based on questionable constitutional legal grounds. That person may be selected for higher office again using “affirmative action” as the mechanism of obtaining the new appointment. How high that person will rise is very often determined by the person or organization making the selection. As I have written elsewhere, the career of Gen. Colin Powell would have ended long before his rise within the ranks and subsequent positions outside the military had it not been for the then Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger. The meteoric rise of Sotomayor is another example of the theme of the aphorism, “It’s not what you know, but who, that matters.”

The liberal media is now trumpeting My Beloved World. A review of her book has made the front page of The Washington Post on two occasions, one of which was lengthy, accompanied by photos. What is unusual about the book is that the autobiography is essentially silent on what Sotomayor’s strengths are that made her an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Even Dalia Lithwick, a Senior Editor at Slate, and fawning admirer of Sotomayor, who reviewed the book (wonder why?) for The Post, remarks: “Readers looking to mine this book for clues about the justice’s legal philosophy will be disappointed.” Indeed they will, but not all is lost, for they will find out about Sotomayor’s “father’s alcoholism and a largely absent mother.” What is evident is that this Associate Justice has written a book that replicates the type of “rise to stardom” fame often heard on Oprah Winfrey. In short, this is not a serious book, but, then, is Justice Sotomayor a serious Justice?

In her CBS-TV interview, Sotomayor openly admitted that she had been a beneficiary of “affirmative action,” despite the criticism of some, but that the opportunity to attend Princeton and then the Yale Law School because of it had opened up new opportunities for her. In opening up opportunities for her, did she not understand or consider that she was closing them for others? But whereas Colin Powell had Caspar Weinberger, Sonia Sotomayor had President Obama, and in selecting Sotomayor, the president sought to fulfill his objective of  reshaping the Supreme Court into an organization in which “empathy,” not judicial competence, is the key in decision making.

I have had the good fortune of being able to hear oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court for many years from a seat near the bench of the Justices. Granted, I have watched select cases and my observations could, therefore, be judged “anecdotal,” but I do not ever recall a lawyer, either arguing for or against the issue at hand, openly question a Justice’s “reading” of the statute or previous case history, implying that the Justice had misread or misinterpreted the statute. That happened twice last April 25th when Paul Clement, former Solicitor-General of the U.S., the attorney representing the State of Arizona in the issue of the state’s ability to deal with illegal aliens, informed Justice Sotomayor that she’s misread a statute. And that is not the only time such a implied rebuke has happened involving Justice Sotomayor while I was in the Court.

De minimus non curat lex – The law does not deal with trifling matters. With issues involving the U.S. Constitution, we expect that rule to be followed. It is, therefore, a sign of decline in our belief in constitutional government when, in selecting the judges and Justices who will interpret that foundational principle, we do not.

Laura writes:

In this Today show interview, which occurs for some strange reason in a chapel and which features undignified glimpses of the Supreme Court justice’s legs, Sotomayor says that despite the benefits she received from affirmative action, she was a victim of racial resentment. What kind of resentment? Her high school nurse asked in passing why she was admitted to Princeton and the two students ahead of her were not. This is the stuff of a leading figure’s memoir. She also says there is an ongoing need for preferences for nonwhites: “There’s still a need for people to be sensitive to the fact that they feel more comfortable with people who look like them.”

But if that is true, then preferences for nonwhites, who must also “feel more comfortable with people who look like them,” will lead to marginalization of whites. As Don Vincenzo points out, affirmative action always entails exclusion as much as inclusion.

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