Sotomayor and the American Identity

Two thoughts after hearing Judge Sotomayor’s questioning today.

I had a wise Latina preschool teacher, one of the most memorable ones of my life.  And you know what?  She treated each of us equally, teaching us the same basics, and applying the rules the same way. Imagine a scenario where playground rules were divvied by race in our multi-ethnic class.  The parents would be outraged, and she would be immediately fired.

If we were to structure the Supreme Court in Sotomayor’s ideal fashion, we would have 4 men and 4 women from each race: White/Caucasian, Black/African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic/Latino.  And the ninth justice would be a hermaphroditic Native American.  And then one would have to be lesbian and one would have to be gay.  What about religions?  See how complicated this gets when we try to structure the Supreme Court based on social justice instead of blind justice?  And when you reference the Ricci case, and “Newyorkrican” Judge Sotomayor’s takeaway opinions from that, that is the type of justice system she envisions.  One where race, background, and ethnic origin are a determining factor before the law.  The law is supposed to be blind.  It is supposed to be equally applied to every man, woman, and child, whether that man is from Ghana, that woman is a lesbian, or that child is Buddhist.  Or if the family is a combination of all three.  Because that is what America is.  Equal justice before the law.  And when people are separated into neat little racial/religious/background boxes, and are expected to act as if they came from those boxes, then you undermine American values.  For once someone becomes an American, they shed those ethnic and racial prejudices which have plagued every other country and civilization since the genesis of man.  Once someone becomes an American, they gain a new identity, where they can stand side-by-side, hand-in-hand in brotherhood with different people of different backgrounds to share one common identity: the American identity.  It is with faith in the American identity that we must go forth into the 21st century, to remain the “shining city on a hill” in which all of God’s people can live together without prejudice as equals.

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