Friday, June 05, 2009

PC Expectations For a Supreme Are Doomed

The Washington Post said today, “Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor once told a group of minority lawyers that she believed a delay in her confirmation as a federal appeals judge a decade ago was driven partly by Republican lawmakers' ethnic stereotypes of her, suggesting that the tensions surrounding her current nomination are hardly new to the New York jurist.” And the NYT said, “In speech after speech over the years, Judge Sonia Sotomayor has returned to the themes of diversity, struggle, heritage and alienation that have both powered and complicated her nomination to the Supreme Court. “She has lamented the dearth of Hispanics on the federal bench. She has exhorted young people to value immigration. She has mulled over the ‘deeply confused image’ America has of its own racial identity. And she has used on more than one occasion a version of the ‘wise Latina’ line that she has spent much of this week trying to explain.” Deeply imbedded in the minds of those who comment and write about such things in the mainstream media is an ideal image of the perfect Democrat nominee and/or perfect Republican nominee for the Supreme Court. Which, at first blush, sounds like a sensible approach to use for picking someone who will have lifetime tenure and will be making monumentally important decisions that affect everyone in the United States. And yet, of course, any ideal image is totally unreasonable. Like the absurdly incorporeal ideal the Roman Catholic Church holds up as the only acceptable Christian, perfection is a standard against which all human beings must fail. The Law itself uses a much better model than either The Church or the political talking heads that bloviate, strike poses and rant. And that model is “the reasonable man”. The Reasonable Person is not and never will be politically correct because the politically correct posture is false, pretentious and unreasonable. What we know is, a Democrat will back a Supreme Court judge he hopes will rule like a Democrat. A Republican will back a Supreme Court judge he hopes will rule like a Republican. And no matter how much the public and the press demand political correctness from Supreme Court nominees from the age of five, they will not be politically correct and they will not rule like a bloodless, impartial, incorporeal, spirit being invoked at a Judging Seminar Séance. Supreme Court nominees are human beings with all the flaws the rest of us have. The very best we can hope for is that a Supreme Court judge will rule like a reasonable person.

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