Judge Sotomayor’s relatively modest lifestyle

June 6th, 2009 · 16 Comments

Seneca once mentioned that materialism is pretty apparent in the Latino community, and I would have to agree. Sometimes we see this played out with working class people spending thousands of dollars on extravagant quinceañera celebrations or an emphasis on the car culture instead of investing in other things that might be more enriching. And of course, the US, up until the recent recession, has been very material and consumer driven in the sense that we were encouraged to buy bigger homes, newer cars, and more of this or that. We have even witnessed some of the materialism catch up with elected and appointed politicians when their expenses are examined.

This week I read a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about Judge Sotomayor and her relatively modest lifestyle. The article describes a woman who lives very much within her means and has a certain generosity towards friends and family members. She has also been very careful to recuse herself from cases where there may have been a conflict of interest. I was particularly struck by this part:

“Examined together, the forms Sotomayor has filed since her first nomination, to the U.S. District Court in 1992, reflect a life and pocketbook common to many Americans. In the early 1990s, she loaned $27,000 interest-free to a friend running a dry-cleaning business and paid $220 a month for her mother to lease a Honda Civic. In 1992, Sotomayor herself drove a 1984 model of the same car.”

I think that it is rather refreshing to have a nominee for the Supreme Court, who not having come from money, has chosen to live without extravagances. The stereotypes that some have about us include ideas that we are clothes horses or love jewelry, but Judge Sotomayor doesn’t seem to fulfill those notions.

Tags: Supreme Court

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michaelr // Jun 6, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    We couldn’t expect someone better to represent the Latino community on the U.S. Supreme Court. Like Hilda Solis, all of Sonia Sotomayor’s priorities, values, and standards seem to be well placed. What a breath of fresh air for once.

  • 2 Pablo // Jun 7, 2009 at 8:50 am

    What a pick, a person who’s twice a minority. I hope all goes well for her.

  • 3 webmaster // Jun 7, 2009 at 9:57 am

    How is she twice a “minority”? I think that there are more women than men in the US. What kind of status are referring to?

  • 4 Pablo // Jun 8, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Hillary Clinton didn’t break the glass ceiling…. She only put cracks in it.

  • 5 Reyfeo // Jun 9, 2009 at 5:32 am

    I have no personal issues with Sotomayor, but am worried about her “i’m a latina” (paraphrasing) quote on video…it says she has some bias doesn’t it?

    But here’s what really gets me. We ran Albert G out of DC pratically screaming at him and yet I feel he was more qualified or if nothing as just qualified as this soon to be Justice. Why is it that we American Latinos allow the Democratic Party to get away with this?

    All things aside I am proud of Sotomayor being pushed to the Supreme Court, it makes me happy to see some of “us” getting elevating to these key positions. But again, why do we allow the double standard. Albert Gonzalez was a well educated and talented young prdigy in the same field as Sotomayor, but we (American Latinos that is) allowed the Left to run one of our own into the grown. I mean really, because we hate Bush that much?

    So before you tell me he’s in idiot and deserved it, provide the facts. To date the firing of those attorneys was nothing more than what Clinton did in his years in office, what was the difference?

    Lastly, no kids, divorced (or never married, not sure), and totally focused on her career, i’m not sure this lady can represent “all” Americans as a Supreme Court Justice.

  • 6 Anna // Jun 9, 2009 at 9:31 am

    First of all, Gonzalez does not have the same qualifications as Sotomayor. She has been a judge since 1991. If you look at Gonzalez’s resume, he was moved from position to position based on where Dubya needed him to push through his policies. He’s not independent.

    And once Gonzalez got to Washington he did not function independently, as either White House Counsel or as Attorney General. He acted as Dubya’s lackey, giving him legal cover to commit crimes such as torture. Gonzalez was loyal to Dubya and not to the constitution. He was not qualified to be Attorney General and he sure isn’t qualified to be on the USSC. He’s a peon. Unfortnately, that attitude is all too common…

    As for the Attorney firings, Clinton didn’t automatically fire all of the US Attorneys for their political beliefs. I don’t know where you got that.

    The reason the right wing hates Sotomayor is that she doesn’t have the kind of psychological makeup that will allow her to be intimidated and manipulated. She knows who she is.

    The right-wing prefer minorities like Alberto Gonzalez or Clarence Thomas or Condi Rice, the kind of people who serve the interests of others.

  • 7 Anna // Jun 9, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Re: “Lastly, no kids, divorced (or never married, not sure), and totally focused on her career, i’m not sure this lady can represent “all” Americans as a Supreme Court Justice.”

    What a sexist comment. Sigh…

  • 8 webmaster // Jun 9, 2009 at 10:17 am

    “Lastly, no kids, divorced (or never married, not sure), and totally focused on her career, i’m not sure this lady can represent “all” Americans as a Supreme Court Justice.”

    Sotomayor is divorced. But I agree w/ Anna. It shouldn’t matter whether she has kids or is married or partnered or whatever. Condi Rice had no kids and wasn’t married either, and she was able to serve in two Bush administrations. I don’t remember people complaining about her marital status.

    I’m of the opinion that some people should not have kids. Perhaps Sotomayor is happy being immersed in the law and likes being an “auntie” to her nieces and nephews. We already have a lot of people in our society who have kids when they probably shouldn’t.

  • 9 Reyfeo // Jun 9, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Again, this website doesn’t seem to ever let me down…I wanted hard facts on why AG was run out of town and how his credentials were called into question and more importantly why the American Latino community didn’t atleast flinch even if he is a Republican. This shows me your bias. You can be Latino, just not a Republican Latino is that correct?

    Also, I find it ironic that you blame and question any Attorney Generals bias…Janet Reno was in Clintons hip pocket wasn’t she?

    Also, It is my opinion she is unqualified or better said not the most qualified, but Obama had to throw us a bone…in fact, I’ve been silent, but after a few weeks reading this blog, even Anna was getting restless about Obama not showing us some Political Love.

    So, again, I ask…why do we hate Albert Gonzales? Did he not just follow precedence as all Presidents have a right to remove at their will any US Generals…isn’t that what Obama has done…why aren’t we crying foul now?

  • 10 Anna // Jun 9, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    You got hard facts. He provided legal cover for torture, calling the Geneva Conventions “quaint,” and he wanted to fire the US Attorneys and replace them with Bush flunkees, much like himself.

    You keep saying that this is normal, that other Presidents do this, but that’s false. Many US Attorneys have served for decades, regardless of which party is in office.

    I will say, though, that until Gonzalez resigned, the media made it seem like he was single handedly responsible for torture. He didn’t write the so-called torture memo, Jay Bybee did, and he is currently a judge on the 9th Circuit, a lifetime appointment. He was approved by Democrats in the Senate.

    The media hate Mexican-Americans. We know that. So in that respect, I think they targeted Gonzalez more than the other people who were also responsible. Unlike the others who did what he did, and worse, he’s a pariah.

    Reyfeo you support any Republican, no matter how criminal they are. Why???

    What have these people done to help our country that would get you to support them? I don’t think you even know that you’re voting for.

    I really don’t feel optomistic about the future of this state or our country. Arnold is taking a wrecking ball to this state. His ideal California is made up pockets of rich people who don’t pay any taxes and millions of illegal workers making minimum wage and receiving no access to education, healthcare, or retirement. In other words, third world.

    That’s what Republicans are all about, and sadly the dummies who for voted for Arnold aren’t going anywhere. That’s the problem.

  • 11 WhatThe.. // Jun 9, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    I think I’ll just get another Corona…

  • 12 Anna // Jun 10, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Obama Administration Official Bars News Team From Public Hearing
    Israel Balderas/KFOX Morning News Anchor/Reporter
    Posted: 5:06 pm MDT June 5, 2009
    Updated: 9:05 pm MDT June 5, 2009

    EL PASO, Texas — When local Hispanic farmers and ranchers from the El Paso area invited KFOX to cover a public hearing involving their discrimination complaints against the federal government, the last thing expected to happen was to have the door closed by a high ranking Obama administration official. But that’s just what happened as the news crew tried to get their personal stories. “It’s a first amendment right,” said Craig Hodgens, a local farm worker said, laughing sarcastically. “I’ve never seen it happen till today.”

    What Hodgens and about 30 other attendees experienced was government censorship. KFOX was the only TV station present at an Anthony, Texas family restaurant, where journalists were forced to leave. The closed door meeting was organized by the farmers. The federal government official doing the censoring was Joe Leonard, the new Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights for the Department of Agriculture. “I’ve attended other similar public hearings,” said Leonard, “and the media was never in attendance.”

    Not only did Leonard attempt to avoid the camera lens, in several instances, a government attorney who refused to give her name or title, tried to block the KFOX camera as well. The unnamed female attorney also was the one who closed the door on the news team. At times, she said the farmers inside the public hearing did not want KFOX to cover the event, but when asked if the reporter could ask the farmers whether that was true or not, she refused entrance. At one point, the government attorney invited a local print journalist to be the only reporter covering the event. But no other print reporters or cameras were allowed inside the public hearing room.

    So, what was so secretive that mandated exclusion of KFOX? Alfredo Alvarez Contreras is a local cotton farmer. He told Leonard inside the closed door meeting how the Department of Agriculture admittedly discriminated against him and his farming colleagues for years. Speaking in Spanish, Contreras said, “We’re all suffering because, you know, we’re asking help from friends – lend me a tractor-trailer. We don’t have money and nobody is lending to us because of this pending litigation.”

    The case Contreras refers to is a class action lawsuit on the part of Hispanic farmers and ranchers against the Department of Agriculture. The case was filed nine years ago, but the discrimination dates back to 1981. The Commission on Civil Rights, Congress and former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman have all said that the federal government discriminated against Latinos in connection with farm credit and benefit programs. “For example, to plant cotton, you need the money in January,” said Contreras. “The government would give us money in May when it was too late to help us.”

    KFOX contacted Howrey LLP attorney Stephen Hill based in Washington, D.C. He represents several farmers in the class action lawsuit against the government, many of them present at Friday’s hearing. When Hill was informed that the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights would not allow the news crew to cover this public event, he said, “It’s ironic that a government official working on civil rights denies the right of the First Amendment.” He pointed out that during the confirmation hearings of Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack, he made strong encouraging statements that the Obama Administration wanted to settle the cases as soon as possible and be transparent about the litigation. “Their actions today have not been consistent with those pronouncements.”

    So how long did this “hearings” gathering last? About an hour. When KFOX tried to talk to Leonard after the hearing about what he was told by the farmers and ranchers regarding the various discrimination instance plus comment on Friday’s censorship he said he had no comment. Leonard did not want to talk to KFOX about the testimony uttered during the hearing. Leonard did say he had to go to other similar public hearings in other states, but no word on how public they will be.
    Copyright 2009 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • 13 El Cholo // Jun 11, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Hey…someone give me an apple, so I can stick this person onto a platter.

  • 14 theKaiser // Jun 11, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    “Hey…someone give me an apple, so I can stick this person onto a platter.”

    Are you referring to Sonia Sotomayer with this comment?

  • 15 El Cholo // Jun 11, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Of course not…you should know me better that that. I am tickled to death that President Obama has nominated her. I was referring to that person who doesn’t always take her medication. And as a consequence likes to fill up this blog with a lot of apologist and fictional comments.

  • 16 theKaiser // Jun 11, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Ooo, that person… now I understand the comment. And I agree. But what a waste of an apple.

Leave a Comment