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Ruben Navarrette says Latinos will remember GOP no votes on Sotomayor

August 15th, 2009 · 7 Comments

Back on August 1, I wrote a blog post asking if Latinos would remember how Judge Sotomayor was treated in the confirmation hearings. I suggested that the Republican Senators, who at that time had decided not to support Sotomayor’s confirmation, were making a calculated risk that could backfire especially if Latinos stayed engaged in the political process and took note of their lack of support of this moderate judge.

Well fast forward to August 12, and columnist Ruben Navarrette suggests that Latinos won’t forget the GOP no votes on Sotomayor. Obviously, Navarrette wrote this piece after the final vote before the full senate, but he referenced Sen. Coburn’s “splaining” comment that I mentioned as well as the fact that Sotomayor is not a judicial activist, which is true relative to the current court’s expansion of executive powers that has been supported by the more conservative members of the court.

One issue that I would like to clear up that I keep seeing referenced in various blogs and on comment sections in traditional media papers is the notion that George W. Bush’s appointment of Miguel Estrada was for the Supreme Court. This was not the case. Miguel Estrada was appointed to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, as Navarrette pointed out. I also want to point out Estrada’s lack of judicial experience relative to Justice Sotomayor. If you read through Estrada’s biography on wikipedia and his law firm bio at Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher, you will note that he doesn’t have experience as a judge despite excellent academic credentials and experience as an Assistant US Attorney and corporate litigator. In my view, these comparisons of Estrada to Sotomayor are apples to oranges comparisons. Finally, I think that fewer Latinos would note an appointment to the Circuit Court of Appeals compared to a more visible appointment to the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court. Therefore, it is more likely that they will note how Sotomayor was treated and who voted against her.

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Tags: GOP · racism · Ruben Navarrette · Supreme Court

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 BettyM // Aug 16, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Everyone needs to be involved in the political process. Let’s hope everyone cares enough to keep informed. This site has enlightened me – thank you!!

  • 2 Luis Alvarado // Aug 16, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Justice Estrada was not allowed to be appointed as CPA of D.C. by the Democratic Party. And you are implying that the attack was not the same as the GOP did against Sotomayor.

    Yet there is not a single legislator who did not see this as a preemtive-strike to avoid having President Bush appoint a Latino at the first Supreme Court Justice opening. Estrada would have been a great SCJOTUS

    This was pure politics, from both sides. Let’s be real. Both parties need the Latino Vote; I just think Navarrete is way off to think Latino is up in arms about the GOP Vote.

    If we (Latinos) do allow the Democrats to use this to vote for them in 2010, we deserve to be “Continually” ignored in DC. (What happened to the promises made during the election), Sorry hommies maybe next year…..

    But I still love Ya….Here is Sonia….see!

  • 3 Louis Pagan // Aug 17, 2009 at 5:01 am

    HUGE shot in the foot moment for the GOP. The opportunity to actually DO what they said they want to turned out to be a FAIL moment and reveals a lack of follow up and non-intention to actually push Latin@s into prominent positions.

  • 4 Cockroach People // Aug 18, 2009 at 5:33 am

    revised comment from last time:

    Estrada was blocked mostly because of his conservative ideology. A few Mexican groups would not support him because he was not Mexican . Most of the fighting was among Latinos who didn’t want Bush’s “affirmative action pick” to be our very own Clarence Thomas. Unlike what transpired with this nomination, there weren’t a bunch of white dudes complaining about his pro-Latino comments or telling him he had some “splainin” to do. (I think this is the gist of Navarrette’s point)

    I personally think that people overreacted. He wasn’t that bad. he just wasn’t someone who had a track record with the Latino community (if he did, no one knew). That said, he would have been yet another conservative on the court –he just happened to be Latino.. Good point about the circuit court, but the fear was based on a perceived Bush attempt to prop him up for a Supreme court nomination. The D.C. circuit is seen as a stepping stone to the Supreme Court. Roberts, Scalia, Ginsburg,and Thomas were all on the D.C. circuit.

    Sotomayor’s nomination is much different even if you ignore her vast experience. She has a track record with Latinos and has advocated for the community. Latinos are much more likely to remember her treatment for that reason alone. Thus, someone like Estrada would not get much support if he smells like a cacique or a vendido (not saying whether he actually is). That’s the main reason Latinos won’t remember him. I think the profile of the appointment is important but secondary.

  • 5 theKaiser // Aug 18, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Well said Cockroach People. Now if Cheney can take Scalia hunting again, another opportunity could arise for Obama to appoint someone else to the Supreme Court.

  • 6 Samuel Bradley // Aug 28, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Ruben… I am not Latino but I enjoy your columns because you usually bring intelligent insight to the subject, but this column was a disappointment. Imagine a SCOTUS made up of about half men and women; of faces and names that represent the rich mixture of ethnic and national backgrounds that make up our America. But what a tragedy to choose nominees with that goal in mind! Here in New Mexico we see distinguished physicians, professors and community leaders who are Hispanic. We recognize and appreciate the intelligence and the abilities of great Latinos. But Sotomayor does not rise to their level. She admits her grades were “less than stellar” and that she was “a poster child for affirmative action.” When we are choosing a panel of nine out of 300 million, should they not be the best legal minds, the judges with the fairest judicial records? Not one with “less than stellar” grades, and repeated racially biased positions? Judge Sotomayor believes a wise Latina mother should tell her child, “I know you will not be smart enough to compete with anglo kids so we will fudge the rules in your favor.” How sad that this woman was confirmed. You should thank the GOP Senators for rejecting her.

  • 7 A “woe is me” piece by Ruben Navarrette // Oct 26, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    [...] sometimes think that Navarrette hits the nail on the head, and other times, he misses it. But a writer can be applauded or praised when some [...]

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