Justice Sotomayor Sworn In

Sonia Sotomayor is sworn in as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by Chief Justice John Roberts, with her mother Celina holding the bible, and her brother Juan standing beside her (Courtesy:  AP)

Sonia Sotomayor is sworn in as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by Chief Justice John Roberts, with her mother Celina holding the bible, and her brother Juan standing beside her (Courtesy: AP)

As a black woman who has lived in East Palo Alto, San Francisco, and East San Jose, California and who has biracial nieces and nephews–white, Latino, and even Asian Pacific–I certainly share in the celebrations all over the country at Sotomayor’s confirmation and swearing in. Why? Because this is family. I am not a racial purist; that is, I know that it does not follow that all blacks will do good for black people. I know that whites, Asians, and Latinos have done good for black people, even if it meant that some were looking out for their own folks first. All I know is that when people of color are well represented in American life and culture, all boats rise. This is only the beginning.

Meanwhile, in contrast, Senator Mel Martinez, Republican from Florida, resigned early yesterday after he voted for the first Latina Justice of the Supreme Court. Martinez, I think, had had it. He had already mulled leaving after his term was over to make big money in the private sector, but the Republican fight over the Sotomayor appointment evidently pissed him off. Especially after his party, time and again, had turned down Latino candidates for the Court.

I’m sure that Martinez was fed up with the unveiled racism of the Republican right and by his fellow Republican Seantors. For them, Latinos weren’t even family. I think he decided to check out as a message to the Latino community. As Markos Moulitsas over at Daily Kos said:

You can almost sense Martinez’ slow realization that his party is fundamentally hostile to brown people — from ditching the RNC gig early, to announcing his retirement of a seat he likely would’ve held easily, to just up and pulling a Palin before his term was up. And that he did so the day after casting his vote for Sonia Sotomayor is particularly interesting.

Unless Marco Rubio wins that seat, Republicans will lose their last brown person in the Senate, and will be down to just three in the entire U.S. Congress. A white Southern regional rump party will look more and more the part.

And a party like this can only lose and continue to lose big, as Latinos cast their lot with Democrats. Martinez was supposed to help bring in the Latino vote for Republicans, just as blacks are a mainstay of Democrats. What kind of black or Latino office holder is going to stand listening to older Southern white men mewling about the loss of their so-called rights while impugning their people? Those ‘rights’ are only privileges. And privileges are taking the highway these days. Plus, being a “wise Latina” doesn’t mean she’s guaranteed to practice what is called reverse discrimination. Martinez knew what she meant, knew her record was unassailable, and couldn’t stand any more GOP racialist rhetoric, and blew that town on the Potomac. But he wanted to vote for Sotomayor.

My nieces and nephews have another role model to look towards with Barack Obama. And Madame Justice has a lot of work to do come Monday. All I can add is, it’s been long overdue and about time.

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~ by blksista on August 8, 2009.

3 Responses to “Justice Sotomayor Sworn In”

  1. Well said. Being a Brown Woman(child of latino mother raised and loved by a african american stepfather who I thank God for everyday) its appreciated I wish we could all come to this level of understanding as you stated in your opening paragraph.

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