Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fan mail?

I read an article on CNN's website yesterday about the 'wise Latina women' comment made by Ms. Sotomayor. To put it nicely, I did not agree with the author about many things. The author was Dr. Laura Gomez. Using the google, I found her email address at the school she teaches in, the University of New Mexico.

The article:

My email: (Still waiting for a response. Don't worry. I stopped holding my breath after only a few seconds of doing so.)

Dr. Gomez,

I read your article on CNN earlier this morning, and I am very troubled by much of what you wrote. The reason I am troubled is because you are an educator, and thus, it is safe for me to believe that you are teaching the same concepts and beliefs which you have conveyed in this article. In the piece you refer to the role of a Judge as consisting of judging with empathy and/or life experiences. This is not the role of a Judge. The role of a Judge is to objectively judge a case with out any input of personal beliefs and feelings. The Judge's job is see that the constitution is being upheld, not to rewrite it.

When referring to Ms. Sotomayor's wise Latino comments you provide a defense against the racism claims that have been tied to it. Your first two arguments in my opinion are only word games, which do not serve much purpose. You third defense, however, while I do not necessarily believe to be her true intentions, can not argue against it. By claiming the emphasis was on the word wise, and that Latino women was a coincidental following, it can be said that she was not claiming Latino women to make a better Judge, but rather that wiser people make better Judges (something I think we would all agree on.)

However, you go on to do Ms. Sotomayor a disservice when you attempt to explain her statement even further. You go on to explain that she was saying that because of the past experiences of a Latino women, she would be able to bring more empathy into her judging. As I stated earlier, this is not the job of a Judge. Later in the article you go on to say that Justice O'Connor had brought her experiences as a women to the bench with her while Judging, while in fact she said much the opposite. She said that an old man and old women would both reach the same conclusion while Judging. This is true for the Judge's job is to apply the law, and the law is the same no matter the race, sex, or age of the Judge reading it.

So, while I can not with certainty say Ms. Sotomayor did not mean to say that as a Latino women she is more suited to be a Judge than a white male, (for it would have been pointless to say it had she not meant it, and if all she was seeking to say was that wise people are better Judges, first of all why waster her breath, for no one would think otherwise. And second, why specifically contrast a Latino women and white male?) I think one thing is clear. You are a racist. Now, remember racist does not necessarily mean one thinks lowly of other races, but it does mean that one feels ones race inherently effect their capabilities. Here are the things you said that make me feel this way:

1) You describe the conference in which the famous wise Latino women quote was taken from, to be addressing the crisis if more Latinos do not become Judges. Might I ask you why? If you would agree that all people are equally capable to be a Judge, why would there be a crisis? Unless either you are a racist and feel Latinos make better Judges, or if you are implementing the belief that their empathy is needed to Judge. Being that I am certain of my latter charge, there is room for you to wiggle out of this claim, but don't worry, I have more.

2) Later on in the piece, you address the question of if black women would be better Judges than white men. You describe the question as one which needs studying. What is there to study? Only a racist would feel that ones race would make them better able to understand laws. Only one who felt that a persons ethnic background, not their education, would be what determines their ability to Judge.

3) You conclude by stating "It's past time our nations highest court looked more like our nation." You claim that it is wrong that 107 of the 111 prior Justices have been white males. If one should be appointed to the position of Supreme Court Justice based on their prior achievements, why are we even looking at their sex and race. Only a racist applies these numbers where they do not belong. You should not be counting how many white Judges there have been, but how many good Judges there have been. Judges that did their job, and made certain the Constitution was upheld. (All though you would probably not consider a Judge who does so to be a good one, it seems.) There have only been two Jewish Justices on the Supreme Court. Am I complaining, or demanding more Jews be on the bench? No, for all I wish to see is good Judges on the bench.

So, I am worried that as an educator you have the opportunity to pass your beliefs onto growing minds. I am troubled that you have the ability to mold young lawyers to believe as you do. To believe the Constitutions description of a Judge is wrong, and that race and gender are primary categories to consider when assessing ones capability. I say this respectfully, for I am only a 20 year old premed student, but at the same time I say it brazenly, for you have left me no choice. Should I be fortunate enough to become a physician, I will almost certainly find myself involved in legal matters at times in my career, and I am worried that I could be facing a system that would have evolved into the type of system you would like to see. A system where should I be sued by a minority women, I would find myself fighting a loosing battle for the Judge and jury sympathize with her situation over that of a white male physician's. One where race is the case, and justice is forgotten.

Joshua Nabatian

P.S. This letter will be posted on my blog. If you wish to respond, the response would also be posted.

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