Prior to any person being identified to fill the associate justice spot vacated by retiring Justice Souter I documented my key litmus test for this person:
This person must not assume the inferiority of Black people and other Minorities.
On this one measure - President Barack Obama FAILS with his choice of Sotomayor.
Case: Ricci v. DeStefano
Issue: Whether municipalities may decline to certify results of an exam that would make disproportionately more white applicants eligible for promotion than minority applicants, due to fears that certifying the results would lead to charges of racial discrimination.
This summary from the Supreme Court wiki says it all.
Notice that the defenders of the decision by the city of New Haven CT to purge the results DID NOT CLAIM that the test was RACIST. Instead the claim that having an all White (one Hispanic White) body of new lieutenants gives the PERCEPTION of being RACIST.
In my book there is no such thing as "reverse discrimination". There is only DISCRIMINATION.
The fact of the matter is that the City of New Haven CT established a battery of tests that allowed all candidates who sought to receive a promotion to be put through the paces.
All men entered the process as EQUAL MEN!
When the results came out but were not to the liking of the very city that blessed the tests, the results were vacated.
Judge Sonya Sotomayor heard this same evidence and sided with the city. She believed that the quest for DIVERSITY is a compelling reason to allow bold faced DISCRIMINATION.
This one case says all that I, a BLACK MAN, need to know about the judicial temperament of Judge Sotomayor and those who think like her.
If I were to enter her court room on a given matter, regardless of if I am the plaintiff or the defendant I AM A DESCENDANT OF SLAVES. Though I might come before her court not assuming any injury, my physical presence and the line of thinking that she seemingly is inclined to apply to this aura would afford her to see my "victim status".
To this I say "No thank you Judge Sotomayor".
Equality for Black people in America is a two way street. Indeed we must demand that our key institutions treat us as equal human beings. Let us do away with any thumbs placed on the scale that deny people who look like me from competing equally for scared resources. If there was evidence of this in the New Haven case - you would hear nothing from me but praise for Sotomayor's decision.
The second part of that equation for equality is what troubles me the most about the way Judge Sotomayor thinks. As Black people we must revive the words of the great Fredrick Douglas as he rhetorically asked "What shall we do with the Negro?"......"Do nothing with us!!", he answered.
It is my view that the second phase of equality for Black people is when we as a people reach the point where when a third party seeking to help us, asks that we first put on the neck brace of inferiority upon our body so that we are seen as damaged goods as compared to the "superior White man".......WE REFUSE, strictly out of the desire to prioritize personal and racial dignity above the 5 pieces of silver we might receive for hunching our shoulders and bending our backs.
How does one achieve the mental state of EQUALITY with another man when he is reminded of his inferiority NOT BY the assailant who does PHYSICAL harm and attempts to deny him of his proceeds but instead by the "assailant" who operates upon his cultural confidence that is maintained in the MENTAL domain of his being? With the auspices of HELPING this inferior being who would be EQUAL - those who lord over this being do grave damage to him.
Even when he sets out on his own, departing the nest, he will be looking back for their protection even when there is no evidence that he is in need of their care.
The bondage that the Black American faces is no longer that of iron shackles upon our feet and arms, forcing us to labor in the fields that we would otherwise refuse to till. Instead our bondage is to this period of time that has usurped that far longer period in time in which we were free people who had to govern ourselves accordingly lest we all perish. Greater is the bond of the image of us as a victim of slavery than the image of our competence. Too frequently those who believe in our incompetence are said to be the one's actively oppressing us. I argue that the greater oppressor is mental and he may be White, Black or Hispanic in form. He must set us free so that we might stand on our own as a people.
Ironically those who themselves have perverted the words and thoughts of Fredrick Douglass might be inclined to accuse me, the Conservative, of bastardizing his words, taking them out of context. Thus I offer you the entire context of his words to allow those of you who are not smitten with bigotry to read them for yourselves and make up your own minds.
Fredrick Douglass - What The Black Man Wants
At the Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in Boston, April, 1865, Douglass delivered the following speech on the subject: The Equality of all men before the law; Note that this was given within days of the close of the Civil War and the assassination of President Lincoln.
I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature's plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! If you see him on his way to school, let him alone, don't disturb him! If you see him going to the dinner table at a hotel, let him go! If you see him going to the ballot- box, let him alone, don't disturb him! [Applause.] If you see him going into a work-shop, just let him alone,--your interference is doing him a positive injury. Gen. Banks' "preparation" is of a piece with this attempt to prop up the Negro. Let him fall if he cannot stand alone! If the Negro cannot live by the line of eternal justice, so beautifully pictured to you in the illustration used by Mr. Phillips, the fault will not be yours, it will be his who made the Negro, and established that line for his government. [Applause.] Let him live or die by that. If you will only untie his hands, and give him a chance, I think he will live. He will work as readily for himself as the white man. A great many delusions have been swept away by this war. One was, that the Negro would not work; he has proved his ability to work. Another was, that the Negro would not fight; that he possessed only the most sheepish attributes of humanity; was a perfect lamb, or an "Uncle Tom;" disposed to take off his coat whenever required, fold his hands, and be whipped by anybody who wanted to whip him. But the war has proved that there is a great deal of human nature in the Negro, and that "he will fight," as Mr. Quincy, our President, said, in earlier days than these, "when there is reasonable probability of his whipping anybody." [Laughter and applause.]