Judge Sotomayor, Empathize This!

We are told by our betters to accept prima facie Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's quite astonishing statement that the "richness" of her experience and derivative empathy automatically leads to better legal reasoning. Fine, let's accept it for a moment. But what exactly is so rich about her experience?

A cursory look at her biography and resume reveals a conceit that seems quite common to the elite left: their self-promotion as cosmopolitan savants in an attempt to veil their narrow provincialism.

Of course, Sotomayor's mother and extended family should be applauded for their sacrifices and hard work in making sure little Sonia was given every advantage in her primary education. Unlike many of her neighbors in the Bronx, Sotomayor benefited from Catholic schooling, rather than enduring the corrupt and decrepit halls of a public school system hell-bent on destroying its captive pupils. Such grounding prepared her well for Princeton and Yale. This is a similar foundation that the president who nominated her denied a generation of "richly experienced" children in Washington, D.C.

Sotomayor's work experience is inarguably impressive. She has been a judge, an assistant district attorney on the fastest legal track in the world, adjunct faculty at New York University, and lecturer at Columbia University. But what seems to be the common thread in this rich experience? Mainly the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut -- has she ever ventured outside the tri-state area for any significant amount of time?  Aside from those awkward speeches at Berkeley and Duke, of course.

More to the point, what is so diversified about her experience compared to most Americans -- no matter their ethnicity? Will Judge Sotomayor be able to empathize with the rich experience of the Nebraska farmer staring at a month-long drought? Will she be able to understand the talent, initiative, and intellectual firepower of the chemical engineer at Exxon-Mobil? Will she be able to empathize with the neighbor across the street from me -- a man who is actually from Puerto Rico and is now witnessing the company for whom he helped build cars for nearly 30 years be destroyed by the federal government?

Just what is it about Sotomayor's experience that places her in a position to make wiser decisions than anyone else that did not happen to grow up in the Bronx, but most likely faced a longer, higher climb than she? We already know she does not empathize with dyslexic 
firemen who happen to be white. Who else does not rise to the level of her empathy?

What is, furthermore, so diversified about her experience compared to some of her potential co-workers? Did Judge Sotomayor work herself to the bone in the steel mills of Gary, Indiana, to help pay for college tuition? Chief Justice John Roberts did. Has Judge Sotomayor arisen before the sun and worked a farm in the ungodly heat of the American South? Associate Justice Clarence Thomas has.

Judge Sotomayor's record and her astonishing high reversal rate speak for itself. Her judicial philosophy, such as it is, could not be less opaque. She is an activist, intent on setting policy from the bench in a lawless manner better-suited to a social democracy rather than a democratic republic. Her empathy is selective and selectivity has no place on any bench, let alone the highest.

Sotomayor's empathy derived from a supposedly rich experience that the rest of us lack is nothing more than empathy for those who wish to deconstruction of our Constitution so that unelected tribunals may decide not the interpretations of the rules of the game, but the winners and losers of the game.

What true patriot can empathize with that?

Matthew May welcomes comments at matthewtmay@yahoo.com
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