The Corner

“It is hardly a throwaway line; it is the essence of her address.”

That cuts to the chase of Jen Rubin’s fabulous essay, in the new Weekly Standard, on the explosive 32 words in the 2001 Sotomayor speech — which we should probably call the “Sotomayor Stump Speech” since, as Jen, Ed and others have pointed out, we now know it has been repeated various times over the last nine years. Regarding Judge Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” riff, Jen observes:

The hapless White House press secretary Robert Gibbs at first refused to address Sotomayor’s words. By the end of the week though he declared, “I think she’d say that her word choice in 2001 was poor.” Sotomayor herself, according to Senator Dianne Feinstein, said that “if you read on and read the rest of my speech you wouldn’t be concerned with it but it was a poor choice of words.”

The following week the excuse of inadvertence unraveled. Sotomayor had used similar or identical words in speeches between 1994 and 2003, the most recent at Seton Hall, in which the same “wise Latina” formulation was used. And Sotomayor is a meticulous draftsman, as she explained in a separate 1994 speech on the importance of clear writing, in which she boasted that she repeatedly edits her work.

However, the president had already weighed in, pronouncing, “I’m sure she would have restated it. But if you look in the entire sweep of the [speech] that she wrote, what’s clear is that she was simply saying that her life experiences will give her information about the struggles and hardships that people are going through that will make her a good judge.”

But that is precisely not what the entire sweep of the speech conveys. Indeed, Sotomayor took nearly 4,000 words to say the opposite. The president’s characterization of the speech is as false as Sotomayor’s reassurances to Feinstein are misleading. The White House is no doubt banking on the media and public’s unwillingness to seek out the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal and read Sotomayor’s musings in their entirety. In contrast to Judge Richard Paez of the Ninth Circuit, a liberal Hispanic appellate judge who addressed the same Berkeley audience, Sotomayor propounded not warm and fuzzy feelings of ethnic pride but radical views of multiculturalism and of judging itself.

Read it all — the article and the speech.


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