Sonia Sotomayor: ‘Sometimes I wanted to beat Scalia with a bat’

Sonia Sotomayor: ‘Sometimes I wanted to beat Scalia with a bat’
Big questions. (Image: Screen grab of ABC video via YouTube)

So much for compassion, a virtue that Barack Obama, the man who nominated her to the high court, saw as integral to the dispensing of justice. On Monday, “wise Latina” Sonia Sotomayor gave the Robert A. Stein Lecture at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Possibly straying from her prepared remarks, Sotomayor at one point said of her late Supreme Court colleague Antonin Scalia, “There are things he’d say on the bench, where if I had a baseball bat, I might have used it.”

The remark, Kevin Daley of The Daily Caller tells us “did not have a hostile bent.” He adds:

[Sotomayor] acknowledged the significant ideological chasm between [the two of] them, but said losing Scalia was the equivalent of losing a member of one’s family. She has elsewhere said she suspects Scalia raised arguments “just to annoy” her, but that they enjoyed a warm interpersonal relationship.

Earlier in the lecture, she said,“I think I suffer fools easily.” She was not referring this time to Scalia but “to lawyers who arrived unprepared in her courtroom during her tenure as a district court judge.”

To all of which one might in these fractious times justifiably ask, “So what?” My purpose here is not to tear down Sotomayor, although I believe that her positions on the issues have harmed more than helped the nation. Her dissenting opinion, for example, in the landmark 2014 case where the high court upheld the University of Michigan’s ban on affirmative action included the wrongheaded and provocative claim that the majority decision demonstrated “an enduring remnant of ‘white supremacy’ still clinging to American democracy.”

But I digress. The issue here is not Sotomayor’s suitability to occupy a seat on the highest court in the land or lack thereof. It is the distant — but relevant — notion of context, which has been buried in our political debates … at least by the Left when it serves their purpose to do so.

Take as a case in point Donald Trump’s declaration early in the race for president, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” The obvious point Trump was making, if inartfully, was that he enjoys a loyal following. But the mainstream media ignored the context and jumped all over the comment as coming at a time when “the debate about gun violence in America has taken center stage in American political discourse amid several highly publicized mass shootings.”

If the liberal media are going to be that disingenuous about taking remarks out of context, then why is no one at The New York Times, Washington Post, or other such news outlets taking Sotomayor to task for her promotion of an act of violence at a time such acts are being rehearsed in the political arena?

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.


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