According to one jurist of high standing, the sex and ethnicity of a judge “may and will make a difference in our judging.”
The name of that jurist? Sonia Sotomayor, one of the two Supreme Court Justices nominated to the bench by Barack Obama.
Back in 2001, when she was on the bench of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Sotomayor gave a speech at the University of California, Berkeley in which she touted the importance of race and the influence it has on making judgments. La Raza Law Journal published the speech here.
“Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences,” Sotomayor said, “our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.” She went on to concede that “there is no objective stance but only a series of perspectives” and that “personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.”
Since 1994, Sotomayor has spoken frequently about her background, uttering variations of the line “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion.”
Although Sotomayor’s purpose in making these observations was to advocate for more diversity in the courts (which by the way contradicts the accepted notion that justice is blind), her views seem to justify Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s concerns that he will not “get a fair shake” U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is of Mexican descent.
In an interview, CNN’s Jake Tapper repeatedly questioned Trump about invoking the judge’s race, asking “is that not the definition of racism?”
Maybe Tapper should address his question to Justice Sotomayor.
This report, by Casey Harper, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.