January 18, 2013

If Sonia Sotomayor's autobiography has nothing at all about law or even politics...

... why would anyone read it?
The book, which covers her life prior to becoming a judge, barely says a word about the Constitution and even less about ideology. Yet one doesn't get the sense that politics were scrubbed from the text; it is rather that the topic isn't of much interest to the author.
That's what a good scrubbing job would do. So there's no bad scrubbing job leaving interesting residue.
One wishes she had shared her intellectual interests with us or discussed the books that captured her fancy or influenced her thinking, since she remarks more than once in "My Beloved World" that the library was a refuge for her as a schoolgirl and later at Princeton. Disclosing the names of books that influenced a childhood wouldn't compromise pending or future cases.
Welcome to the post-Bork world — a "beloved" world? — where judges are dutiful, neutral case processors. The very quality that makes a judge the kind of judge we've come to require — post-Bork — will embody a form of expression antithetical to a good memoir.

42 comments:

rhhardin said...

A good autobiography would boot itself and take over.

pduggie said...

If your politics is identity politics, then all you have to do is say what your background is like.

EMD said...

Affirmative action gave Justice Sotomayor the opportunity to persevere.

What?

rhhardin said...

I've lost track. Is this the wise Latina or the other one.

AllenS said...

One wishes she had shared her intellectual interests with us...

Maybe she didn't because she just isn't that fucking smart and has no intellectual interests because of the fact.

bpm4532 said...

We live in a personality-worshiping cult-world. Unfortunately, there's nothing compelling there. She's not nutty enough to draw attention.

MadisonMan said...

Maybe it's a good Beach Read, and by the summer, it'll be 75% off.

jacksonjay said...

We obviously need to read it -because- she is THE WISE LATINA!

Chip Ahoy said...

First an Armstrong confession that holds no confession or apology and now a political memoir that conceals all politics. I'm sensing a trend already, just like my Belgian sheepdogs did each their own, two similar things make a pattern and that means, WE'RE GOING FOR A RIDE !!!1!1!1 WOO HOOO

Lem said...

Its a children's book...

The Little Latina Princess.

YoungHegelian said...

@AllenS,

Maybe she didn't because she just isn't that fucking smart and has no intellectual interests because of the fact.

That could very well be. But if so, that would put shame on Yale, where she apparently did very well academically.

Do I think the Ivies are way overrated? Yes, but not that bad, especially back then.

I think what's more likely is that her intellectual interests were the sort of identity-based leftism that is so common in the academy, but doesn't translate well at all outside of it, and she'd rather we'd not be discussing that aspect of her life.

SteveR said...

Well she's not neutral at all. Lets not kid ourselves about that.

chrisnavin.com said...

NPR right?

She's a woman-check
She's Puerto Rican-check
She's a story of hard work meets diversity requirements in action-check

We've hit the feminism, multiculturalism, affirmative action and equality buttons...what about environmentalism?

NPR's spent over 40 years building the box, so while Sotomayor and Obama are actual people, what's more important is that these are the people they've built the box for.

Dreams can come true. You're welcome, America. Now you live in the box too, and the world is clearly more just, peaceful, and verdant.

The law and the person aside.

hiawatha biscayne said...

verdant. that's the thing.

ricpic said...

Is this a tell all book in which Sonia discloses the elements of latina wisdom or does she continue to withhold her pearls from the steenkin' unworthy gringos?

ricpic said...

Your Belgian sheepdogs sensed a trend? Your Belgian sheepdogs refused to apologize? What the eff are you saying?!?!

William said...

I read the review. She seems like a decent person, but, so far as overcoming adversity goes, I wouldn't put her in a class with Helen Keller. She was Puerto Rican, had diabetes, and an alcoholic father. None of that seems like such a heavy load. She studied hard and had success that was consistent with her efforts. I don't see anything particularly cautionary or exemplary in her tale. I think most Puerto Rican wome will look to Jennifer Lopez for inspiration and comfort as they confront the daily challenges of life.

ricpic said...

Does Sonia keep a candle burning in memory of Tito Puente?

madAsHell said...

I'm wondering?

Who in the hell thought it was a good idea for her to write a book? I mean.....her life is pretty empty except for a slew of exceptional report cards.

It kind-of reminds me of someone else, but we've never seen his report cards.

Sorun said...

I saw a few minutes of the 60 Minutes piece on her. She's very proud of herself, which is fine, but a person should keep that private.

edutcher said...

I'm assuming we get lessons in being a Wise Latina.

rhhardin said...

I've lost track. Is this the wise Latina or the other one.

The other one's the Short Shortstop.

William said...

I read the review. She seems like a decent person, but, so far as overcoming adversity goes, I wouldn't put her in a class with Helen Keller. She was Puerto Rican, had diabetes, and an alcoholic father.

Depends on how Dad treated her.

Steve Koch said...

Wikipedia has a good article about her. She is all about affirmative action, AA played a huge role in her academic and career progress and she still favors affirmative action (i.e. racial discrimination) by the government. She is a reliable lefty vote on the supreme court.

She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 8.

"Sotomayor said of the years following her divorce, that "I have found it difficult to maintain a relationship while I've pursued my career." She has talked of herself as "emotionally withdrawn" and lacking "genuine happiness" when living by herself"

She was an assistant DA and really impressed her boss who championed her career after that.

Steve Koch said...

She got an advance of $1.2 million to write this book. Seems strange since it is likely that the book will sell poorly.

traditionalguy said...

Why be jealous of Latinas? Are we still mad about Dezi Arnez for marrying over his assigned social class when he got Lucille Ball?

Until Sonia does something wrong on the Supreme Court, why knee jerk condemn her? That seems to be the recipe for giving Hispanic voters certainty that they will never be welcomed over at the GOP.

ricpic said...

I thought it was Lucy who married up. Wasn't she like a chorusgirl and Dezi was Cuban royalty?

jacksonjay said...

Knee jerk? Some of us still holding a grudge about Miguel Estrada!

Inga said...

Exactly, Trad Guy.

Chip S. said...

@ricpic, it's strictly a POV issue.

To gingers, any non-ginger who marries one is marrying up.

To the rest of the world, (s)he's marrying down.

ricpic said...

Gingers only marry gingers!

Well, in a perfect world.

Steve Koch said...

Trad Guy said:
"Until Sonia does something wrong on the Supreme Court, why knee jerk condemn her? That seems to be the recipe for giving Hispanic voters certainty that they will never be welcomed over at the GOP."

For starters, it depends on whether you are for governmental racial and gender discrimination. If you are against that (and what conservative isn't?), then you will be appalled by Sotomayer (a very strong proponent of racial discrimination by the government).

From the wikipedia article about her, re: her 2001 Berkeley Law lecture:

"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

"Sotomayor had made similar remarks in other speeches between 1994 and 2003, including one she submitted as part of her confirmation questionnaire for the Court of Appeals in 1998"

Hagar said...

"So what if (s)he is mediocre? There are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they? We can't have all Brandeises, Cardozos, and Frankfurters and stuff like that there."

Ann Althouse said...

"She got an advance of $1.2 million to write this book. Seems strange since it is likely that the book will sell poorly."

It might sell. It's an object to be given perhaps to little girls for inspiration. It's published in Spanish as well as English, so it could be required reading in a high-school Spanish class.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

We know she is human and therefore maintains personal biases. Perhaps there is no need to discuss it overtly because this knowledge is implicit. Also, she has already been exposed. Her prejudice has been revealed: she is a "wise Latina woman".

Perhaps there should be a class discussing overt and covert expressions of bias and prejudice. This seems to be an eclectic topic for some people; and their naivety has been routinely exploited for political, economic, and social profit.

William said...

I don't think there's anything in her back story worthy of condemnation and much that is worthy of praise. She seems decent, hard working and honest. She's kept her part of the bargain. That said, I think diabetes is a far greater handicap to a good life than being Puerto Rican. However, being Puerto Rican will give you an edge to getting in an Ivy and diabetes will not.

Sam L. said...

Blandness, ever blandness.

pumping-irony said...

She was obviously chosen because she is a "progressive" member of a minority group Obama wishes to kiss up to. The fact that she has little interest in the Constitution or the law is a feature, not a bug.

NotClauswitz said...

The reliably Liberal and Leftwing publishing industry uses advances as a means of ensuring the Big Money goes to Progressive advocates, Advertising money is another way of funding the Chosen.

traditionalguy said...

The causus belli that is being quoted over and over about Sonia to condemn her only means she is a Latin Woman speaking at career day for Hispanic girls. That is she is an educated Latina rather than a Latino.

You can learn from her book that she is like King David's Abigail and can can offer a perspective to soften the harshness of the outcomes of Laws. We used to call that the Courts Equity's Jurisdiction.

Think that when a crew of 9 has all of the needed skills in 8, but for that skill, then she is on occasion needed.

Steve Koch said...

traditionalguy said...
"The causus belli that is being quoted over and over about Sonia to condemn her only means she is a Latin Woman speaking at career day for Hispanic girls. That is she is an educated Latina rather than a Latino."

You are repeatedly wrong. That quote was from a 2001 Berkeley Law Lecture (though she had said similar things many times). Words have meaning. Rather than invent an alibi for her you should respond to her specific words. She said that a wise latina would usually make better decisions than white men who had a different life experience. This means that she thinks latinas will make a better decision on most cases than white men. Better decision on most cases. This is racist, obscene, ridiculous and completely inappropriate for a judge, especially a supreme court justice.

The bigger (related) problem is that Sotomayor will vote on the court to continue affirmative action.

Presumably you are for racial discrimination by the government (i.e. affirmative action)it or Sotomayor would appall you. Why do you think racial discrimination by the government is a good thing? When will it be time to end racial discrimination by the government?

Steve Koch said...

NotClauswitz said...
"The reliably Liberal and Leftwing publishing industry uses advances as a means of ensuring the Big Money goes to Progressive advocates, Advertising money is another way of funding the Chosen."

Yeah, that was what I was thinking. I know they do this regularly to grease the palms of lefty politicians (Hillary, for example) but isn't it unusual to pay off a supreme court justice this way?

rhhardin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.