Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Scandal is What is Acceptable

The Sotomeyor mini-dust-up over the "Wise Latina" remark has been dismissed by many on the grounds that it is perfectly normal and acceptable to talk in this way in modern legal academic spaces.  But isn't that the scandal? The fact that her racialized thinking is acceptable, even laudable, among "mainstream" legal scholars is precisely the thing that should be siezed upon by opponents of her nomination.  The point is not to defeat the candidate but the philosophy.  The American people do not believe that elites are really all that different from themselves--that is how elites maintain legitimacy.  The legal profession is far outside the mainstream of traditional american values.  That is the problem, not the particular representative of that philosophy that Obama has served up. Saying that "Well, all law professors talk like that," is not a defense of Sotomeyor but an indictment of the creeping crytocracy we live under. Those are the grounds on which her nomination should be opposed. Frankly, viewing this philosophy as a personal failing is to excuse the legal profession and trivialize the real problem.

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