Double Standard for a Latina

I just read this article in today’s New York Times: “Sotomayer Says Identify Won’t Distort Her Positions.”

“Judge Sonia Sotomayor insisted on Tuesday, in the face of sometimes skeptical questioning from Republicans, that she would never allow her background or life experiences to determine the outcome of a case if she were elevated to the Supreme Court.”

Two questions and an observation:

1. Has a white man ever been asked if he would allow his background to determine the outcome of a case?

2. Is it even conceivable that a white man would be asked if he would allow his background to determine the outcome of a case?

3. Worse: a white man has claimed that his background affected and would continue to affect his decisions. That man was Justice Sam Alito, who said during his confirmation hearings:

“But when I look at those cases, I have to say to myself, and I do say to myself, ‘You know, this could be your grandfather, this could be your grandmother. They were not citizens at one time, and they were people who came to this country…’

“When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account.”

(Hat Tip Glenn Greenwald)

Imagine those words coming out of Sonia Sotomayer’s mouth. Imagine the Republican furor.

So when a white man says his background will affect his decision making as a Justic, that’s an asset for Republicans. A Latina, on the other hand, is forced to disclaim such a possibility.