Bill Murchison

The nice thing about modern America is that, if you don't like a certain form of reality, you can always make up your own version.

It helps to have a few federal judges in your corner -- such as the ones currently busy with re-imagining marriage as an institution open, on an equality basis, to same-sex as well as different-sex pairings. Then there's Justice Sonia Sotomayor, declaring that a call for no racial discrimination is tantamount to a call for racial discrimination of a very racial, and detestable, sort.

Joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sotomayor last week let loose a blast at her U. S. Supreme Court colleagues for upholding, 6-2, Michigan's right to amend the state Constitution with a prohibition against "preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting." Well, I mean -- wouldn't we call such language a green light for preferential treatment? Sotomayor and Ginsburg would.

Look, said Sotomayor's dissent: "As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society. It is this view that works harm, by perpetuating the facile notion that what makes race matter is acknowledging the simple truth that race does matter."

We don't have to slog through the tortured syntax of Sotomayor's second sentence to understand that a key reality of modern life is the need to prevail, by whatever means: never mind distortions, never mind evasions, never mind outright lies. That we get what we want appears to be the main thing.

Observe Sotomayor (seconded by Ginsburg) in action. RACE MATTERS! (Would Sotomayor herself be on the court, at the expense of far more experienced jurists, is a question likely to have circulated in her own mind, many times.) TO RULE OUT RACE IS TO RULE IT IN!

Come again? You could probably argue something of the sort at a university debate tournament. From the high court, outrageous assertions take on another character. Sotomayor missed by one vote the joy of inviting Michigan voters -- their own judgment being inferior to hers -- to take a flying leap, and with them all other Americans doubtful of the logic of assigning rewards on the basis of "race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin."

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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