Thomas Sowell

As the mainstream media circles the wagons around Judge Sonia Sotomayor, to protect her from the consequences of her own words and deeds, its main arguments are distractions from the issue at hand. A CNN reporter, for example, got all worked up because Rush Limbaugh had used the word "racist" to describe the judge's words.

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Since it has been repeated like a mantra that Judge Sotomayor's words have been "taken out of context," let us look at Rush Limbaugh in context. The cold fact is that Rush Limbaugh has not been nominated to sit on the highest court in the land, with a lifetime appointment, to have the lives and liberties of 300 million Americans in his hands.

Whatever you may think about his choice of words, those words and the ideas behind them do not change the law of the land. The words and actions of Supreme Court justices do. Anyone who doesn't like what Rush Limbaugh says can simply turn off the radio or change the station. But you cannot escape the consequences of Supreme Court decisions. Nor will your children or grandchildren.

What does it say about a nominee to the Supreme Court that the most that her defenders can say in her defense is that her critics used words that her defenders don't like?

What does it say about her qualifications to be on the Supreme Court when her supporters' biggest talking points are that she had to struggle to rise in the world?

Bonnie and Clyde had to struggle. Al Capone had to struggle. The only President of the United States who was forced to resign for his misdeeds-- Richard Nixon-- had to struggle. For that matter, Adolf Hitler had to struggle! There is no evidence that struggle automatically makes you a better person.

Sometimes, instead of making you appreciative of a society in which someone born at the bottom can rise to the top, it leaves you embittered that you had to spend years struggling, and resentful of those who were born into circumstances where the easy way to the top was open to them.

Much in the past of Sonia Sotomayor, and of the president who nominated her, suggests such resentments. Both have a history of connections with people who promoted resentments against American society. La Raza ("the race") was Judge Sotomayor's Jeremiah Wright. If context is important, then look at that context.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate