Thomas Sowell

While Sonia Sotomayor was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth, let's not make her someone who rose from such depths as those conjured up by the words "housing projects" today. It is bad enough that biographical considerations carry such weight in considerations of nominees for the Supreme Court. But, if biography must be elaborated, let it at least be done "in context."

It has always made me a little uneasy when generous well-wishers have discussed my educational background as if it was something almost miraculous that I came out of the schools in Harlem and went on to Ivy League institutions. But any number of other people did exactly the same thing.

The Harlem schools of that era were no more like the Harlem schools of today than the housing projects of that era were like today's housing projects. They had classes grouped by ability and, if you were serious about getting a good education, you could get into one of the classes for kids who were serious and receive an education that would prepare you to go on in life.

There is a lot to ponder about why both the schools and the housing projects degenerated so much after the bright ideas of the 1960s intelligentsia spread throughout society, leaving social havoc in their wake.

Too many people who rose to where they are today because of a foundation of traditional values have become enthralled by the very different ideas prevalent in the elite intellectual circles to which they moved. Judge Sotomayor seems to be one of those, with her ideas about race and the policy-making role of judges.

It is bad enough that so many of those "advanced" ideas have undermined for others the foundation that Sonia Sotomayor had as she grew up, despite being raised in a home with a modest income. There is no need to let her use the Supreme Court to destroy more of those traditional American values.


Thomas Sowell

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

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