Many, if not most, thought that they were fighting for equal treatment for all. But, today, too many people seem to think it is just a question of whose ox is gored-- or for whom one has "empathy," which amounts to the same thing in practice.
Too much that Sonia Sotomayor has said and done over the years places her squarely in the camp of those supporting a racial spoils system instead of equal treatment for all. The organizations she has belonged to, as well as the statements she has made repeatedly -- not just an isolated slip of the tongue taken "out of context"-- as well as her dismissing the white firefighters' case that the Supreme Court heard and heeded, all point in the same direction.
Clever people say that none of this matters because Republican Senators don't have enough votes to stop this nominee from being confirmed. But that assumes that every Democrat will vote for her, regardless of what the public thinks. It also assumes that alerting the public doesn't matter, now or for the future.
The standards for judging the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor are not the standards of either the criminal law or the civil law. That is, nothing has to be proven against her "beyond a reasonable doubt" or even by "a preponderance of the evidence."
Judge Sotomayor is not in any jeopardy that would entitle her to the benefit of the doubt. It is 300 million Americans and their posterity who are entitled to the benefit of the doubt when the enormous power of determining what their rights are is put into anyone's hands as a Supreme Court justice for life.
The New Haven firefighters got their rights, despite Judge Sotomayor, because of a one-vote majority in the Supreme Court, where one vote counts big time. Making Sonia Sotomayor that one vote is a big gamble with the rights of all Americans.