The U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the next member of the U.S. Supreme Court, and it’s first Latina Justice by a vote of 68-31.
Nine Republicans broke ranks and voted with 59 Democrats to confirm. The other 31 Republicans, whether intentionally or not, wound up ratifying the ugly, disingenuous attacks against Sotomayor that came from Newt Gingrich, Pat Buchanan, Rush Limbaugh and GOP members of the Judiciary Committee—who called Sotomayor, President Barack Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee, an “affirmative action” pick and a “racist.”
Republicans—who preach that people of color advance with hard work and a good education—tried to tell her that her impeccable credentials and years of experience weren’t really the issue.
What they were really worried about was her attitude.
In one sense, Republicans did what the loyal opposition is supposed to by voting against Sotomayor. But they picked the wrong time and the wrong person. They tried to get their Bork moment using a nominee who a lot of people see as both a role model and a cool-as-hell single auntie. With the coming reality of a majority minority country working against them, Republicans boxed themselves in this time. They messed with Tia Sonia, and eventually they’ll pay the price.
During the confirmation process, GOP Senators hammered away at Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” remark hoping to trigger some kind of outburst or slip up that would have “proved” she was the biased, unqualified candidate they said she was—and if they could also get her to validate a particular stereotype by coming off as an aggrieved, hot-headed “minority,” even better for them.