At present the US Supreme Court is 78% white male while the United States overall is approximately 30% white male. White male Republican senators would have us believe that it is bad and wrong to assert, as Judge Sotomayor has, that an integrated court is better than an all-white-male one. In fact, they would have us believe that since white males can make adequate decisions for everyone, there is therefore no need for integration of the courts or of any other aspect of American life. That is the silly and envidious proposition with which they hope to convince us to dislike Judge Sonia Sotomayor.
I suspect these senators are so accustomed to their status as white males that they don't even begin to grasp how they sound to the 70% of America that does not consist of white males and that historically has been excluded from voting, jobs, promotions and even swimming pools simply on the basis of gender (being female) and/or skin color (having other than white skin)..
Republican arguments against Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the US Supreme Court are inevitably foundering on the shoals of changed demographics and a changed political background as concerns gender, skin color and ethnicity. As I argued on April 25, 2007, "Anger and Disgust at White Male Leadership Fuel[ed] Contributions and Polling of Clinton, Obama." Americans simply are no longer willing to believe in the "The Superhuman White Man Myth", that white men, acting alone, can make decisions for everyone that are in everyone's best interests.
This is particularly so at a time when our economy has been devastated by the decisions of greedy white men. Even white men don't automatically and preferentially trust white men anymore. The white men who held the presidency and the vice presidency from 2001 until 2009 conclusively proved that, in spite of all of the propaganda to the contrary, white men are not, in and of themselves, inherently able to govern effectively by virtue of their white maleness, to the exclusion of others, even though "The Strongest American Myth Historically [was] the Superhuman White Man Myth".
Meanwhile "firsts" do matter in American politics because they are a reflection of the progress that a given group has made politically and a recognition of the contributions the group has made to American society. When Jim Sessions argues effectively that firsts don't matter, and that an integrated court is irrelevant, he argues against the heartfelt aspirations of Latinos, Blacks and women, who are the majority of the nations voters. "Jackie Robinson and the Enduring Importance of Firsts."
When Sonia Sotomayor says that she believes the experience of a wise someone other than a white man can contribute to better decisions than an all-white male court would make, there is a majority of American voters who already came to that conclusion when they compared Senators Barack Obama and John Sydney McCain. White men simply are not capable of acting alone and creating a just and productive world for everyone. The mere fact that they would try (or pretend to try in the face of all evidence to the contrary) is evidence that they are incapable of doing so. "An All White Male Government Cannot and Will Not Represent the Needs of Women and Minorities"
Senator Barack Obama never argued in his campaign for the presidency that they mere fact that he is Black would lead to better decision-making. What he argued was that the particular blend of experiences that he brought to the table would do more for the country than those of his [white] competitors. The majority of the electorate agreed with him, both as between him, Hillary and Edwards, and as between Obama and John McCain. Almost half of the nation did not agree, and the 30% who have no respect for women, Blacks and Latinos, many of whom are white men, are the ones toward whom the Republicans are aiming their arguments right now.
The Republicans are in a losing demographic battle. There is no way they will convince women in the abstract that an all-white-male court (or the present 78% white male court) can make decisions about women's reproductive rights as well as a court with female representation would. How can men who have never been pregnant, never will be pregnant, never risked getting pregnant and never menstruated possibly have sufficient personal experience to make the most intimate decisions about how women will confront and cope with these challenges? E.M. Debates F.L.H: Does a "First" Black or Female President Change the Status Quo? There are times in the life of a court where knowledge of the real world, from various points of view, is crucial to wise decision-making.
Anyone who believes that men can study up on this matter and understand women is someone who has never actually intimately known a woman and tried to understand her point of view, only to mostly grasp it in the abstract but still disagree with it in practice.
Lacking any better arguments to make against Sotomayor, the Republican men are arguing the following: an all white male court could and would make decisions just as well as an integrated court would, and the allwhite-maleness ofCourts past has never affected their decision-making. This flies in the face of all reason. Would slavery have continued until 1865 if the US Supreme Court had a couple of Black members and half of the Court had been women. Would it have taken women until 1922 to gain the right to vote if the US Supreme Court had been half female from the beginning? Could Dred Scott have been decided as it was with even one Black member of the Court?
The Republicans express false outrage at Sotomayor's insistence that the nation's governance is better when Latinos are included. But Republican's silly insistence that white men alone is a viable alternative is only going to make sense to people who never would have voted for a Black or Latino person anyway. Republicans are preaching to an increasingly little choir while alienating the rest of the church.