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Justice Piñata

June 8, 2009

Nationally syndicated cartoonist Chip Bok published a very funny cartoon this week with Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor pictured as a piñata, and a sombrero-sporting Obama asking a group of elephants with sticks, "Now, who wants to be first?"

The Creators Syndicate, which runs Bok's cartoons in about 100 major newspapers nationwide, says they have not heard of a single newspaper refusing to run the cartoon, even through fringe liberal groups have called it "sexist" and "racist."

Predictably, spokespersons for women's groups (most of whom are dried-up, humorless lesbians, anyway) thought there was "nothing funny" about the cartoon. Really? Then why were men, women, Democrats, Republicans, Hispanics, Anglos, and just about everyone you can think of cracking up over the cartoon all over the country? Probably because, like many other art forms, people often read what they want to into cartoons.

Regular people of all ethnicities have taken it at face value. Sotomayor and her supporters have used her Hispanic background to deflect attention from her shortcomings as a judge. They have ballyhooed her "historic" nomination on the basis that she would supposedly be the first Hispanic justice to sit on the high court. Just as Obama (not the Republicans) made race an issue in his "historic" campaign, Sotomayor has made the fact that she is descended from Puerto Ricans an issue in her nomination. So it's fair game.

On the political side, Democrats have read a rather odd message into the cartoon. They see it as Obama warning Republicans not to be hard on Sotomayor. That's a strange interpretation, because the White House chose her precisely because Obama believed Republicans would be afraid to criticize her. And the cartoon Obama is inviting the GOP to whack her.

Republican pundits have described it as Obama throwing his nominee to the wolves (excuse me, the elephants), and daring them to criticize her. This makes a little more sense, because she is an extremely poor nominee, and Obama knows it. He's counting on the double whammy of her gender and most politicians' terror of being called racist to guarantee the confirmation of one of history's most liberal nominees.

The editor of The Oklahoman, one of the papers that ran the cartoon, agreed with the interpretation of Conservatives. "Our take on the cartoon is that the president basically is daring Republicans to criticize his Supreme Court nominee and the Republicans are huddled up and semi-terrified and worried about how they are going to respond." He also said the cartoon was reviewed before it was published, and it was judged to be a "good cartoon." In other words, it was funny!

Following the uproar, Bok was quoted as saying, "A cartoon is disrespectful, it is insensitive. That's what we do. We're not in the business of carrying out socially responsible dictates. That's somebody else's job. That's not my job."

He went on to say that the cartoon is "an utter exaggeration of the cultural theme. She has used her Latina ness stereotypically as an asset in her effort for the nomination to go through. So I turned it around and tried to exaggerate the cultural part of it. It's part of the mockery of the cartoon, part of the joke."

It is a mystery why Obama would nominate someone with so many black marks against her, when there are plenty of extreme left judges out there without her baggage. A brief look at why she was a poor choice...

Sotomayor is herself a "racist" according to Liberal definitions. I have never met anyone of Spanish or Portuguese descent (the folks that Liberals include in their made-up category of "Hispanics"), including my Cuban wife, who considers their ancestry a "race." Liberals created this term because they love to isolate people with labels, making them easier to manipulate and control. Do you remember what the "race" questions used to look like before Liberal Pigeonholing Mania (a disease yet to be recognized by the American Psychiatric Association) ran amok? The government forms simply asked if one was Caucasian (white) or Negro (black).

At any rate, Sotomayor is on record as making a very offensive (and stupid) remark when interviewed about her qualifications. She claimed that a "Latina" woman would be a better and wiser judge than a white male any old day of the week. Obama and Company scrambled to say that she had spoken hastily, that she wasn't really a racist and sexist. The problem was that Obama hadn't done his homework. She had made the same statement at least seven times publicly since 1994.

The really ludicrous part of all of this is that the woman who wants to be a Supreme Court Justice, who has stated over and over that because she is a "Latina" she is better than white people, has so little education that she doesn't realize that she herself is white.

Hispanics are white? That's right. By the 2000 US Census, the races recognized by our government had grown to five. They were:

1) White. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.
2) Black or African American. A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.
3) American Indian and Alaska Native. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America).
4) Asian. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent.
5) Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

Note that no "Hispanic" or "Latino" race is listed because there is none. Separate from the "race" section there was a question that asked, "Is the person Spanish/ Hispanic/ Latino?" The Census Bureau defines "Hispanic or Latino" as "a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race." The reason they explicitly state "regardless of race" is that one's nation of origin is not a race.

All the people mentioned above originated on the Iberian Peninsula, the largest peninsula in Europe. The two main countries within it are Spain and Portugal. All the people mentioned in the Census Bureau's definition of "Hispanic or Latino" are of Iberian ancestry. By any definition these are "white" people, what our Census used to refer to as "Caucasians."

Certainly some of them have darker skin than other white people. But in the North of Spain you will find people whose skin is just as fair as the palest Iowan. And some people labeled as "Hispanic" are darker-skinned than some people classified as "Black." This is particularly true in South and Central America, where people of Spanish or Portuguese descent intermarried with Indians; and Puerto Rico, where the many of the citizens are descended from both the Spanish colonialists and Africans.

The bottom line is that the one thing that ties so-called Hispanics together is a common language. Spain once commanded a global empire whose legacy is almost half a billion Spanish speakers worldwide. By the way, the modern name "Spain" is derived from the ancient Roman name for Iberia, which was "Hispania."

Some ignorant people think that Jews belong to a "Jewish Race." Although the majority of Jews in Israel today are of European origin and considered white, there are also many black Jews and Asian Jews. Being Jewish denotes a shared religion, not a shared race. And a shared language, as so-called "Hispanic" people have, does not constitute a new race, regardless of how much Liberals try to make it so.

I don't think Sotomayor is really ignorant of these facts. I think she thinks most Americans are ignorant enough to think that because she comes from a Spanish-speaking background, that somehow makes her superior to other people of her same race that happen to have European ancestors that spoke a different language.

I do think she is extremely ignorant in a more important area, that of the US Constitution. She is in total agreement with the Democrats and other Liberals who believe that judges have the right, even the duty, to rewrite the Constitution. In 2005 she told law students at Duke University that the federal Court of Appeals is where "policy is made." When they laughed she acknowledged that judges are not supposed to create law, but that, subject to the final decision of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals shapes the law.

During her career as a Federal District Court judge and an Appeals Court judge, she has been reversed over and over by higher courts for her Unconstitutional decisions. To think that a judge who has so little respect for the Constitution that higher judges have rejected her logic repeatedly might soon be reversing their decisions is positively frightening.

In fact, the Supreme Court itself has rejected 60% of her written opinions that came to them on appeal (see LINK below). One of her decisions was reversed UNANIMOUSLY by the Supremes. (This almost never happens on a Court as ideologically divided as the Supreme Court has been for the last 30 years.) And prominent legal analysts are predicting that another of her wacky legal decisions based on her opinions and feelings rather than the Constitution, is about to be reversed by the very Court to which she aspires. This case involves her ruling to uphold a race-based employment decision. She upheld a terrible lower court ruling that allowed an employer to use race to override all other qualifications, including fairly-administered tests.

One interesting historical tidbit. Despite her claim that she would be the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court if (heaven forbid) she is confirmed, that position has already been filled. Although race, language and ethnicity shouldn't make a bit of difference in one's qualifications as a justice, America seems obsessed with this. So let's set the record straight (see LINK to Robert Schlesinger's article on this subject below). Justice Benjamin Cardozo whose ancestry can be traced to the Iberian Peninsula, was touted by Spanish groups three quarters of a century ago as the first person of Hispanic descent on the Court when he was appointed in 1938.

Obama can't tout Sotomayor's judicial qualifications to sit on the high court, because compared to current and previous justices, she has none. So he has emphasized her "empathy" as her main qualification. Empathy is not a qualification for any judge, whether it is a local traffic court judge or a Supreme Court justice. In fact, the use of empathy in coming to a decision is a violation of a judge's oath.

Any legal scholar will tell you that Justice must be blind. A judge who allows his or her feelings to interfere with the equal administration of justice betrays everything that our legal system embodies. Her "empathy," coupled with her repeated boasts that as a "Latina" woman she is more qualified than white judges, is a clear danger signal. It indicates that she will rule in favor of Spanish speakers over non-Spanish speakers, and in favor of women over men.

If she is seated on the Supreme Court with pre-determined prejudices, just think what she will become when she has the awesome power that comes with the position. And think about the fact that she is 54 years old, and this is a lifetime position.


Washington Times: Sotomayor Reversed 60% by Supreme Court

Would Sotomayor Be the First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice or Was It Cardozo?

The Iberian Peninsula

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Copyright ©2009 Tom Barrett

Dr. Tom Barrett is a pastor, teacher, author, conference keynote speaker, professor, certified executive coach, and marketplace minister. His teaching and coaching have blessed both church and business leaders. He has been ordained for over 40 years, and has pastored in seven churches over that time. Today he “pastors pastors” as he oversees ordained and licensed ministers in Florida for his ministerial fellowship.

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