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Forum LockedThoughts on the Sonia Sotomayor SCOTUS nomination

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    Posted: 02-Jun-2009 at 21:26

It's Not Fair To Casually Call People Racist

By Mona Charen

"The nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court has already achieved a boon for our political culture: It has helped leading liberals and Democrats to discover that being tarred as a racist on flimsy grounds is unfair and deeply unpleasant. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., for example, when asked on "Face the Nation" to respond to Rush Limbaugh's and Newt Gingrich's comments about Sotomayor, said, "That's an absolutely terrible thing to throw around. Based on that statement -- that one word 'better than' (sic) -- to call someone a racist is just terrible and I would hope that Republicans would not do this."

Sen. Feinstein is right as far she went. She avoided one undeniable fact though. If a white male nominee had been discovered to have said something similar -- that he was better situated to judge due to his background and life experiences than a Latina woman -- he would be cashiered so fast as to induce whiplash. Those are the unwritten rules that Limbaugh and Gingrich are attempting, one suspects, to expose for their one-sidedness. Nevertheless, the instant labeling of the woman, based on one unwise remark, is hardly fair. If Democrats are learning this now, that's excellent news. One hopes they will remember this discovery when the wheel turns and a Republican nominee is before the Senate. Certainly they didn't seem to get it as recently as 2002, when President Bush nominated Judge Charles Pickering to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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