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May 2009

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Political Notes from the Center and Elsewhere

Religion: Many Voices

  • Copyright © 2004-2011 Alan G. Ampolsk
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I agree the facts are easy to get::

Judge Sotomayor said in 2001: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." The remark was in the context her saying that "our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging."
Sotomayor's comments came in a lecture, titled "A Latina Judge's Voice," that she gave in 2001 at the law school of the University of California, Berkeley. from BEN FELLER, Associated Press 5/29/09

So what does Judge Sotomayor really mean: female and Hispanic experiences are superior to those based on a white male upbringing when it comes to interpreting the law? ( I don't think that there exists a common experience as such - white male upbringing - but lets assume there is. I can't agree that one sex or culture is superior to another - they are just different.

Your right about the buzzwords - For those that choose to look at the substance, the truth stands out - however the real power of communication is reaching the 80% who are not interested in diggng out the facts. For that majority the sound bite and buzzword work very well and I think your post mortem is premature.

Agreed the UC Berkley remark wasn't great, as the White House acknowledged Friday (though there are several different interpretations in play). Ahead of that, I'd take the extensive analysis of her opinions on - as well as the many takes on judicial realism now circulating - Brooks, as mentioned, is one.

About buzzwords - I agree up to a point, which means I've got to refine my argument. Buzzwords can be effective - if they weren't, there wouldn't be any reason to argue against them. My problem with them is that they're not effective in the long run. They over-simplify, appeal to the base, and polarize. The problem is that you have to live - for a long time - with the people you're arguing against. Buzzwords as a technique, and political campaigns as a model for communications, don't work because they don't provide for what happens after the big event - the election or the confirmation decision or what have you. The people who won or lost are still there the next day. And either you're going to keep demonizing them, or you're going to find a way to work with them. Obviously I favor the latter - which is why I'm in favor of communications techniques and approaches that create real relationships that last. I've seen too much of the other. It works, but not really. And it's not that I think the buzzword approach is dead. I do think it's obsolete. And I'm actively trying to kill it.

As for Sotomayor - don't get me wrong, I think there are plenty of good reasons to oppose her. I'm a supporter, but that's neither here nor there. I'd just like the debate to play out at the level of the scotusblog, and not at the level of "empathetic activism" or what have you.

My take... as an adovcate, yes.

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