Sonia Soyomayor

Yesterday Sonia Soyomayor became the first hispanic, third woman and 111th person appointed to Supreme Court, confirmed by a vote of 68-31. So, we're making some progress toward diversity.

Regardless of her voting history, seeing more diversity of people in such public positions of power is certainly a positive. True, the way she rules should be objective and based on the law. But the positive here is how she can serve as a role model. Women, people of color and those from humble beginnings can look at the Supreme Court and see themselves.

As for her comment about her comments, including her hope that a "wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences" would reach a better conclusion than a white man "who hasn't lived that life." Well ... I'm no member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but she has a point. She's lived as a minority in this country, and she's worked to get where she is. She hasn't had anything handed to her, and doesn't know what it's like to live with privilege. I'm kind of inclined to think that she does have a "richer" experience of the world, and perhaps may have more sensitivity in her role. But should a Supreme Court judge have sensitivity? Well, the fact that we put human beings on the bench, and not robots, leaves some room for personal history to affect things. And of course this is where the benefit of diversity comes back into play. Will we see benefits to having someone else on the bench who doesn't view the world through the lens of white, male privilege? Only time will tell. But, her comment points out the elephant in the room. Yes, she is qualified to sit on the highest court in the land, but so were a lot of white men, I'm sure. So it is most likely her experience as a Latina that helped her nomination in the first place, so why so much uproar over her calling out that fact?

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