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Sotomayor in the hot seat

July 17, 2009

Re "Sotomayor stands up to GOP grilling," July 15, and "GOP focuses on hot topics," July 16

I find it offensive that the issues of gender and race have become such a major part in the questioning of Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Who among us is not influenced by our upbringing and experiences? It is fair to discuss the record of a nominee but totally biased to ask about biases. We are seeing hypocrisy in action.

Arthur Friedman

Newport Beach

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The trial judge in the Ricci case ruled in favor of the city and against a group of white firefighters based on that judge's understanding of the law as it existed at the time. Sotomayor and a majority of judges on the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the trial judge had applied the law correctly. Then the Supreme Court rules 5 to 4 to change the law.

Why did the Supreme Court majority do this? Maybe they had too much empathy for the white firefighters and allowed their concerns to overcome their judicial temperament, ignoring precedent and settled opinions.

Perhaps the Supreme Court conservatives are too activist, too willing to let their own prejudices sway their decisions. Perhaps we need Sotomayor on the Supreme Court to reestablish some sense of balance.

Phil Brimble

Los Angeles

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Sen. Jeff Sessions is right. Our legal system is at a dangerous crossroads. But not because of "liberal" judges. It is because of neoconservative ideas from heartless individuals like Sessions.

Strict constructionists would have us go back to the framers to decide cases only because they like the results. They are as results-oriented as they accuse liberals of being.

Stan Coleite

Santa Monica

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We are all biased for or against someone, some group, some issue. Every judge is human and wrestles to subdue his or her biases to render just decisions. That includes Sotomayor.

Will the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee overcome their bias against a liberal judge in the interest of a fairer, more balanced Supreme Court?

Bert Eifer

Woodland Hills

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Going into the hearings, I was open-minded regarding Sotomayor, but listening to her is most troubling. Putting aside her biases, her intellect is unimpressive.

In her dismissal of the Ricci case without a hearing, she revealed she may have already risen beyond her abilities. Her performance under questioning confirms it.

Linda Friar

Pacific Palisades

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I am a white male. I take no offense from the idea that a wise Latina woman with rich life experiences would make better decisions than a white male without those experiences.

I make no offense to turn the idea on its head if I say that a wise white male with rich life experiences would make better decisions than a Latina woman without those experiences.

Wise persons with rich life experiences would more likely make better decisions than unwise persons without rich life experiences. What is controversial about such an idea?

Daniel R. Kroupa

Long Beach

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The Times' front-page headline read "Sotomayor stands up to GOP grilling."

This should have read "Sotomayor stands up to GOP, grinning."

Harvey Flax

Los Angeles

The Republican Party, to my dismay but not to my surprise, decided before the nomination was announced that it would oppose any person nominated by the president, irrespective of his or her qualifications, and extensive discussion of strategies for doing so were had.

Admittedly, I listened with a lawyer's ear and an appreciation for the role of the appellate courts, where Sotomayor spent most of her career on the bench. Those without my perspective could easily have been misled by tricky lawyer tactics inherent in the questioning by the likes of Sen. Lindsey Graham, who tried his best to portray the nominee as a radical and outside the mainstream.

Stuart L. Olster

Calabasas

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Sotomayor's having to defend her "Latina" statement demonstrates how desperate the opposition is in attempting to expose her so-called prejudice and preferences.

Would the white males who are leading the charge be able to inspire young white students to achieve their stature? Perhaps, but sadly, this could be promoting white privilege, which most fail to recognize in their positions of power.

Lenore

Navarro Dowling

Los Angeles

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It is obvious that Sotomayor will be confirmed for the U.S. Supreme Court, despite the comment she made that a "wise Latina" would make better decisions than a white male.

Congress and the mainstream media will gladly accept her explanation of those remarks as a "rhetorical flourish that fell flat" that does not reflect her views.

Are any public servants held accountable for anything anymore?

Denny Lynch

Westchester

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