Sunday, May 31, 2009

Justice Sotomayer and the Ricci decision--Affirmative Action in the Crosshairs:

Justice Sotomayer has been relentlessly attacked mostly by the right wing for her decision with respect to the Ricci case concerning the white fire fighters in New Haven. She decided on the affirmative action side and against them. She has been ridiculously called a racist as if white men for over two hundred years did not have power. I say there is no such thing as neutrality. We are ALL (justices included) tainted by who we are and it is through that lens with which we perceive the world. I am not a fan of affirmative action because I think it does minority groups an injustice too by allowing others to view their success due to the special consideration given to race.

Having said that our culture has had a special history with respect to race. The conundrum for our nation is that it professed one unique and, indeed glorious, set of ideals expressed in its Declaration of Independence and Constitution but did quite another in practice for over two hundred years with respect to the African American community. Without question our nation treated that group abysmally. History has consequences and, I believe, through various profound decisions in our courts, laws in our Congress and in the changing attitudes of our people we have tried mightily to adjust the playing field. The consequences of our history toward mainly one group because of their visually obvious different skin color have been profound and tragic for all of us. It is because of this horrific injustice, I believe, we still need to level that playing field. We experience, it is true, an occasional inequality to whites, the dominant group, because of it. Perhaps, however, this is the price the future generations of those who ran slave ships from Africa pay for the egregious sins of their forebears. We have reaped what we have sown and for that reason I still acquiesce to the payment for past wrongs and the present remedies affirmative action affords.

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