The nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court of Sonia Sotomayor, who would become the court’s first Hispanic if confirmed, has been met by a cacophony of right-wing attack dogs sounding a single furious note: “Racist!”
Reacting to Sotomayor’s membership in the Latino rights organization National Council of La Raza and comments she has made on her judging, radio fulminator Rush Limbaugh compared her to KKK leader David Duke, suggesting she is a “reverse racist.” William Gheen, president of the nativist extremist group Americans for Legal Immigration, called her a “brown or Hispanic supremacist.” Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, the Colorado Republican and one-time presidential candidate who long headed the far-right Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, attacked Sotomayor for her membership in La Raza, which he said was a “Latino KKK.” Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich described the high court nominee on Twitter as a “Latina woman racist” and said she should withdraw.
Now comes the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a white supremacist hate group which has called black people a “retrograde species of humanity,” with its own special addition: a computer-generated “photo” of “whitey-hating” Sotomayor in Klan robes that fits in well with the tenor of the more “mainstream” attacks from politicians, pundits and nativist leaders.
That’s par for the course for the gutturally racist CCC, which is descended from the White Citizens Councils of the 1950s and 1960s that battled school desegregation. Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court Justice, once referred to that group as “the uptown Klan.”
Despite the furious comments from people like Tancredo, La Raza is hardly a racist group — indeed, it is a thoroughly mainstream human rights organization.
As to her comments, Sotomayor is being attacked for saying in a 2001 university lecture that she “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 man who hasn’t lived that life.” President Obama said earlier this week that Sotomayor wishes she had phrased that differently, but that the comments simply suggested that a diversity of experience helped judges make good decisions. Sotomayor made similar remarks, saying earlier this week: “My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept that there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.”