Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cage Match: The War of the Prejudices --Sessions vs Sotomayor

Are You Prejudiced?

Its a trick question. Of course you are. Hey, news flash-- I am prejudiced, you are prejudiced- we all are. Complete objectivity is as far off for us as light speed travel. The little calculator in your cranium is way too small to fit reality into. So we have to guess- to pre-judge. If I see someone coming at me with a knife I might reasonably run away, even though he might just want some cheese.

Judges know this, even if it escapes the egomaniac on the street. Its why we are a nation of laws rather than Kings. A law is an attempt at objectivity. We pool our tiny brains together, testing our prejudices against one another in a constant ongoing process that attempts to shape perfectly objective law-- a goal that can never really be reached.

But that doesn't mean you don't try.

Senator Sessions sees us in a War of the Prejudices. Like too many of us he sees his prejudice as the only shiny clean one. It must win out over the dark prejudices of others.

Judge Sotomayor has been brave enough in her speeches and writing to clearly define her experiences and the world view and, yes, prejudices she has developed. In doing so she does us all a service. Because when she sits down with her fellows on the Supreme Court they will have the best notion of her entire process. And to the extent that they all do so, we will be able to continue to build our system of laws stronger.

So, as Sessions and Party take their extra week to pore over Sotomayor's record you can be sure they will not be bringing back samples of her rulings, but of her speeches. Her rulings show her respect for precedent and her talent for clear analysis. Her speeches show her prejudices and the life experiences and thought processes that shaped them.

We should all be so brave.

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