When congressmen give speeches from the floor of the House, they often say “Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks.” Congressmen, under a time limit on the floor, request this courtesy so that the official record reflects a more thorough articulation of their position on a particular bill. It also gives them an opportunity to correct any misstatements.
What Obama has done with Sonia Sotomayor’s controversial statements is to ask unanimous consent for her to revise and extend her remarks. His otherwise “brilliant” choice for Supreme Court Justice has merely had a bout of inarticulateness. The problem is not a deep rooted animosity toward white males. It isn’t even her socialist philosophy the remarks betray. She just had a problem with expressing herself.
While lecturing at the University of California, Berkley Law School she stated: “I 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 male who hasn’t lived that life.” Obama insists “I’m sure she would have restated it.”
How would she have restated that? “I would hope that an intelligent Hispanic female with the wealth of her background would be able to reach sounder opinions than a Caucasian man who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.”
Maybe “I would think that a female Latina sage with a marxist upbringing would be able to redistribute wealth to racial minorities better than racist white trash who believe in capitalism.” Obama hasn’t explained how he knows that she wasn’t saying exactly what she meant.
This statement is not the Supreme Court nominee’s only “misstatement.” She insisted that the Court of Appeals is where policy is made. Everyone who went to high school when they still taught the three branches of government knows that policy making belongs to the representative branches. The judicial branch only has the authority to say what the law is, not what it ought to be. To the Statist the judiciary must take authority to make law from the bench because Statist policies usually don’t win popular support, i.e. same-sex marriage, tax increases, gun control.
Alexander Hamilton affirmed in Federalist 78, the judiciary will be the least dangerous branch. “The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither Force nor Will, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.” Our Founding Fathers understood that the judiciary does not and must not have authority to make policy. After betraying her hidden Statist judicial philosophy, Sotomayor immediately requested to revise and extend her remarks. “And I know . . . this is on tape and I should never say that because we don’t make law, I know. Um, uh . . . I’m not promoting it and I’m not advocating it. Ya’ know.” She revised and extended her remarks with a “wink-wink” to the audience and other panel members, generating a smattering of laughter from the audience.
The impression the listener gets when hearing Sotomayor’s revision is that she is merely revising her remarks because she can’t publicly advocate policy making from the bench. With her stuttering and her “ums” and “ahs” and “ya’ knows” she let the audience know her revised remarks that she does not advocate judicial policy making is contrary to her actual philosophy. She shouldn’t publicly state what she does behind the bench when no one is looking. How could a Latina judge use the richness of her experience to make better decisions than white males if she can’t resort to policy making? White males are the ones who made these pernicious policies in the first place. To a Statist, social justice requires a judge to change disagreeable policies.
Even though the consent isn’t unanimous for Sotomayor to revise and extend her remarks, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs insists she ought to be able to correct her “poor” word choice. He then threatened those who are not giving their consent when he warned “I think it is probably important for anybody involved in this debate to be exceedingly careful with the way in which they’ve decided to describe different aspects of this impending confirmation.”
Let’s try a comparison with another notable “racist” comment. In December 2002, during a 100th birthday and retirement celebration for Sen. Strom Thurmond, Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott stated “I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.” At face value you would be hard pressed to find any racist meaning in his words. But to the Statist, Republicans never mean what they say. Statists have to scrutinize comments by Republicans for code language. So in analyzing Sen. Lott’s words, Statists were “stunned” by the racist comment since everyone knew Strom Thurmond ran on the Dixiecrat ticket and favored segregation. Obviously Sen. Lott meant to say that the country would have been better off with keeping racial segregation. In the end Sen. Lott was forced to step down as Majority Leader for an innocuous statement without given the chance to revise and extend his remarks.
On the other hand, Sotomayor’s statement was overtly racist and sexist. The import of her words was that Hispanic women will usually make better decisions than white males. There is no need to find the code language. Obama, however, insists that opposition to her for her word choice is nonsense. We must look beyond her overt racist words to find the hidden meaning and the correct context in which “Latina women are better than white males” is not racist. So when a white Republican male makes a jejune comment about a retiring colleague, we are required to look for the hidden racist meaning. When we find it, we are all required to force him to step down from his leadership position. But when a Statist racial minority makes an overt racist statement, calls for her withdrawal are “nonsense.”
Sotomayor’s statements reveal an animus toward a certain racial group. This animus might have played a part in her decision in denying white fire fighters their day in court. Ruling that a municipality discriminated against white fire fighters in denying their promotions over minorities wouldn’t promote her social redistributive justice belief. Her comments also reveal her Statist judicial philosophy: A judge must abrogate authority to make policy from the bench to ensure the poor and minorities get “justice.”
To Statists, the public relations problem arising from their statements is never about the anti-American or anti-constitutional principles they hold. It is always about how they expressed themselves. Misstatements by Statists actually expose the truth about what they believe. The solution to the outcry their true expressions cause is to revise their remarks, not to change their anti-American dogma.