Sotomayer: Two Sides of the Same (Good) Coin
During the confirmation hearings of Judge Sonia Sotomayer those opposed to her nomination are claiming that she will judge cases based on gender and ethnicity. She keeps defending that she will rule by law. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/us/politics/15confirm.html?_r=1&th&emc=th
First, good for her for staying so consistent in her messages. Second, the sides are arguing about either/or, when it is really both. It is not either she rules by gender and ethnicity or she rules by law. She will rule by both because it impossible to separate. Every human comes as a package — a cultural and experiential bundle — that influences all of their decisions and their communication.
Sotomayer’s background will influence her decisions, just like every other judge is influenced by their own background. At the same time, she will follow the law in her rulings, just like other capable judges. That is not a bad thing. It is actually just two sides to the same coin.
In the communication class I teach at San Francisco state we discuss the fact that a human cannot disconnect from their cultural background and life experiences as the interact with the world. We also discuss that being mindful of what you bring into your interactions, greatly improves your ability to assimilate others’ points of view and expand your experiences.
One coin, two sides — I think Sotomayer will make good choices that will positively influence the world. Of course, that statement is influenced by my own culture, gender, and background . . . .