Iowahawk Guest Commentary
by Judge Sonia Sotamayor
Nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court
There has been a great deal written in recent weeks about an old extemporaneous quote of mine in which I stated that "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." One needn't read the prophetic entrails of my culture's colorful Santeria chicken sacrifice ceremonies to realize this out-of-context quote has caused some public concern and confusion. I would like to take this opportunity to clear up any lingering questions, and reassure the American public I will bring to the Supreme Court a jurisprudence borne of the intellect of Louis Brandeis, along with the spicy salsa rhythms of Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. ¡Azucar! ¡Arriba!
First, let me say that in no way did I mean to disparage the legal abilities of white males or others of non-Latina persuasion. Nature endows each of us -- male or female, white or black, Latina or Latino, Caribbean Mestizo or Aleut, Micronesian or Southwest coastal Scandinavian, Tutsi or Hutu -- with the rich, innate, culturally-specific legal DNA and genetic tribal empathy chromosomes that reflect a diverse ethnic rainbow of justice. I was not suggesting that one is somehow better than another; only that they are beautifully, beautifully different.
Indeed, it is only through these differences that America can forge a better, more diverse tradition of legal justice. As you know, the Latina women of my culture are passionate and fiery, and if we learn our famously hot blooded men have been cheating with some raven-haired puta at the cantina, there will be hell to pay. As a Justicia on the Tribunal Supremo I will be naturally vigilant for any colleague who strays from the law, and will not hesitate to clobber them with the rodillo of established legal precedence. Afterwards, when we have reached consensus, there will be hot makeup majority opinions.
This is exactly the kind of wise, precedent-faithful Latina legal approach that I believe will be welcome by others on the Supreme Court bench, all of whom bring their own unique genetic legal wisdom and instinctual empathy. Justices Roberts and Souter for example, with their aloof, sexless, constipated, emotionally-stunted WASPy intellects and natural affinity for preppy white collar criminals. Justice Stevens has this as well, along with a keen grasp for the legal issues facing Americans with senile dementia. As an Irishman, Justice Kennedy enjoys a natural "gift of the gab" and poetically tragic alcoholism. Like you, I imagine that Justice Breyer can be kind of pushy and whiny, but we should also remember that as a Jew he is probably very skilled at cases that involve complicated numbers and math. To the casual observer, it probably seems absurd to have greasy Italian "goodfellas" like Justices Alito and Scalia working inside the legal system, but if we give them a chance they may eventually break the code of Omerta and finally turn state's evidence against their Cosa Nostra bosses. Yes, many have criticized Justice Thomas for being a self-hating "Oreo" and "Uncle Tom," but I like to think that deep inside him still lurks the the DNA of an angry Cadillac-driving streetwise Superfly, ready to show "The Man" that his pimp hand is strong.
And let us not forget the Justice I assume I have been nominate to replace, the great woman jurist Ruth Bader Ginsberg. With her retirement, America will be losing a towering legal Yenta who tackled some of the Court's toughest legal issues with her relentless nagging maternal Jewish guilt complex. Obviously, she will be irreplaceable, short of finding another Yiddishe bubbe from Boca Raton. But as the court's new designated woman I will do my best to emulate her through Latina culture's tradition of the wise old village bruja, ready to cast the Evil Eye spell on those who would subvert our Constitutional rights.
I believe jurisprudence, like cooking, requires many ingredients to make a satisfying meal. In Latina culture we love menudo, the delicious spicy sopa made from simple ingredients. Think of the Constitution as our base ingredient: a bland, tasteless broth of boiled white tripe. Doesn't sound so tempting, does it? Now here's where the fun comes in: all of the cooks gather in the cocina and bring their own special secret ingredients to the mix. Souter salts the pot and Roberts adds Wonder Bread and mayonnaise; Breyer the lox and cream cheese. Thomas drops in fried chicken, and Alito and Scalia spaghetti. Now here comes Kennedy with corned beef and potatoes. Stevens adds the Metamucil. Now we're cooking! Finally, I stir in my special picante blend of Latina legal spices. What started as a boring simple broth is now a delicious crazy justice stew -- that tastes different every time!
And after the menudo is finished, we will go out into the hot evening air of the Supreme Court plaza for drinks. Sangria and Irish whiskey, 2% milk and Colt 45 Malt Liquor. The night breeze is intoxicating, no? Now it is time for the music of justice! The instruments will be taken out, like the Buena Vista Social Club. Carribean drums and mazurkas, the blues guitarra and the bagpipes, creating the caliente salsa beat of la ley! Bailando en la calle, everybody! What's that Justicio Juan Roberto? You are too white and do not have the ritmo to do the dance? Let wise Latina Justicia Sonia show you the steps! Meringue, samba, macarena! ¡Andele! Yes, yes! Lose yourself in the rhythm, Perito Breyer! Together we make the beautiful Constitutional musica together!
In conclusion, the future of American jurisprudence requires wise jurists from every gender and genetic background -- including Latina. In fact, I seem to remember that my law school books were filled with Latin words. Let us recognize and celebrate those diverse, culturally-specific legal traditions. Together we can build a future where we will all be Livin' La Vida Loca!