Sonia Sotomayor: "Affirmative Action Baby"
11:32 AM, Jun 11, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
From the moment Sonia Sotomayor was nominated, Democrats have pointed to her academic pedigree as evidence that she is highly qualified for the job. Some conservatives doubted whether those credentials were, on their own, evidence of anything other than the success of liberal social policies like affirmative action. This blog stated that Sotomayor, because of her ethnic background, had been the beneficiary of preferential treatment from both Princeton and Yale. Such a statement would seem beyond dispute -- affirmative action policies were in place at both schools and designed specifically to provide someone with Sotomayor's background an easier path to admission. Yet the left was outraged that anyone would suggest Sotomayor had benefited from affirmative action.
Now the New York Times reports that among the documents Sotomayor submitted to the Senate in advance of her hearings is a videotape in which she concedes the point entirely and without any qualification:
No one is seriously arguing that Sotomayor was the most impressive intellect of those rumored to have made Obama's short list. The fact that she graduated summa cum laude argues in favor of her competence, as does her long career on the bench, but by Sotomayor's own account she would not be where she is had she had not benefited from race-based preferences. As a matter of official policy, these schools lowered the bar for Sotomayor, so why do her supporters -- who tend also to be supporters of affirmative action -- not celebrate her nomination, and her career, as proof that affirmative action works? The former president of Princeton University specifically denied that Sotomayor had needed the help of affirmative action in order to gain admission to Princeton. Conservatives who suggested otherwise were called racists or worse. There's only one possible explanation for this -- liberals are embarrassed that their nominee wasn't smart enough to get here on her own.