Thursday, July 16, 2009

Judge Sotomayor and the Committee

Your Honor would you like a cup of tea to go along with your crow?

Watching highlights of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Confirmation hearings took me back to my days in my doctoral program at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Both proceedings were very advesarial. As a Ph.d candidate, you were seeking permission to enter a most exclusive club. Your appointment or in this case the conferral of the degree was terminal/permanent. Judge Sonia is being grilled in much the same way, except her attacks have a strong gender and ethnic bias to them as opposed to a doctoral defense which attacks you on your research premise in your published dissertation, and then anything else that comes to the minds of the committee members. I have seen some committee members really pull some stunts in these defenses, in much the same way the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are posturing and lecturing

Judge Sonia.Sonia Sotomayor will be confirmed. In the end it doesn't matter how close, or whether it was bi-partisan (it will not really be),.She is really past the "meltdown" stage at this point. In a doctoral defense, if the committee recommends you in most cases you will get the degree, unless you meltdown in the defense. You essentially must genuflect or as we used to say in the Army- "kissing the butts" of the committee members. Judge Sotomayor is now genuflecting, kissing butts, groveling, and saying whatever it takes to please some angry white males. And she had to do this before the world to those who are hardly her intellectual equal,like Sen. Jeff Sessions- Alabama.What was was her fault? Hubris. Judge Sotomayor's had the "audacity" to share her gender and ethic pride. She stepped out of her place and as a person of color, or as a woman, that will not be tolerated in our society, at least not without a serious fight. So she must now beat a hasty retreat, allow herself to be "placed in timeout" by Sen. Lindsey Graham and Jon Kyle and do her penance to assuage their bruised egos.

The Judge, like the exhausted but ambitious doctoral student, will say whatever the committee wants to hear to get those precious letters behind her name.Hang in there Judge, it won't be long before you join the most exclusive of all clubs in the land, for life. Then you can hold your head up high so that we can all see what a proud, outstanding American you are, once again!


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