GOPers, Sotomayor and the Soft Bigotry of…Soft Bigotry

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Yvette Melendez from Glastonbury, Conn., who is sitting in the nominee’s VIP section in the hearing room, said she winced inwardly when Sen. Tom Coburn said, “You’ll have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do.” But Melendez says she didn’t feel offended. “I personally did not think it was appropriate,” she told me in an interview. “But I’m sure he said it as a joke.”


And looking at the clip it feels that Yvette Melendez from Glastonbury, Connecticut is pretty much spot-on:

Unfortunately, this trend of inappropriate jokes at Judge Sotomayor’s expense seems to be unstoppable. Remember this doozy from yesterday:

As Maureen Dowd noted, “meltdown” is a “a word applied mostly to women and toddlers until Mark Sanford proudly took ownership of it.” (link:…

And then we have exhibit #3, Jeff Sessions bemoaning the fact that – gasp! – two judges of Puerto Rican descent might actually differ on how they interpret the law:

SESSIONS: You voted not to reconsider the prior case. You voted to stay with the decision of the circuit. And in fact your vote was the key vote. Had you voted with Judge Cabranes, himself of Puerto Rican ancestry, had you voted with him, you could’ve changed that case.


Ah, the irony. White men – all – criticizing the first Latina nominee to the Supreme Court for daring to vote differently from a fellow hispanic colleague, or making jokes about her “having a meltdown”, and generally being inappropriate when given the chance of an off-the-cuff comment. All of this while chastizing the nominee that if they had made one comment touching on race that could be pulled out of context and misconstrued, that politically they would be “done”.

Would a wise Latina woman, with the wealth of her experience, have made such gaffes? Probably not. And this is, in reality, the entire point of Sotomayor’s comments on race, justice, empathy and the law: that diverse life experiences can serve to protect a person from the biases that these uniformly Southern, white, male Republicans say they want to rid our legal system of. Will those biases ever completely be eradicated? No, but at least if you’ve spent time around strong women, you may be less apt make a joke about them about not having meltdowns…or make a cringe-worthy comment to a Latina that she’s “got some ‘splainin’ to do.”  

Senator Graham lectured Judge Sotomayor that these hearings might be a “moment for self-reflection”. If only the same standard applied equally to Sotomayor’s questioners and critics, he might have a point.


  1. As if Graham ever had a “moment for self-reflection” in his entire life.

    Or Coburn.

    Or Sanford.

    Or Inhofe(sp? – the guy from OK).

    Or, for that matter, anyone in the Bush family.

    I’m waiting with bated breath for one — just one — Southern GOPer to say something that isn’t stupid.

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