Confirming Nonsense: Both Liberals and Conservatives Distort Debate Over Sotomayor

200px-Sonia_SotomayorThe debate over Judge Sonia Sotomayor continues to rage this week. What is remarkable is how much is being said and how little substance can be found in the coverage. One would think that the law of averages alone would guarantee that some substantive points would be hit, if only by accident. It is becoming increasingly clear that, once again, we will not have a substantive and civil review of the qualifications of a Supreme Court nominee. Neither conservatives nor liberals seem to want (or are willing to tolerate) objective discussion of Sotomayor’s qualifications or opinions. For what it is worth, I would like to discard some of the most often heard arguments in the vain hope that we might still achieve some level of reasonable discourse in this debate.

Let me first address some of the conservative attacks since I addressed some of the liberal attacks earlier.


Claim: Sotomayor is a judicial activist.

As I have stated in my review of her cases, I cannot find any evidence to support the view that Sotomayor is an activist. Indeed, I cannot find much evidence to support the assumption by both ends of the spectrum that she is extremely liberal. She is clearly not as liberal as other short-list candidates like Diane Wood of the Seventh Circuit. She votes regularly with her conservative colleagues and does not have a blind voting record in areas like discrimination etc. If you compare her opinions to Justice Sam Alito when he was an appellate judge, she is the very personification of blind justice. Alito rarely voted against the government and was as predictable as a Swiss clock in terms of outcome in cases. Sotomayor, in contrast, has often voted against liberal values and interest groups. Her votes in Tigue v. DOJ and Wood v. FBI were viewed as contrary to principles of open government and more in line with the Bush Administration’s views. She supported the result in Doninger v. Niehoff, which was a highly controversial case and major blow to both the first amendment and student rights. I have now read all of her major opinions and dozens of less important cases. I see absolutely no evidence of bias, as I did with Sam Alito.

Claim: Sotomayor is a bad judge due to her reversals by the Supreme Court.

This claim is particularly bizarre, citing a 60 percent reversal rate. This is an example of how statistical analysis should be left to professionals and not attempted at home. Only five of Sotomayor’s opinions have been reviewed by the Supreme Court — not an unusual number given her 18 years on the bench. However, with such a small pool of cases, even a single decision going either way will have a huge impact on her “batting average.” The reversal rate for all appeals is around 75 percent. I expect that her percentage of losses will go up with the Ricci case which is likely to be overturned in my view. However, that does not mean that she is a poor judge. If you review these cases, both Republican and Democratic appointed judges supported her side. They were not glaring acts of judicial activism, but matters of reasonable disagreement between jurists.

Claim: Sotomayor’s comments in speeches show that she is a racist.

Much has been made of her statement in a speech 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.” I strongly disagree with this statement. Some of the greatest and most sympathetic justices in history came from privileged backgrounds and some of the least impressive and least sympathetic justices came from less privileged backgrounds. I doubt that Judge Sotomayor would view Justice Thomas or former Texas Supreme Court justice Alberto Gonzales as examples of diversity in background making for a better jurist. However, it does not make her a racist or radical. There is no question that experience counts. Marshall did play a transformative role on the Court in its consideration of cases in a variety of areas. The problem with her statement is the use of the words “better conclusion.” She can rightfully argue that her experience gives her a deeper understanding and a better perspective. However, she was wrong to suggest that, simply due to her upbringing and ethnic background, she will reach better conclusions. That, however, does not transform her into a racist by any reasonable (or logical) interpretation of that term.

Claim: Her statement about policy making on the Court makes her a danger.

In a speech at Duke, Sotomayor stated: “All of the legal defense funds out there, they are looking for people with court of appeals experience because the court of appeals is where policy is made. And I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don’t make law. I know. Okay, I know. I’m not promoting it. I’m not advocating it. I know.” She was right, she should not have said it. Once again, this was an unwise and ill-considered statement. However, Justice Scalia and others have made such mistakes in speeches. Moreover, this one was understandable. Courts interpret laws that can have sweeping impacts on citizens. They also set principles of interpretation and rules of construction. The use of the word “policy” was a mistake. They do not make policy in the political sense. They do, however, shape judicial doctrines and rules. As I noted in my review of her cases, here, she has revealed no such activism in cases over an eighteen year period.

Claim: The Lack of Intellectual Depth in Sotomayor’s Opinions Shows That She is Not Intellectual Enough for the Supreme Court.

Like a number of other professors and commentators, I have expressed disappointment in the fact that Sotomayor’s opinions lack of deeper view of the law or any particularly profound observations on the law. Conservatives, however, take this lack of depth in these opinions as evidence that Sotomayor is not smart or competent. This is demonstrably absurd. These opinions are little different from those of Alito, Souter, or the limited writings of Thomas. Clearly, Sotomayor is quite intelligent. This record is little different from records of Republican nominees who enthralled these same critics.

Ultimately the greatest difficulty for Republicans is to insist on a searching confirmation hearing with specific answers from Sotomayor after their treatment of Roberts and Alito. Those confirmation hearings were laughable photo ops for Senators (including Democrats) who thrilled in the chance to talk about baseball and movies.


Claim: Sotomayor cannot be blamed for decisions where she is not the author.

Many liberals and civil libertarians have criticized Sotomayor for her participation in panel or en banc decisions that are viewed as inimical or hostile to free speech, open government and other principles. The response from supporters has been that, if Sotomayor was not the author, she cannot be blamed for the opinion. I believe Judge Sotomayor would be the first to correct his misunderstanding of judicial rulings. Any judge has the ability to file a concurrence or a dissenting opinion when she has disagreements with the majority opinion. Judge Sotomayer did precisely that in the Gant v. Wallingford Board of Education case. Likewise, other judges filed concurring and dissenting opinions in the controversial decision in Ricci v. DeStefano. When Sotomayor voted with the majority in Doninger v. Niehoff, she bears the full blame for both the result and the language in that opinion. Every judge must sign off on a majority opinion and has a professional and ethical responsibility to agree with the opinion before affixing their signature.

Claim: The Lack of Depth or Broad Legal Analysis of Sotomayor’s Opinions Only Shows That She Is a Good Judge Who Decides Cases on the Merits.

There is an effort by liberals to turn lemons into lemonade with regard to Sotomayor’s opinions, which are pretty unremarkable. The New York Times and various neutral commentators have described these opinions as narrow, limited and generally lacking any deeper historical or theoretical treatment. Sotomayor’s most vocal supporters have yet to cite a single opinion in 18 years that is in any way notable in its insightful treatment of the law. That should be a concern. Most judges (including judges on the shortlist) have opinions that show a vision for the law, a broader view of where a given case fits within a broader area of jurisprudence. These cases are the reason that they have been routinely cited as possible justices. Many of Sotomayor’s colleagues like Guido Calabresi are praised for such brilliant analysis. This highlights the difference between a judge and a justice. A justice must attempt not only to resolve a case but to maintain a coherent and consistent approach in a given area. We have had too many justices who lack such a vision and produce endlessly conflicting and insular decisions. Cases become little more than a muscle vote on outcome. An interesting comparison can be drawn with the relatively brief treatment given second amendment jurisprudence by Sotomayor’s panel in two prior cases (reviewed in the earlier blog entry) and the Second Circuit’s recent more fulsome ruling in National Rifle Association v. Chicago, here. In that case, Judges Frank Easterbrook and Richard Posner reach the same conclusion as Sotomayor but offer a far better understanding of their view of the underlying law and principles. These liberal and conservative jurists — Calabresi, Easterbrook, and Posner — have many such opinions with such substantive analysis. They have all rightfully been cited as ideal candidates for the Supreme Court due to their past writings. Clearly, most cases do not warrant such treatment, but occasionally such attention is warranted. These are the opinions that speak to jurisprudence and not just judging. They shape the law and the debate over the evolution of legal principle. The complete absence of such opinions in eighteen years of work by Judge Sotomayor is surprising and disappointing.

Once again, that could reflect a certain deference to her appellate status or a lack of broader vision. It is certainly true, as she stated in a prior interview, that “95 percent of the cases before most judges are fairly mundane.” She used this observation to explain why she does not write grand opinions: “I’m not going to be able to spend much time on lofty ideals.” However, after 18 years, such cases do come along and warrant a fuller treatment with a glimpse at a deeper judicial philosophy. In almost two decades of opinions and writings, we should have some notion of Sotomayor’s deeper intellectual view of the law. We do not. The fact is that these opinions are remarkably unremarkable. It is certainly true that this record is not unlike prior nominees like Sam Alito. I criticized Alito’s appointment on the same ground and (unlike Sotomayor) I opposed him because I believed that opinions were not just limited but also biased. When pressed on Sotomayor’s opinions, supporters either refer back to her inspiring life or try to argue that it is good not to offer a broader vision of the law. Neither response is a sufficient answer to this criticism.

Claim: Questioning Sotomayor’s opinions must be an act of racism or sexism or both.

Just as conservatives should be denounced for calling Sotomayor a racist, liberals should be ashamed for using the same attack on people who question the depth or vigor of her past writings. Criticizing Sotomayor’s opinions as lacking intellectual depth is not the same as saying that she lacks intellectual depth as a person and certainly nothing about her race or gender. Indeed, for those of us who criticized Alito on the very same shortcoming, it would be racist and sexist to treat Sotomayor differently. Over the course of a long judicial and professional career, Sotomayor has never exhibited particularly profound views of the law in opinions or law review articles. Other candidates like Diane Wood and Harold Koh have demonstrated such views.

What is striking about these attacks on racism and sexism is how little liberals appear to tolerate even moderate criticism of an Obama nominee. This is precisely the blind rage and rhetoric that liberals denounced among Republicans for the last eight years with regard to Bush nominees and policies. Indeed, most liberals know very little about Sotomayor’s judicial history or ideology despite the fact that she will hold one of nine critical positions on the Court. In reality, Sotomayor is demonstrably less liberal than someone like Wood and has opposed core liberal values in past decisions. She often appears more “empathetic” toward authority figures from police officers accused of abuse to school officials cracking down on student speech. The vicious attacks reflect the low-grade discourse that we have on such issues today in our red state/blue state mindset. Obama had the ability to appoint anyone and he nominated someone with an unknown legal philosophy and mixed voting record. We should be able to discuss the lack of depth in these opinions objectively without calls of racism or sexism. Otherwise, these confirmations become personality driven events with little substance or scrutiny.

Claim: Sotomayor will clearly be a great justice.

I am currently working on a cover magazine piece that will identify the greatest justices and try to suggest some objective criteria for such a ranking (though I will also acknowledge considerable subjectivity in this exercise). Sotomayor supporters have insisted that she is clearly someone who will be one of the “greats.” This characterization depends on what you are seeking in a nominee and what you mean by a great justice. In my Supreme Court class, we often discuss such rankings. For example, supporters have understandably invoked Justice Thurgood Marshall repeatedly in describing Sotomayor. As I have stated on the air, Marshall was indeed a great justice (and happens to be one of my personal heros who I discuss every year in welcoming the class of new law students to George Washington). Marshall was a brilliant lawyer and a brilliant choice for the Court. He offered his colleagues wonderful insights into a number of areas and supported the protection and expansion of core liberties while on the Court. I believe that Sotomayor will bring such a perspective to the Court and challenge existing ideas of her colleagues.

Before this nomination, many of us argued for the appointment of someone who would deepen the Court’s theoretical or intellectual debate — something that is increasingly absent in decisions of the Court. Frankly, Marshall was not viewed as being one of the most influential justices in the shaping of legal theory or fundamental views of the law. Marshall himself never claimed or suggested such a position on the Court. He was great in other respects. When justices are ranked by academics in terms of their contributions to the intellectual or theoretical development of the law, Marshall is rarely mentioned. Once again, it depends on what you want out of a nominee. The Republicans have been skilled in selecting judges and justices who would offer a strong theoretical foundation to shape doctrine and theory for generations. Scalia is unpopular with liberals but he has had such a long-term impact on the law. Being a justice is not simply the act of voting. A great justice on the issue of legal theory is someone who can shape not just the ruling in one case but such cases for a generation. Sotomayor could still prove to be such a jurist, but she has not demonstrated such a long-term or deeper view as a judge.

Claim: Sotomayor’s academic background proves that she will be an intellectual force on the Court.

I have taught a course on the Supreme Court and covered that Court as a columnist and commentator for roughly two decades. I have never seen an undergraduate or law school record relied upon so heavily to defend an appointment. The last time I checked placement in a Princeton class said a lot about your chances for acceptance in a graduate school but not the U.S. Supreme Court. Sotomayor was a brilliant student and is clearly an impressive person. However, being bright is not the measure of a great justice. All of these candidates are bright. Many have had inspiring personal stories. We often encounter the same issue in the appointment of faculty. Students who graduate at the top of their classes and serve prestigious clerkships are not necessarily gifted or insightful in their view of jurisprudence or the law. We look for people who can help shape their fields of the law and demonstrate a broader vision. The same standard should apply to Supreme Court justices. Sotomayor is by any estimation an unknown in how she views the law and whether she will contribute in a deeper way to the concepts and theories that shape the law. The best indicator of such views are found in opinions and articles, which are unavailing in Sotomayor’s case.

Ironically, I am most drawn to her not because of her inspiring life or her performance as a student. As a litigator, I am delighted with her experience as a litigator and trial judge. In that sense, she brings a certain professional reality to the Court the way that Fortas, Marshall, and a few other justices did. While she is not my top choice, she is the nominee and I believe Obama has selected someone who meets any reasonable standard for confirmation.

Claim: Anonymous sources should not be considered in reviewing Sotomayor’s background as a judge.

I have long been a critic of personal attacks based on anonymous sources. (I have been on the receiving side of such sources in the past). However, there have been loud criticisms of reporters who have quoted former clerks saying the Sotomayor was often lacking in knowledge or details of cases. The same criticism have been levied against lawyers who have objected that she is allegedly a “bully” and abusive from the bench. There are times when anonymity is an understandable prerequisite for sources. While I do not like personal or salacious or clearly malicious stories based on such sources, few lawyers (particularly recent clerks) would feel comfortable offering criticisms of a sitting judge (or future justice) without such protection. Law firms and other judges would not look kindly on such criticism and these lawyers may argue cases before Sotomayor on the Second Circuit (or on the Supreme Court). I have previously said that I do not place as much importance on temperament as some others. I am more concerned with finding jurists with a deep vision of the law. However, the annual reviews of judges by the bar are anonymous because it is understood that anonymity is the prerequisite for such professional reviews from attorneys.

99 thoughts on “Confirming Nonsense: Both Liberals and Conservatives Distort Debate Over Sotomayor

  1. Thank you, Professor Turley, for continuing this debate in a reasoned fashion. As a conservative Republican, I would have thought that this nomination would be acceptable to the majority without much heated rhetoric. I clearly was mistaken.

  2. I was hoping to see comments on what liberals are saying that is also wrong about this choice, looking forward to your return from the court and write about that . Are you going to be on countdown or maddow tonight?

  3. A War Criminal usurper president cannot legally nominate someone for the Supreme Court. Obama should not have been on the presidential ballot. He was and is a War Criminal. He voted in the Senate at least 11 times to fund the Wars of Aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan which is conspiracy and waging illegal wars. Obama was committing War Crimes as early as 2003 in “selling the illegal Iraq War”, conspiring and waging War of Aggression with Howard Dean in this video:

  4. Let us not forget LongJohn Thomas and his debate. It comes and goes and if they have nothing more than this, smoke and mirrors, does not refer to weed and cocaine. But after this is all over and done with, she might still be confirmed.

  5. Good analysis Jonathan and much welcomed. I gritted my teeth upon recieving my Ohio ACLU e-mail immediately following the announcement: “Are you as excited as I am? The first Latina in our nation’s history was just nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court.” I thought of Alberto Gonzales and Clarence Thomas right away. Personally I am glad to have a Latina on the court. But just as with a white male, it does matter which white male. George Bush and Dick Cheney are white males. It is ridiculous to believe there is only one Latina who might have been chosen for this position. There are many talented and worthy candidates to choose from. So, I was exasperated by this superficial assessment of Judge Sotomayor. I do want substantive discussion and a thorough evaluation of any candidate for the SC.

  6. What’s all the talk about first Latino justice? Last I checked Cardozo was of Portuguese ancestry. Unless the Portuguese don’t consider themselves Latino – I’m not sure. Surely his being Jewish and Latino would not be mutually exclusive.

  7. JT,

    You might take exception to being used as a source to back up conservative arguments. If I were you, I would consider giving Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice a call.

    He claims that you say SS is ‘not an intellectual heavyweight.’ And since two ‘liberal’ professors have made this claim, he reasons, it must be true! I must note that the other ‘liberal’ professor he cites is Jefferey Rosen, who was the author of the disgusting smear job on SS that half of the conservative objections come from:

  8. A few lines from “The Tempest” seem appropriate:

    “Nothing of [her] that doth fade / But doth suffer a sea change / Into something rich and strange.” (Ariel 1.2)

    “Yet with my nobler reason ‘gainst my fury / Do I take part. The rarer action is / In virtue than in vengeance. . .” (Prospero 5.1)

    Great post btw JT.

  9. FFN,

    Professor Turley is giving his honest opinion and he would be an extreme hypocrite if he did otherwise. If his learned legalistic opinion becomes contrary evidence and a basis for talking points for the ultraconservatives, then that must be but one outcome among many, some of which will be very favorable towards Ms. Sotomayor.

    Unless Justice Sotomayor withdraws her name from consideration, she will be nominated.

  10. Great analysis, but: Can you show me someone who seriously contended that questioning her opinions is an “act of racism or sexism”? I suspect you’d be hard-pressed to do so. People have said that calling her an intellectual lightweight without analyzing her opinions probably results from prejudice, but that strikes me as the very definition of prejudice: reaching a conclusion not based on substance but on supposition. Your argument sounds like a strawman.

  11. FFLEO,

    Yes, of course. My point was more that his words were being twisted. Here’s what JT actually wrote:

    “My main concern is the lack of intellectual depth in her past opinions. Objecting to the intellectual content of opinions is not the same as objecting to the intellect of an individual. Smart people can have little vision in the law or other fields. No one would suggest that Sotomayor is not incredibly bright. It is her legal vision and the depth of her legal philosophy that is at issue in confirmation debates.”

  12. FFN,

    Understood. Even a self-professed Harvard Law School honor student himself, Curt Levey, is willing to twist the facts on national television; also, he sure seems angry.

    Thanks for the video; I would have missed it otherwise.

  13. There’s absoluetly no reason that this woman is unqualified based on her academic and professional credentials. However,(and I really hate to concede a point to people I considered to be unmitigated a_ _-clowns such as Sean Hannity and Jonah Goldberg), the fact that she said she’s more qualified because she’s a hispanic female (and I’m married to one) than would be a white male is simply racist.

    You can call it what ever you want and candy-coat it as colorful language. The fact is, had a white male claimed he was more qualified than some other demographic, his nomination would be, and again I hate to quote Hannity, ‘…dead on arrival…”

    The fact that excuses are already being made for her statement reeks of the paternalistic and patronizing racism that liberals (myself included) are sometimes guilty of.

  14. Seamus,

    You, others, and I are racist, just at varying degrees. Yes, what Ms. Sotomayor said was racist but I think it was a factual statement in at least 50% of the cases and most likely a much greater percentage. Her underprivileged life that she overcame is going to give her unique skills that overprivileged white males cannot fathom in their decision-making.

    Her statement about making “policy” was also principally factual, just not in the political science framework of the legislative process.

    I think she deserves as pass on both statements.

  15. Thanks for the very good analysis, Prof. Turley. There is no doubt in my mind that Judge Sotomayor is qualified for appointment and will be confirmed, a point conceded even by her staunchest critics. She will simply have to suffer through the inane commentary and absurd inquiries that precede the vote.

    Having said that, there are two recurring issues in confirmation proceedings that I always find extremely annoying. The first is whether the judicial candidate will be able to render decisions based solely upon the law and the facts without regard to personal attitudes and beliefs. Whenever this question is asked, the answer is inevitably affirmative. And the answer is inevitably wrong. For a myriad of reasons, we persist in promoting the myth that a black robe is a magical garment which, when worn, immediately erases from the mind of the wearer all memory, experience, personal beliefs and human understanding, everything except the pure knowledge of the law. This is the vacuum theory of jurisprudence. It is a false theory because it is premised upon an impossible demand. Judging is the process of determining the outcome of human conflict within a framework of substantive legal principles and procedural rules. The rules are intended to bring fairness to the process. The legal principles are intended to produce a just result. And in pursuing that goal, a judge will bring to bear everything he or she has learned and experienced. The ability to apply that learning and experience in the course of evaluating the facts and evidence presented by the respective parties requires empathy. The ability to then determine an outcome consistent with the requirements of applicable law requires wisdom. When legal errors are made in the process which are sufficiently substantial that they call into question the lawfulness of the result, appellate courts are called upon to evaluate the process. Thus empathy and wisdom are necessary traits for both trial and appellate judges.

    The second typical inquiry to judicial candidates is whether they believe that judges should be in the business of “making law.” The phrase “activist judge” is frequently tossed out by unhappy members of Congress to describe someone whom they feel routinely invades the exclusive province of the legislature. What they really mean is that an appellate court somewhere has made a ruling which has offended certain constituencies, or even a majority of voters in some congressman’s district. These criticisms usually reflect another misunderstanding of the judicial process.

    Litigated disputes are determined either by reference to the common law, statutory law (including constitutional and administrative law) or a combination of both. The common law, although supplanted in part by statutory law over the years, was imported from England at the dawn of the nation and represents literally hundreds of years of development. It is a legal organism, constantly evolving to meet new conditions and situations. All of those changes have been effected by appellate courts through a process of adaptation. When an appellate court is faced with a case in which a litigant is seeking to expand a theory of liability or introduce a previously unrecognized defense, it is confronted with a public policy question. It must then review the relevant legal history and applicable or analogous case law, frequently from other jurisdictions, and determine whether the requested change in the law is warranted by existing law and public policy. Whenever a court adopts a change, it is “making law” and fulfilling one of its important functions, making certain that a body of law continues to meet demonstrated needs of society.

    In the litigation of statutory claims, courts look first to the language of a statute to determine its purpose and meaning. A statutory enactment is an expression of public policy. Statutes frequently contain language explicitly setting forth the public policies which the legislation seeks to implement. But statutes are also frequently vague or ill-drafted, open to different interpretations and applications. They often conflict with other statutory enactments, or with overriding provisions of state constitutions or the federal constitution. Courts must then turn to legislative history and other sources to ascertain legislative intent, to reconcile conflicts and to give effect, if possible, to that intent. (This is one of the reasons that it is useful to have legislators trained in the law.) In short, the court is attempting to discern public policy in these instances. It may then describe and elucidate that policy based upon its construction of the statute. Statutes sometimes produce unintended consequences once they have been subjected to judicial review, however, and the legislative body will invariably cast blame on the judiciary. But the fact is that whenever the meaning and intent of a statute is in doubt, the judiciary is being asked to clean up a legislative mess. When a court interprets a statute and the underlying public policy in a manner which contradicts what a legislator or group of legislators think they intended, the court is accused of “judicial activism,” or “making law from the bench” or “usurping legislative authority.” There are many variations on the theme.

    I apologize if what was intended as a brief synopsis appears longwinded and incoherent. The point is that the job of a judge is much more than reading the law and issuing a ruling. Judges are neither robots nor infallible. When considering criticisms of judicial decisions, it is important to look behind the code phrases and maintain some perspective.

  16. JT,
    Thank you for the analysis. It seems a fair one. We all often forget that in this 24 hour news cycle that runs the MSM, in depth discussions on anything get reduced to sound bytes that lack proper context. Without context there is no true communication and all discussion becomes charges and counter charges. Your reference to “intellectual depth” serves as a prime example, as does the nominees’ discussion of whether a “Latina” can add insight. By de-contextualizing both statements media types and some posters here, make them into assertions different from those intended. Given certain of my rhetorical proclivities, I am grateful that I’m not in a position to the MSM, pundits and politicians debate my statements, but that’s why you’re the guy on TV and while I admire you greatly, I don’t envy your success.

  17. Mike A.,
    Great post! You make some excellent points about what being a judge and the Law is really about.

  18. Mike Appleton, posts like yours make this blawg especially informative for us nonlawyers.

  19. Hmm, odd glitch there.

    Mike A.,

    Well said. No teleprompter required.

    To any takers,

    What about Cardozo? Media labeling is one step away from branding. If his Portuguese ancestry makes him the first Latin SC Justice, I’m genuinely curious as to why Sotomayer’s getting the “first” label in the MSM. If there’s some reason he’s not, I’d like to know why if any attorney’s of Portuguese descent are out there. It in no way impacts evaluating Sotomayor’s fitness for the job at hand, but this smells like spin.

  20. Buddha,

    Briefly, what this means most to me is of the more recent North American Hispanic descent—of which Cuba is part—as opposed to recent European Hispanic ancestry or even that of South American descent.

    I think that it is a legitimate ancestry claim, since we all have such strong affinities to our past.

  21. Buddha,

    I’m pretty sure people from Portugal aren’t considered Latino.

    “Hispanic or Latino. A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. The term, “Spanish origin,” can be used in addition to “Hispanic or Latino.” “

  22. Gyges & Buddha,

    To add to the confusion and inconsistencies of our own government’s use of the term:

    {Quote: The U.S. Office of Management and Budget currently defines “Hispanic or Latino” as “a person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race”.[14] This definition excludes people of Portuguese origins, such as Portuguese Americans or Brazilian Americans. However, they are included in some government agencies’ definitions.

    For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation defines Hispanic to include, “persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central or South American, or others Spanish or Portuguese culture or origin, regardless of race.”[15] This definition has been adopted by the Small Business Administration as well as many federal, state, and municipal agencies for the purposes of awarding government contracts to minority owned businesses.

    Still, other government agencies adopt definitions that exclude people from Spain.

    Some others include people from Brazil, but not Spain or Portugal. End Quote}

  23. Good! I was hoping it was legitimate confusion. When I think of Latin I guess I’ve always thought of anyone with ancestry traceable to the Iberian Peninsula. I’ll file my question under “depends on who you ask” instead of “stinky spin”.

  24. Buddha,
    Cardozo was a Sephardic Jew whose family emigrated from England to America before the Revolution. Sephardi Jews left Portugal around the time of the Inquisition and in Spain they were expelled in 1492. The most famous Sephardic Jew was Moses Maimonides, The Rambam, who was born in Spain in 1135 and died in Egypt in 1204. He is one of the great Jewish (human) Philosophers. Sephardim are not considered Latino, Spanish and/or Portuguese partly because their residence in those lands and in the Middle East was a constant back and forth. Also because they generally were never viewed as residents, by most of the residents.

  25. Mike,

    Thanks for that clarification. In a post I had vanish into no where earlier (hence the test), I did wonder if his Judaism was mutually exclusive of his Portuguese ancestry. I just dropped it from the rephrasing.

  26. I disagree, JT.

    You say:
    …” She was right, she should not have said it. Once again, this was an unwise and ill-considered statement. However, Justice Scalia and others have made such mistakes in speeches. Moreover, this one was understandable. Courts interpret laws that can have sweeping impacts on citizens. They also set principles of interpretation and rules of construction. The use of the word “policy” was a mistake. They do not make policy in the political sense. They do, however, shape judicial doctrines and rules. As I noted in my review of her cases, here, she has revealed no such activism in cases over an eighteen year period…”

    JT, she is right in saying they shape policy and I’m glad she said it!!!

    ‘Good law’ whether or not it is actually ‘good’ is made through the courts everyday. That’s the beauty of our level system of 3 more often than not.

    And that was before Cheney came along trying to make it 4
    – and in some respects succeeding.

  27. In rereading JT’s comments I can only say that the “vision thing” still appears to me to be over-rated. The value of a Justice is in his/her ability to pull disparate egos into a consensus to render a just opinion. I am flabbergasted that some commentators praise Scalia as some wonderful example of a conservative Justice imbued with the vision thing. He is as close to an ideologue as the Court has known as evidenced by his plethora of lone dissents. I do not consider that a mark of brilliance or vision, merely ego (or ideology, take your pick) infused obstinacy. Despite his wordy dissertations of history which mark his opinions, he would have remained a legal pariah had “W” not intervened to add more of his ilk to the Court in the person of Alito and Roberts.

    On the other hand, Earl Warren, whom I suppose would fit nicely into JT’s template as a visionary, was a master of two things: arithmetic and building consensus. In effect, he understood the magic of 5 in a contest to win 9 votes. If the new lady Justice understands that and couples it with the empathy that some “accuse” her of possessing, I have no doubt she will make JT’s article on the greats, her eloquence — or lack thereof — in opinion writing notwithstanding. We tend to honor doers, not eloquent visionaries, in our society. I ‘ll stick with that trend.

  28. Mike S

    Thank you for that full and fascinating explanation of Justice Cardozo’s anscetry and the history lesson about Separdic Jews. You covered an amazing amount of interesting historical, contextural and relevant ground in one jam-packed yet concise paragraph. I’m off to Wikipedia to delve deeper into my now freshly piqued curiosity on the subjects.

  29. Mike Spindell,

    I agree rc. Did you already know that general information because of your Jewish heritage or did you have to reseach for more? Either way, it was concise and very interesting.

  30. mespo, great points. Consensus building promotes legal clarity, greater consistency and ultimately more confidence in the stability of the law.

  31. ..’We tend to honor doers, not eloquent visionaries, in our society. I ‘ll stick with that trend.’

    moi aussi

  32. ..’We tend to honor doers, not eloquent visionaries, in our society. I ‘ll stick with that trend.’

    moi aussi”


    Exitus acta probat (The results tests the act)

  33. Mike S:

    “Thank you for that full and fascinating explanation of Justice Cardozo’s anscetry and the history lesson about Separdic Jews. You covered an amazing amount of interesting historical, contextural and relevant ground in one jam-packed yet concise paragraph.”
    (via rcampbell)

    Your knowledge continues to amaze. I ‘m off to more research as well.

  34. This lady is a true jerk. Anti-gun, Anti-abortion rights, Anti-white, Anti-personal responsibility, Anti-US Constitution!

  35. lorn 1, May 28, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    This lady is a true jerk. Anti-gun, Anti-abortion rights, Anti-white, Anti-personal responsibility, Anti-US Constitution!

    lorn, is that short for love*lorn? Because you are against her, I shall be for you. You have helped me make up my mind. Now after reading on this Blawg about Jewish Portageeze. I have made up my mind to have the Republican Senators from Texas both of them support her, now if I only had the power to make them do the right thing.

  36. Looks like the doofus Obama is out to ruin the US Constitution with his ignorant appointee, Soto-may-orrr…

  37. AY:

    Actually I was at the Nemacolin Woodlands near Uniontown, PA visiting my in-laws. No camping involved but it was lots of fun. My youngest went to QB School (camp) and we got some fine instruction. All in all very relaxing, and just a warm-up for the hell week that is next week’s litigation schedule. Thanks for asking!!

  38. lorn:

    Normally I’d refute your monstrous stupidity, but like I tell my near adult kids when they posit childish remarks, just shut up already.

  39. Mespo72Cubed,

    Thank you for the update.


    Talk to the Hand the Hand does not talk back.

  40. lorn:

    “MESPO, GET the F out of our country you moron.”


    Given you nonsensical commentary and illiterate, invective-filled, juvenile ramblings I can say with utmost assurance I am not now, nor have I ever been, a denizen of your “country.” Wouldn’t want to be either!!

  41. Darn you JT your editing pen takes away all my fun with the clan of the troll-bear. Give a tired old litigator a break, will ya? I just spent all day in dec action hashing out the finer points of insurance law. Can’t I stomp one little troll??

  42. Even the threat of your leaving the country was too much to bear. We would all have to abandon the site and gradually go insane from unspoken thoughts.

    I am afraid that Lorn will have to go to one of the same sites — on the left and the right — that appear to cater to personal attacks and juvenile name calling.

  43. JT:

    My pitiful reply was an attempt to infer to our trollish friend that in the “country” I call home such name-calling and inane commentary have no place. Oh well back to listening to a fine video speech by Kofi Annan on the issue of world hunger. Good evening!

  44. Mespo72Cubed,

    Somebody’s creating trouble, I can’t wait for the swath of the scythe. Heads will roll I tell you. ROFLMAO. Oh but then you will probably get away with it because you are an Original. You sly dog you. lol

  45. Sir off to bed for me, I have to rest up for a Ranger Ball game Saturday night. They presently are in the AL 1st so lets see how long this goes. Personally I would like to see the Tigers take it all. They do have a FAR SUPERIOR CLUB than all of the rest.

    You do amaze me, well everyone does. Some just more than others.

  46. AY:

    Well watch a kid from our area on the Tigers named Justin Verlander. He’s been pitching that hard since I first saw him in Little League. Nice Italian kid too.

  47. Buddha, RCampbell, FFLEO & Mespo,
    Thank you. Though I had to go to Wiki myself to get backup on dates, this is stuff that many Jews grow up with because of our checkered history. While in the US well celebrate 1492 as the year Columbus took off to find America, among Jews it’s the year we were driven from Spain by Isabella and hubby. Those Jews that agreed to convert and stay were called “marano’s” and were constantly under surveillance by the Inquisition to determine if their conversions were a smokescreen. Portuguese Jews suffered similarly.

    Part of what I think separates committed (self identifying) Jews (like myself) from their fellow citizens is that what to us is our history absorbed as we grew, is really unfamiliar to the non-Jews around us. This has some bearing on Christian teachings, but I think it is that in our smallness in numbers, our history is of little importance to the rest of the world.

    That Jews have succeeded in many fields at rates way beyond our numbers is true because we are one of the few religions and cultures where literacy is a basic need for worship. Due to this Jews prize scholarship above all else. That is why in general we are successful, but in today’s America, with the influx of Asian citizens we see Asian children excelling at similar rates. This is because culturally the Asian immigrants see education as the path to success also.

    In the end with all our personal/cultural histories humanity is pretty much equal despite genetic heritage, it is the hater’s and the oppressors who cause the internecine strife.
    Nevertheless, I appreciate your kind words and your willingness to delve further on your own into Jewish history.
    Jews believe all righteous people are loved by God (I’m using this metaphorically)so we don’t proselytize, but as a small group we are egotistical enough to enjoy people’s attention.

  48. Thank you, Prof Turley, for updating your essay on Justice Sotomayor and for clarifying your positions.


    PJT wrote:

    “I am afraid that Lorn will have to go to one of the same sites — on the left and the right — that appear to cater to personal attacks and juvenile name calling.”

    We all should remember that many people read and/or link to this blawg. Since it is “THE #1 LEGAL THEORY AND LAW PROFESSOR BLOG OF THE TOP 100 LEGAL BLOGS BY THE ABA JOURNAL” I think that we must keep very high standards.

    If the standards continue to decline—as they have recently—I will be a strong written and voting opponent of this site during next year’s vote. After all, this is a blawg dealing with legal theory and practices and as such, honesty and integrity–to the hightest extent the blogosphere is capable–must be paramount.

    I have learned an abundance of legal opinions here and the attached essay and relevant comments are excellent examples of what this site is capable.

    Realistically, what people post here is somewhat reflective of the blawg’s host and his worldview, temperament, and biases.

  49. Dear Formet Federal LEO,
    Point taken. I believe we all favor those who we have more in common with. I don’t know that this makes one “racist”. I always thought one was racist if one automatically thought thoses of a different race or ethnicity were automactically inferior or evil because of that mere distinction.

    I think one can have a special pride in, or comfort level, with their own race/ethnicity without being racist.

    But riddle-me this Batman, is there any instance where one can say that one would make a better judge because one is a white middle ( or upper ) class male? Is there a single instance you could think of where anyone would get away with that statement?

    I guess being a white middle class male must make me an inferior lawyer as well. I guess my parents should have stayed in Puerto Rico where both my mother and I were born so I could claim a more “authentic” heritage, transforming me into a super lawyer.

    My wife’s Puerto Rican too. But alas, my son has blond hair and we live ina nice suberb outside of Chicago. I think I need to move us back to some bullit ridden area of Humbolt Park so he can fully realise his potential.

  50. seamus wrote, in part:

    “But riddle-me this Batman, is there any instance where one can say that one would make a better judge because one is a white middle ( or upper ) class male? Is there a single instance you could think of where anyone would get away with that statement?”

    Yes, in my opinion I think that would apply to Professor Turley, specifically in this instance. Although I know much less of the others’ published legal opinions and legal standing, I would still most likely include many of the middle-to-upper class white male lawyers who post here as capable of judgeships at different levels of the judiciary (no lists because I might leave someone out).

    It does not bother me in the least what Ms. Sotomayor said, because in large part it is factual regarding a certain proportion of her legal deliberations. Similarly, I think that accomplished middle-to-upper class white males can make certain claims based on experience, educational excellence, and all of the other measures with which we judge accomplishments. In today’s world, can such a male state that publicly? Almost assuredly not, but I think such proclamations are factually correct, in many instances.

    That is why I want more diversity on the Supreme Court and in the other branches of government, as long as there are stringent qualifications to which all applicants and nominees are equally subjected. Ms. Sotomayor has exceeded all of the reasonable measures to become a Supreme Court Justice, notwithstanding her comments that—to me—say she is just more honest than most and that should matter a great deal to all of us.

  51. FFLEO/Seamus:

    on the racist issue, what are your thoughts into the actual nature or reason for racism?

    If you look at the animal kingdom in general all species tend to congregate with their own. Fish, ungulates, wolves, lions, etc.. Could there be some left over survival mechanism that is no longer needed but still influences our actions and therefore our thoughts?

  52. Bron,

    I know I’ve mentioned these two books before, but they’re good: “The Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors,” and “The Science of Good and Evil.” I think you’d really get a lot from them. A bit of a warning though, after reading the first one the Primate exhibits at zoos loose some of their appeal.

  53. I have been very busy the last couple of days and I have neither the time, desire, or patience to read everyone’s responses. I do read Mespo’s and JT’s – religiously…😉

    Sonia Sotomayor is perhaps an ‘unknown’ in her written opinions, but she is not unknown or unknowing in many other respects having to do with minorities and women.

    JT, you admit that the magazine cover piece you are writing is subjective and I submit you fell deep into that category when you characterized her as a ‘lightweight’.

    If she is confirmed, and I am not routing for her especially either, she won’t be a lightweight any longer. And because of my background and experience in two male dominated fields, unless I miss my guess, that is the real issue here, most unfortunately.

    ‘We see this’, as we all say in medicine.

    I wish her well and I won’t be upset at all if she passes confirmation.

    ‘You GO girl’…

    p.s. I am an extremely powerful woman, by all accounts here on the turlee blog, and I have NO idea!!!😉

  54. Prof. Turley,
    I searched for this site to send you an angry response because I had just read a one sided argument by you in WSJ about Judge Sotomayor. After reading your well balanced views on this site, all I can say is,”Thank you”. I love a well balanced discussion of the issues and get frustrated when people take sides based on their political views. I tend to be liberal but will not hesitate a second agreeing with a well reasoned argument by a conservative.
    Your site will be a regular “read” for me from now on.
    Best regards

  55. Welcome aboard Jeevan, if I may be so presumptuous. Many of us feel we have discovered a new country coming into this blog –one where reason actually gets a day in court. Invective is rarely tolerated, and factually grounded opinions usually carry the day. It’s our little neighborhood cyber-bar with JT hosting, throwing out the Cretans, and cleaning the glassware. One more thing: don’t tell everybody, we like the company here already–you included.

  56. If anyone here has heard about Sotomayor’s quote about Latina women and white men and wants to know more, here are a couple quotes and under those is a link to the full speech.

    “Second, 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.
    Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society.”

    “Each day on the bench I learn something new about the judicial process and about being a professional Latina woman in a world that sometimes looks at me with suspicion. I am reminded each day that I render decisions that affect people concretely and that I owe them constant and complete vigilance in checking my assumptions, presumptions and perspectives and ensuring that to the extent that my limited abilities and capabilities permit me, that I reevaluate them and change as circumstances and cases before me requires. I can and do aspire to be greater than the sum total of my experiences but I accept my limitations. I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate.”

  57. Mespo72 wrote,

    “…throwing out the Cretans…”

    Talk about racism, what did any of those people from that little Greek island do to get kicked off this blawg?

  58. AY, it’s not lost upon anyone so far that you kiss mespo’s butt just like Jill attempted to kiss mine and my big deal radio station-owner brother’s, by association and JT’s as well, still, as she has all along.

    Like either approach would ever work and to what end?
    … NOT!

    I’ve never cared for brown nosers! And I suspect I’m never alone in that regard.

  59. FFLeo:

    “Talk about racism, what did any of those people from that little Greek island do to get kicked off this blawg?”


    Right you are to point up my blind acceptance of the Cretan paradox uttered by the Cretan poet Epimenides that, “All Cretans are Liars.” Too much time around the Greco-Roman classics I suppose. I officially renounce my previous discrimination against the residents of Candia (I like the Italian word better than the stick-in-your-throat word “Crete”), and vow to do better in the future.

  60. BVM, Twice is enough. Please post relevant Sotomayor-related material. Trying to slip in the ‘Obama is not president’ mantra is not relevant.

  61. Professor,

    I am happy to have found this site…I have always appreciated the logic coming from a legal mind that uses that mind for the promotion and the understanding of the Constitution.

    My choice for the court would have been you but then I have a tendency to go away from the politics of a thing and straight for the Constitution. Unfortunately, we have become too much a nation of politics and not a nation of truth…

    Thank you for your most sound discussion of this nominee. We can only hope that Congress takes the same time and trouble to be as informed in their decision making process. Somehow I doubt that will be the case……

  62. JT is not interested in being a Supreme at this point in his young family life or career. He is too social.

    I must say I am growing weary of people, mostly white males, rephrasing and attempting to minimize Sonia Sosotmayors recently perceived ‘alarming’ statements.

    Her statements are being taken out of the context made in ab atmosphere of questioning, subsequently now being held up, and ultimately severely criticized in light of her nomination.

    No big surprise there!

    Successful women, including myself, continue to have relevant ongoing unpleasant experiences when dealing with men who, likewise, could very easily be viewed as incompetent based on their failing positions and less than stellar performances and who are thereby, understandably, insecure in the workplace.

    There is no simpler explanation because that is the same one being projected by these very same men.

    Professional women constantly have to reprove themselves, everyday, and in a continually less than fair and discriminatory fashion than has ever been automatically required of men – period.

    Sonia Sotomayor has every reason to balk in the presence of such glaring unfairness and proceed to dig in her heels. It’s not fair – either in coming or in the going,

    That is likely her personal bent, simply because she knows what it has meant for herself, from the beginning. It’s something that need to be fixed, not something SHE needs get off.

    She is doing pretty well, all matters considered.

  63. Nominating and confirming Sotomayor is nonsense and illegal. Clearly she is no good. If she had logic and morals of U.S. law she would be calling for Obama, et al’s arrests rather than conspiring with the treason of usurper Obama. It is very relevant that Obama is Not the president. He is a murderous War Criminal.

  64. BVM,
    Give it a rest. You’ve turned from having possibilities to outright troll and I think are to unaware to know it.

  65. “AY, it’s not lost upon anyone so far that you kiss mespo’s butt”

    Patty C,
    What purpose does this serve and so why do it?

  66. MS:

    Despite my boundless respect for you (and thankfulness for your contributions to this site), I must share something that I recently researched on a lark. Saying that you will not allow your daughters to marry Cretans would be a direct slap at the good (and highly valued potential spouses) of the Island of Crete. Some have traced the term “cretin” to “cretinism” — a severe deficiency of thyroid hormones (a condition known as “hypothyroidism”). This condition can result in stunted growth, physical deformities and cognitive impairment. Now, before you assume that I can suggesting that only a cretin would denounce a cretan, rest assured — I researched this term because I have used the same spelling. Indeed, when I used Cretin in a column, a copy editor corrected it to Cretan. Go figure. However, in case you are going for a Greek holiday anytime soon, I wanted to give you fair warning: some Cretans can be real cretins over language. I do not know if the disease was connected to the island. Perhaps someone can enlighten me. Of course, with my serial typoism (a reference to the Island of Typo), I have nothing more to say on this subject.

  67. Former federal leo,

    your comment that an underprivliged minority will bring unique skills (i.e., better decision making) than overprivilged white males is racists as well. There are more underprivileged white males and women in this country that also have life experiences that a minority, irrespective of privilige, that would bring unique skills (i.e., different than minorities) to the Court. That does not make them a better jurists, just a person that may bring a different perspective. Making a statement that a person of a different race will bring unique skills is a statement based on race, period. In addition, the application of the law is required to be applied equally for similarly situated persons (i.e., 14th ammendment). The law is not applied different based on race or someones privilege status. If federal laws were applied differently based on race/privilege, then I would agree with you.

  68. I believe it true to modify Robert H. Jackson’s statement to read: “To (FUND) a War of Aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is (a) supreme international crime differing only from other War Crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

  69. “Mike Spindell:
    Clearly you don’t have logic and morals of U.S. law else you would be calling for Obama, et al’s arrests for War Crimes, treason, fraud, forgery, etc.”

    Your claims and positions are so ludicrous as to make responding to them demeaning. Your contention that everyone who voted for war funding is a war criminal is nonsense. I would broaden the definition though to anyone who lives in the US, or pays taxes is a war criminal. Which I assume makes you one. If you truly believe as you say I would hope you have the courage enough to turn yourself in now at either Spain or The Hague.

  70. BVM,
    You live here and pay taxes. If you believe as you do you shouldn’t pay taxes or continue to live here. The fact that you do both makes you as guilty. If you’re not part of the solution then you are part of the problem. Your nonsense postings clearly show you are part of the problem. You may or may not realize it but in your positions you have become a defender of the Bush/Cheney Crime Family. If you do realize it then you’re just another neocon troll and if you don’t you are just ignorant.

  71. Mike Spindell,

    You could not have explained everything to BVM in more simplistic terms and with more patience; therefore, I assume his abject ignorance for which there is a resolution, if he so chooses.

  72. “Saying that you will not allow your daughters to marry Cretans would be a direct slap at the good (and highly valued potential spouses) of the Island of Crete.”

    I’ve already stipulated that some of my best friends are Cretans (or was that cretins?). Not allowing them to marry my daughter was strictly from a religious standpoint. However, since your brood is still young perhaps you haven’t yet realized that once they reach adulthood they’re going to do as they damn well please and that we as loving parents will cheerfully accede.

    Anyway, perhaps he would be willing to convert, though that is highly unlikely if he hasn’t been circumcised. Oy vey, the problems I must consider and all the while feeling guilty about everything.

  73. JT:

    “I do not know if the disease was connected to the island. Perhaps someone can enlighten me. Of course, with my serial typoism (a reference to the Island of Typo), I have nothing more to say on this subject.”


    I am writing out in longhand 500 times that I will never use the word “Cretan” again.

  74. JT,

    From “Mutants, On Genetic Variety and the Human Body” by Armand Marie Leroi (A very well written and interesting book, but due to inclusion of photographs, diagrams, etc. of some of the effects of some mutations not for the faint of heart): But the Vast Majority of the world’s cases of cretinism are caused by a simple lack of dietary iodine. The tragedy of six million cretins is that the cure and the prevention of the disease is known, and costs next to nothing: it is simply iodised salt.

  75. Prof. Turley…

    Hopefully, your ears were burning this afternoon when Pat Buchanan invoked your name on Hardball and the activities surrounding your review of Judge Sotomayor’s 30-odd cases you’ve just completed. Good to hear him use you as a talking point in his hysterical and highly-racist rant around the Judge.

    Watch the segment from Hardball today and judge for yourself if you want to interject a possible disclaimer.

  76. Winski
    1, June 2, 2009 at 7:57 pm
    Prof. Turley…

    Watch the segment from Hardball today and judge for yourself if you want to interject a possible disclaimer.


    WoW, or better yet put up a link under the heading ‘LOL’s for all: Check it out, I made this fools head ‘splode!’:-)

  77. Vince Treacy,

    Thanks for the pdf. I certainly would like to see attorneys’ opinions posted here regarding Ms. Sotomayor’s overall fitness as a potential SC justice based on the CRS Report.

    That reminks me, I thought CRS was a mental disease involving something like: Caint Remember Stuff or words to that effect.

  78. Benjamin Cardozo was a Portuguese Jew(very rare by the way). Cardozo is a Portuguese name. How he is even being considered a spic, is beyond me. Portugal and Spain are two totally different countries in every aspect(language, culture,cuisine, etc…). The only thing these two countries have in common, are that of being neighbors. France also neighbors Spain and i doubt people are confusing the French of being spics. Such ignorance! I am Portuguese/American, and would be furious if someone confused me with being spic.

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