The New York Times reports that Judge Sonia Sotomayor once described herself as “a product of affirmative action” and that she was admitted to both Princeton and Yale with “subpar” scores due to affirmative action. The comments have heightened criticism of her vote in the New Haven firefighters case where she supported the throwing out of promotion results because whites and Hispanics scored better than blacks.
In statements that seem directly relevant to the New Haven case (reviewed here with her prior opinions). Sotomayor says that her lower scores were due to “cultural biases” that are “built into testing.”
The videos included references to herself as an “affirmative action baby” and notes that “[i]f we had gone through the traditional numbers route of those institutions, it would have been highly questionable if I would have been accepted.” She tied her own life to the purpose and value of affirmative action programs, stating “my test scores were not comparable to that of my classmates. And that’s been shown by statistics, there are reasons for that. There are cultural biases built into testing, and that was one of the motivations for the concept of affirmative action to try to balance out those effects.”
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