... you know the GOP is in trouble. Here's Charles; here's Cornyn. Charles prefers a principled discussion of identity politics and the law, without calling anyone a racist. Amen. But the Ricci case strikes me as over-reach. All Sotomayor did was adhere to the established precedents. It wasn't up to her to wage a judicial campaign against affirmative action. The system was clear, and as Wiki points out,
On appeal, a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (Sotomayor, Pooler and Sack, JJ.) affirmed the district court's ruling in a summary order, without opinion, in February 2008. However, after a suggestion that the court hear the case en banc, the panel withdrew its summary order and in June 2008 issued instead a unanimous per curiam opinion.
The panel's June 2008 per curiam opinion characterized the trial court's decision as "thorough, thoughtful and well-reasoned" while also lamenting that there were "no good alternatives" in the case. The panel expressed sympathy to the plaintiffs' situation, particularly Ricci's, but ultimately concluded that the Civil Service Board was acting to "fulfill its obligations under Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act]". The trial court's opinion was adopted in its entirety by the panel.
As Hilzoy noted, this was an example of judicial modesty, no?
And in this case, she even expressed "empathy" for the white male victim. As for the "wise Latina" speech, you have to look at the entire context, which is far more nuanced than the familar pull-quote. The nuance doesn't get her off the hook, though. The speech is imbued with the kind of boomer pomo smugness that reminds me why I'm not on the left. But that's a great chance, as Charles notes, not to throw around the "racist" or "dumb" or "nasty" canards, but to use the Sotomayor hearings to debate the role of identity and experience in making judicial decisions - issues that came up with the life-story of Clarence Thomas (without which his judicial philosophy makes only partal sense) and the ethnic background of Nino Scalia.
Using the hearings as an opportunity to sing the virtues of trying to overcome one's personal biases in interpreting the law would be a blessing. A mature GOP would leap at the chance.