Barack Obama is one of the prime beneficiaries and most prominent exhibits of modern Americans’ determination to be fair-minded and color-blind in their political lives.
But he himself, as evidenced by his support and endorsement of the racial views of his first choice for the U.S. Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor — does not believe that American law and justice should be color-blind.
Judge Sotomayor has the qualifications for the job. Mr. Obama received a majority of the electoral votes last year, he was elected president, and he has enough Democrats in the Senate to approve his appointment.
Therefore Judge Sotomayor will almost certainly become our next justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The republic will doubtless survive.
But make no mistake: Judge Sotomayor’s writings and public utterances make it clear she views politics as a spoils system, in which members of racial groups should be granted special privileges and set-asides — just as she herself was advanced above better qualified and better performing white students throughout her academic career — in order to somehow "make up" for past injustices.
During the current confirmation hearings, Ms. Sotomayor has conducted herself with grace, but at times has appeared to be running away from her liberal record. She has even tried to pass off her remark that a "wise Latina" judge would make better decisions than a white male as a poor attempt at a rhetorical flourish. In fact, she used the analogy on numerous occasions — and it indeed provides a revealing look at her worldview.
That view was also on full display in the controversial Ricci case involving the white Connecticut firefighers. Ms. Sotomayor insists on balanced outcomes — a fire department test that fails to promote a proper quota of blacks must be thrown out.
Such a spoils system is bound to hurt confidence in the courts by eroding the expectation that everyone can expect equal justice before the law.
Ironically, such a racial-quota spoils system hurts most of all members of racial minorities who have achieved high status based on their own efforts and abilities, by making it more likely all will secretly wonder whether that is truly the case, or whether they have been given special opportunities at every step along the way.
That is Judge Sotomayor’s record. That is the way Mr. Obama wants to see justice in America changed.