Identity and ordinary politics

“Judge Sotomayor has one of those fabulous American dream self made women stories where growing up with a single mother and in urban poverty she went to some of the best schools in the world and rose to fame and power. Now she will likely be appointed to the supreme court.

President Barack Obama will nominate New York Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, a choice that would elevate the first Hispanic to the highest court in the land. … Ms. Sotomayor’s Puerto Rican heritage would make her the first Hispanic to become a Supreme Court justice — though some court historians say that Justice Benjamin Cardozo, who served on the high court from 1932 to 1938 and was a distant descendent of Portuguese Jews, would qualify for that distinction.’s Puerto Rican heritage would make her the first Hispanic to become a Supreme Court justice — though some court historians say that Justice Benjamin Cardozo, who served on the high court from 1932 to 1938 and was a distant descendent of Portuguese Jews, would qualify for that distinction. … In 1995, she sided with the baseball players’ union in issuing an injunction preventing the owners from establishing new work rules with a new collective-bargaining agreement. That ruling led to the end of a seven-month strike. She was part of a three-judge panel that decided a case recently argued before the Supreme Court about the validity of a civil-service exam for firefighters in New Haven, Conn. Ms. Sotomayor was part of a panel that decided the test could be deemed invalid because no minority applicants passed.

Mankiw is concerned that the SCOTUS appointee is a spender, but I wonder if she has so much money coming to her from either her judge’s pension or even higher income from returning to private practice that it made little sense for her to save more. After all, she probably expects to live until at least her late eighties and work until she can’t, so maybe saving doesn’t make much sense. I’m more concerned that this woman is famous for a few cases with an ideological feel to them. I know next to nothing about the baseball case, but from what I know about the firemen exam case, that seems the wrong way to have gone. I am somewhat amused that there is dispute as to who is Hispanic enough to count as the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. That Obama is half African and has no ancestors who were slaves yet still he was qualified to be called the first Black President, would seem to be evidence that no matter how long you’ve been in the states, a race is a race. Perhaps it has to do Cordozo looked more white than Judge Sotomayo, or that he served when many American Latinos thought of themselves as either white or American Indian and not as a separate race. Maybe we should think of her as the first Supreme Court justice to know that she is Hispanic. Thank goodness for progress.”