As a child, she aspired to be like Nancy Drew, the detective in the popular children's mystery series. But at the age of 8, she was diagnosed with diabetes and told she would not be able to pursue that line of work. Sotomayor said it was another fictional character that inspired her next choice.
"I noticed that [defense attorney] Perry Mason was involved in a lot of the same kinds of investigative work that I had been fascinated with reading Nancy Drew, so I decided to become a lawyer," Sotomayor told the American Bar Association publication in 2000. "Once I focused on becoming a lawyer, I never deviated from that goal." Sotomayor later graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and went on to attend Yale law school, where she was editor of the Yale Law Journal.
Supporters say her appointment history, along with what they describe as her moderate-liberal views, will give her some bipartisan backing in the Senate. Sotomayor presided over about 450 cases while on the district court. Prior to her judicial appointments, Sotomayor was a partner at a private law firm and spent time as an assistant district attorney prosecuting violent crimes.
This being said, she was cool under fire today. Still, I marveled at her ability to remain on point and pleasant throughout the day's proceedings. I posted over at Jack&Jill politics that I kept waiting for her to jump up, put her hand on her hip and say, "Look here, papi. Whatchu see is whatchu get, right?" In my soap opera, she goes all Rosie Perez a la Do the Right Thing with Sessions as Mookie. Much as I would have enjoyed that, that's exactly what they want to see. They want to see a loud, gum-smacking, neck-rolling, "spicy Latina" breaking them off a piece of her mind. Not gonna happen.
Today they re-dredged the "wise Latina" question and tried to get her to say that she was an abortion-loving rabble-rousing radical terrorist. Um yeah, it didn't work. She stuck to the jurisprudence and referenced logical standards of impartiality for every wackadoodle scenario they threw at her. It was so off the wall at one point that I expected Jack Lemon and Walter Mathau to come out and announce that this was all a gag promoting Grumpy Old Men 3 – They're back and elected to public office!
Let the record reflect that had it been OneChele in front of them today, the conversation would've gone a little differently:
"Ms. Chele, thank you for appearing in front of us today."
I smile. "Umm-hmm, no problem. Anything for Barry, so what's on your mind?"
"Ms. Chele, can you share with us your opinions on abortion?"
Frowning, I answer. "That seems rather personal. I think we should let grown folks handle grown folks' business."
"So you refuse to answer?"
"I gave you the answer I'm going to give." I put on the stern face.
"That's not acceptable."
"What are you going to do, arrest me for unacceptability?" Insert OneChele hair flip here, "Next question."
"Share with this panel your thoughts on reverse discrimination."
"No such thing, there's discrimination and hateration, everything else is some nonsense ya'll made up."
"Seriously, you don't think there are instances where the majority has been overlooked for an Affirmative Action hire?"
"Lookie here, if you are playing a football game and the home team is up 48 – 3, are you really begrudging the away team a field goal scored at the end of the game?"
"I don't take your reference."
I suck my teeth, "Exactly, next question."
"Right. Can you tell us if you own a gun?"
"No, I don't but the longer I sit here, the more enticing the purchase sounds… where's the closest Wal-mart?"
"Is that a threat?"
I shrug. "I'm just sayin'."
"So you are an advocate of gun rights?"
"Do guns need rights? Are you being funny?" I sip my water. "By the way, can someone bring me a Venti White Mocha please?"
"Ooo-kay, how about this – what are your thoughts on the right to bear arms?"
"If you have the biceps to pull it off, I have no problem with sleeveless clothes in the summertime like before Labor Day."
"Are you being deliberately evasive?"
"Are you being deliberately condescending?"
"Ms. Chele, do you understand that we need to understand what will make you a fair and impartial judge on the Supreme Court of the United States of America?"
"I get that, do you understand that the Nordstrom's Anniversary sale is this week and it's a 44-minute drive to Tyson's Corner on a good day?"
"I think we're done here."
Me, standing up and placing handbag on shoulder. "I think you're right. Let me know when it's time for the first fitting."
"Oh yeah, I need my black robe looking right." I exit, stage left.
Stick with Sotomayor fellas. According to Robin Kar, who clerked for Sotomayor from 1998 to 1999, Sonia is a "warm, extraordinarily kind and caring person." Nice as I may be, I don't stand for the brand of yada-yada nonsense the Republicans are dishing out. Hang in there, Sonia – you'll be on the SCOTUS in no time.
Have you watched any of the confirmation hearings? What do you think of the overall tone?