The Story Behind the Story
IF YOU HAPPENED to be watching a television news channel on May 26, the day President Obama nominated U.S. Circuit Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, you might have been struck, as I was, by what seemed like a nifty investigative report.
First came the happy announcement ceremony at the White House, with Sotomayor sweetly saluting her elderly mother, who as a single parent had raised the prospective justice and her brother in a Bronx housing project. Obama had chosen a woman whose life journey mirrored his own: an obscure, disadvantaged beginning followed by blazing academic excellence, an Ivy League law degree, and a swift rise to power. It was a moving TV moment, well-orchestrated and in perfect harmony with the central narrative of the new Obama presidency.
But then, just minutes later, journalism rose to perform its time-honored pie-throwing role. Having been placed by the president on a pedestal, Sotomayor was now a clear target. I happened to be watching Fox News. I was slated to appear that night on one of its programs, Hannity, to serve as a willing foil to the show’s cheerfully pugnacious host, Sean Hannity, a man who can deliver a deeply held conservative conviction on any topic faster than the speed of thought. Since the host knew what the subject matter of that night’s show would be and I did not, I’d thought it best to check in and see what Fox was preoccupied with that afternoon.
With Sotomayor, of course—and the network’s producers seemed amazingly well prepared. They showed a clip from remarks she had made on an obscure panel at Duke University in 2005, and then, reaching back still farther, they showed snippets from a speech she had made at Berkeley Law School in 2001. Here was this purportedly moderate Latina judge, appointed to the federal bench by a Republican president and now tapped for the Supreme Court by a Democratic one, unmasked as a Race Woman with an agenda. In one clip she announced herself as someone who believed her identity as a “Latina woman” (a redundancy, but that’s what she said) made her judgment superior to that of a “white male,” and in the other she all but unmasked herself as a card-carrying member of the Left Wing Conspiracy to use America’s courts not just to apply and interpret the law but, in her own words, to make policy, to perform an end run around the other two branches of government and impose liberal social policies by fiat on an unsuspecting American public.
In the Duke clip, she not only stated that appellate judges make policy, she did so in a disdainful mock disavowal before a chuckling audience of apparently like-minded conspirators. “I know this is on tape and I should never say that, because we don’t make law, I know,” she said before being interrupted by laughter. “Okay, I know. I’m not promoting it, I’m not advocating it, I’m … you know,” flipping her hands dismissively. More laughter...
STORY CONTINUED - http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200910/media