Reagan’s non-male campaign promise.

Since the GOP pushback on Sonia Sotomayor consists mainly of screaming "identity politics!" and "empathy!", it’s worth remembering — yet again — how both are totally OKIYAR.

Sandra Day O’Connor, chick vote bait

According to Ronald Reagan biographer Lou Cannon, during the 1980 presidential race between Reagan, the Republican nominee, and Democratic President Jimmy Carter running for re-election, Reagan had a small lead over Carter as of mid-October. But Reagan’s political strategist Stuart K. Spenser, concerned that support from female voters was slipping, wanted to close the perceived gender gap. The strategist and his boss discussed ways to win back women and the idea of naming a woman to the Supreme Court was born.

Before any public announcement was made, some Reagan staffers questioned the decision. If the court’s first vacancy was the position of chief justice, his pledge to nominate a woman would be controversial. Reagan hedged his bets; on October 14 in Los Angeles, he promised to appoint a woman to "one of the first Supreme Court vacancies in my administration."

Antonin Scalia, Italian-American proof of the American dream.

STROM THURMOND: Judge Scalia is now cast in the role of a symbol. Certainly, he creates great pride by being the first Italian-American who will sit on the Court. However, he also serves as a symbol in an even larger context. Judge Scalia, a first-generation American and the son of an immigrant, has been chosen by the President to be a member of the Supreme Court. By dedication and hard work, Judge Scalia has reached the apex of his chosen profession and stands as proof of the vitality of the American dream.

Clarence Thomas, paragon of empathy.

PRESIDENT BUSH: I have followed this man’s career for some time, and he has excelled in everything that he has attempted. He is a delightful and warm, intelligent person who has great empathy and a wonderful sense of humor. 

Clarance Thomas, inspirational African-American.

RUSH: And your grandfather, with the rules and his high expectations of you, all of this is profoundly inspiring, which is exactly why I’m happy you’re here today, because these are the things that people don’t know about you. All of this sounds like a pure recipe, Mr. Justice Thomas, of being really devoted to yourself. You had some great role models, your grandfather especially. You came from a background that was…Well, I use the word "unfair." It was just unfortunate, but you don’t seem to have allowed any of it to be an excuse for not being the best you could be. …

In a segregated part of the country, then, how did he deal with you and your brothers in teaching you or informing you about race and what you faced in your future as a result of being African-American? …

They’re seeing you exactly as the civil rights coalition feared from the first day of your nomination that you would be seen: a genuine, humble human being who has become, in their fearful view, the way they look at you is, you are now the most powerful African-American man in the country, and you have shown that it can be done without them.

 Miguel Estrada, shiny Hispanic example of what’s possible in America.

Republicans prefer to portray Mr. Estrada principally as an inspiring example of an immigrant reaping the rewards of America. Mr. Estrada came to the United States from Honduras when he was 17 and spoke little English.

‘Here’s a kid who comes to our country, works hard, learns the language. He’s a brilliant jurist,” President Bush told a gathering of Hispanic civic leaders at the White House in one of the many events held by the administration to promote Mr. Estrada’s nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. ”I want this man to serve as a bright example of what is possible in America.”

Such crass identity politics!

Don’t these Republicans understand that the only quality that matters in a judge is his ability to side with the powerful impartially call balls and strikes?

Blue Texan

Blue Texan