Legal commentator Stuart Taylor has a good column criticizing various conservative pundits - including Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich - who accuse Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor of being a racist.
Both Taylor and I have been very critical of Judge Sotomayor's 2001 speech where she claimed that "a wise Latina" judge will generally make better decisions than a white male one, and argued that judges can often legitimately base decisions in part on their racial or ethnic identity. I believe her position is wrong. But it isn't racist. Sotomayor did not suggest that whites are an inferior race relative to some other group or that they should be denied equal rights or relegated to second-class citizenship. Conservatives often rightly denounce overblown accusations of racism advanced by leftists. For that reason, among others, it is important that they avoid committing the same sin themselves.
And while we are on this sorry subject, Limbaugh also did his reputation no favors when he said that "Obama is the greatest living example of a reverse racist" in the same statement (quoted by Taylor) where he accused Sotomayor of racism. I think Obama is wrong about a great many things. But he pretty clearly isn't a "reverse racist," much less "the greatest living example" of such.
UPDATE: I have taken the very unusual step (for me) of closing down comments on this post since I think that the thread has gone well past the point of diminishing returns, and some of the comments exceed even the very broad limits of what I consider to be permissible civility.
UPDATE #2: The original version of this post incorrectly identified Gingrich, rather than Limbaugh, as the one who called Obama "the greatest living example of a reverse racist." I apologize for the error, which has now been corrected.
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