Judge Sotomayor Confirmed

Just got an email from NPR confirming the confirmation

(my son is watching Murray and Ovejita on SS, so I can’t watch the TV coverage)

Judge Sonia Sotomayor took another step in her historic journey to the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday after a Senate panel voted to send her nomination to the full Senate for confirmation.

Just one Republican, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, joined Democrats in the 13-6 vote for President Obama’s first high court nominee. The panel’s chairman, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, called Sotomayor a restrained, fair and impartial judge who has not favored any one group of people over another. But the top Republican, Alabama’s Jeff Sessions, said her speeches and some rulings revealed beliefs that conflict with the idea of blind justice and fidelity to the law.

With Democrats in firm control of the committee and commanding a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, Sotomayor, a 55-year-old Bronx native, is expected to be confirmed before Congress breaks for summer on Aug. 7.

As If Republicans Didn’t Have Enough To Worry About

Political Wire reports that Hispanic vote surged between 2004 and 2008.

A new Census report estimates that “there were 9.745 million Hispanic voters in 2008, compared to 7.587 million in 2004 — an increase of 28.4%,” Josh Goodman reports. 

“Overall, an estimated 131.114 million Americans voted in 2008, compared to 125.736 million in 2004, an increase of just 4.3%. Another way of looking at it: there were 5.4 million additional votes cast in 2008 compared to 2004 and about 2.2 million of them were cast by Hispanics.”

We know that President Obama took 67% of the vote. With the performance of the GOP and Republican senators during the Sotomayor hearings, I have a feeling I know in which direction that percentage will be traveling.

Keep it up, guys. Doing great!

Growing Up To Be Hal Pereira

Growing up with American television, I got to know Hal Pereira. All I knew about him was that he was an Art Director. His name would come up at the end of most black and white shows — especially sitcoms — from the Fifties and Sixties. Seeing his name, in such a prominent place, amidst American names, gave me a sense of pride. Watching those credits roll reminded me that in America, if you had talent and worked hard, even if your name was Gomez or Hernandez or Pereira, you could find a meaninful career.

Hal Pereira reaffirmed my beliefs in the promises of this country. Even if Hal was not a name I recognized, I was sure that we shared a heritage and he became a small symbol, among many I picked up, of what I could achieve.

I just looked up Mr. Pereira’s bio online as I was about to write this post. I found out that he was born in Chicago in 1905 and he died in Los Angeles in 1983. He had an long and fruitful career in the movie and television industry. Hal Pereira was nominate twenty three times for an Oscar for his work in film and won once, in 1958 — three years after I was born — for The Rose Tattoo. When he retired in 1968 from Paramount, after 18 years as head of the studio’s art department, he worked as a design consultant for his brother, architect William L. Pereira.

Inspiration is to be gotten from wherever we can find it. Thank you, Mr. Pereira.

I took my son to the playground last week. He ran and climbed and jumped with twenty or thirty other kids from the neighborhood. African-American kids, Hispanic kids, White kids, Asian kids. As he was making his way from the swings to the slide to the jungle gym back to the swings, it occurred to me that the African-American and Hispanic kids now have a President and — unless hell freezes over — a Supreme Court judge that looks just like them. They’ll have inspiration that my generation never had. I can’t wait to see how far that inspiration will take them.

I have a great deal of hope for the future of those kids. Not only the African-American and the Latino kids, but all the kids that were at the playground that day.

Worth Repeating

The hearings were pure “Alice in Wonderland.” Reality was turned upside down. Southern senators who relate every question to race, ethnicity and gender just assumed that their unreconstructed obsessions are America’s and that the country would find them riveting. Instead the country yawned. The Sotomayor questioners also assumed a Hispanic woman, simply for being a Hispanic woman, could be portrayed as The Other and patronized like a greenhorn unfamiliar with How We Do Things Around Here. The senators seemed to have no idea they were describing themselves when they tried to caricature Sotomayor as an overemotional, biased ideologue.

Frank Rich, NY Times, Sunday 7/19/09