Saturday, June 20, 2009

More empathy required

"Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor resigned Friday from an elite all-women's club after Republicans questioned her participation in it. Sotomayor said she resigned from the Belizean Grove to prevent the issue from becoming a distraction in her confirmation hearings. . . . the federal appeals court judge said she is convinced that the club does not practice "invidious discrimination" and that her membership in it did not violate judicial ethics. . . . Federal judges are bound by a code that says they shouldn't join any organization that discriminates by race, sex, religion or nationality. The Belizean Grove bills itself as women's answer to the 130-year-old all-male Bohemian Club in Monte Rio (Sonoma County). . . . Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy faced similar questions over his longtime membership in the all-male Olympic Club in San Francisco. Kennedy resigned his membership in October 1987, as he was under consideration for the high court."

I support Sotomayor's nomination. But, for someone touted as being so "empathetic", she should have more empathy for those excluded from any fancy private club she belongs to. And, she shouldn't defend her club with the very same language and excuses ("it's purely social", "no one applied", "it's not invidious discrimination") used in the past to defend racist or sexist or antisemitic clubs.

As to the founders of Belizean Grove (which, admittedly, is a very witty and clever name and idea) - - the answer to snooty discriminatory clubs is not to start a snooty discriminatory club of your own. Too many times, people "opposed to discrimination" act as if they only oppose discrimination against themselves.

P.S. - Now would be the time for all members of the Obama administration to review their club memberships

No comments: