June 5, 2009

Commentary:

“Driving while black on a Sunday afternoon”

By Raoul Lowery Contreras

President Obama’s first nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court –Judge Sonia Sotomayor – has been quoted as saying that she hopes that a Latina with wisdom derived from her unique experiences would arrive at a better conclusion than a similar white suburban raised male judge, or words to that effect.

She is right.

Rush Limbaugh, on the other hand, declares that Judge Sotomayor isn’t qualified to be a juror much less a Supreme Court judge.

He is wrong.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich calls Judge Sotomayor a “racist.”

He is wrong.

Rush Limbaugh compares Judge Sotomayor to former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke.

He is wrong.

Speaking of juror judgment, an all-white jury in Pennsylvania’s Schuylkill County acquitted two boys, two white boys 17 and 19 years old of murder and ethnic intimidation for taunting, attacking and killing a 25-year-old Mexican man Luis Ramirez, 25 (who, by the way, was in the country illegally) and convicting the boys of simple assault. The facts and evidence were clear these boys were guilty of murder, period. Nonetheless, this jury of morons manifested their deepest racist views and feelings by acquitting these murderers in an irresponsible act of jury nullification.

Is there any question that these jurors were and are plain stupid and not qualified to judge anything? Based on over 400 published judicial opinions, can we be assured that Judge Sotomayor might have reached a better conclusion than these white morons?

White Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has called for federal prosecution of these “boys.” Gingrich and Limbaugh are silent on the question.

Moving on to a future Supreme Court decision — an ambitious Colorado county prosecutor, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, has seized confidential federal income tax records from an income tax preparer’s office and used gleaned information to prosecute alleged illegal aliens from Mexico for identity theft and criminal impersonation against 70 or so people. Buck claims that up to 1300 such cases may be filed based on information taken from over 4,900 seized returns. He also claims his actions are legal because these tax return copies where in a private office not an IRS office.

Simply stated, the tax filers used Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) issued by the federal Internal Revenue Service for the express purpose of filing federal income tax returns. They may or may not have used made up or borrowed Social Security numbers. If they did, Buck claims they committed crimes. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled a few weeks ago that an individual must know a Social security number used for employment purposes belongs to someone else before a criminal act is committed

Two different judges have so far ruled Buck’s “Operation Numbers Game” illegal and he is currently appealing their decisions to higher Colorado courts. This case may go before the U.S. Supreme Court someday. If so, Judge Sotomayor might rule on the case. We can assume that her superior experience would cause her to rule District Attorney Buck to be one step short of criminal himself.

We don’t know exactly what she meant when she made the statement of superiority in a speech but we can guess that she might rule “driving on a Sunday Afternoon while black” might not be a violation of law, mightn’t we?

We might predict that if she had been on the all-white male Court in 1857 she might have voted that Dredd Scott was a real person and entitled to American Citizenship not a piece of property not eligible for citizenship because he was black.

We might assume that had she been on the all-white male Court in 1897 she might have voted that “separate but equal” facilities for blacks were illegal in the Plessy v. Ferguson case that doomed blacks to “Jim Crow” segregation for almost six and seven decades more.

We might assume that had she been on the all-white male Court in 1944 that she might have voted against approving the arrest and detention of American citizens of Japanese ancestry in the infamous white man inspired Korematsu case in which 6 white justices approved the massive denial of American civil liberties by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

This is a real life debate that will now take place on a national stage thanks to President Obama. A South Bronx upbringing as a Nuyorican, a Manhattan criminal prosecuting experience, wrapped up in a woman named Sotomayor against the fantasy ethnic-hating all-white world of Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich.

Contreras’ books are available at amazon.com

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