Quantcast

Jewish Journal

JewishJournal.com

May 26, 2009

Sotomayor or Cardozo: Supreme Court’s first Hispanic?

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/sotomayor_or_cardozo_supreme_courts_first_hispanic_20090526/

Photo

There have been two major bits of news in the legal world today. One is straightforward but far from over: the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8. But the other, that Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s first pick for the U.S. Supreme Court will be the first Latino to join the nation’s highest court, is less clear. All that depends on just how we should classify Justice Benjamin Nathan Cardozo, a Sephardic Jew appointed to the Supreme Court by President Hoover.

Cardozo’s direct lineage was from the Iberian Peninsula, and though AP style is not to identify Spaniards and the Portuguese as Latinos, Cardozo was Hispanic.

Eugene Volokh, the UCLA law professor and prolific blogger who clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, sifts the wheat from the chaff with an on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand argument. Volokh concludes:

So the bottom line: There’s no doubt that many Hispanics might see Judge Sotomayor as one of them in a way that they don’t see Justice Cardozo as one of them. There’s nothing “incorrect” about that; it’s a matter of felt shared identity, which is defined by actual practices and not by scientific or often even legal definitions. But if one does look at legal attempts to try to capture Hispanic identity as a legal category, Justice Cardozo might well have qualified (which may say more about the weakness of such legal attempts than about anything else).

Indeed, Jewish identity is a complicated animal. So too is Latino identity. Put them together and, well, you’re going to have a tough time reaching consensus.

JewishJournal.com is produced by TRIBE Media Corp., a non-profit media company whose mission is to inform, connect and enlighten community
through independent journalism. TRIBE Media produces the 150,000-reader print weekly Jewish Journal in Los Angeles – the largest Jewish print
weekly in the West – and the monthly glossy Tribe magazine (TribeJournal.com). Please support us by clicking here.

© Copyright 2014 Tribe Media Corp.
All rights reserved. JewishJournal.com is hosted by Nexcess.net
Web Design & Development by Hop Studios 0.3342 / 52