Doubts Raised About Appointing Sotomayor to Supreme Court Seat

The appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to a Supreme Court seat seems to have hit some speed bumps in recent days. Although President Obama has a historic opportunity to appoint the first Hispanic judge in the court's history, it is unclear whether or not he will embrace it. Many advisers have recently pointed out that Obama will likely get another chance to appoint a Supreme Court Justice before his term is up, which may take the pressure off to attempt to shift the ethnic and gender balance on the court with just one pick.

Although the Supreme Court does an abysmal job of accurately reflecting the makeup of this country—with only one female (though women outnumber men in the United States), one African American (though nearly 13 percent of the population is black) and no Latino judges (though Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of the population in the country)—a new Gallup poll suggests that the American public is not very concerned with diversity in the highest court of the land. Two-thirds of Americans surveyed say it "doesn't matter" to them if the president appoints a woman, while 68 percent said they don't care whether Obama names a Hispanic justice and nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they are indifferent as to whether the first African American president appoints a black justice.

Thankfully, not everyone has such a laissez-faire attitude about the importance of diversity in our countries highest court. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus recently told Obama that "appointing our nation's first Hispanic justice would undoubtedly be welcomed by our community and bring greater diversity of thought, perspective and experience to the nation's legal system."

Unfortunately, since her naming as a front-runner for an appointment to the Supreme court, Sotomayor has been the target of several profiles that have called into question her accomplishments, temperament and even her education. Ramona Romero, president of the Hispanic National Bar Association, spoke up on the issue recently, saying, "We are talking here about a woman who graduated from Princeton summa cum laude, went to Yale Law School and is an outstanding scholar. We don't believe Judge Sotomayor requires any defense; we believe her record speaks for itself. We think she's one—and I want to emphasize, one of many—excellent candidates."