On Thursday, David Corn explained just how unexpected Larry Klayman's endorsement of Sonia Sotomayor is. Corn did a nice job of listing Klayman's ... uh ... eccentricities.
But there's one thing he missed, and it's a rather interesting bit of the Klayman biography in light of frequent suggestions by media figures that Sotomayor might not be able to rule objectively because of her Puerto Rican heritage.
As Corn noted, Klayman has blamed his bad press on a cabal of Jewish journalists (including Corn) that he thought were out to get him because "as a Jew who believes in Christ" he was "a threat to the liberal Jewish creed, a kosher Uncle Tom."
And (here's the new part) Larry Klayman was once barred from practicing law in New York City after he suggested that an Asian-American judge was unable to rule impartially because of his race.
Klayman, in other words, is prone to thinking that minorities cannot be objective because of their backgrounds. His endorsement of Sotomayor, then, should throw some cold water on the claims by (mostly right-wing) media that because of her background, Sotomayor may be incapable of objectivity.
An appeals court in New York last month upheld a decision by a Chinese American judge to sanction attorney who accused him of ruling against them because of his race.
[Judge Denny] Chin had dismissed a suit filed in 1991 by McDraw Inc., an importer and distributor of wire-drawing equipment, against CIT Group Equipment Financing Inc. alleging contract and fraud charges. A judge who had been assigned the case earlier had also come to similar conclusions about the merits of the claim.
In response, the lawyers in the case, Larry Klayman and Paul Orfanedes of Washington, D.C., filed briefs challenging Chin's impartiality.
Klayman has been one of the leading figures in pursuing allegations of corruption within the White House. As chair of the conservative legal rights group Judicial Watch, Klayman was part of an investigation on John Huang, the former Democratic Party fund raiser who may have raised money from foreign sources.
After his litigation defeat, Klayman sent a letter to Chin demanding to know whether the judge had "any business, political, or personal dealings" with Huang. To support his speculation that Chin was somehow connected to Huang, Klayman found an AsianWeek article mentioning a half-dozen individuals appointed to various posts by President Clinton. Among those individuals were Chin and Huang.
In filing his briefs and referring to Huang, Klayman may have been engaged in zealous advocacy. In a courtroom colloquy, however, he made it much more clear that he was accusing Chin of wrongdoing because of his racial heritage.
Chin asked Klayman, "You asked questions of the court, at least in part, because of my race?"
Klayman replied, "In part. And let me tell you why ... We are all human, and sometimes, sometimes subjective criteria can unwittingly, no matter how ethical, no matter how decent, no matter how honest someone is--and we believe you to be that--they can subjectively influence our decision-making."
Klayman continued, "Your Honor has to search his own soul to a large extent."
At that point, Chin ended the proceedings. He sanctioned Klayman, giving him a relatively light penalty. Klayman, who is a lawyer in Washington, will not be permitted the privilege of practicing in New York City.
In affirming the decision by Judge Chin, the appeals court said that the "charge that the judge is racially or ethnically biased" is serious, because it is a charge of violating "the oath of office."
The appeals court said that such a charge "should not be made without a factual foundation going well beyond the judge's membership in a particular racial or ethnic group." It added that Klayman's conduct was "insulting and smacked of intimidation."
The appeals court also noted with respect to the AsianWeek article that, "The article did not suggest any connection between the two [Chin and Huang], other than their having been appointed by the same administration and their being Asian American."
Ironically, Klayman also was sanctioned a few years ago in the California courts. He had accused a federal judge of being anti-Semitic toward him and anti-Asian toward his a client, a Taiwanese national. The court found no basis for his accusation.
On Friday, Michael Goldfarb suggested that Princeton gave Sonia Sotomayor "preferential treatment" by allowing her to teach her own class and grade her own work, and that she may have graduated with honors only because she was allowed to grade herself. Goldfarb then whined that he went to Princeton, but was never afforded such luxuries. At least one blogger took Goldfarb's claims a step further, writing that Sotomayor's "Princeton degree is not worth the paper on which it is printed" and calling it a "self-granted degree."
But it was immediately obvious that Goldfarb was full of it. The blog post he cited for this smear linked to a Princeton University press release that made things perfectly clear: Sotomayor didn't teach the class, didn't grade herself, and there was absolutely nothing unusual about the "treatment" she was given - the seminar she persuaded Princeton to offer was the 132nd such student-initiated seminar in the previous 12 terms.
I pointed all of that out at 12:48 pm on Friday, just two hours after Goldfarb's own post. Adam Serwer and Steve Benen and Julian Sanchez and Matt Yglesias and Scott Lemieux and Jason Zengerle all joined in, pointing out that Goldfarb was wrong; Sotomayor hadn't taught the class or graded herself.
Still, Goldfarb didn't correct his post. And he can't use the excuse that he took off for a long weekend, without access to the Internet. He posted again at 3:15 pm on Friday, and again at 5:00 pm, and at 7:42 pm, and again at 11:49 pm. But no correction.
Well, now Goldfarb has finally "updated" his post. But he didn't retract his dishonorable smears, or tone down his pathetic whining about not being allowed to teach a class at Princeton (based on his inability to successfully read a press release, he should be grateful he was allowed to take a class there.) Instead, he simply quotes an innuendo-laden email from National Review writer Matthew Franck:
Update: Matthew Franck of NRO's Bench Memos blog emails:
I thought the same thing about that bit of ethnicity-hustling that Sotomayor engaged in as a Princeton student-that she and her classmates got to run the whole show themselves when they got their seminar on "the Puerto Rican experience"-until I saw the press release from 1974 that the Daily Princetonian dug up. It seems they applied for a class of their own, and even got to set the readings and syllabus, under a loopy 1968 policy that handed this kind of curricular initiative over to students. But they did get an assistant professor of history to "teach" the class, after they designed it. (Some academic freedom he had!) Presumably he handed out the grades, but since he was (conveniently) an untenured assistant professor running a little class with some experienced Mau-Maus, you could almost predict the A's all around from day one.
That's all Goldfarb added to his post. No retraction of or apology for his false claims. Just a screed that continues to imply that Sotomayor essentially graded herself, and continues to obscure how common student-initiated seminars were. And note that the email makes it look like the press release in question was buried in some dusty archive somewhere - how was Goldfarb to know? Well, maybe because the press release was linked to in the very Stuart Taylor blog post that Goldfarb used as the basis for his smear?
Goldfarb has done a nifty job of pretending to meet the requirements of a correction, while actually obscuring the irresponsibility and stupidity of his original post, and continuing its unfair and baseless implications.
Maybe he's desperate to make the world forget about this by behaving even more deplorably?
In her May 31 column, conservative commentator Kathleen Parker addresses the conservative media's criticism of Sotomayor's 2001 "wise Latina" comment on the basis that a white male could not "get away" with a "comparable" statement:
Nevertheless, most criticism has been aimed at perceived racist-sexist remarks from a 2001 diversity speech in which Sotomayor suggested that she, as a Latina, could be more qualified than a white guy. Pause: Don't most women think they're more qualified than most men when it comes to making wise decisions? Kidding, kidding.
What she said: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." Sotomayor may be misguided, but she isn't necessarily a sexist-racist. I say this as a mother of white males (perfect in every way) and author of "Save the Males." Notwithstanding the preceding, I see her point.
Could a white man get away with saying something comparable about a Latina? Of course not. After Latinas have run the world for 2,000 years, they won't be able to say it ever again either.
Of course Schieffer leaves out all the context when he hypes the "Latina woman" quote from Sonia Sotomayor. That's to be expected. That has become a cardinal rule within the Beltway. Because the only way to keep the phony 'racist" debate afloat is to leave out all context and fool news consumers into thinking Sotomayor was making some sort of wild, sweeping statement about Latina judges being superior to white male judges. The press must to leave out the fact that Sotomayor was specifically addressing discrimination cases when she made the "Latina woman" claim.
Fine, Schieffer purposefully left out all context. He had no choice because it's a Village thing. But Schieffer then went one better by asking a Republican senator if Sotomayor's "Latina woman" comment would be "enough to keep her from being confirmed as a justice on the Supreme Court."
Keep in mind that you can't find four Republican senators on the record today opposing Sotomayor, but Schieffer wants to know if her nomination is doomed--if every Republican senator will oppose her and be joined by scores of Democrats--because of the "Latina woman" quote.
Is someone can find a dumber question ever asked by Schieffer, we'd like to hear it.
From Farah's May 30 column, headlined "A racist for the Supreme Court":
Sotomayor is a member of the National Council of La Raza. What is La Raza?
It bills itself as a "civil rights" organization. It would be more appropriate to say it disguises itself as such. It camouflages itself as such. It hides its real purpose and true intents as such - with the willing and skillful assistance of many of my media colleagues.
In reality, La Raza is a racist hate group - a band of "Hispanic supremacists," if you will, though it is seldom characterized that way.
It is no more a civil rights group than the Ku Klux Klan is a group promoting the civil rights of white people. It is no more a civil rights group than the neo-Nazi scum who marched a generation ago at Skokie, Ill., with the legal protection of the American Civil Liberties Union, another misnamed organization. It is no more a civil rights group than the Aryan skinheads who victimize Jews and others they detest in trying to lift themselves up from the gutter.
La Raza is part of the movement in this country to destroy it from within by dividing and "reconquering."
Its members and leadership are linked directly to those who believe the Southwestern U.S. was unjustly seized from Mexico in the 19th century. It should, they believe, by any means necessary, be reconstituted either as part of that thoroughly corrupt, socialist regime fled by tens of millions of refugees or as an independent, autonomous, Spanish-speaking socialist state - like the mythical land of Aztlan.
The only real differences between La Raza and the neo-Nazis and the KKK are its wealth, power and level of sophistication.
It's official: This nutty right-wing conspiracy hatched by the blogosphere has gone bust. (I know, right?)
The premise was that Obama personally oversaw which Chrysler dealership were forced to close as part of the company's, government-sponsored restructuring. And since Obama picked which ones got the ax, guess what? He shuttered dealership whose owners gave money to Republicans. It's all part of Obama's ruthless plan to "punish" GOP donors.
Trust us, this was a very big deal among right-wing true believers this week even though, as we tried to point out, all the bloggers' dogged research was able to confirm was that car dealers in general give lots of money to Republican politicians. Meaning there's nothing to indicate that the dealerships that survived were big Democratic donors. Clueless bloggers simply confirmed that dealers that got closed had given to the GOP in the past and then deduced the evil connection.
Anyway, the Macomb Daily in Michigan does the (further) honors of debunking this nonsense:
In Macomb County, three dealerships were closed in the Chrysler bankruptcy process and seven were saved. The FEC records show no noticeable difference in the political leanings of the owners of the 10 businesses.
Anthony Viviano, president of the Metro Detroit Dodge dealer's association and owner of Sterling Heights Dodge, which will remain in operation, said politics was never a factor in the process.
"That's just a bunch of baloney," said Viviano, former president of the Detroit Area Dealers Association.
According to the FEC, Viviano donated $4,150 to federal candidates over the past 10 years, with most of the money flowing to former Republican senator Spence Abraham and GOP Rep. Candice Miller. The only deviation was a $500 contribution to Democrat Carl Marlinga's 2002 bid for Congress.
As with every other Chrysler dealer in Macomb, Viviano did not donate to President Obama or any other 2008 presidential candidates.
Uh-oh, Chrysler dealer Vivano is staying open, yet 90 percent of his political donations have gone to Republicans. How did Obama let him slip through the cracks?!
We noted yesterday that it's hard to believe that if judge Sonia Sotomayor were a man that the New York Times, just three days after the nomination was announced, would run a lengthy news piece that revolved solely around the fact that Sotomayor had a reputation of being pushy on the bench. (That's a trait that's often celebrated when displayed by male judges.)
We noted that the Times, at least according to Nexis, never wrote an article about legal hot head Antonin Scalia's temperament during his nomination process. In fact, the Times never wrote a single sentence about how Scalia famously pushed people around from the bench.
But at The New Republic, Jonathan Chait claims that the Times article, and the topic of temperament, is completely common and nobody should be surprised or offended:
But nobody can seriously contend that the subject of a potential Supreme Court Justice's temperament is unfit for publication. Indeed, the New York Times today has an article on the exact same topic.
Here's the thing though, not only did the Times not think that Scalia's famous temperament was newsworthy during his confirmation process, but for the last two judges nominated to the SCOTUS, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, the Times never bothered to report out their court room temperament either. (And it certainly never relied on anonymous quote to make its point the way it did in its Sotomayor article.) Chait claims that nobody would suggest temperament was out of bounds and that's fair game for Sotomayor because heck, even the NYT wrote about it.
But the truth is the Times, with its temperament article on Friday, showed a deep interest in a topic that it simply has not displayed before. The Times simply invented new rules for Sotomayor.
UPDATE: Talking Points Memo clipped a video of the New York Times' Adam Liptak, who co-wrote the Sotomayor "temperament" story, discussing this issue on MSNBC. Liptak didn't know whether the Times ever wrote about Scalia's temperament during his nomination. According to Nexis, the newspaper did not.
And the newspaper's Adam Nagourney told MSNBC it was a "legitimate" topic to write about, even though as I point out, the Times didn't write about the temperament of the two previous (male) SCOTUS nominees.
Just a coincidence, I guess, that the Times is tackling the topic with Sotomayor.
From The Hill:
Mitt Romney isn't a Senator. He's never been a Senator. He isn't even in elected office anymore. How he could fillibuster is anyone's guess.
Responding to the insulting claim from right-wingers that Sonia Sotomayor is a "racist," at least one prominent Republican said, enough:
"I think it's terrible," Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told NPR's "All Things Considered" Thursday. "This is not the kind of tone any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advise and consent."
It's an interesting development not only because it highlights how the Republican Party has completely lost control of the GOP Noise Machine, which rejects any semblance of adult supervision. But it's also telling that the Republican senator called out Limbaugh and Gingrich's "racist" nonsense while the so-called liberal media hasn't said boo about it.
I foolishly thought that when Gingrich made his "racist" claim that it would set off a media firestorm of sorts with all sort of commentators denouncing the hateful allegation and pointing out that likening a single sentence from a esteemed judge's speech eight years ago with racism and America's dark history of Jim Crow laws and lynchings, for instance, was beyond the pale and that Gingrich ought to apologize.
Instead, the press simply treated the "racist" attack as straight news. The Times, the Post, all the networks they all did the same thing: Gingrich called Sotomayor a racist. Period. They all acted like it was common place, like that's what happens to all Supreme Court nominees; within hours of their introduction to the public they're labeled racists. That's part of the process. And that Gingrich's wildly incendiary claim was normal.
It's not. It's unprecedented. But the press wouldn't say so. Instead, it took a conservative member of Congress to state the obvious--it's terrible.