Buchanan falsely suggests Sotomayor has "never written" law review articles

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

Pat Buchanan claimed that Sonia Sotomayor has "never written anything that I've read in terms of a law review article or a major book or something like that on the law." In fact, Sotomayor has published several law review articles.

Asserting that Judge Sonia Sotomayor is not qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan claimed during the July 16 edition of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show that Sotomayor has "never written anything that I've read in terms of a law review article or a major book or something like that on the law." In fact, according to her Judiciary Committee questionnaire, Sotomayor has published several law review articles, including a note she wrote while a student at Yale Law School and a law review article adapted from a speech she gave.

Moreover, in response to host Rachel Maddow's question, "Why do you think it is that of the 110 Supreme Court justices we've had in this country, 108 of them have been white?" Buchanan again falsely claimed that "100 percent of the people who died at Gettysburg" were white men. He added: "This has been a country built, basically, by white folks in this country." However, at least one African-American and one woman disguised as a male soldier reportedly died in the Gettysburg campaign.

According to PBS, during the Civil War, "More than 200,000 blacks fought for the Union, and 38,000 died, the majority of disease." In The Colors of Courage: Gettysburg's Forgotten History: Immigrants, Women, and African Americans in the Civil War's Defining Battle (Basic Books, 2004), Bates College professor of history Margaret Creighton writes that an unnamed African-American was the third Union soldier killed in "the Gettysburg campaign":

Most African American men in Pennsylvania were denied the opportunity to fight the Confederates with weapons. But not all of them. One company of black men helped hold back invading soldiers, and their efforts, considered one of the first military engagements in the war by men of color, is still overlooked. The site of the action was the Columbia-Wrightsville bridge, a span a mile and a quarter long over the Susquehanna River. Before word had come of the Army of the Potomac's move north from Virginia, General Lee and corps commander Richard Ewell had envisioned taking Harrisburg from the east and south. The bridge over the Susquehanna River -- twenty-five miles southest of the capital -- was key. On June 28th, and emergency Pennsylvania militia unit and a company of African American men recruited form the area -- numbering at least fifty -- attempted to hold the bridge against 2500 seasoned Confederate troops (including artillery), until the bridge could be destroyed. "The negros," commented one observer, "did nobly." The officer in command of the milita had even more to say. "When the fight commenced," he reported, the black company "took their guns and stood up to their work bravely. They fell back only when ordered to do so." One of the black volunteers paid the ultimate price for his work: His head was "taken off by a shell." As one historian has pointed out, this man -- no one knows his name -- was only the third Northern soldier killed in the Gettysburg campaign. [emphasis added] (Pages 134-135)

Moreover, according to historian Jane Peters Estes, as quoted in a presentation at the Camden Country (NJ) Historical Society, women, too, died in the Civil War, including at least one woman in the Battle of Gettysburg. Estes also noted that on the Union side, "Marie Tepe was wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg, where she took a ball in her ankle, and she served under fire in 13 battles, including Gettysburg." On November 16, 2002, a 7-foot bronze sculpture of Elizabeth Thorn (1832-1907) was dedicated in Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The statue, titled "The Gettysburg Civil War Women's Memorial," honors all the women who served in various capacities before, during, and following the Battle of Gettysburg.

Buchanan also claimed that "probably close to 100 percent of the people who died at Normandy" were white men. He previously falsely claimed that "all the dead at Normandy" were white males. Buchanan's comments again denigrated the service that minorities played at Normandy or in World War II. According to a History Channel documentary, "1.2 million African-Americans served in World War II, and although largely forgotten by history, nearly 2,000 of them stormed the beaches of Normandy." According to a May 5, 2004, Scripps Howard News Service report, "[B]lacks were among the assault troops that June 6 [1944], and one unit was responsible for maintaining barrage balloons over the beachhead that protected troops landing. The Stars and Stripes newspaper in 1944 reported that the unit suffered casualties setting up the balloons, which were floated across the English Channel on invasion day. ... The Army didn't record racial or ethnic differences when counting the dead. [Photographer Samuel LeBon] Wooten said he knows of at least three blacks buried in the American cemetery on the bluffs overlooking Omaha Beach at Coleville-sur-Mer." In an interview broadcast on NPR on February 21, 2007, filmmaker Doug Cohen stated that at least two soldiers from all-African-American units died on June 6, 1944, and are buried at a cemetery in Normandy.

On June 14, 2004, MSNBC.com posted a story from BET documenting the experiences of some African-American veterans who served in World War II, including from some who served at Normandy.

Buchanan's remark also ignored the contributions of other non-whites who served in World War II, including Hispanics, Asian-Americans, and Native Americans.

From the July 16 edition of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show:

BUCHANAN: Well, I think I would vote "no" on Sonia Sotomayor, the same way I would've voted "no" on Harriet Miers; and I said so the first day she was nominated. I don't think Judge Sotomayor is qualified for the United States Supreme Court. She has not shown any great intellect here or any great depth of knowledge of the Constitution. She's never written anything that I've read in terms of a law review article or a major book or something like that on the law.

And I do believe she's an affirmative action appointment by the president of the United States. He eliminated everyone but four women and then he picked the Hispanic. So I think this is an affirmative action appointment and I would vote "no."

[...]

MADDOW: Why do you think it is that of the 110 Supreme Court justices we've had in this country, 108 of them have been white?

BUCHANAN: Well, I think white men were 100 percent of the people that wrote the Constitution, 100 percent of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence, 100 percent of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, probably close to 100 percent of the people who died at Normandy.

This has been a country built, basically, by white folks in this country who were 90 percent of the entire nation in 1960 when I was growing up, Rachel, and the other 10 percent were African-Americans who had been discriminated against -- that's why.

Posted In
Government, Nominations & Appointments, The Judiciary
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Pat Buchanan
Show/Publication
Rachel Maddow Show
Stories/Interests
Supreme Court Nominations, Sotomayor Nomination
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