UPDATED: About that Ricci decision ...

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Given all the reporting about the Supreme Court overruling Sotomayor's Ricci decision, and about Sotomayor's background influencing her judicial decisions, when will we see a journalist ask if Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was influenced by his background in voting to overturn the Ricci decision?

During Alito's confirmation hearings, Alito said explicitly that his Italian-American heritage comes into play during discrimination lawsuits:

When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account.

In the Ricci case, Alito sided with fellow Italian-American Frank Ricci, who was claiming discrimination. With all the media chatter about whether Sotomayor can rule impartially on discrimination cases, why aren't reporters bringing up Alito's comments and his vote in the Ricci case? It's a clear double-standard, particularly when Ricci is portrayed as an example of Sotomayor allowing her background to influence her decision.

And keep in mind: if Alito had voted differently, the Supreme Court would have upheld the Ricci decision.

UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald explains further.

UPDATE: Here's CNN's Jeffrey Toobin:

GLORIA BORGER: Their interesting thing about Senator Sessions was that he asked the question: was there any instance in which you would let your prejudice impact your decisions? And what she said in this statement is that her experience as a woman and a person of color will affect how you judge, so he may have used the wrong word there in asking the question to get the direct answer because that allowed her to not directly contradict herself, although she clearly did walk back what she said.

[OFF SCREEN VOICE]: You know, but I suspect that she wanted to use that word, actually.

BORGER: What --


JEFF TOOBIN: What's worth noting --

[OFF SCREEN VOICE] It's -- sorry -- that Lindsay --

BORGER: Sessions.

[OFF SCREEN VOICE] -- Sessions wanted to use the word prejudice

BORGER: right, but it allowed her to back out of it of it very easily.

JEFF TOOBIN: What's worth noting about what Jeff Sessions -- the line of questioning, was that being a white man, that's normal. Everybody else has biases and prejudices --

GLORIA BORGER [?? Off screen]: yeah exactly

TOOBIN: -- but the white man, they don't have any ethnicity, they don't have any gender, they're just like the normal folks, and I thought that was a little jarring.

Supreme Court Nominations, Sotomayor Nomination
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