Anyway the President might need to adjust his words again and make it teachable moments. Because this situation is full of teachable moments.
First of all, criminal defense attorneys know all too well that police officers will lie in their reports to justify their use of excessive force and/or abuse of authority. Now that we have had the chance to hear the 911 (see video above) and dispatch tapes (See Video at bottom) we can see that Crowley’s arrest report (see report at the bottom) on Professor Gates is latent with inconsistencies.
Sgt James Crowley Cambridge Police Department
Sgt Crowley reports that he was responding to the break-in by two black males with back packs. Not only does the caller Lucia Whalen not mention the race of the two men at the door, but she isn’t sure that there has been a break-in. Ms. Whalen only states that she thinks without certainty that one might have been Hispanic, after she is pressed to give a description. Ms. Whalen as well as the dispatcher states that there were two suitcases on the porch, and not back packs as Sgt Crowley wrote up in his arrest report.
It should be noted that Ms. Whalen acted like a responsible citizen by calling authorities. Unfortunately, Sgt. Crowley attributed to her statements that she did not make thus making it appear that Ms. Whalen was practicing racial etiquette. A White House invitation should also be extended to this fine citizen.
I think its safe to say that most people think of homeless individuals when they hear back packs. I think it is also safe to say that unfortunately many associate homelessness with crime. This scenario sets the scene for a sympathetic Sgt who only has Professor Gates safety in mind. This is certainly not the portrait of a racist.
Now as we continue down the road of inconsistencies, other than the parking lot of a Donut shop, common sense will tell you that the presence of numerous police cars with police officers standing on the outside of them will draw public attention and gather on-lookers. The tape clearly indicates that this small gathering was a result of Sgt. Crowley. Crowley is heard on the tape acknowledging that Gates had provided the proper identification and appeared to be the owner of the house, yet he insisted on involving that more police be sent including the Harvard campus police. This continuing intrusion into of Gates privacy would set anybody off, including Colin Powell. Any insults hurled at Crowley was done in doors, and could in no way have disturbed anyone but Crowley. If the Professor was a little loud on his front porch in front of the small on lookers, good for him. It might have even saved his life. The Professor’s so-called behavior belligerent behavior would have brought attention to the appearance of the Professor in case the Sgt decided to get a little rough, or worse utilize excessive force.
The teachable moment: Sgt. Crowley for personal reasons falsely arrested the Professor, and therefore, abused his authority.
Now the teachable moment doesn’t stop there. As stated, Sgt. Crowley has attempted to paint himself as a Negro loving white police officer who had the professor’s best interest at heart. His report even states that he was so concerned about the professor that he changed the handcuffs from back to front and even with inside to get the professor’s cane. Well between Crowley and the Black Sgt on the scene, somebody is lying. The Black Sgt stated that it was he who convinced Crowley to change the cuffs to the front so that the Professor could use his cane. The good old Sgt also said that he wanted to make sure that the Professor’s house was secured, so when the maintenance man showed up to fix the door, he checked with the professor to make sure it was okay.
Damn, what a nice Cop. Sgt Crowley could never be considered a racist. Especially since he was selected by a black police officer to teach about racial profiling. Wow!
Sgt Crowley as well as many whites don’t want to be considered a racist, and I suspect they equate a racist with the likes of Bull Connors. No way you might say that Sgt. Crowley acted like Bull Connors the former Birmingham Alabama Police Commissioner who used fire hose and police dogs on peaceful demonstrators.
Sgt. Crowley may in fact not be a Bull Connors, but he sought and achieved the same result for the same reason.
The result was to humiliate the African American scholar for having the audacity to step out of the bounds of racial etiquette and challenge Crowley’s authority.
Back in the 1960s Civil Rights era, African Americans demonstrated to have their constitutional rights as citizens recognized. Demonstrating was their right of freedom of expression which is afforded under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Bull Connors representing the sentiment of many white citizens was not about to consent to equal treatment of African Americans. African Americans cry for freedom of oppression in the form of demonstrating ran afoul of racial etiquette. This was something the white citizens would not tolerate. To quiet the non violent black civil rights protesters, Bull Connors humiliated them by having them (children included) sprayed unmercifully with fire hoses and attacked by police dogs as well as placing us under arrest for disorderly conduct. This did not sit well with numerous white citizens as they watched the horror unfold on the evening news. Bull Connors instantly became a racist monster.
Bull Connors motivation was definitely the preservation of racial etiquette.
Racial etiquette is the customs and rules of behavior created in the Jim Crow south during reconstruction and it’s chief purpose was to maintain white male dominance over minorities.
Although, it is said that Charles Hamilton Houston slayed and buried Jim Crow, it must be recognized that Jim Crow had children who carried on with the Jim Crow practices and beliefs. These practices and beliefs migrated from the south.
In his effort to preserve racial etiquette, Bull Connors, abused his authority.
Crowley may not have used the same techniques as Connors but he too abused his authority in the name of racial etiquette.
While many whites accepted Crowley at his word and feel that Gates was out of line, minorities in this country are far too familiar with the practices of racial etiquette. These practices goes back to slavery, and were utilized to break the spirit of the dark individuals brought to this country in captivity and made to labor for free. These Africans were treated no different than animals as they were shackled and branded to show ownership.
U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor
The practice of racial etiquette continue today and was quite noticeable in the confirmation hearings of Sonia Sotomayor. In showing pride of her Latino roots, Judge Sotomayor was racked over the coals, labeled a racist and sexist and ultimately, made to regret showing such pride. Sotomayor’s admission of regret garnered her the vote of S.C Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and her nomination is now headed for vote before the full Senate.
What Sotomayor experienced is something that all minorities face if they show pride in their culture. Minorities are only accepted if they assimilate to whites. Otherwise you are considered Un-American.
CNN Rick Sanchez
Rick Sanchez of CNN came to this realization after filming a segment about wise Latino women which included his non- English speaking mother. Sanchez who has a popular show on CNN was visibly hurt after receiving negative comments about his mother’s inability to speak English. Sanchez responded in a blog about the sacrifices his mother made so he could speak English and realize the American dream.
This was totally unnecessary. So was the arrest of Professor Gates.
To not accept Gates’ Harvard identification which showed him to be employed by the distinguished institution was motivated by racial etiquette. It sent a loud message that this black man couldn’t possibly be a professor at Harvard. Gates could have done the same as Sanchez, but he decided to stand up for his rights and sent a loud message back to Crowley. Many whites and a few African Americans like Larry Elder think that he over reacted in challenging Crowley’s authority. Whites and apparently Larry Elder are not treated in the same matter constantly, so they have no idea how degrading it is. Yet they feel that it is better for minorities to submit to such treatment. To suggest that minorities continue to take these insults with a smile is unknowingly motivated by racial etiquette. Yes this includes the shallow Mr. Elder.
Racial profiling is also another form of racial etiquette, where Latinos and African Americans are stopped for no reason other than their race. This segment of America society is falsely arrested and branded by way of finger prints, mug shots and issued a police identification number. It a way of control. The arrest record can prevent minorities from obtaining security clearance and certain licensing, thus eliminating them from certain types of employment and business ventures. It makes it difficult to create a economic base within legal means thus inducing violate crime within the community and acting as a barrier to the American dream.
By arresting the Harvard Professor, Crowley shackled him and branded him with finger printing, and mug shots. Crowley made Gates a member of an exclusive club by issuing him a police identification number.
Bottom line: Sgt. Crowley’s actions was a form of racial etiquette and just like Bull Connors he abused his authority.
Over beer, Crowley should apologize for his behavior. Crowley should also publicly apologize to both Gates and Whalen. Further, the DA office should move to expunge Gates’ arrest record including finger prints mug shot and police identification number.
The final teaching moment is that nothing is going to change until racial etiquette is eliminated and it can’t be eliminated if whites and Larry Elder continue to insist that minorities submit to disparate treatment.
Elimination also requires that the U.S. Supreme court revisits the majority opinion in the Ricci v. DeStefano decision and rid it of the unequal duty of showing heightened disparate treatment before a Plaintiff can prevail.
Maybe a wise Latino woman will lead the high court to a better conclusion. That for sure will be a teachable moment.
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U.S, Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayer During Confirmation Hearings
By James Oliphant and David G. Savage
July 19, 2009
Reporting from Washington — Two months ago, Sonia Sotomayor’s Latino heritage was viewed as an overwhelming asset. And though history will be made if she becomes the Supreme Court’s newest justice, there wasn’t much talk about that during three days of grueling testimony last week. For some, her confirmation hearings left a bitter taste.
“This is a great first, but we are not being allowed to celebrate it in the way we are allowed to celebrate Thurgood Marshall as the first African American on the court,” said Laura Gomez, a University of New Mexico law professor.
That’s because Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee attempted to shine a negative light on Sotomayor’s earlier statements about what she as a Latina could bring to judging and on her connections with a Latino advocacy group. In wave after wave of questions, they suggested that statements by the New York federal appellate judge indicated an inability to remain impartial on the bench.
Sotomayor had given them ammunition: speeches in which she said she hoped that “a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male.”
By the end of the week, however, she had forcefully rejected that notion — along with the idea that her diverse background meant she would judge with “empathy,” a quality President Obama had said was important for a high court justice.
She also denied being involved in abortion-rights lawsuits filed by the Puerto Rican advocacy group whose board she served on for 12 years.
Even though Sotomayor is almost certain to be confirmed, some Republicans considered their bid to root out what they saw as potential prejudices as a kind of victory.
What Sen. Jeff Sessions calls an ‘honest discussion’ on race, some observers say is an attack on ethnic pride.
“We had a more honest discussion of some of the complexities and sensitivities of the race question in this hearing than in the 12 years I have been in the Senate,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the committee, whose own bid for a federal judgeship was blocked because of racially insensitive remarks he had made in the past.
Sotomayor’s supporters, however, viewed the questioning another way.
“It was extremely disappointing and a walk backward from the point of diversity,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, a law professor at the University of Maryland. “This was not a productive conversation. It was unfortunate posturing by the Republicans.
“This was an all-white judiciary committee asking condescending questions. And it was an unequal power situation. She was not in a position to honestly engage with them, because she needed their votes.”
What last week’s public exercise illustrated was the nature of questions of race and identity in America: Ethnic pride to some is identity politics to others.
At the heart of the Republican questioning was a sense of mistrust that they said was based on a notable difference between the probity of Sotomayor’s decisions as a judge and the more liberal tone of her speeches. Some senators were convinced she was masking her true nature — and that it would be revealed once she was given a lifetime post on the Supreme Court.
To put a human face on their concerns, they invited a white firefighter and a Latino firefighter from Connecticut to testify on Sotomayor’s ruling in their discrimination case, Ricci vs. DeStefano.
“I think we all want a justice who is neutral and impartial,” said Jenny Rivera, a law professor at the City University of New York, who once clerked for Sotomayor. But Republicans, she said, maintained that “when you put on the robes, you put on the shelf your sense of history and identity and heritage.”
Conservatives, however, said that the GOP senators had succeeded in forcing Sotomayor to distance herself from her earlier statements about ethnicity and gender swaying her decisions.
“It seems conservatives are winning the larger war over the judiciary, even if losing the battle over this nomination,” Jonathan Adler, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, wrote in the Washington Post.
Sotomayor “ended up disavowing many of her previous statements or trying to reinterpret them,” said Ilya Somin of George Mason University School of Law.
“More significantly, she ended up publicly rejecting the president’s view that empathy should often guide judicial decision-making,” he said.
Democrats on the judiciary committee seemed to go out of their way to avoid the issue of Sotomayor’s heritage, focusing instead on her 17-year judicial record, one that even some Republicans conceded contained little to fight about.
And Sotomayor herself was forced to step lightly around the subject, disavowing her “wise Latina” comment as a “rhetorical riff” that had the opposite meaning than she had intended.
“Her selection by the nation’s first black president is a testament to the advances in diversity and tolerance that we have made as a nation,” said Rachel Moran, a law professor at UC Irvine.
But, Moran noted, Sotomayor “made no explicit reference to her personal story as the daughter of Puerto Rican parents who moved to New York. Instead, she described her life as ‘uniquely American.’ ”
Several GOP senators cast their line of questioning in terms of achieving a goal laid out by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who has said: “The best way to stop discriminating based on race is to stop discriminating based on race.”
Their actions had an effect.
“I think, before the hearings, we were seeing a discussion that diversity can enrich any institution,” said Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, a political science professor at Northwestern University. But that talk “became too radioactive,” she said.
The GOP senators “were playing to the angry white male voter. Some of the remarks were clearly about saying that ‘you’ can say things that ‘we’ can’t,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University.
“These kinds of comments attacking ethnic pride and the benefits of diversity in any institution — which is really what her remark was about — combined with the Ricci case looked like backlash politics, pure and simple.”
Despite the hearings, Sotomayor’s Puerto Rican heritage and Bronx upbringing will have an effect inside the Supreme Court, legal experts said.
“Thurgood Marshall’s presence changed the Supreme Court in profound ways, and I do not doubt that Judge Sotomayor will also have a significant impact on the court,” said John Payton, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
“She is a powerful personality. She is extremely thoughtful and self-reflective. . . . She will be the second woman, the second nonwhite member and the first Latina. All of these will certainly matter.”
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Last month history was made again when this country’s first African American President nominated a Latino woman to serve on the High Court.
Federal Appellant Judge Sonia Sotomayor was named by President Barack Obama to replace retiring Justice Souter.
No sooner than she gave a touching acceptance speech where she gave thanks to her hard working mother, the mudslingers were in full force.
Activist judge they called her in referring to the above Youtube clip.
We heard that term during the Bush administration, and the recent Presidential campaign.
What is the definition of an activist judge? It is said that an activist judge is one who legislate from the bench. As quiet as its kept, Judges have a duty to legislate or make law from the bench.
In order to understand this fully, we must look at the function of not only the judiciary branch, but all branches of government.
As you may or may not know, the United States Constitution mandates as a matter of checks and balances that our federal government be divided in three branches: the Legislative, Executive and the Judiciary branches.
The legislative branch creates federal law in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The executive branch, i.e. the president, cabinet members, and staff, enact and enforce the laws that Congress passes.
The function of the judicial branch is to interpret the law when it is unclear or in question. In instances where the laws or rulings of lower courts are challenged, the Supreme Court justices must examine the law and determine if the intention of the law has been upheld. Often, justices must determine whether federal or state laws are constitutional, or if Congress has passed a law without any constitutional authority to do so. Unless they are unanimous, Supreme Court rulings have two parts, the majority opinion and the dissenting opinion, wherein the justices explain their reasoning and their interpretation of the law.
Judicial rulings become the basis for future legal arguments. This is known in legal parlance as a legal precedent, or “case law.” In essence, law is created by the legislature in the form of a statue and by the judiciary in the form of case law.
Sometimes, the legislature codifies the case law or adopt it in the form of a statute.
Far too often, the legislative branch for political reasons fail to legislate on behalf of their constituents who fall into the minority.
This is not the case with the judiciary branch. The framers of the Constitution recognized the importance of the judiciary branch and differentiated it from the other two branches in several significant ways. For instance, Supreme Court justices are appointed for life. The reasoning behind lifetime tenure is that sometimes justices must make decisions that are unpopular or counter to the will of the majority. Because they are not elected, they are free to uphold the law in spite of potential political fallout.
It can be argued that the actions of the federal judiciary have the greatest impact on the daily lives of citizens, and that Supreme Court rulings shape the fabric of American society more than the legislative or executive branches ever could. The landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education is a prime example.
You can see the influence of Brown not only in class rooms in primary/secondary public schools and college campuses, but also on the tennis courts, golf courses, basketball courts, football fields, in board rooms, Armed Forces, The White House, and yes, the Supreme Court itself.
Brown has opened doors for such people as Barack Obama, our current President, who is the first African American President, First Black Joint Chief of Staff and Secretary of State Retired General Colin Powell, First black ad female national security adviser Condoleezzi Rice, Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first women to sit on the High Court, Thurgood Marshall, our first Black Supreme Court Justice, and even if he won’t admit it, Clarence Thomas. Soon Brown will have another accomplishment when the first Latino is confirmed to sit on the Supreme Court.
I as well as many Americans are thankful for these so called activist judges for doing their job.
In essence, the more educated the American public becomes about its judiciary, the less politicians will be able to scream “activist!” and get away with it. As shown in the last Presidential election, Americans are tired of politics as usual. Knowing what is going on behind the smoke-screen is the first step toward holding politicians accountable for name-calling, mud-slinging, and counter-productive dialogue.
Maybe these politicians will wise up, stop blowing big smoke out of their butt holes and do their jobs. If not, then we should tell them on no uncertain terms to hit the road Jack, and don’t you come back no more, no more, no more, no more! Otherwise it will be the same ole schickardy just a different butt hole.
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US Supreme Court Justice David Souter has announced that he will be retiring at the end of the term or next month. President Barack Obama now has the opportunity to name a replacement and put his stamp on the high court.
President Obama vows to have a replacement on the bench by the time the court begins its’ new term on the first Monday in October. Hmmm, sounds like a movie.
“Now, the process of selecting someone to replace Justice Souter is among my most serious responsibilities as president, so I’ll seek someone with a sharp and independent mind and a record of excellence and integrity,” Obama said.
Obama is said to prefer a woman for the job. His spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama, a former constitutional law professor in Chicago, was seeking “diversity of experience” in his nominee, and that a “rigorous” vetting process would be launched.
Only two women have served as justices –Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor who retired in 2006 — and only two African-American men, Thurgood Marshall and current Justice Clarence Thomas, who up until recently appeared to be no more than a rubber stamp Scalia conservative.
Currently four conservatives and four liberals — with moderate Anthony Kennedy, 72, holding the middle ground — compose a balance on the court.
Obama’s choice is likely to prevail in the US Senate, where Democrats hold 59 seats to the Republican’s 40, but wrangling over a successor could push the appointment beyond when court reconvenes in October.
“I trust the president will choose a nominee for the upcoming vacancy based on their experience and even-handed reading of the law, and not their partisan leanings or ability to pass litmus tests,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.
The cable news pundits are making speculations as to whom will be selected.
Among the pundit’s leading contenders are solicitor general Elena Kagan, 49, a former dean of Harvard Law School who currently represents the government before the court; Hispanic judge Sonia Sotomayor, 54, who sits on the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; and federal judge Diane Wood, 58, who taught at the University of Chicago at the same time as Obama.
Elena Kagan –In 1999, President Clinton tapped Kagan for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, only to have the nomination blocked by the Senate Judiciary Committee, then controlled by Republicans. But many think an Obama administration wouldn’t hesitate to tap her for a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. As dean, she managed to steer Harvard Law’s first-year curriculum from a 130-year-old case law approach to a more modern problem-solving model, gaining unanimous approval for the plan in a 2006 faculty vote. Kagan, 48, whose academic work focused on First Amendment issues and administrative law, is considered a skilled consensus builder. She clerked for Judge Abner Mikva in the D.C. Circuit and Justice Thurgood Marshall in the Supreme Court, and held a series of policy positions in the Clinton administration.
Judge Sonia Sotomayer
Sonia Sotomayor — A political centrist, the Bronx-born Sotomayor has been regarded as a potential high court nominee by several presidents, both Republican and Democrat. Reared by her widowed mother after the death of her father, a tool-and-die worker, she has an attractive life narrative and an even more attractive resumé. She was an editor of the Yale Law Review, did heavy lifting as a prosecutor under legendary New York County District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, and worked in private practice as an intellectual property litigator.
She was first appointed to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush, then to the appeals court by President Clinton. In 1995, she won the gratitude of baseball fans by issuing an injunction against team owners, setting the stage for the end of the eight-month strike that led to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.
Judge Diane Wood
Diane Wood — Judge Wood reminds some of Justice Antonin Scalia; in her opinions, like his, seeds are often planted for future cases. A Clinton appointee to the appeals court, Wood is seen as one of the country’s smartest judges. She’s a liberal who has authored a fair amount of high-profile dissents in the conservative 7th Circuit. In 2002, one such case regarded an Indiana law mandating in-clinic counseling for women seeking abortions. Bucking the majority, Wood wrote that the law was burdensome to women, particularly those in rural areas.
Also said to be a front-runner is Leah Ward Sears, 53, an African-American presiding over Georgia’s state supreme court.
Leah Ward Sears
Leah Ward Sears — Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears has achieved a distinguished position in Georgia’s history. She was the first African-American woman to serve as Superior Court Judge in Georgia. When appointed by the Governor of Georgia in February, 1992, she was the first woman and the youngest person ever to serve on Georgia’s Supreme Court. Also, in retaining her appointed position as a Supreme Court Justice, Justice Sears became the first woman to win a contested state-wide election in Georgia.
Missing off the pundit’s list is Kathleen M. Sullivan.
Kathleen M. Sullivan
Kathleen M. Sullivan — Sullivan, 53, was dean of Stanford Law School from 1999 to 2004, and in private practice she’s represented a wide variety of corporate clients and trade associations. But she may be more widely known for her pro bono work in high-profile cases involving civil rights and civil liberties. Considered a constitutional scholar with the ability to find clarity in complex legal concepts, Sullivan has argued four cases before the Supreme Court. She now chairs the national appellate practice group at Quinn Emanuel and is licensed to practice in California, Massachusetts and New York. Sullivan still teaches at Stanford, but she counts as her mentor Harvard professor Laurence Tribe, an avid Obama supporter.
Florida Chief Justice Peggy A. Quince
The President as well as the cable pundits need to travel a little further south and take a serious look at Florida’s Chief Supreme Court Justice Peggy A. Quince.
Born in Norfolk, Va., Quince was educated and began her career in Washington, D.C. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Howard University in 1970 and a law degree from The Catholic University of America in 1975, she went to work as a hearing officer for Washington’s Rental Accommodations Office, which administered what was then a new rent-control law.
After a brief return to Norfolk, she opened a law office in 1978 in Bradenton, Fla.
Quince joined the state attorney general’s office in 1980 where she headed the busy Tampa bureau for five of her nearly 14 years as an assistant attorney general, handling death-penalty appeals for another three. Governor Lawton Chiles tapped her for an appellate court seat in 1993, and then during the last days of his term as Florida’s governor made her the first African American woman to serve on the state Supreme Court late in 1998. Chiles who is a legendary figure in Florida politics died four days later. Chiles’ incoming successor, Republican Jeb Bush supported Quince’s appointment, making Quince the first justice to be appointed by two different governors from differeing poltical parties.
When Quince was sworn in at a 1999 ceremony, she reserved six rows of seats for young people from her Tampa church, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. Her civic and community activities include membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Jack and Jill of America, Inc., the Urban League, the NAACP, and The Links, Inc.
Justice Quince has received numerous honors and awards.
In essence, Peggy A. Quince fits all the qualifications including those of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for the next U.S. Supreme Justice.
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