Sen. Pearce vs. Cardinal Mahony: Leaders Behaving Badly

In a move that has sparked controversy nationwide, Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, has successfully promoted a bill that requires state law enforcement, among related jurisdictions, to aid in federal immigration law enforcement. The state senator’s most outspoken critic, Roger Mahony, Roman Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles, writes on his blog:

I can’t imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation. Are children supposed to call 911 because one parent does not have proper papers? Are family members and neighbors now supposed to spy on one another, create total distrust across neighborhoods and communities, and report people because of suspicions based upon appearance?

Mahony’s words are provocative — arguably, even, a cheapening comparison to the horrors Communist and Nazi victims experienced. Yet they come on the heels of an audacious personal attack: The Los Angeles Times reports Sen. Pearce told syndicated radio talk show host Michael Smerconish “This guy has a history of protecting and moving predators around in order to avoid detection by the law. He has no room to talk [on the illegal immigration issue].”

Sen. Pearce may be well within the protections of the First Amendment, but he has far overstepped the bounds of responsible speech. Cardinal Mahony, however, has some confession of his own to do: Dredging up a very painful historic reality in contrast to a hypothetical and alarmist outcome.

It’s time for a time-out.

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If Justice is Blind, Sotomayor is Anything But

Prospective Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor has yet to complete the vetting process but already controversy over a comment she made in 2001 has erupted. In “A Latina Judge’s Voice“, a lecture presented at the law school of the University of California, Berkeley, Sotomayor said that her Latina heritage undeniably plays a role in her judgments. “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 told her audience.

The Associated Press reports President Obama is sure the would-be Supreme Court justice didn’t mean to imply that one segment of the population may be deficient in contrast to another. The President’s spokesman, Robert Gibbs, meanwhile, speculated that Sotomayor regrets her poor choice of words — now. But even if the liberal nominee were to express misgivings about her inflammatory statement — which is unlikely despite compelling others to apologize on her own behalf — the public should not anticipate a change of heart. Regretting a consequence of one’s actions is one thing. Remorse for the bigoted sentiments that shape one’s identity? Don’t count on it.

Continue reading “If Justice is Blind, Sotomayor is Anything But”