July 14th, 2009
11:03 AM ET
10 years ago

Sotomayor: Congress must take lead on affirmative action

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Judge Sonia Sotomayor said Tuesday that the question of whether affirmative action is needed is "always first a legislative determination."

The Constitution, she noted, promotes and requires the equal protection of all citizens.

"It is firmly my hope," she said, that in 25 years race won't need to be considered as factor. The country, she said, has made great strides in racial matters in recent years. She also cited, however, situations with "compelling state interests" - such as university admissions - where the state often applies a solution "that is very narrowly tailored."

CNN Radio: Candy Crowley goes behind the headlines on Sotomayor

Sotomayor specifically noted a case involving the University of Michigan law school, where the high court ruled that it was appropriate for race to be considered as one of several factors. She also noted, however, a companion case in which the high court rejected a system of racial quotas in the undergraduate admissions program in the University of Michigan.


Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. since the caucasians are becoming the minority

    how about afirmative action for the white folk, make latins the majority

    July 14, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. FLP

    Too bad her own rulings show she can't make fair decisions and she discriminated against the white fire fighters. Race has proven to be an issue with her. Where was the equal protection for them?

    July 14, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. southerncousin

    The libs certainly don't want the best and brightest leading this country. They would lose the elections and stall the dumbing down of America they have been striving for since the 1930's.

    July 14, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. Scott, Tucson

    Here in Arizona we're putting Affirmative Action on the ballot for 2010. Expect the voters to remove affirmative action as a means of hiring and promotions.

    July 14, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. UNHAPPY DEM

    Affirmative action needs to go away. It provides unfair advantages to minorities. It also puts people in positions for which they are not qualified, which in turn leads to an inefficient economy, which leads to inflation, which leads to a weaker USA. If minorities want to be equal ,then treat them equal. Hand up, not hand out.

    July 14, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. John

    Great logic. In order to eliminate race as a considering factor we make it a considering factor by law.

    July 14, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. elliott

    Affirmative action is RACIST and bad for America......

    July 14, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. Mike in NYC

    Actually, the question of whether affirmative action is needed has been a determination of the MSM and other controllers of public policy debate, who always default to the "blame Whitey" setting.

    It’s interesting that Sotomayor used the same "25 years" figure that O'Connor referenced in the majority rulings in the Michigan cases. That time frame roughly coincides with the passing of the White majority in this country. Anyone who thinks that non-Whites will favor dropping AA policies upon gaining demographic dominance is delusional.

    July 14, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. New Age Democrat

    In 25 years? Are you serious?!?!?! Using race as a factor in any way, is discrimination. I say this as a father of a minority family, and I mean every word. Don't give me a leg up just because of skin color. It was wrong back then, and it's wrong now. It is time for this nonsense to end!

    July 14, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I agree that AA should be addressed by Congress. Cases evolving around equality is not for a judge to decide. That is something morally wrong in the fabric of this nation and needs to be addressed by Congress.

    July 14, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. PFFT

    "The Constitution, she noted, promotes and requires the equal protection of all citizens." It's just that some require more equal protection than others, no matter how qualified or unqualified that person might be.

    July 14, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. Michigan Jim

    Affirmative action is the precise opposite of equal protection.

    July 14, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. A Free Thinking American

    How about this for a novel idea? Track race for demographic purposes only. This way educators can see where the country is lacking, i.e. if the majority of qualified applicants are white, then more emphasis should be placed on traditional minority education areas. In other words, still hire/admit the best qualified based on merit, however, use the data collected to fix the issue and give everyone a stable, sound foundation vs. just giving a handout. In today's society, there is definitely no room for prejudicial treatment and that should go both ways. Now that we've identified the problem (over 40 yrs ago) let's work to fix it instead of applying a "handicap" to those who aren't qualified.

    July 14, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Soooo, which is scarier for you GOPers?

    A. Sotomayor "legislating from the bench" regarding affirmative action;

    B. Congress "taking a lead on affirmative action" (i.e., the way it's supposed to work and what you are impliedly arguing for when you criticize her in this manner)...while the Dems have a supemajority in both houses;

    C. Everyone being treated equally;

    D. All the above.

    My guess is you all vote D.

    July 14, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. barbara

    I am going to write my Senators and REMIND them that I , as an American citizen, have the right to equal protection and that I feel that this right is being violated in the name of affirmative action. We need a law overturning this policy because it is clearly unconstitutional. Otherwise every white person CAN claim that their right to equal protection is being violated,...I see a class action suit in the near future.

    July 14, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  16. RH

    Affirmative Action is racism – no two ways about it. One form of discrimination will never alleviate another. Whites have just as much right to be outraged by racism against them as anybody else.

    July 14, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. citizenjane

    since the caucasians are becoming the minority July 14th, 2009 11:37 am ET

    how about afirmative action for the white folk, make latins the majority
    ----------------–

    White folk have had affirmative action for 200+ years in this country. Pay back looking you in the face?

    July 14, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. ariel

    Amazing the GOP, in their thinly veiled bigotry, asking these loaded questions.

    July 14, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Tim from Roseburg

    Why hasn't the New Haven test been posted? I would like to see how it is racially exclusive.

    July 14, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. tedious898

    barbara, (poorly informed person)

    go ahead and write your congressman to your hearts content. In the meantime look back at the history of the country (i.e. civil rights, slavery, brown v. school board) and consider the reasons why affirmative action was instituted.

    If people were judged and given opportunities based upon skills, and education and not ethnicity (i.e. race, gender), it wouldn't be necessary. Because you didn't know this, you might want to take a course in "recent american history" to help you.

    July 14, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. Tired in SC

    Sonia Sotomayor; race would not be a factor now if the blacks did not keep it going. they raise cain if someone not of their color looked at them wrong. they are the ones causing racial strife. They love the publicity. If the media did not publicise all this stuff it would soon go away.

    July 14, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  22. tedious898

    southerncousin July 14th, 2009 11:42 am ET

    The libs certainly don't want the best and brightest leading this country. They would lose the elections and stall the dumbing down of America they have been striving for since the 1930's.

    ============================

    HA HA...You've missed the reality mark by a few solar systems....Space Cadet.

    McCain/Palin = academically illiterate

    Obama/Biden (the Winners) = academic geniuses (constitutional experts/professors)

    How is this dumbing down America? Please explained oh enlightened one!

    July 14, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. FLP

    I would rather have the white fire fighter that passed the test, than the black fire fighter that failed it! I don't want the least qualified person when I need them, I want the most qualified, regardless of race.

    July 14, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |