In Thursday's Wall Street Journal, former Bush adviser Karl Rove made his case against Obama Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Along with the standard issue Republican criticism -- her supposed liberal activism, "reverse racism," and inability to be a consensus builder -- Rove also claimed that Sotomayor, if confirmed, won't even be the Hispanic justice to serve on the nation's highest court.
While the next two to four months of maneuverings and hearings may provide more insights into the views of Mr. Obama's pick, barring an unforeseen development -- not unheard of in Supreme Court nominations -- Judge Sotomayor will become the second Hispanic (Benjamin Cardozo was Sephardic) and third woman confirmed to the Supreme Court. Democrats will win the vote, but Republicans can win the argument by making a clear case against the judicial activism she represents.
Rove is wrong. Benjamin Cardozo, who was nominated to the Supreme Court by Herbert Hoover, was a Sephardic Jew who traced his family origins back to Portugal, which is not typically considered a Hispanic country. Media Matters points to the AP Style Guide:
Hispanic. The preferred term for those whose ethnic origin is in a Spanish-speaking country. Latino is acceptable for Hispanics who prefer that term. (The feminine form is Latina) Use a more specific identification when possible, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican or Mexican-American or the name of an indigenous group in a Latin American country...Refer to people of Brazilian and Portuguese origin as such, not as Hispanic.
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