Sotomayor Asked About ‘Temperament’. Sexist Question?

By Tom Johnson

Jul 15, 2009 11:14am

Judge Sonia Sotomayor would very much like to be the nation's new Supreme Court Justice.  She would be one of only two women on the high court. 

At yesterday's Senate confirmation hearings Sotomayor was asked a question that is being debated today.  Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, asked Sotomayor if she thought she had a "temperament problem"?   He read the judge anonymous comments written about her that used terms such as "nasty" and "bully".

"When you look at the evaluation of the judges on the second circuit you stand out like a sore thumb in terms of your temperament," Graham said.

"Do you think you have a temperament problem?" he asked.

"No sir," Sotomayor replied. "I can only talk about what I know about the relationship with the judges of my court and the lawyers who appear regularly before our circuit. And I believe my reputation is such that I ask the tough question but I do it evenly to both sides."

Is a "temperament problem" code for something else?  Would the Senator have asked a male judge the same question?  Or is it a fair, relevant question?  Graham also said this to the nominee before him: "I like you", "I may vote for you."

On Monday, Senator Graham remarked that Sotomayor would breeze through the confirmation hearings unless she had a "meltdown" and there was little chance of that.  The New York Times' Maureen Dowd had this to say in today's paper:

"Senator Graham said Sotomayor would be confirmed unless she had a "meltdown" — a word applied mostly to women and toddlers…" 

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus