JEALOUSY IS SO UNATTRACTIVE…. Stuart Taylor, one of Sonia Sotomayor’s more enthusiastic detractors, offers this anecdote from the judge’s time at Princeton.
In October 1974, Princeton allowed Sotomayor and two other students to initiate a seminar, for full credit and with the university’s blessings, on the Puerto Rican experience and its relation to contemporary America.
Now, I look at that as pretty impressive. Willow Rosenberg notwithstanding, students are rarely offered opportunities to teach before they graduate. That Princeton extended Sotomayor a chance to lead a for-credit seminar, in addition to her summa cum laude degree and the prestigious Pyne Prize, suggests she must have been quite remarkable young woman.
The Weekly Standard‘s Michael Goldfarb doesn’t see it that way. His headline reads, “More Preferential Treatment?”
I went to Princeton but somehow I never got to teach my own class, or grade my own work. One wonders how Sotomayor judged her work in that class, and whether the grade helped or hindered her efforts to graduate with honors.
Hmm. When a prestigious university offers a Latina student an opportunity to teach, and fails to offer a white male student the same opportunity, it could be the result of “preferential treatment” relating to the Latina student’s ethnicity. Then again, it could have something to do with — and I’m just throwing this out there as a possibility — the fact that the Latina student was simply smarter and more impressive than the white guy. Really, it happens.
Where Goldfarb sees evidence of “preferential treatment,” I see evidence of excellence. Chalk it up to competing worldviews, I guess.
Post Script: Also, note Goldfarb’s suggestion that Sotomayor’s seminar may have “helped” her graduate summa cum laude. The argument seems to be that she may have graduated with honors, but that was made possible by her “preferential treatment,” such as the chance to “grade [her] own work.”
In other words, we’re to believe Sotomayor’s summa cum laude honor is less than what it appears to be. How sad.
Update: Making matters worse, it looks like Goldfarb’s criticism isn’t even based on fact — Sotomayor didn’t teach her own class.