SHE ISN’T THE ONE WHO’S ‘OBSESSED’…. The National Review‘s Victor Davis Hanson took a closer look at Sonia Sotomayor’s 2001 speech at Berkeley, and reached the conclusion that the judge is “obsessed” with issues regarding race.

A disinterested observer would conclude that Justice Sotomayor is race-obsessed. In her now much quoted 2001 UC Berkeley speech she invoked “Latina/Latino” no less than 38 times, in addition to a variety of other racial-identifying synonyms. When one reads the speech over, the obsession with race become almost overwhelming, and I think the public has legitimate worries (more than the Obama threshold of 5% of cases) over whether a judge so cognizant of race could be race-blind in her decision making.

Now, it’s tempting to encourage Hanson to simply look at Sotomayor’s judicial record and notice the judge’s reasonable, cautious, and “restrained” record in race-related cases.

But there’s an even more obvious recommendation for the conservative writer: look at the forum at which Sotomayor delivered the speech.

I guess it never occurred to Hanson that Sotomayor might have invoked “Latina/Latino” so many times in her speech because she was giving said speech at a symposium titled “Raising the Bar: Latino and Latina Presence in the Judiciary and the Struggle for Representation.” Just like, something tells me, Sam Alito probably made frequent mention of his ethnicity when he gave this speech.

Exactly. Sotomayor made frequent references to her Latina ethnicity and its relationship to her work because she was speaking at a conference about the Latina presence in the courts. That’s not evidence of an “obsession,” that’s evidence of an ability to stick to the topic at hand.

(I can just imagine Hanson listening to President Obama’s speech at Normandy this past Saturday and thinking, “Gee, Obama seems obsessed with D-Day. It’s almost overwhelming.”)

Matt Yglesias concluded, “In the real world, the only “race obsessed” people in this debate are the Victor Davis Hanson’s of the world who’ve consistently refused to see the Sotomayor nomination through anything other than the lens of her ethnicity.”

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.