That said, choosing a woman was the easy part. Now, having chosen Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic to possibly serve on the bench of our country's highest court, we will see what the pundits have to say. And, what Sonia will be put through in her bid for confirmation.
I read Linda Lowen at About.com for some of my women's issues content and her latest post on this issue is excellent, as usual. She notes that "sources" - those invisible gossip-mongers, as I see it - were sure of Sonia's nomination last week, when Sonia met with Obama for an hour-long interview. Friends don't let friends down, perhaps? I'm being facetious. The interview likely gave Obama the substance of who Sonia was, cementing Obama's opinion of her. We all know, especially in marketing, that Face2Face meeting is more powerful than any blog post, or tweet, or Facebook note.
Personally, I believe that this nomination, and Sonia's appointment - should she pass muster - is a positive move, as Ruth Ginsburg is the only woman on the court now. Surely, we can all be thankful that diversity rules in this decision?
Diversity is a tricky devil, though. Diversity comes in such different shapes and sizes, some of us can be confused by its usefulness...some of us (I'm talking about women, in general, something I don't usually do) can forget to look beyond the immediate issues we might have with this new appointment. We might generalize on aspects we believe she brings to the table, which may or may not be true. We might generalize on her experience, not trusting sources that lean the wrong way (depending on what we think the wrong way is). We might even posit that having another woman on the Supreme Court is a good idea, by saying - the judgment of each Supreme Court Judge is sacrosanct - not influenced by gender, so, it doesn't matter how many women vs men there are on the court.
We might say, or think, all those things. Truth will out, however.
Linda Feldman at The Christian Science Monitor writes, "The only two women ever to have served on the US Supreme Court - Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- have a saying: "At the end of the day, a wise old man and a wise old woman reach the same judgment." Supporting the idea that gender is a non-issue.
However, Feldman goes on to say, "...recent study finds that, at least in sex-discrimination cases, there is a difference how male and female judges rule."
And, "For advocates of women's rights, adding another female justice is not about diversity for diversity's sake. It's about bringing women's perspectives and life experiences into interpretations of law, and about helping the male justices see things through their eyes."
In the end, women and men are different. We agree on some things, and disagree on others. What it behooves all of us to remember is that a wise old man and a wise old woman may come to the same conclusion, yet, disagree on how they arrived at that conclusion. And, therein lies the reason that this nomination is so important. Women bring unique perspectives to everything. A woman's touch, a woman's experiences, a woman's life; these are not part of any man's world - he sees them from the outside, or from a skewed perspective. So, when a legal cases go all the way to the Supreme Court, cases that will influence women's issues, women need to know there is more than one voice speaking on their behalf. More than one voice to make decisions based both on knowledge of the law and knowledge of what it means to be not just a human being, but a female human being.
If those who are deciding the law for or about women's issues have no experience being a female human being - how can they make a valid judgment? Truly?
As it is in life, here among the common folk, a woman's voice is necessary to bring balance. At the very least, balance. So should it be there - at the Supreme Court.