Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Sonia Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, although Republican word parsers are trying to claim that Benjamin Cardozo was the first "hispanic" justice.

Hispanic (a) - Of or pertaining to Spain or the Spanish language. From the Latin Hispania, the Iberian Peninsula. Since the 19th century the word hispanic describes a person whose heritage is of any of the Spanish or Portuguese speaking countries of the Western Hemisphere commonly known as Latin America.

Sotomayor was born in New York City to parents who had immigrated from Puerto Rico.

Cardozo was also born in New York City. His ancestors immigrated from England in the 18th century and lived in New York during the Revolutionary War. Prior to that he had ancestors who traveled to Holland in the 16th century from Portugal to escape the Spanish Inquisition as they were Sephardi Jews.

The Republican parsers are claiming that since Cardozo's family lived in Hispania centuries ago then he was Hispanic. Benjamin Cardozo was a brilliant man, logical, and a skilled wordsmith. He would never have engaged in such sloppy reasoning and, himself, never claimed to be Hispanic.

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