- Drug-filled drone crash outside S.C. prison sends police on alert
- GOP to Obama: Take your ‘golf cap off’ and get down to coal country
- Hamas cleric tells Jews: ‘We will exterminate you’
- San Diego Costco, Target shoppers shocked by plane crash in parking lot
- George W. Bush penning biography of father
- Israel vows to destroy Hamas tunnels
- Spain evacuates staff from embassy in Libya
- Peace Corps evacuates over Ebola fears; 2 volunteers isolated
- House overwhelmingly approves $16 billion cash infusion for VA overhaul
- Obama admin to blame for HealthCare.gov woes, $840M cost: GAO
Sotomayor battled bias in D.C.
Question of the Day
Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s first pick for the Supreme Court, got some real-world experience fighting discrimination before she ever heard a case as a judge.
As a law student at Yale, she turned down a high-profile job with the powerful Washington law firm Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge to protest questions during the recruitment process about her Hispanic heritage, according to a report in The Washington Post from 1978. The daughter of Puerto Ricans, Judge Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic to serve on the high court if confirmed.
A student-faculty tribunal found that, during a recruitment dinner, one of the Washington firm’s lawyers improperly asked her whether she had been “culturally deprived” by her heritage.
Mr. Obama introduced Judge Sotomayor as a candidate with the “common touch” and “experience” he is seeking for the nation’s highest court, but did not mention the 1978 incident. Judge Sotomayor has served on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 1998.
According to the contemporary news account of the tribunal’s findings, a Shaw, Pittman lawyer asked her: ” ‘Do law firms do a disservice by hiring minority students who the firms know do not have the necessary credentials and will then fire in three to four years? Would [you] have been admitted to the law school if [you] were not a Puerto Rican? [Were you] culturally deprived?’ ”
One of the firm’s founding partners apologized to Judge Sotomayor at the time. The firm was bought three years ago and merged into Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.
“Pillsbury has always been committed to diversity of all kinds, and we are proud of our record in attracting and retaining minority lawyers,” said Pillsbury Chairman James M. Rishwain. “Having attorneys from diverse backgrounds and experiences is fundamental to our business and beneficial to both our clients and us.”
A year after the incident, Judge Sotomayor took a position as an assistant district attorney for New York County.
About the Author
Tom LoBianco has covered energy and environmental policy, including the climate change bill making its way through Congress. From 2007 to 2008, he covered Maryland politics from the Times’s Annapolis bureau. Tom hold’s a master’s degree in political science from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park. He spent two and a ...
TWT Video Picks
By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- Al Gore's climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- EDITORIAL: The real Lois Lerner exposed in newly released emails
- NAPOLITANO: Is the president incompetent or lawless?
- House votes to sue President Obama over claims of presidential power
- 'Big Bang' star Mayim Bialik helps send bulletproof vests to IDF
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- Star witness in Bob McDonnell corruption trial refutes 'crush' defense
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world