When they look at the current Supreme Court vacancy, Hispanic political leaders see a perfect opportunity for the first-ever Latino justice: a sitting president who has declared his commitment to diversity; a Republican Party eager to build on the gains it made among Latino voters; and a number of high-profile Hispanic candidates -- one of whom is a friend of President Bush.
Expectations are so high, Latino leaders say, they will be deeply disappointed with Bush if he does not select a Hispanic for the vacancy. But if Bush appoints a Latino who is conservative, Democrats and moderate Republicans could feel pressured to go along with the pick, even if they don't agree with the nominee's views. "Folks feel it's our time," said Larry Gonzales, spokesman for the National Association of Latino Elected Officials.
If another vacancy occurs as anticipated and Bush has the opportunity to name two justices, "it puts the possibility of a Hispanic nominee at 100 percent," he said.
Most people miss the fact that Hispanics do not consist of a single ethnic group. Besides that, the heritage that each one of the many nationalities represented in our immigrant population is diverse in itself. As I read Manuel Muñoz's post on his assimilation experience, I can tell you mine was nothing like his. But I can relate to this paragraph. My niece's name is Katie Belle (Sierra). It's intriguing to watch "American" names begin to dominate among my nieces and nephews and second cousins, as well as with the children of my hometown friends. I am not surprised to meet 5-year-old Brandon or Kaitlyn. Hardly anyone questions the incongruity of matching these names with last names like Trujillo or Zepeda. The English-only way of life partly explains the quiet erasure of cultural difference that assimilation has attempted to accomplish. A name like Kaitlyn Zepeda doesn't completely obscure her ethnicity, but the half-step of her nam…