Was Cardozo First Hispanic On Supreme Court?

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/104562346/104562330" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript

Sonia Sotomayor is touted as the first Hispanic nominated to the Supreme Court, but some have suggested Benjamin Cardozo deserves that honor. Cardozo served on the Supreme Court from 1932-1938. He is regarded as one of the best writers ever to sit on the court.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And as we said, if confirmed, Sonia Sotomayor would become the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court. But some have suggested another justice may deserve that honor.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Benjamin Cardozo. Cardozo served on the Supreme Court from 1932 to '38. He's regarded as one of the best legal writers ever to sit on the court. Cardozo's family came to the United States in the mid-1700s from Holland and England; that's as far back as family documents go. But family legends claim Portuguese-Jewish ancestry.

NORRIS: Cardozo attended the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue in New York City. His family tree is chock full of names like Mendez, Gomez, Navarro and Sechez, names that are common in Portugal.

BLOCK: But even with Portuguese heritage, would that make him the first Hispanic member of the court? That hinges on how you define Hispanic, a subject of much dispute. Anybody know a good lawyer?

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.