As this Wash Post piece notes, Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito had no problem—during his 2005 confirmation hearing—declaring that his Italian-immigrant background would influence his thinking:
"When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account."
But my point: we never worried about the influence of "diversity" on how judges thought until it became necessary to make distinctions about how the race/ethnicity of non-white nominees thinking might be influenced by who they were.
As it comes up in so many dimensions of understanding race at the core of American identity, nominal whiteness (including assimilated "other" European "ethnics") is the unexamined given. Rather than give this framework for evaluating the merit of leaders a well deserved funeral, the diversity/multicultural thought matrix suggests its better to value people on contribution of their ethnic particularities than their individual talents, professional accomplishments and maturation into fully-formed human beings. (The "empathy" Obama said was desirable in a Supreme falls into that last category).
Of course Sotomayor's roots as a Puerto-Rican American (redundant already) from the Bronx matter. But it mattered most in 1972, when she needed—and deserved—affirmative action to make up for the legacy of discrimination and disparity associated with those roots to help get her into a school like Princeton where her talents could find full expression for the benefit of society.
The end of the story should be a about the judge Sotomayor became, not the faux, retroactive justification for the affirmative action that helped her get there offered by the diversity establishment thinkers.
And the extension of such thinking to make such confessions of identity thinking, as Alito's 2005 testimony, to white ethnic or other (gay, disabled etc.) "diverse" groups a valid part of our vetting process is not justice. It's an almost cruel joke on the premise that the American dream is one people created out of many.