Sonya’s Short Term?

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There is a jarringly obvious angle of Judge Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court that has unaccountably been ignored: her medical history.

When I noted to my wife, who is an internist, as well as to a friend who is an endocrinologist, that Sotomayor was diagnosed at age 8 with juvenile diabetes, the immediate response from both was that the judge would not likely live very long. My friend even opined that she would not live to full retirement age of 66.

The rule of thumb is that diabetes shortens life expectation. A healthy white 54-year-old American woman could expect to live to nearly 80. But as a diabetic Hispanic-American, Sotomayer can expect that these statistical years of life will be cut from 26 to about 16, tops.

There are exceptions, of course, and I wish her no harm. Still, Sotomayor on the Supreme Court should probably be seen as a short-term investment.

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