ITALIC INSTITUTE OF AMERICA

FOR RELEASE ON MONDAY, JANUARY 6, 2003

 

For more information contact Rosario Iaconis at One Holland Avenue, Floral Park, NY 11001, 516-488-7400, fax 516-488-4889, email ItalicOne@ aol.com

 

ITALIAN AMERICANS ARE STILL STUCK ON ELLIS ISLAND,

ACCORDING TO THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION

The White House selection process for future Supreme Court vacancies, as reported in the NY Times*, unfairly limits Americans of Italian descent.  It appears that President Bush’s senior staff members do not consider Italian Americans as mainstream, but rather an ethnic group subject to a quota.  According to the report filed by NY Times correspondent Neil Lewis, the prime reason that candidate Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. is being sidetracked has to do with the fact that there is "already an Italian-American on the Supreme Court, Justice Antonin Scalia.” 

The Institute's Midwest spokesman, Bill Dal Cerro, remarked, "It comes as quite a shock that Washington power brokers still consider Americans of Italian descent 'second-class' citizens. Decades of mobster movies and now The Sopranos have apparently given the Bush administration the wrong impression of how 'American' we are.  Our surnames shouldn't set off alarms, especially after 500 years on this continent and generations of military sacrifice and intermarriage. We should be judged on our own merits, not classified
because of a vowel at the end of our name." Dal Cerro asked,  “Does this ‘Bush Doctrine’ also apply to the Cabinet and other appointed positions?"

Added John Mancini, Chairman of the Italic Institute of America,  "To label Italian Americans as 'ethnics' for the purpose of limiting their access to higher office
in pursuit of some political strategy is clearly a form of discrimination.  Why are Irish, German and Jewish Americans no longer 'ethnic'?  Last time I looked, these other good Americans were still celebrating St Paddy's Day, von Steuben Day and Salute to Israel Day as well as enjoying their respective ethnic foods and culture. There appears now to be two Jewish justices, two or more with Irish surnames and two with northern European surnames.  Would the republic collapse if there were two Italian surnames on the Supreme Court?"

The Institute's Director of Communications, Rosario
A. Iaconis, noted the irony of the Bush policy: "Who in the Administration will break the news to Italian-American Republicans that President Bush opposes affirmative action yet endorses a restrictive quota system for the scions of Italy?"  Iaconis continued, "Must Judge Alito be excluded just because Scalia is on the bench and might be nominated for Chief Justice?”

The NY Times article reported no such restriction voiced by the Bush officials for candidates who may be ethnically related to the current Irish, northern European, African, and Jewish members of the Supreme Court.  Institute President Don Fiore expressed amazement that Bush officials would even talk on the record about discriminating specifically against a candidate of Italian heritage. "The remark is translatable as 'one Italian is enough' and is an ominous indication that the particular disdain routinely directed toward Italian Americans by the entertainment media is not absent in the political world.”

The Institute urges President Bush to publicly disavow this discriminatory policy and to explain the reasons for this throwback nativist attitude in the 21st Century.

Founded in New York in 1987, the Italic Institute of America is a non-profit, educational organization that explores the contributions of ancient and modern Italy to contemporary America and the world.

 * Page 1, Friday, December 27, 2002 (“Expecting a Vacancy, Bush Aides Weigh Supreme Court Contenders”)

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