Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama to Nominate Sotomayor

President Obama will nominate Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court at 10:15am. The New York Times has the story, "Obama Chooses Sotomayor for Supreme Court Nominee."

Tom Goldstein discusses Sotoymayor and the politics of judicial appointments at SCOTUS Blog, "
The Dynamic of the Nomination of Sonia Sotomayor":

Republicans cannot afford to find themselves in the position of implicitly opposing Judge Sotomayor. To Hispanics, the nomination would be an absolutely historic landmark. It really is impossible to overstate its significance. The achievement of a lifetime appointment at the absolute highest levels of the government is a profound event for that community, which in turn is a vital electoral group now and in the future.

Equally significant for not only Hispanics but all Americans, Sotomayor has an extraordinarily compelling personal narrative. She is a first generation American, born of immigrant parents. She grew up in a housing project, losing her father as an adolescent, raised (with her brother) by her mother, who worked as a nurse. She got herself to Princeton, graduating as one of the top two people in her class, then went to Yale Law. Almost all of her career has been in public service–as a prosecutor, trial judge, and now appellate judge. She has almost no money to her name.

For Republican Senators to come after Judge Sotomayor is not only hopeless when it comes to confirmation (something that did not deter Democrats in their attacks on Roberts and Alito) but a strategy that risks exacting a very significant political cost among Hispanics and independent voters generally, assuming that the attacks aren’t backed up with considerable substance.

The most likely dynamic by far is the one that played out for Democrats with respect to Chief Justice Roberts. Democratic senators, recognizing the inevitable confirmation of a qualified and popular nominee, decided to hold their fire and instead direct their attacks to President Bush’s second nominee. Justice Alito was the collateral damage to that strategy. Here, with Justice Stevens’s retirement inevitable in the next few years, Republican senators are very likely to hold off conservative interest groups with promises to sharply examine President Obama’s second (potentially white male) nominee.

Overall, the White House’s biggest task is simply demonstrating that Judge Sotomayor is the most qualified candidate, not a choice based on her gender and ethnicity. The public wants to know that her greatness as a Justice is informed by her personal history and her diversity, not that it is defined by those characteristics. For that reason, the focus on “empathy” — rather than the “wisdom” or “good sense” of the nominee in light of her experience — plays out poorly, in my opinion.
See also my earlier entry, "Sonia Sotomayor: The Next Token Justice?"

Related: Conservative Rumblings, "Probable Obama SCOTUS Pick Sotomayor: Dangerous and Ignorant."


Gayle said...

I tend to agree with you, Donald, but I don't know much about her other than she's a Democrat. I'm going to have to find the time to do some research, including your links. I think though, that the Republicans probably will oppose her. I hope it doesn't hurt us too much.

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed about Yahoo's headline to this story. "Obama picks NewYorkrican". What has this site become???? This is a terrible disgrace to all America when in a time of desperation, folks continue their ignorant ways of the past. Guess when I am nominated it will read "Obama picks NorthCarolinianengine" or RedMan.

Anonymous said...

A total disaster for pro choice on abortion

Chris Wysocki said...

I love the rhetorical sleight of hand displayed by Mr. Goldstein - Republicans can't oppose her because she's a Hispanic and thus her nomination is historic, but her ethnicity has no bearing on her qualification to sit on the Court.

Obama is playing "heads I win, tails you lose" with this nominee.

And tying in with your prior post on the gay marriage debate, Judge Sotomayor is a prime example of a jurist enamored with "feelings" rather than the rule of law. As you stated, "feelings" are what the lefties are all about, regardless of what is actually "correct" from a legal and moral standpoint.

Ilya Somin noted her repugnant statement "that ‘a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.’ Not only is it objectionable in and of itself, it also suggests that Sotomayor is a committed believer in the identity politics school of left-wing thought."

Since when should ethnicity influence how a judge interprets the law? Is there "Hispanic law" which is somehow morally superior to "white guy law"? Therein lies madness.

Rusty Walker said...

While Judge Sotomayor has a compelling story, like Obama, here we go again making the person’s story more important than the position. I don’t remember the Democratic congress caring about the humble origins of Justice Thomas. As for Obama’s requirement of “empathy” as a qualification – empathy for what? Hispanics, the lower income families, abortion decisions? Sotomayor’s empathy was obviously for the minorities in Ricci v. DeStefano, involving the New Haven fire department, that threw out tests when they realized the blacks scored low (Ricci a white, dyslexic fireman who studied long and hard scored 6th out of 77). Sotomayor ruled in favor of the city, that had thrown the tests out when they didn’t match the expected result.
Lady Justice is blind-folded so empathy is impossible and the rule of law and justice prevails over someone’s personal, empathetic bias.

cracker said...

Thats a great point Rusty

"Lady Justice is blind-folded so empathy is impossible and the rule of law and justice prevails over someone’s personal, empathetic bias."

Let me add to it that, if judicial decisions are based in the "empathy and feelings" of those accused.......well then everyone would be innocent, wouldnt they?

Dave said...

Sotomayer is an anti-constitutional racist, and has no business whatsoever being a SCOTUS justice.

If she wants to make law instead of interpreting it vs. the constitution, then she should resign her judgeship and run for congress.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Douglas: Oh, for heaven's sake. Elections have consequences, and the evil was done last November. Add the 60 members of The One's Senate Express, and this deal is done. Besides, she belongs on the Court on the ancient legal principle that the President is entitled to have someone there to fix his parking tickets.

The real problem will come should Scalia kick the bucket. Then the scales would swing, and seriously. All the other suspects who are looking apprehensively at the actuarial tables are already on the left.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster