As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Early Winner In The Sotomayor Battle

As I said before, despite the bluster, Republican Senators are considering it unlikely to mount a filibuster against Sonia Sotomayor. But there's an entire architecture of movement conservative organizations designed to push a filibuster fight, and they will be hard to ignore. After all, this is how they make their bacon:

Organizations that have been preparing for a major confirmation battle — and that depend on such fights to raise money, motivate supporters and galvanize enthusiasm for their agendas — made it clear they don't intend to sit out the debate, filibuster or no. The debate over Sotomayor could also lay groundwork for fights over later high court nominations the president might make.

Never mind the longer game of making Sotomayor illegitimate, calling into question all her future opinions, and rousing the base even more now that such a woman sits on the nation's highest court ready to persecute them.

TPMDC profiles these movement actors, the same few people you'll see quoted in every paper and appearing on every cable show in the next couple months. There's Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network, Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice (who used Sotomayor's taste in Puerto Rican cuisine to call into question her judicial philosophy - really, he did), Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, who I heard on NPR criticize Sotomayor for her "silence" in an opinion she participated in but didn't write, and Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice. There are more groups, like Judicial Watch, The Federalist Society, plus the usual think tanks, et al. Why you need this many overlapping judicial organizations is beyond me, but I guess the goal is to employ as many movement conservatives as possible, plus you can mix and match them in the media to give the illusion of a broad perspective. And filibuster or not, they have to be out there raising hell and raising money. A Supreme Court fight without storefront conservative judicial organizations would be like tax season without accountants.

But TPMDC missed the one individual who has certainly gained the most in the early going of this nomination - New Republic writer Jeffrey Rosen. After all, his use of gossipy talking points has driven the entire discussion in the media, and made him ubiquitous even if he hasn't graced the camera with his presence. And though his reputation ought to be in tatters for pushing such demeaning talking points into the mainstream, as it turns out, he has the lead story in this week's New York Times magazine.

The article sidesteps the Sotomayor controversy, preferring instead to define liberalism on the Court in the 21st century, and the term "democratic constitutionalist." But the meta question of "why the hell is the NYT allowing Jeffrey Rosen a platform?" can never be far from the informed reader. Far from being punished or blackballed for his role in trying to destroy the reputation of a soon-to-be sitting Supreme Court Justice, Rosen has been celebrated and promoted. Of course, in the Village, Rosen is "one of us," and Sotomayor is "one of them."

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