Not Prepared For The Stupid
I just heard Ed Whelan, who's nuts, on NPR talking about the Sotomayor pick, and he predictably decried the Ricci opinion, saying that Sotomayor didn't even bother to give her opinion about those white firefighters who were discriminated against, in his view.
Yeah, um, Sotomayor didn't write the opinion at all. She participated in it. That's kind of how appeals court opinions go.
Mike Huckabee made known that he is opposed to Maria Sotomayor, so it's a good thing Obama picked Sonia.
Conservatives are desperate to oppose this nominee, both to fire up their base and to make money for their front organizations. But Sotomayor presents multiple problems. First of all, she plays the law down the middle in her opinions and seeks consensus. Second, eight Republican Senators already voted to confirm her in the past, including conservatives Robert Bennett, Thad Cochran and Orrin Hatch. Third, they spent years demanding an "upperdownvote" on judicial nominees. Fourth, as a Latina there are multiple political pitfalls for Republicans who oppose. SCOTUSBlog has a good post on the nomination, but I'm not sure I agree with all of it:
Equally significant for not only Hispanics but all Americans, Sotomayor has an extraordinarily compelling personal narrative. 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.
Objectively, her qualifications are overwhelming from the perspective of ordinary Americans. She has been a prosecutor, private litigator, trial judge, and appellate judge. No one currently on the Court has that complete package of experience.
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.
I'm not looking forward to the casual racism, demeaning of intellect, and general craziness from the right about this nomination. Contra SCOTUSBlog, I believe the Republicans will go all-out on this. They live for these fights.
However, the fact that Sotomayor is a Latina could also present a political challenge for Republicans. Senators from the GOP, which has suffered from an internal rift over immigration issues and problem-plagued efforts to reach out to Hispanics, will have to decide how directly and sharply they want to attack a Latina single mother whose confirmation to the court is virtually certain.
Sonia Sotomayor has no children.