Obama, Sotomayor, and the Double Dog Dare

As Holly already pointed out, President Obama will go before the nation this morning and officially nominate Sonia Sotomayor from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, to the United States Supreme Court. Assuming she is seated, this would make Justice Sotomayor the first Hispanic justice and only the third woman to take one of these seats. It looks to me as if Obama has taken a quite predictable path and is openly laying a bear trap in front of the Republican Party which they may not be able to avoid.

Just the optics alone of this pick and the current political climate make this a pretty strong play for Obama. Of the entire short list, this was probably the one which would enrage the GOP base the most and that may well be exactly what Obama wants. Do Republicans really want to mount a battle which they are almost certain to lose against any nominee from Obama? This case in particular is especially problematic for the GOP though, they’ve been taking a beating at the ballot box and Republican strategists are increasingly alarmed over how poorly they are doing with the quickly swelling ranks of Hispanic voters. Do they honestly want to wage a battle to keep the first Hispanic candidate ever off of the bench? Not to mention that fact that they would probably lose anyway?

Republicans may also have a bit of trouble justifying their opposition given the fact that they’ve had plenty of opportunities to object to her before now. According to FindLaw, she’s been making the rounds since 1977. Her first Federal appointment came from that well-known icon of liberal Democratic politics… George H.W. Bush. She did face some opposition from Republicans in 1997, but in the end it all came to naught.

She was finally confirmed by the Senate on a 68-28 vote, with some senior Republicans like Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Richard Lugar of Indiana supporting her. But among those voting against her was Sessions, a key player in shaping how the GOP will handle Obama’s nominee.

Our friend Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air seems to feel that the judge will be seated, but quotes some sources who are concerned over how liberal she is and, of course, the usual cries of foul over her being a “liberal activist judge.” One source he points to is Wendy Long from National Review. And to oppose her, Ms. Long invokes the specter of … wait for it…. yep. You guessed it. Apparently Sonia Sotomayor disrespects the victims and heroes of 9/11.

She reads racial preferences and quotas into the Constitution, even to the point of dishonoring those who preserve our public safety. On September 11, America saw firsthand the vital role of America’s firefighters in protecting our citizens. They put their lives on the line for her and the other citizens of New York and the nation. But Judge Sotomayor would sacrifice their claims to fair treatment in employment promotions to racial preferences and quotas.

She’s talking about the firefighter decision which you’ll be hearing a lot about in the weeks to come. She also makes the claim that Sotomayer has “an extremely high rate of her decisions being reversed” but, like Ed, I would like to see some references on that. Thus far I’m seeing two reversals on FindLaw dating back more than 18 years. I’m not sure if that qualifies as a “high rate” or not, but there may be more which aren’t showing up in search.

In any event, it looks like red meat trying to tempt the Republicans into a fight they don’t appear to have much of a chance to win and could take an additional beating on the national level if they try. Either way, I expect that Ms. Sotomayor will be our next member of The Supremes and the only interesting bits will be in the details as the nomination makes its way forward. She’s only in her early fifties, so once seated she may be a loud, constant liberal voice on the highest court for decades to come.

         

12 Comments

  1. What I find most interesting about this nominee, is that all the support seems to be based on the 'optics' rather than on her qualifications. Have we seen a situation like this before….

  2. The qualifications are all available if you follow the link chain, both at NYT and Findlaw. I do sincerely hope that you aren't looking to compare a person with more than thirty years on the bench, experience as a federal prosecutor and an editor of the Harvard Law review to Harriet Miers, are you?

  3. “(S)ources who are concerned over how liberal she is and, of course, the usual cries of foul over her being a “liberal activist judge.”

    Well of course they say that. She is. But that is beside the point. I said when Bush was President elections have consequences, and it is still true. This is one of the perks and prerogatives of being the President – to nominate candidates that fit his/her views of judicial philosophy.

    She may not be to my liking, but she is qualified to serve as a SCOTUS associate justice, and should be confirmed. Hell, she WILL be confirmed. The only question is with how much histrionics.

  4. PWT -

    Focusing on the optics…have we seen a situation like this before? Sure we have. The “black” seat, Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, Reagan's determination to name a woman, Sandra Day O'Connor. This is not to say that any of these three were unqualified, just to point out that “optics” are often in play on both sides of the aisle in Supreme Court nominations.

    BTW, based on experience and intellect, 18 years on the federal bench, 2nd in her Princeton class and Yale Law, she has the qualifications. The argument against her is ideological, not experiencial.

  5. “Double dog dare” is right, and the GOP will take it for sure. Were they smart, they'd take AR's reality-based position and let it go. But they won't, further pushing Hispanics and women from their fold and trotting out the tired “activist judges” line, as if that means anything. All SCOTUS judges “act” to define laws based on their reading of the laws and the Constitution.

  6. To Obama, not to Meiers.

  7. The best way for the GOP to avoid the trap is to agree to confirm her, but not to agree with her judicial philosophy. They shouldn't block the nomination but they should make it clear that the reason for not doing so is the same as they argued when the Dems succeeded in voting down Bork and almost succeeded in voting down Thomas- the fact that the confirmation process isn't meant to be based on agreement of ideology.

    At the same time, it's perfectly legitimate to voice disagreements with her judicial philosophy and for activist groups to use this pick as a rallying cry to take back the WH before the Democrats are able to tip the court's balance toward liberal activism.

  8. They will confirm her…they can't politically afford to drag a hispanic women through the mud. CS is right, they'll confirm, but make sure that we are all aware of how much they disagree with her judicial philosophy.

  9. First Hispanic?? What ethnicity was Cordoza…….Irish?

    “Strong play” for Obama?? With 59 votes, he ought to be able to get Mickey Mouse confirmed. More aptly, this is a safe play……..she's not particularly distinguished as a game changer……..and has done the time.

    If noise is made, it will only be for noises sake.

  10. CO – Cordozo was a Portuguese Jew.

  11. Thank, AR.

    Boy, I betcha the TMV lefty authors must have threads all over the place when Hoover made such an overt Zionist-loving nomination like that!

  12. What the Sotomayor vote will show is that the so-called moderate Blue Dog Democrats are not really moderate at all. They will all willing vote for a Supreme Court Justice who will push to eliminate private owner of guns. to limit political speech, to limit private ownership rights, and to justify every form of race based social engineering.

    Now is the time for the Blue Dogs like Jim Webb and Tester to prove that they will not be lead around by the nose. I doubt that will step up and demonstrate true leadership but will support a liberal activist judges who will eliminate many of the things that they claim that they support.

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