I'm cautiously optimistic about Sotomayor's quality as a judge. She's certainly got good credentials. Although she looks like another lukewarms middle of the road judge, I get warm fuzzies about someone from my old hood getting to the Supreme Court. I love her advocacy for campaign finance reform.
On the downside, her ambiguous position on abortion is a bit concerning, but there isn't enough information there to have a real read on where she's at on the issue. If I were appointing her I would want a clear stand on the issue, and I expect the pro-choice members of the Judiciary Committee are going to want those assurances (of course, how do you hold her to them??). Also, I wonder if we're ever going to have another real liberal judge on the bench. Democrats always select types like Breyer, and the Republicans respond with Alito. I think at least one good lefty would be helpful to shout back at Scalia in chambers. And I wish we would have someone with experiences outside of the judiciary. Whatever happened to high elected officials on the Court? They've been some of the best judges we've had.
So on the merits I'm moderately pleased with Sotomayor. But I'm amazed what her selection is doing to the Republicans. It's as if they're trying to come off to the rest of the country as racists. This isn't just about alienating Hispanics, which their hard-line stance on immigration is doing anyway. No, the bigger problem is that their outrageous demeanor makes them look beholden to the most troglodyte element of their party, which will cost them among the all-important moderate swing vote. Remember, the reason that Republicans used dog-whistle politics to appeal to racists wasn't because they were afraid they'd lose the black vote: it was because suburban soccer moms don't want to feel like they're voting for racists. Karl Rove was an overrated strategist, but the current crop of Republican leaders is just spectacularly dunder-headed.
So if you and I both see they're being jerks, why isn't there a broader recognition of that? Why doesn't she come out with a clearer statement on Roe? Is that simply too controversial at this point in the process? Is she being advised to appear clearly middle of the road in order to be confirmed, or is this too simply a managed nomination that will result in a middle of the road justice?By Belle, at 11:58 AM
I long for a Thurgood Marshall, a Brennan. Surely there are judges out there like that? Even now?