July 17, 2009

"I do think she was boxed in," said lawprof Heather Gerken about Sonia Sotomayor.

"Virtually any answer other than the answer she gave ends up evoking cries of judicial activism. The result, unfortunately, is that judges are portrayed as automatons or activists, when most are neither."

She was only boxed in by the limitations of her own intellect, expressive skill, and nerve. So explain to me why she belongs on the Supreme Court.

108 comments:

Florida said...

The more intersting quote:

"She described judging as mechanical. I understand why this is the script now, but I am troubled that it paints such a disingenuous and false impression of judging."

"False impression ..." That makes it sound like Sotomayor committed perjury in order to gain the benefits of a lifetime appointment.

AJ Lynch said...

Sorry. That is above my pay grade.

Alex said...

Althouse - I thought you were Queen Pragmatism. Since you knew going in Sotomayor had 80 votes why fight it?

Balfegor said...

She was only boxed in by the limitations of her own intellect, expressive skill, and nerve. So explain to me why she belongs on the Supreme Court.

Hey, Even if she's mediocre, there are lots of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They're entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance?

traditionalguy said...

She was wise enough not to fail the tests carefully rigged to make her look arrogant or evil depending on which side of "Activism" she argued.So, no she is not qualified to be an Arch-Ruler Guardian steering American life by her brillance and and chutzpa. If that's what has become the Supreme Court Justice's job description,then she would not want the job, and neither would I. So this is my last attempt to present evidence and arguement for Sonia on this blog. Let us see the facts (that she is a highly qualified Apellate Judge) applied to the law in the Constitution (President selects Justices) and gracefully accept the outcome as good Patriots should.

Lem said...

She was only boxed in by the limitations of her own intellect, expressive skill, and nerve. So explain to me why she belongs on the Supreme Court.

She was one maraca short of a rumba.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

She was only boxed in by the limitations of her own intellect, expressive skill, and nerve. So explain to me why she belongs on the Supreme Court.

-haven't you read the "progressive" blogs? The only reason to keep her off the Court is RACISM!

Alex said...

traditionalguy:

Let us see the facts (that she is a highly qualified Apellate Judge) applied to the law in the Constitution (President selects Justices) and gracefully accept the outcome as good Patriots should


Ah yes, just like your side were good Patriots when it came to Roberts and Alito. Ah yeah sure.

Alex said...

-haven't you read the "progressive" blogs?

The virtual version of bird-cage liner.

Anonymous Blogger said...

She's a hot, sassy Latina. Meow.

Alex said...

But I don't think Titus would say she's fuckable.

Alex said...

BTW with every day it becomes blazingly obvious Althouse doesn't like Obama anymore...

MadisonMan said...

So explain to me why she belongs on the Supreme Court.

Because the President nominated her?

NKVD said...

She belongs on the court because she is a Mexican, er, Puerto Rican chick. That's it. She is dimmer than Jeremy, less articulate than hdhouse and more full of shit than Titus. Swear the bitch in.

Alex said...

Yup swear the Rican 'ho in already. I'm tired of this. Then we can move on to more of Titus' sexual exploits.

Alex said...

BTW, my newly vulgar manner is courtesy of how this blog has degenerated thanks to Titus and Althouse's endorsement of the "new vulgar style". I bet she doesn't know what a Pandora's Box she's opened!

MadisonMan said...

Alex, what's new about it?

traditionalguy said...

Alex...I am a good conservative, but my first allegiance is to truth as I percieve it based upon my empathy and life experiences as a Southerner and upper middle class white man who has practiced law among real people for 38 years. So don't write me off along with the hispanic vote.

avwh said...

Can anyone explain why the hell she'd let herself be "boxed in"? The Dems have 60 votes, so she's a lock for confirmation - why wouldn't she 'fess up what she is and defend her positions, she's in anyway, isn't she?

So why kowtow to the right to make her a Roberts clone, and look like she's lying her ass off?

Is she that dumb? Are the Obamatons that transparent?

rhhardin said...

Legal experts disappointed by Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation performance say her workmanlike answers gave no indication of the philosophy that would guide her on the Supreme Court.

I read that as ``womanlike answers.''

Apparently ``workmanlike'' didn't fit the context.

Randy said...

While I'm interested in your answer to the question you posed, but doubt we will see that any time soon, I'll settle for the answer provided by Legal Insurrection blogger (and Cornell Law School Associate Professor of Clinical Law) William A. Jacobson.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

So explain to me why she belongs on the Supreme Court.

Because elections have consequences. ( How come they always seem to be negative consequences? )

Der Hahn said...

MadisonMan answered the question "So explain to me why she belongs on the Supreme Court."

said

Because the President nominated her?

Harriet Meyers, Douglas Ginsburg, and Robert Bork might have something to say about that.

rhhardin said...

I propose in Senate hearings that the Senators be put under oath, rather than the witnesses.

former law student said...

So explain to me why she belongs on the Supreme Court.

She's smart enough not to show how smart she is -- unlike Scalia, for example. Further, when swimming in shark-invested waters, she was smart enough not to dip a toe over the side:

They said that her "wise Latina" speech and Obama's comments favoring judges with "empathy" suggested she would lean in favor of racial and ethnic minorities.

When you're dealing with people who argue in such bad faith, you can't sit down and have a free and frank chat with them. You can't give them any red meat to seize.

Discretion is the better part of valor.

Robert Cook said...

For Pete's Sake! The confirmation hearings are nothing more than glorified job interviews, with the job applicant required to be interviewed by multiple parties, and the whole thing observed by the public. Do we really expect anyone to be frank? Were Roberts and Alito, (or Gonzalez or Mukasey in their confirmation hearings for Attorney General)? Are any of us truly candid when we're on a job interview?

Sotomayor's professional record is public, so the truth of her legal philosophy as practiced is there for all interested parties to review, just as our resumes and job references are provided to our interlocutors at job interviews so they can tell whether we do or don't have the qualifications they require. The interview in any situation is merely to get a sense of the applicant's personality and presence, to see how agreeable he or she might be to have working in a given organization, to discern how good a fit the applicant might be. A lack of candor is not necessarily innately dishonest; everyone involved is aware of the artificial nature of such encounters. One makes one's hiring decision based on the record (resume) and by appraising how well or poorly the applicant conveyed a sense of him or herself in the interview.

Anyone expecting anything spontaneous or unrehearsed from these events will wait in vain.

former law student said...

should be "sailing in shark-infested waters."

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

Petty of me, I know, but it really bothered me that this woman appearing at the most important hearing of her life couldn't even bother to wash her hair or comb it out of her eyes. I'm not sure what shoddy personal hygiene says about her judicially, but oily/dirty unkempt hair sure isn't the best way to make a good impression as a professional woman.

Robert Cook said...

"She's smart enough not to show how smart she is -- unlike Scalia...."

Hmmm...I never get a sense when I see Scalia on television that he's particularly smart, so if he is, he's doing a great job of concealing it.

MadisonMan said...

In the first two cases, the nominees withdrew their names.

I wonder what would happen if, when a Nominee is rejected by the Senate, the President installed him (or her) in the Supreme Court anyway. Would such an action be Unconstitutional, or would it just lead to an interesting lawsuit between the Executive and Legislative branches, to be settled by the Supreme Ct? (Presumably, the contested appointee would sit out the decision).

former law student said...

"She described judging as mechanical. I understand why this is the script now, but I am troubled that it paints such a disingenuous and false impression of judging."

"False impression ..." That makes it sound like Sotomayor committed perjury in order to gain the benefits of a lifetime appointment.

"Mommy, where do babies come from?"
-- Their mommies' tummies, honey.

"Mommy, that paints a disingenuous and false impression of human reproduction. It sounds like you committed perjury in order to gain the benefits of stopping your kid's pestering."

Christopher said...

"So explain to me why she belongs on the Supreme Court."

Because she is a wise Latina and because the Messiah wishes it so. Any other answer is simply a transparent attempt to hide the obvious.

But frankly, I'm really enjoying the administration of Black Narcissus and the oh-so-softly-expressed mutterings of concern from the hopeychangey brigade. Crippling deficits, cap and trade, government-run health, feckless groveling to the Russians, anti-Semitism, punitive taxes, lawbreakers in the cabinet and now a gibbering moron (or utter liar, it matters not which) on the Court.

My last years will be warmed by the happy thought that all the 'stick it to the man' blacks, guilty whites, Marxist rabblerousers and BDS lunatics will be getting just what they asked for. Good. And. Hard.

former law student said...

oily/dirty unkempt hair sure isn't the best way to make a good impression as a professional woman.

It's not sara's fault, it's the patriarchy that makes women put other women in their place.

Jack said...

* She was only boxed in by the limitations of her own intellect *

Yet, Althouse worships at the feet of Sarah Palin.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

Oh, I don't know "former law student," I once trashed the resume of an applicant for a senior position because he looked like he'd slept in his suit the night before and hadn't bothered to shave. On paper, he looked like the most qualified candidate, just not one you would want to sit next to at lunch if you didn't want to retch.

I'm saying that personal hygiene is important and someone being considered for one of the highest offices in the land should care a little more about her overall first impression. If she is that shoddy in one area, is it an indicator of shoddy thinking, etc? To me it is, whether woman or man.

I hearken back to the Kennedy-Nixon debate where those who only heard it on the radio said Nixon won hands down, those who watched on TV and saw Nixon's 5 o'clock shadow and dripping sweat thought Kennedy won. Appearance isn't a gender thing.

Scott said...

"My last years will be warmed by the happy thought that all the 'stick it to the man' blacks, guilty whites, Marxist rabblerousers and BDS lunatics will be getting just what they asked for. Good. And. Hard."

And the bourgeois left will spend the rest of their days bravely maintaining that the oppression they asked for is what they really wanted. Because when it gets down to it, it's all about power to them; and they will pay any price and endure endless suffering to attain it and keep it.

Scott said...

"I'm saying that personal hygiene is important and someone being considered for one of the highest offices in the land should care a little more about her overall first impression. If she is that shoddy in one area, is it an indicator of shoddy thinking, etc?"

If President O. throws a baseball like a girl, does that make him a girl?

Original Mike said...

Can anyone explain why the hell she'd let herself be "boxed in"? The Dems have 60 votes, so she's a lock for confirmation - why wouldn't she 'fess up what she is and defend her positions.

Good question.

cryptical said...

Scott said: If President O. throws a baseball like a girl, does that make him a girl?

He was wearing Mom jeans, too.

Roger and Denise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger J. said...

Onlhy a law professor could say something so stupid. As was pointed out above by several commenters--The dems have 60 votes in the Senate and unless the nominee has been boinking camels on the national mall, he/she will be confirmed. Obama could nominate Genghis Khan and the dems would confirm him.

Anyone who thinks confirmation hearings are worth flatulence in a whirlwind is a fool. These hearings are our American Kabuki--The one good thng is that Biden is no longer on the Judiciary committee. The remainder of the committee are clowns irrespective of party affiliation--as the entire senate, less perhaps, Jim DeMint and Russ Feingold.

Jim said...

fls -

"It sounds like you committed perjury in order to gain the benefits of stopping your kid's pestering."

I'm trying to figure out why a former law student can't figure out the difference between talking to your child and testifying under oath.

avwh said...

I guess I'll try to answer my own Q: why, with 60 votes in the bag, would Sotomayor be a "Roberts clone" in her Senate confirmation hearings, instead of proudly reaffirming what got her nominated in the first place?

Only logical explanation is, Sotomayor and/or her Obama handlers decided that their "progressive vision" was just too unpalatable to Americans (i.e., too un-American) to espouse publicly during the hearings.

Which is an odd position to take when Obama said he wanted a judge with "empathy" - which even she rejected in questioning.

And Obama is outdoing every POTUS in the last century for leftist, "progressive" programs - but his first SCOTUS nominee has to run from her own appointer's positions (and her own resume and speeches).

bagoh20 said...

AVWH,

Bingo! Give that man a cigar.

The Repubs didn't find it "necessary to get crazy with the attacks like Dems often do.

Conservative appointees need to be portrayed in caricature form when the Dems attack. We start hearing about back street abortions, segregated lunch counters and pubic hairs.

SS was simply asked about her statements and what she meant.

It maybe Kabuki, but the exercise is valuable to show what the parties are about.

Alex said...

bagoh20 - yet despite GOP restraint, the MSM is already saying how "evil and vicious" they are. and the public swallows it without question. We are living in very dangerous times my friend. These are what you call "tipping point" times when we could very well go down the path of Nazi Germany or USSR.

PJ said...

BTW with every day it becomes blazingly obvious Althouse doesn't like Obama anymore...

Compared to whom?

Kirby Olson said...

When she was sworn in she testified that she would tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

http://vodpod.com/watch/1898130-video-judge-sotomayor-swearing-in-opening-statement

You'd think that would have boxed her in, but instead she told any lie that seemed to be what other people would want to hear, and stuck to that version of things, thus breaking the oath. What is the usual sentence for perjury?

She should go directly to jail without passing Go.

adman416 said...

I must have missed heather's nomination and confirmation hearings. lordy lordy how this woman's claws scratch on the blackboard of envy.

traditionalguy said...

Does anybody remember watching Russel Crowe's role and best scene in Gladiator? The appointed role for "The Spanard" was to die along with the Cathaginian side nicely boxed-in inside the Roman Coliseum for a spectacle to please the mob. How did that one end?

former law student said...

personal hygiene is important and someone being considered for one of the highest offices in the land should care a little more about her overall first impression. If she is that shoddy in one area, is it an indicator of shoddy thinking, etc? To me it is, whether woman or man.

Sotomayor's hair during this ordeal looked no worse than Antonin Scalia's usual -- not bad for someone who's had to undergo days of grueling questioning.

But sara's reliance on superficiality would eliminate superlawyer David Boies from the Supreme Court. From an article in New York magazine, the "man who humbled Bill Gates" suffers from bad grooming:

His thinning brown hair sticks out at unpredictable lengths and angles. A plastic watch is strapped on top of Boies's coat sleeve. He's wearing his courtroom uniform: dark-blue suit and white button-down shirt with blue stripes, both from Lands' End; navy knit tie with squared-off bottom; nondescript black sneakers. One of Klein's cuffs costs more than all of what Boies is wearing.

MN Mom said...

I agree that she should have had more concern for how she presented herself. She reminded me of Roseanne Barr on her tv series "Roseanne" with the unkempt look.

Matt said...

She was only boxed in by the limitations of her own intellect, expressive skill, and nerve. So explain to me why she belongs on the Supreme Court.

Althouse? WTF?
Seriously.
Did you watch the Alito or Roberts hearings? Did they give better answers? NO.
Were they more qualified than Sotomayor before they were nominated? NO.
Do they deserve to be on the court? YES.
So does Sotomayor.

I'm amazed at your view. I thought you were a moderate not a far right winger.

John Stodder said...

What qualifies her?

51 votes, American citizenship and a law degree.

Dave said...

It is the Republicans who were boxed in, not Sotomayor or the White House. Obama could have chosen a safer pick, with less controversy (if you really consider Sotomayor's prior statements controversial).

But I would venture that the WH made several strategic calculations. First, as his first SCOTUS nominee, his choice was almost assured of getting confirmed. In this case, it makes sense to choose a nominee you view as being more controversial/difficult to confirm.

Second, there are the obvious political advantages of choosing a Hispanic woman.

Third, the WH was begging, begging the GOP to attack Sotomayor and further cement their image as a party out of step with the times.

Sotomayor came across as competent, cool and nonthreatening. Make no mistake, it was the GOP that was in a bind, not the Judge.

PJ said...

@Matt: I hesitate to try to explain the Professor, but I believe her demand for an explanation was addressed to Ms. Gerkin with specific reference to the quoted "boxed in" remark: if you think SS is so lacking in intellect, nerve, and expressive skill as to have been "boxed in" in the manner you describe, how can you also say she belongs on the Supreme Court?

BJM said...

The only person who came away looking worst than Sotomayor was Franken, with a weeping Schumer a close third.

traditionalguy said...

Talk about a hard gig. Being a woman in national politics is big league tough. Sotomayor is bad for being frumpy and leaning over a lot. Palin is bad for being smart dressed and using beautiful body language. That leaves little room for avoiding error for a woman. But we don't reject Mike Huckabee for his former fatman look, nor do we reject Mit Romney for his clean cut, looks exactly like every other Morman, look? No wonder God looks on the heart, so he can find a way to like women too.

Jeremy said...

"She was only boxed in by the limitations of her own intellect, expressive skill, and nerve. So explain to me why she belongs on the Supreme Court."

Because she's highly qualified?

And you call yourself an "independent?"

Bullshit, you're just another right wing nut.

Jeremy said...

Isn't the "boxed in" comment merely the opinion of professor Heather Gerken?

Jeremy said...

"BTW with every day it becomes blazingly obvious Althouse doesn't like Obama anymore..."

She NEVER liked him and I don't think she even voted for him.

She's as far to right as the rest of the wingnuts who live on this site...she just tries to represent herself as some kind of wise, independent voice, which is nothing but a crock.

Roger J. said...

John Stoddard: small nit: I don't believe a law degree is a requirement to be on the supreme court.

Matt said...

PJ
I understand. However Sotomayor has 17 years of Judicial cases. If one cannot figure out where she stands by now then they never will. [She appears to be a moderate liberal but favors some corporate interests].

Also
1) Sotomayor was correct to not take hypothetical cases and express an opinion. There are way too many variables to consider.

2) She played it safe just like the past few justices. The article linked above mentions this:

Clarence Thomas won a close battle in the Senate by portraying himself as a blank slate with no views on the law. He told senators he had not discussed Roe vs. Wade or formed an opinion on the controversial abortion ruling.
And
John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel A. Alito Jr. - performed much like Sotomayor. They explained their rulings but refused to talk more broadly about their views of the Constitution or the law. Roberts described the job as being "like an umpire . . . calling balls and strikes."

So clearly these other judges dodged questions in the same way. Meaning why criticize Sotomayor when the others did the same?

David said...

She belongs on the Supreme Court because elections have consequences. One consequence of the most recent election is ideology and ethnic identity are even more important in appointments. Notwithstanding her evasive testimony, Judge Sotomayor is a reliable liberal, a product of liberal institutions and interest groups. She is also, as her multiple Wise Latina assertions show, a product of ethnic pridefulness. Intellectually, she seems less then brilliant, or perhaps she is just less than confident, or more than cautious.

There's nothing outstanding about her or her career so far. But she will be Justice Sotomayor. And Ann will be Professor Althouse.

Matt said...

David
There's nothing outstanding about her or her career so far.

Are you kidding? If there is nothing outstanding about her or her career then there is nothing outstanding about anyone currently on the Supreme Court - all of whom had less experience when they were nominated to the Court. Have you read her bio? It's pretty impressive. All the more so because she was a Latino in a system that had few Hispanics. Just what would you consider outstanding?
Politics aside - please.

Balfegor said...

1) Sotomayor was correct to not take hypothetical cases and express an opinion. There are way too many variables to consider.

All Supreme Court nominees, Thomas on, seem to have used this dodge, but that doesn't make it right. The honest answer would be to stipulate up front that a judge decides actual cases, not hypotheticals, and there is always the potential that some quirk of the facts not anticipated in the hypotheticals -- or some argument or legal citation that the judge has not anticipated beforehand -- will drive the result. And then reason through the hypothetical.

It's not like hypotheticals are alien to the law -- on the contrary, practicing lawyers have to deal with them all the time, anticipating potential litigation exposure or ways a deal could go wrong, etc. And many legal academics spend much of their time thinking through hypotheticals -- law students spend much of their time doing that too, seeing as that's exactly what the exams tend to be.

There's nothing intrinsicly "correct" about dodging the question like that. Pragmatically, obviously, it's the thing to do, and Sotomayor is no worse than any of her soon-to-be colleagues on the Court for taking it. So it's correct in the narrow strategic sense of "what do I have to do to get on the Court?" But frankly, I think it's kind of pathetic to play dumb and refuse to engage intellectually with the questioning like that.

Jeremy said...

David - "There's nothing outstanding about her or her career so far."

And yet another right wing dolt weighs in...

Sotomayor graduated with an A.B., summa cum laude, from Princeton University in 1976 and received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1979, where she was an editor at the Yale Law Journal.

Sotomayor was hired out of law school as an assistant district attorney under New York County District Attorney Robert Morgenthau starting in 1979. Working in the trial division, she handled heavy caseloads as she prosecuted everything from shoplifting and prostitution to robberies, assaults, and murders. She also worked on cases involving police brutality. In the courtroom, she was effective at cross examination and at simplifying a case in ways that a jury could relate to. She helped convict the "Tarzan Murderer" (who acrobatically entered apartments, robbed them, and shot residents for no reason) in 1983 in her highest-profile case. She worked 15-hour days and gained a reputation for being driven and for her preparedness and fairness. One of her job evaluations labeled her a "potential superstar".

Sotomayor was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H. W. Bush in 1991, and her nomination was confirmed in 1992.

Sotomayor has ruled on several high-profile cases. In 1995, she issued a preliminary injunction against Major League Baseball which ended the 1994 baseball strike.

In 1997, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She was confirmed in 1998.

On the Second Circuit, Sotomayor has heard appeals in more than 3,000 cases and has written about 380 opinions. Sotomayor has taught at the New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School.

Crimso said...

"All the more so because she was a Latino in a system that had few Hispanics."

One of those few was a guy named Estrada. How'd that work out in his case?

Balfegor said...

Come to think of it, not only do practicing lawyers have to deal with hypothetical situations, Judges do too, every time they trot out that bit about this or that "parade of horribles" or worry about opening the "floodgates" or even just speculate as to what the likely legal consequences of this or that decision may be in the future (e.g. Scalia in Lawrence v. Texas). It's ridiculous to pretend that it is inappropriate for judges or justices to address hypotheticals. They do it all the time.

Cedarford said...

"She was only boxed in by the limitations of her own intellect, expressive skill, and nerve. So explain to me why she belongs on the Supreme Court."

1. Elections have consequences, and it seems Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats seeing Obama headed down like Dubya have far more important fights they wish to save their powder for than waste it on Sotomayor. (health Care, stunning tax increases, destruction of jobs and the economy caused by cap&trade.)
2. The Supreme Court has been home to other Justices of similar mediocrity. The FDR and Truman crony-hacks, Fortas, Thurgood Marshall (only a frontman for Jewish attorneys at the NAACP that did the actual work), Warren Burger, the vapid Sandra Day O'Connor. Some say Clarence Thomas...
===============
Matt - " If there is nothing outstanding about her or her career then there is nothing outstanding about anyone currently on the Supreme Court - all of whom had less experience when they were nominated to the Court. Have you read her bio? It's pretty impressive."

1. Experience does not make the mediocre outstanding. It means many years of mediocrity.

2. People confuse side biography with fitness for the job all the time. Want to fly with the best rated pilot? Or a not so hot pilot with a compelling, inspiring "up from Compton and a youth of drug abuse" biography.
AS the joke goes, if I want a wise Latina who overcame hardship in the S Bronx and found later success through talent and hard work - being my only basis for putting them in high office - I vote Jennifer Lopez.

Kansas City said...

Great comment by Ann. Sometimes she can make a great point in a pithy comment.

Sotomayor is there because she is Hispani and for no other reason. She is intellectually mediocre.

It is true that Thomas was there because he was black. He has turned out to be a bright guy, although you could not tell at his hearing.

Matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

Balfegor
I'm not in disagreement. However you know the way the Right and the Left use these hearings. If a nominee takes a hard line on a hypothetical then it gets used by opponents to drive them out. Bork comes to mind. And it was his testimony that set the standard of how NOT to do a hearing.

Cedarford
You're either being unfunny or offensive.
Sotomayor is not an 'up and coming' judge. And comparing her to a 'youth of drug abuse' makes me question your sanity.
When I mention her bio I mean it is impressive for its achievements. What's your bio?

She's been an established and well reasoned judge for a long time. What makes you think she is mediocre? Have you read any of her cases? Her ratings across the board are excellent. The ABA gave her its highest rating. For the record, they also gave Alito and Roberts the same high ratings. [Even Ken Starr supports her]. Could it be because you are a Conservative who thinks the world should only endorse Conservatives? Or maybe you have a problem with some minorities in high level positions?

Maguro said...

On the Second Circuit, Sotomayor has heard appeals in more than 3,000 cases and has written about 380 opinions. Sotomayor has taught at the New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School.

All that tells you is that she shows up for work on time and has a passable command of English.

Judge Judy has heard a lot of cases too.

nflanagan said...

get real
there are a lot of things that need to get done
getting bogged down in a morass that will not end because many people wont listen, but like to see themselves on TV...pick your battles.

I find it amusing that a lot of rich white men think that they are objective, and neutral and to be anyother way is illegal.

Kirby Olson said...

She could have done something better with her hair. Parts of it were hanging in her face. A wiser Latina would have used a hairpin, or pink curlers. She appeared to be boxed in by a bad hair day, and didn't seem to know how to fight back, three days running. Perhaps she should have had it all buzzed off, and just left a Mohawk on the third day. She'd still get approved, and she would have come off as having had a solution to the hair problem, which would have given us all courage that she could be creative in other ways, too. But no, she was boxed in.

Crimso said...

"For the record, they also gave Alito and Roberts the same high ratings."

For the record, Obama voted no on both of them. Why do you think he did? Do you think he thought they weren't qualified? Let's face it, he'd have voted no even if it was Zombie Brandeis. Just as there are those who think the President should be deferred to by the Senate in these matters, so also there are those who think the current POTUS (whoever it may be) is entitled (or rather deserves) to be treated the same way he treated his predecessor(s). Any protests Obama or his supporters make about voting no on Sotomayor for purely political reasons reek of hypocrisy You can argue that she's more than qualified all day long, but no one can argue that for that reason she deserves a yes vote. That idea flew out the window when Obama had his chance to vote and he voted for purely political reasons (votes which implied that the POTUS should NOT be deferred to by the Senate). And I'm sure this type of situation predates Obama, but wasn't he all about a new way of doing things?

NKVD said...

Judge Judy would be a better SC justice, but she couldn't stand the pay cut. She makes more than the whole SC combined. Take that, you wise latina.

former law student said...

One of those few [n the system] was a guy named Estrada. How'd that work out in his case

Estrada had just about 17 fewer years judicial experience than Sotomayor.

former law student said...

Obama could have chosen a safer pick, with less controversy (if you really consider Sotomayor's prior statements controversial).

Only if he picked a total nonentity. Or a Republican.

But I would venture that the WH made several strategic calculations. First, as his first SCOTUS nominee, his choice was almost assured of getting confirmed. In this case, it makes sense to choose a nominee you view as being more controversial/difficult to confirm.

Is that what you think happened here? Wait till Barney Frank replaces Scalia.

Skipper50 said...

Why would honest answers not be a refreshing solution to being "boxed in"?

Joe said...

Considering that most of the current supreme court thought McCain-Feingold was good law, I'm not sure what difference this nomination makes.

f1b0nacc1 said...

Several have said this, but I will repeat it...

She was nominated by the President, and there was no compelling reason to reject her. With those two factors in mind, she should be (and will be) confirmed.

Sadly, this simple act of political hygiene will be ignored by the Dems the next time the shoe is on the other foot.

former law student said...

She was nominated by the President, and there was no compelling reason to reject her. With those two factors in mind, she should be (and will be) confirmed.

Sadly, this simple act of political hygiene will be ignored by the Dems the next time the shoe is on the other foot.

The big difference between Obama's appointment and W's appointments is that Obama appointed a moderate to replace a moderate, while W. replaced a moderate and a conservative with two conservatives. W, changed the balance of the Court to the right, while, so far, Obama has not. Obama and his fellow Senate Dems thus had reason to dig in their heels, while the Republicans do not. (The GOP could hardly expect Obama to appoint a conservative, though they are doing a good job squawking about her pigment and genitalia.)

Penny said...

Sotomayer is a fine woman and a fine judge forced to live in the shadow of Affirmative Action legislation.

She escaped by over-achieving, while most of her peers escaped by suing someone.

I don't care which side you are on, as long as you are on the right side.

It will not compromise you to be supportive of a good woman.

Now you think about that while the other half of this country is sueing your pants off because they can.

To Ms.Sotomayer? THANK you for being one of us. We work hard enough to understand that good things come from extraordinary effort, and your effort was way beyond most.

I won't hang on your coattails in any usual way, but I will be happy to celebrate with you in your extraordinary achievment.

THIS is Affirmative Action, and lawyers have no place in our world.

Crimso said...

"She was nominated by the President, and there was no compelling reason to reject her."

There is at least one very simple and compelling reason to reject her: Obama does not deserve to be shown the courtesy he has refused to extend to others.

Crimso said...

"Estrada had just about 17 fewer years judicial experience than Sotomayor."

Estrada wasn't going up for SCOTUS. How many years of judicial experience did Sotomayor have prior to being appointed as a Federal judge? None. Estrada could be building those oh-so-necessary years of Federal judicial experience as we speak. Sotomayor was given the opportunity (by Bush 41, no less), Estrada wasn't. Couldn't have been because he's Hispanic, couldn't have been political (Bush 41 nominated Sotomayor and the Dems didn't seem to have a problem with that). Must have been because he's a man, baby. Yeah, that's it.

sykes.1 said...

Sotomayor is a proven sexist and racist, most of her opinions have been overturned on appeal, she has been rebuked for at least one of her opinions, her response to the question of the right to self defense came right out of the Sopranos, she is only semi-literate in English, and she has just spent the better part of a week lying under oath.

She is a near perfect addition to a government that is corrupt and incompetent beyond remedy.

former law student said...

Estrada wasn't going up for SCOTUS.

Estrada was being fasttracked to the Supreme Court, just like Roberts was (O years judicial experience + 2 years on the DC Circuit = Roberts, CJ) Everyone knew this at the time; was this before you became interested in the Supreme Court's composition?

former law student said...

Sotomayor is a proven sexist and racist,

So, where's the proof?

most of her opinions have been overturned on appeal,

4/3000 is not "most"

she has been rebuked for at least one of her opinions,

Please cite the rebuke for my edification.

her response to the question of the right to self defense came right out of the Sopranos,

Please cite to the Sopranos episode.

she is only semi-literate in English,

Which puts her in the same camp as George W. Bush, and opposed to Barack Obama -- the Right should love her.

and she has just spent the better part of a week lying under oath.

While Sotomayor declined the opportunity to run off at the mouth, I was not able to detect any lies.

Jim Treacher said...

So explain to me why she belongs on the Supreme Court.

Because we are not to regard her as an individual, like a bunch of racists.

Jim Treacher said...

She's smart enough not to show how smart she is

In that case, she truly is a master of disguise.

Crimso said...

"Estrada was being fasttracked to the Supreme Court"

And the Dems, sensing this, blocked it. Can't allow the Repubs to claim "First!" when it comes to Hispanics on the Court.

"So, where's the proof?"

Her words. If a white male had said things (repeatedly) about white males that she said about Latinas, we wouldn't have to worry about what that white male's qualifications were for SCOTUS. He'd never have been nominated in the first place because anybody with any shred of common sense would see what he said as racist and toxic.

Crimso said...

"Everyone knew this at the time;"

So it was some devilish plan, was it?


"was this before you became interested in the Supreme Court's composition?"

Don't much care about its composition. It is what it is, it will be what it will be, and I'll never have any say in the matter. Some people put on the Court will end up being pleasant surprises and some will end up being unpleasant surprises, and thus it has always been and thus shall it always be.

It's the hypocrisy and double-standards that interest me more than the composition of the Court (and I don't dispute there's plenty to go around). I'd prefer that the question of who serves not be one of politics but one of principles. Not to go all Titus on you, but now I'm going to shit in one hand and wish in the other, and I'll let you know which one fills up first.

Carol_Herman said...

FROM CAROL HERMAN

Haynesworth and Carlwell. At Nixon's glorious start to his landslide victory in 1972, he got to fill a Supreme Court seat. And, he picked "two good old boys." One after another. The complaint then was "they had no intellectual heft." And, I think Nixon replied: Well, why should mediocre men be denied a seat on the Supremes? (Instead, Nixon bulled back from this.)

This time around? We're gonna have the "wise Latina," who may yet prove to be "Perry Mason on the Court." Where she goes off and riffs ... more like a sitcom queen than a judge deserving of any respect? Just gotta wait and see.

Now, IF Sotomayor was terrified of showing her intellect; what's going to happen, ahead? The spotlight makes her a brave warrior for her sisters on the left? Well, I wouldn't bet that number.

She is, however, a judicial political animal. It didn't work when she pulled this stunt on Ricci. Because she got exposed. She didn't think such a consequence even existed.

Souter is no loss to the court. And, as a political animal it should be interesting to see if she kisses Anthony Kennedy's robes? Not that this will help her gain any stature.

LonewackoDotCom said...

If SS turned out to have a "nanny issue", she might withdraw, right?

In case there's anyone here who is willing and able to do a little work to keep her off the court, all we need to do is to develop a "nanny issue".

Now, since she probably doesn't have a "nanny issue" in the strict sense, we need to concentrate on all the other things, such as her board membership in this group and her membership in this group.

You people who don't follow far-left groups like that don't know what you're getting into. Drop what you're doing now and help push this plan. Do a little work now to avoid problems for decades. But: you have to do actual work. Simply posting another me-too message isn't work. If you can't do the work now, then you deserve what you get despite the fact that the rest of us don't.

sgi said...

Why didn't she fess up and defend her statements even though she had all and more of the votes she needed to be confirmed?

Because her statements are indefensible and if she had even tried to defend them there would have been hell to pay.

She would not have been confirmed because the majority of the American people are not racist and do not judge people by the color of their skin or their ethnicity or their culture.

Oxbay said...

You ask: "So explain to me why she belongs on the Supreme Court."

The answer is she's a wise Latina and you're not. Just ask her.

Kirby Olson said...

The whole thing had about as much drama as voting in a one-party state.

dick said...

It's amazing what everybody knows that may or may not be so. And precisely how can you be sure that Estrada was being fast-tracked for the Supremes.

Crimso said...

"And precisely how can you be sure that Estrada was being fast-tracked for the Supremes."

Simple. Once Estrada was safely seated as a Federal Appeals Court judge, Cheney was going to take Ginsburg out with his personal team of asassins. The Dems, faced with a Latino as a nominee, wouldn't dare have voted against Estrada for SCOTUS for fear of loosing the Hispanic vote. Somewhat like the way they rolled over and voted for Thomas so they wouldn't be called racists. Or something like that.

Ralph L said...

they are doing a good job squawking about her pigment and genitalia
Please cite the squawk for my edification

former law student said...

Please cite the squawk for my edification

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-ynGFs-bNw

the majority of the American people are not racist and do not judge people by the color of their skin or their ethnicity or their culture.

If this were literally true, like the New Haven Fire Department, the majority of Americans would have figured that there must have been some anomaly about the promotion exams -- otherwise why would no blacks have scored high enough to qualify?

But most Americans are happy to ascribe the blacks' failure to their being lazy and/or stupid. The test performances confirmed their prejudices, so of course the white folks had gotten screwed.

"And precisely how can you be sure that Estrada was being fast-tracked for the Supremes."

Because when the attempt to get Estrada on the DC Circuit failed, W. repeated the process with Roberts.

Now, how did W. know there would be a vacancy? First of all, he doesn't, for sure. Prudence dictated however that he have a reliever warming up in the bullpen. But second, O'Connor had been signalling her retirement for some time. She was a cancer survivor, her husband had Alzheimer's, and the rumor in 2000 (spread by her husband, so a double-edged sword) was that she was waiting for a GOP President so she could retire. Being the primary caregiver for an Alzheimer's patient is beyond wearing, especially when it is your spouse and you constantly contrast what they are with who they were. So between her own health and the amount of resources her husband was taking up, continuing on the Supreme Court was too much.

In the event, Rehnquist croaked, so the O'Connor replacement became the new Chief, and room was made for Scalito.

dick said...

The blacks must not have studied enough to score higher. You need to be prepared and study to do well in testing. If you don't you won't do as well. We already know how hard Ricci studied. What makes you think the blacks studied that hard for the test or that they even studied at all for the test.

your reasoning on Estrada being fast-tracked is laughable. If someone does not get confirmed, of course you name someone else to the position. That does not mean that either of them is being fast-tracked at all. If one is later named to the Supremes it could just as easily been because he showed how good he was and therefore got the nod. You are applying results to causation without proof.

And then you extrapolate comments from an Alzheimer patient as being proof that O'Connor was going to step down? Ginsberg is a cancer survivor. Is she going to step down next? What proof do you have.

What I see is that you are trying to fit square pegs in round holes and claiming that they fit perfectly.

f1b0nacc1 said...

FLS,

The notion that Alito and Roberts were 'two conservatives nominated to replace a moderate and a conservative' is certainly debateable (Roberts is hardly all that conservative unless the ACLU is the standard by which we judge moderation), but even if I concede it (and I do not), it is beside the point. The Constitution does not mandate ideological balance, and in fact the history of the country suggests that the SCOTUS has only rarely been 'balanced' in any meaningful sense.

In a way however, you make my point. If a crazed gunman went beserk and shot Scalia, Alito, Roberts, and Thomas, I rather doubt that you (or any of the others on the left) would cry out for the need for balance. Rather, I suggest that you might argue that this is the time to 'move the country in the appropriate direction' or somesuch silliness. Since the founders planned that SCOTUS appointments were to be made by the President and approved by the Senate (two innately political bodies, though in fairness, the Senate was not at the time directly elected), it seems clear that they anticipated that politics would necessarily be a part of the process.

The left has flirted with packing the court before (FDR's court-packing scheme was contemplated for explicitly liberal reasons), and when the notorious Warren Court decisions were made, I noticed not a hint of regret from the left that balance was lost.

Regarding the black candidates in the Ricci case, the tests that these candidates were unsuccessful on were created by a company with a specialization in producing unbiased tests, part of the group of consulting barnacles created by Title VII. The only time that any objections were made to this test was when it failed to return the 'correct' number of blacks as suited for promotion. I see little evidence (and none was presented) that any legitimate bias existed in the test or in any of the procedures that led to Ricci, et. al. rising to the top of the candidate list. Is it even possible that perhaps the black candidates simply weren't as good? If you say 'no', please provide some evidence other than raw numbers (the sample size is far, far to small for those numbers to be meaningful), and avoid the 'history of discrimination argument', since that is little more than an excuse for endless quotas that can never be turned off...

former law student said...

What makes you think the blacks studied that hard for the test or that they even studied at all for the test.

First, per another commenter, only a racist would judge people by the color of their skin. Second, only a racist would assume that members of different ethnic groups would not study equally hard for the same desirable goal.

a company with a specialization in producing unbiased tests

Sometimes you try but fail. Odwalla and Jack-in-the-Box were companies with a specialization in producing wholesome foods, yet they both managed to poison and kill consumers with E. coli-laden food.

the sample size is far, far to small for those numbers to be meaningful

And yet the sample never goes the other way. If a coil lands heads thirty or forty times in a row, I won't content myself that it could land tails the next time -- I'm going to use a different coin. There's no point in spending the money to send the coin out for lab analysis when I have a pocket full of coins.

former law student said...

The Constitution does not mandate ideological balance, and in fact the history of the country suggests that the SCOTUS has only rarely been 'balanced' in any meaningful sense.

The Constitution does not mandate political parties either. In a partisan world, partisans will fight to keep their advantages. The five-four splits that have become habitual shows that Supreme Court Justices cannot put away their biases when ruling on the cases that come before them.

If one is later named to the Supremes it could just as easily been because he showed how good he was and therefore got the nod.

Can you point out the highlights of Roberts' brilliant two years on the DC Circuit that made him the prime candidate to replace Rehnquist?

That does not mean that either of them is being fast-tracked at all.

Have you just fallen off the turnip truck? The inference is strong even if the proof is not absolute.

Now if Estrada replacement Roberts not been named to the Supreme Court after a mere two years as judge, there would be no evidence he had been groomed.

dick said...

The inference is strong only if you are only looking at it to use as a "gotcha", correct or not.

If a bunch of people take a test and this group studies and passes and that group does not pass, the natural response if that the group that passed was ready for the test and the other was not. The test would be concerned with policies of the department and statistics about the equipment used in fighting fires. How is that racist? If you know the statistics and the policies, you will pass; if you don't, either you will guess well enough to pass or you will fail. What is your other option?

You are still trying to equate coincidence with causation, turnip truck or no. If you cannot prove that the fix was in to put Roberts on the court, you are just guessing and trying to make the guess the reality.

Any way you cut it, the normal way of handling judges is to look out for young men or women who show promise and promote them. That is the way businesses work and the way life works in general. That does not mean that they are fast-tracked before they start. That means that if they work out well, they will be promoted when the opportunity comes along. That is the way businesses and politics work. That is how congressmen get chosen and senators get chosen and presidents get chosen. They take increasing responsibility and if they handle it well they get promoted. That does not mena that this happens in a vacuum. The qualities have to be demonstrated first.

John Clifford said...

So explain to me why she belongs on the Supreme Court.

Uh... because she's a wise Latina?
(Actually, because Democrats see Hispanics as the New Blacks. Any Hispanic would do, but this way they get to kill two demographic birds with one stone.)