May 26, 2009

Supreme Court Pick Is Sonia Sotomayor

Update IV: Judge Sotomayor’s Appellate Opinions in Civil Cases

Update III: GOP, Rush, Romney trash Sotomayor. Keep talking.

Update II: See Greenwald's Obama's excellent pick and Conason's The justice of Obama's dreams.

Update: See also Jeff Zeleny's profile of Sotomayor at the NYT.

The Supreme Court pick is Sonia Sotomayor.

The political fight comes

The rightwing hates Sotomayor. Michelle Malkin on May 1 writes: "Judge Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court would be very concerning given her hard-left record on the Court of Appeals, where she is recognized by practitioners as one of the more liberal judges."

So we will be treated to watching the rightwing's impudence because there is absolutely nothing that they can do to derail this nomination.

Ed Gilgore sees a white, male pity party coming. Great, Hispanics and women are the muscle of electoral politics so let the GOPers and the fools dig dipper.

If they wish, Republicans can turn Sotomayor's confirmation hearings into a white male pity party, and make it all about identity politics. This would not, of course, go over very well with Latinos, who will naturally feel strongly about their first-ever Supreme Court nominee, and who probably think white men have been pretty well represented in the Court's history.

Some conservatives may seize on the already-infamous New Republic article by Jeff Rosen suggesting that unnamed former clerks and associates think she's insufficiently brilliant and/or temperamentally unsuited to be on the Court.

This is an even more perilous line of attack, since the whole premise of Rosen's piece was the progressive hunt for a strongly ideological judicial titan who could go toe-to-toe with the Court's conservatives. Most regular folks will also have a hard time accepting that someone who graduated summa cum laude from Princeton and was then on the law review at Yale isn't smart enough for the Court. And she is classically prepared for the appointment, having taken a textbook path to the Court, from prosecutor to district court to Court of Appeals. She doesn't have the Harriet Miers problem of a skimpy resume.

And from Tom Goldstein at ScotusBlog:

Even more important, Republicans cannot afford to find themselves in the position of implicitly opposing Judge Sotomayor. To Hispanics, the nomination would be an absolutely historic landmark. It really is impossible to overstate its significance. The achievement of a lifetime appointment at the absolute highest levels of the government is a profound event for that community, which in turn is a vital electoral group now and in the future.

Equally significant for not only Hispanics but all Americans, Sotomayor has an extraordinarily compelling personal narrative. She is a first generation American, born of immigrant parents. 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.

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