Is Sotomayor Fight Over Before it Begins?
By Ben Pershing
Is Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation to the Supreme Court a foregone conclusion? Consider:
• She is a known quantity. Sotomayor has been seen as a potential court pick for months, giving friends and foes alike ample time to pore over her record. The proliferation of blogs and the wealth of information available online, including all of her legal opinions, mean that on some level Sotomayor has already been vetted (though her body of work includes "no major decisions concerning abortion, the death penalty, gay rights or national security.") Critics have seized on a few of her past remarks, but if there is a true smoking gun anywhere in her professional record, it hasn't been found. Her personal life is a different story, but we can only assume that Team Obama knows for sure that she has paid all her taxes. Can't we?
• The fact that Sotomayor -- or, as Mike Huckabee called her, "Maria" -- is Latina presents the GOP with a special set of problems. Republicans can certainly criticize her record and judicial philosophy, but may be hesitant to adopt the kind of scorched-Earth tactics that have been deployed in some past Supreme Court fights. Doing so could represent a "suicide mission" for the party.
• Mathematically, Democrats have a near-stranglehold on the Senate. With 59 seats -- 60 if and when Al Franken is seated -- the majority barely needs to reach across the aisle in order to accrue the support necessary to put Sotomayor on the court. Centrist Democrats have so far given no indication that they would oppose her nomination, and some key Republicans, particularly Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, are already sounding positive notes about Sotomayor.
Posted at 8:15 AM ET on May 27, 2009
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