The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Supreme Court

Obama Decries 'Usual Political Games' Over Sotomayor Nomination

By Michael D. Shear
President Obama warned today against "attempting to draw old battle lines and playing the usual political games" during the consideration of his nominee to the Supreme Court, and he urged senators to get to work on the nomination without delay.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said that since he chose appellate Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring Justice David Souter on the court -- "some in Washington ... [are] pulling a few comments out of context to paint a distorted picture" of her record.

"But I am confident that these efforts will fail; because Judge Sotomayor's 17-year record on the bench - hundreds of judicial decisions that every American can read for him or herself - speak far louder than any attack; her record makes clear that she is fair, unbiased, and dedicated to the rule of law," he said.

The choice of Sotomayor has already prompted fierce opposition from some conservatives, especially those who belong to advocacy groups outside of Congress. Republicans in the Senate, who will vote on her confirmation, have been far more cautious in their criticism, saying only that they will rigorously examine her record and qualifications.

In his address, Obama said he expects "nothing less."

But, the president added, "what I hope is that we can avoid the political posturing and ideological brinksmanship that has bogged down this process, and Congress, in the past. Judge Sotomayor ought to be on the bench when the Supreme Court decides what cases to hear this year, and I'm calling on Democrats and Republicans to be thorough, and timely in dealing with this nomination."

In the address, the president described Sotomayor's legal background as a prosecutor and a judge. He also talked about her personal story -- something he said in announcing her was a key part of why he chose her. Obama has talked about the need for "empathy" in a justice. He has said her experiences and life story will help inform her decisions as a justice.

"As a justice of the Supreme Court, she will bring not only the experience acquired over the course of a brilliant legal career, but the wisdom accumulated over the course of an extraordinary journey - a journey defined by hard work, fierce intelligence, and the enduring faith that, in America, all things are possible," Obama said.

He added: "Her father was a factory worker with a third-grade education; when she was just 9 years old, he passed away. Her mother worked six days a week as a nurse to provide for her and her brother, buying the only set of encyclopedias in the neighborhood and sending her children to Catholic school."

Sotomayor's religion -- and her lack of a record on abortion rights cases -- has helped spark some concern among liberal interest groups that she may not be sufficiently pro-choice for some of them. The White House on Thursday offered strong, if vague, reassurances that she would support abortion rights.

But the president did not say anything today about her views on abortion.

Posted at 10:26 AM ET on May 30, 2009  | Category:  Supreme Court
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Hey John1263 - you jackass. Everyone who has money earned it by working hard, sacrificing, and being smart. That's how I did it. I too had those days where I didn't have enough money to eat or buy gas. I worked myself through school by working numerous meaningless jobs so I could attend night school. I presevered and never gave up nor did I look for a handout. Obviously, you believe BabykillerObama's theory that eveyone who has money should give it to someone who doesn't. That pisses me off. I worked my azz off for everything I have and I'll be damned if I'll let some lying pig of a politician take it from me. You should be ashamed of your laziness. Stop blaming everyone else for your failures. Stop holding out our hand and instead, pick up a book and learn something productive. Man up and do something about your life and stop looking to our corrupt government for a saving hand.

Posted by: NO-bama | May 31, 2009 2:38 PM

BabykillerObama's nominee is a racist Latina. You can' explain away what she meant when she basically said that a Latina woman is smarter than a white male. No matter which way you try to spin it - it was a racist statement. I also don't buy into the liberal argument that just because whites have not been the target of racism, then her comments are not racist. Anytime anyone compares one race AND gender over another, then the statement becomes racist and/or gender biased. She is a racist - period. Regardless, she will most likly be appointed and the losers in this story will be every American who believes that our Constitution is the law. Her interpretation of the Constitution will most likely be slanted and inconsistent. 60% of her cases have been overturned by the Suprement Court proves my point.

Posted by: NO-bama | May 31, 2009 2:30 PM

Will Sotomayor turn out to be the GOP's gift, just as Souter was the Democrats gift?


Posted by: usadblake | May 31, 2009 10:34 AM

This president is clearly a racist. His policies are slanted towards one group and away from Jews to Muslims. Time to vote the bum out. Politics as usual with a black skin flavor.
He grw up with the big government spoon in his mouth and by god he has a right and he will shove it done the rest of us Democrats throats.
Whitey close your eyes, soon you will be allowed a seat in the back of the bus.

Posted by: robinhood2 | May 30, 2009 10:03 PM

Wow. Are ALL yo WaPos really apparachiks for Obama? Why couldn't you do even a little digging and "remember" for us that Obama tried to get up a filibuster against Roberts? Shame, Shame Shame on you and your paper, you've disgraced yourself and shamed the generations who fought for freedom of the press.

Posted by: FranklinS | May 30, 2009 10:00 PM

rush and newt and rove heiniti and koulter and all those loyal republicons should keep railing against this fine lady. It lets the country know exactly where the republicon party stands. Let everyone with ears to hear know and listen, this is what republicons stand for.

I happen to think she was dead right. Someone who has seen the bitter sting of racism - not the imagined nonsense in which rich and powerful white men cry crocadile tears of voctimhood, but actual honest to God racism -- has seen the crushing demoralizing effects of poverty, has seen firends, family relatives stomped down by the wealthy, is far better equipped to make decisions than someone who has had a silver spoon in their mouth since their birth. Rich folks whose hardest decision is whether to get another Mercedes or diversify into a Bmer know nothing of life compared to someone who has witness the agony of trying to figure out whether to buy the baby Tylenol or to get lunch for the other kids tomorrow. Someone who moans at the country club about how hard it is to get a good gardener knows nothing of life compared to the person whose parents worked those 15 hour days to put her through school.

So all you rich, well fed, white folks take off your blinders. you are not the victimes of racism. You are not the victims of anything. if you are white in America you have an automatic biult in advantage. Read a little sociology or psychiology. Or just try your own experiment -- send out some resumes with the same level of credentials for jobs. Send some with some nice country club white names on them and send some with hispanic of afro-centirc names on them. See which ones get responses.

It's been done many times in sociolgical studies. If you are white - notice how nervous you get next time you find yourself in an African-Ammerican neighborhood. See how disconcerting it is the next time you walk into a room where your are the only white person. that is the daily experience for people of color. But if you are a rush limbow republicon no one will ever expect you to get it. Just whine and cry about what a victim you are. Boo hoo. And how you can't stnad it that someone you secretly consider your inferior is going to sit on the highest court in the world.

Posted by: John1263 | May 30, 2009 8:56 PM

As a Senator,Barack Obama acknowledged that John Roberts and Sam Alito were clearly qualified for the Supreme Court.The American Bar Association agreed.Obama voted against them anyway and maintained a Senator`s right to oppose high court nominees on their philosophical and political views,not just character and temperament.The President`s pontificating about the "usual political games " that he practiced himself with such fervor and gusto is the height of hypocrisy!The more he talks,the more obvious it becomes that his conviction that he can continue to BS his way through any situation is slowly destroying his credibility.

Posted by: bowspray | May 30, 2009 8:48 PM

Rush Limbaugh calling anybody racist is like him calling Brooke Shields fat and ugly.

The right wing loonies could only aspire to have the intellect of somebody like Sotomayor. Since they cannot attack her qualifications, they resort to useless soundbites.

Of course there is a difference of experiences between a white male like George W. Bush, a product of a wealthy elite that has ruled this country, and is accepted to Yale because he comes from a wealthy white family and spends most of his time cheerleading for the football team while there, and a hard-working Latina from the Bronx who grows up poor and is accepted based on her academic record. She graduated as valedictorian of her high school class and got a scholarship to a university education based on her excellent academic record. At Yale, where she served as editor of the Yale Law journal, she graduated summa cum laude. Playing the race card will not work this time for the right-wingers.

Of the 110 people who have served on the Supreme Court, only four were not white males. These white men, who have controlled the US Supreme Court since its foundation, believe somehow experiences don't affect who we are?

This same Supreme Court, made up of white men, upheld the laws against interracial marriages in Pace v. Alabama (1883); it upheld segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896); in United States v. Thind (1923), it held that Asians could not become citizens because they were not white; it found to be legal the internment of Japanese-Americans in Hirabayashi v. United States (1943), and so on...

Posted by: CyberPost | May 30, 2009 8:36 PM

An advocate for left wing causes is desperately needed on the highest court. Sotomeyer has the potential to fill that need. Her humble background gives her the empathy to champion the battles of all the underdogs in America. Hopefully she will be another Joan Of Arc.

Posted by: melvin_polatnick | May 30, 2009 8:28 PM

Yes, yl1210, what you describe is what is called now reverse racism, and that is how the nomination of S. Sotomayor, when this so eloquent case Ricci vs. DeStefano is even still pending in Supreme Court, should be understood. I read in one comment on this web something like, "No White man should be hired!". It is kind of summarized the issue. I think, however, that it is also extended to White women. I had the very similar to Ricci case of my own, and I am White woman. Anyhow, the very pitiful situation. Obama seems to bring the disappointment and the diappointment to all those, who supported him to begin with and fought for his election the most. Sad story, isn't it?

Posted by: aepelbaum | May 30, 2009 7:32 PM

What a wonderful week. The old neo-con rat, Dick Cheney gets smoked out of his rat hole and ends up as the national spokesperson for freakish neo-con sado masochistic torture fetishes.

Barack Obama nominates Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and more stinking neo-con rats with their racist hate and white supremacist vitriol expose themselves for what they are, bigots.

The girly man with a spare tire around his middle, Newt Gingrich, in his high pitched sissy voice calls Sontomayor a racist, revealing that he is really the racist.

The dope fiend Limbaugh, the masher O'Reilly, the wheezing Zionist Glen Beck and the Fox News bimbos are all up in arms as Obama continues to give them wedgies and to take them to the woodshed to warm their britches on a daily basis.

Neo-con vermin on the run and pulling out their hair. Is this a great country or what?

Posted by: DCSage | May 30, 2009 7:17 PM

It's good to have balance on the Court. It's been a while, anyway, since we've had a true dyed-in-the-wool liberal who surveys a murder scene and pronounces that the true victim is the murderer, and who sees the US as an evil, malign force. Whether this is that candidate, I don't know. But as long as there are not a court full of them, then no problem.

Posted by: cletus1 | May 30, 2009 6:32 PM


Posted by: The-Historian | May 30, 2009 6:30 PM

"Obama and the liberal democrats are trying to drive a wedge between the republicans and the Latinos."

No, I think the right wing of the Republican party is doing that just fine. You can't call the Spanish language "speaking illegal" or refer to a latino outreach group as the "latino KKK" and expect their vote.

Posted by: thecheddar | May 30, 2009 6:13 PM

While I applaud any and all efforts to extort whatever Political Capital the RepubliCans can get for allowing Sotomayor in;

I have to say quite bluntly:


At this unfortunate time, the Dimocrat Socialists COULD get WHOEVER they WANT IN!

Sotomayor is actually a VERY Good Choice-Considering...

Posted by: SAINT---The | May 30, 2009 5:34 PM

More B.S. from the B.S. artist in the White House.
What a disgrace this incompetent slug is.
Thanks to all you weak minded class envy nitwits who elected him.

Posted by: LarryG62 | May 30, 2009 5:06 PM

Roberto gonzalez to attorney general.
it was the republicans that stopped slavery.
people need to stop listening to all those liberal stations that are in the tank for Obama!station like NBC,CBS,ABC,CNN.

the FBI should stand up and start focusing on their executives who permit this propaganda, and this left wing progressive agenda!!!
because this is truly scary.

Posted by: opp88 | May 30, 2009 4:51 PM

"As a Native American Indian, I would be justified in racist generalizing",

Not really. Racism=stupidity.
If you want to be stupid, go for it.

Posted by: billy8 | May 30, 2009 4:38 PM

Posted by: votingrevolution | May 30, 2009 3:22 PM

Obama and the liberal democrats are trying to drive a wedge between the republicans and the Latinos.
No kidding. Thats called "politics".

Posted by: billy8 | May 30, 2009 4:36 PM

It is exactly what we need a woman from the growing illegals who thinks she is smarter than a white man. They defend her comment as poor judgement, hello she is a judge. If a white man would have said that he is smarter than a Mexican, you can hear the call for his removal as a racist. It only works one way.

Posted by: viejo70 | May 30, 2009 11:47 AM
She's Puerto Rican, you freaking genius.
It is sort of racist to assume anyone with a Spanish sounding name is Mexican.

Posted by: billy8 | May 30, 2009 4:35 PM

Posted by: votingrevolution | May 30, 2009 3:22 PM

Obama and the liberal democrats are trying to drive a wedge between the republicans and the Latinos.

If you know this, why the continued insults?

Posted by: opp88 | May 30, 2009 4:35 PM

g-bates wrote: Sotomayor is a dangerous woman.
Yesterday on his radio show, conservative host G. Gordon Liddy continued the right wing’s all-out assault on Judge Sonia Sotomayor. First, just like Tom Tancredo, Liddy slammed Sotomayor’s affiliation with the civil rights group La Raza — and referred to the Spanish language as “illegal alien“:

LIDDY: I understand that they found out today that Miss Sotomayor is a member of La Raza, which means in illegal alien, “the race.” And that should not surprise anyone because she’s already on record with a number of racist comments.

Finished with the race-based attack, Liddy moved on to denigrate Sotomayor’s gender:

LIDDY: Let’s hope that the key conferences aren’t when she’s menstruating or something, or just before she’s going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then.

Finally, Liddy disputed the entire idea that there’s anything wrong with the paucity of women and total lack of Hispanics on the Court:

LIDDY: And everybody is cheering because Hispanics and females have been, quote, underrepresented, unquote. And as you pointed out, which I thought was quite insightful, the Supreme Court is not designed to be and should not be a representative body.

Posted by: opp88 | May 30, 2009 4:26 PM


by Mark Silva

In the course of any debate, the most extreme views have a way of overshadowing sensible discourse. And they have a way of backfiring on the most extreme debaters -- iand perhaps their entire party, when the reckless are not reined in.

So it goes with Tom Tancredo, the former congressman from Colorado who might not even be a factor in the current debate over federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court if he hadn't sought the Republican Party's presidential nomination last year as an outspoken critic of illegal immigration - and if he hadn't also denounced the National Council of La Raza, one of the nation's oldest Hispanic advocacy groups, as a "Latino KKK without the hoods.''

Posted by: opp88 | May 30, 2009 4:23 PM

Supreme Court Shoo-In?

by Miguel Perez, columnist.

She meets all the politically correct qualifications the Obama administration is seeking in its first Supreme Court nominee. As a woman, Sonia Sotomayor would help balance the court's lopsided 8-1 gender scale. As a Latina, she would give Hispanics long-overdue representation on our highest court. As a Bronx, N.Y., native and product of a single-parent home, she has the real-life experiences that President Barack Obama considers necessary.

As a sitting federal judge who has been nominated by both Republican and Democratic administrations, she could be a shoo-in when she seeks Senate confirmation. As a child of the projects who got to study at Princeton and Yale and became a successful career woman, she would become a huge role model. As a left-of-center jurist on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, she probably meets all the litmus tests the Democrats deny they will apply when searching to replace retiring Justice David Souter.

Posted by: opp88 | May 30, 2009 4:18 PM

They used to just yell the various racial epithets, but now they have developed this bizarre tactic of instead yelling “racist!” It is, of course, insane. And hapless Michael Steele would like them to stop, because, duh, only 21% of Americans currently identify themselves as Republicans, and as this awful s.h.i.t continues, it’s going to be 15% and then 10% and pretty soon they’ll just be a dumber, fatter version of Le Pen’s racist fringe party in France, just so crazy proud when they have a big year and get 20 seats in Congress.
Steele was guest-hosting Bill Bennett’s talk-radio show today — apparently Bill Bennett has a wingnut talk-radio show, too — and used his patented fake-sounding hip-hop talk to warn Limbaugh & Co. to stop presenting the Republican philosophy (racism) so honestly:

“I’m excited that a Hispanic woman is in this position,” Steele said. He added that instead of “slammin’ and rammin’” on Sotomayor, Republicans should “acknowledge” the “historic aspect” of the pick and make a “cogent, articulate argument” against her for purely substantive reasons.

Steele warned that because of the attacks, “we get painted as a party that’s against the first Hispanic woman” picked for the Supreme Court.

Yes, that happens when the only people left in your party are mouth-breathing crap-bags whose entire opposition comes down to psychopathic hatred of the colored people with the edumacations.

Posted by: opp88 | May 30, 2009 4:14 PM

I wonder if she would bring the same wisdom to SCOTUS today that SCOTUS had in its ruling in the Dred Scott decision...or in Plessy vs Ferguson..or in Roe v Wade. Where was the "empathy" for Dred Scott? Where was the "empathy" in the Ricci case? Firemen across multiple races studied hard for their exams and those that passed and thought they had earned promotions were denied. Hmm. Imagine your child had studied hard and passed a college entrance exam and applied to University..only to receive the letter reading "Dear Applicant. We regret we cannot admit you to this university..not enough students from other economic and societal backgrounds applied nor passed the exams."

Posted by: yl1210 | May 30, 2009 3:47 PM

also why did the attorney general drop the charges against the Black panthers who stood in front of voting stations threatening and scaring people away ? could it be they were obama's people?

Posted by: votingrevolution | May 30, 2009 3:30 PM

a week hasn't gone by, and we already have a senitor saying he is against the hell of a state. kanasas has the reputation for being a place for irnonant. we can think back to mr dole. so has rush limbragh and newt gingrich have gotten to i said there are 11 states of hispanics at stake. they won't forget this. i won't forget this. does history mean anything to you?

Posted by: davidmichaelhill | May 30, 2009 3:22 PM

Obama and the liberal democrats are trying to drive a wedge between the republicans and the Latinos.they know that most Latinos are deeply religious,because lets face it the liberal democrats fail miserably on moral social issues like, abortion and homosexual marriage, just to name a few !!they don't want them to remember that it was the republicans that appointed Roberto gonzalez to attorney was the republicans that stopped slavery.people need to stop listening to all those liberal stations that are in the tank for Obama!station like NBC,CBS,ABC,CNN the FBI should stand up and start focusing on their executives who permit this propaganda, and this left wing progressive agenda!!! because this is truly scary.I'm starting to think j Edgar hoover was wright all along !! how can you explain Hollywood stars like Shaun Penn going down and supporting Hugo chavez ? Obama too is real cozy with him and the communist!!! whats the saying,if it looks like a duck,swims like a duck,quacks like a duck,then its most likely a DUCK. THIS IS NOT THE CHANGE WE VOTED FOR !!!!!

Posted by: votingrevolution | May 30, 2009 3:22 PM

Let's be honest! Everyone has certain racist beliefs due to past and current history. However when it comes to making life-long decisions, we make those decisions based on what long-term outcomes can be and what is best for all involved. As a Native American Indian, I would be justified in racist generalizing, but when confronted with personal and family life impacted decisions, racism isn't part of the equation. The pain of inflicted and felt in our lives, brings experience that can and should be used as a decision factor and people of color will experience this far more than those of the 'dominant' race AND gender who would never have said experience. Based on that, the one with the most experience of the situation would be best to judge those who come before the bench - simply because of the experience factor. This also goes into the fact that women and especially those of color have a far more experience base than a white male, since the white male is not usually subjected to what women of color are. Our new judge nominee is of Puerto Rican descent and if she is in the truest sense, is considered Native American Indian or Taino - and not 'Hispanic.' She is from the Island of Puerto Rico and the citizens there are considered American and NOT immigrants.

Those politicians who are attacking her, are doing 'the dance' that their party expects them to do. That in addition to their own racist comments in the past years leads me to believe that they should retire from their posts and leave the government to a much younger and futuristic thinking generation.

Posted by: Xielolixii | May 30, 2009 1:43 PM

The smart play by the White House would be to stay quiet and let the GOP and their deluded conservative base eat each other alive and present their ugly and obscene tone to the American public.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | May 30, 2009 1:15 PM

It is exactly what we need a woman from the growing illegals who thinks she is smarter than a white man. They defend her comment as poor judgement, hello she is a judge. If a white man would have said that he is smarter than a Mexican, you can hear the call for his removal as a racist. It only works one way.

Posted by: viejo70 | May 30, 2009 11:47 AM

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