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First Thoughts on Sotomayor

A few thoughts on the Sotomayor nomination:

* Conservatives need to understand that Sotomayor’s reputation for intellectual lightness and a fiery temperament -- examined by Jeffrey Rosen of The New Republic -- doesn’t really matter much. The only thing that counts in this regard is her performance before the cameras in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. If she is informed and forceful, her prior reputation is irrelevant. If she is halting and overwhelmed, the damage will be done in that moment. The Obama administration will have a good idea of Sotomayor’s skills in short order, as the practice sessions for her testimony begin.

* The administration needs to understand that Ricci v. DeStefano is genuinely troubling. Normally when affirmative action goals are applied, people have little idea if they have been discriminated against or not. A few hundred law school rejections are put in the mail. A few may have been influenced by a desire for racial balance. But no one really knows. In the New Haven firefighters’ case, 20 people with identifiable names and faces were clearly denied benefits they had earned based on their race. I am not opposed to affirmative action in all cases. But the injustice here seems crude and obvious.

And Sotomayor’s treatment of the case was also disturbing. Instead of engaging the important legal issues raised by the plaintiffs, Sotomayor’s panel dismissed the matter in a single, unimpressive paragraph. Another judge on the panel, Jose Cabranes (a Clinton appointee) was outraged. The opinion, he argued, “lacks a clear statement of either the claims raised by the plantiffs or the issues on appeal. Indeed, the opinion contains no reference whatsoever to the constitutional claims at the core of this case.” This creates the impression of Sotomayor as an ideological judge, more interested in outcomes than in arguments.

* But conservatives need to understand that having a good argument in a nomination debate does not guarantee your preferred outcome -- especially concerning one of the most sensitive, difficult matters in American politics. Opposition to affirmative action is one of those issues -- like support for the death penalty, or tough anti-immigration policies -- that poll well in isolation, but can alienate many Americans when argued with too much aggression. There is a principled case to be made against the Ricci decision. But will this argument be made with intellectual care and racial sensitivity on Capitol Hill, cable television and conservative talk radio? I’m skeptical. If done with the wrong tone and in the wrong spirit, an eight-week conservative campaign against affirmative action could solidify Democratic gains with minorities and confirm the worst Republican stereotypes. And that would be an additional Obama victory.

By Michael Gerson  | May 26, 2009; 5:17 PM ET
Categories:  Gerson  | Tags:  Michael Gerson  
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Next: Why Obama Picked Sotomayor

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Posted by: usadblake | May 26, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I never fail to marvel at Gerson's admonitions to "conservatives." All fifteen of them climb up from the bomb shelter to which they've retreated. Gerson sounds the horn. They listen to his warning, his prediction, the gurgle in his digenstive system, whatever. Then they set each other's hair on fire and scream gibberish. Thusly are conservatives informed. Thusly do they react. Thusly do they learn what they must "understand" from Gerson, The Understander. It's hard to imagine that conservatives "must" do anything. Understand or not, the abject failure of the conservative movement to bring anything but grief and horror and collapse to civilization - and a few laughs - disqualifies them from the realm of That Which Is Relevant. The only issue of note that Gerson's commentary brings to the fore is: "Why is Gerson puublished in this or any newspaper?"

Posted by: philston | May 26, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh - but you don't got a vote, Mr. Gerson...

You and Pappy said that Clarence Thomas was the most qualified black they could find...

That disqualifies you from having any say now.

Posted by: dutchess2 | May 26, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Boy, it's too bad that conservatives are going to completely ignore Gerson's advice. They're going to oppose Sotomayor, because they have to oppose everything that President Obama does. And since Ricci vs. DeStefano is going to become their rallying cry, they're going to be stuck opposing a Latina woman on Affirmative Action.

Please, would someone else form a viable opposition party before Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh are the only Republicans left?

Posted by: philb1 | May 26, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me or does that picture of Gerson lead one to the conclusion that he may have run into Larry Craig at an airport bathroom on more than one occassion?

Posted by: VeloStrummer | May 26, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

If the Republicans decide to use the Sotomayor nomination to start a crusade against affirmative action, then I will have all the evidence I need that all these months of griping and whiny tea-bagging have actually been part of their plan all along. They'd rather take themselves out than let the Democrats slaughter them in '10/'12 as they seem well on their way to do, judging by the polls and their declining ranks; so, they commit all kinds of political faux pas so they can gracefully bow out via suicide. Will the leaders of the Republican party cease the moment to start a months-long campaign against the nominee because of Ricki vs Destefano at a time when less and less minorities are even listening to them? The suicidal answer is no, and past trends show that this just might the answer that they prefer to follow.

Posted by: lany | May 26, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

What a shock... Gerson, the human nematode, doesn't like Sotomayer too much.

Why does this cheap hack even have a column in the Post?

Perhaps Gerson, when not taking a wide stance in random airport bathroom stalls, could explain why George H.W. Bush put her on the federal bench?

She is is. She's a lock. Get used to it, wingnuts!

Posted by: losthorizon10 | May 26, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Sotomayor is a political appointee. The video of her flipantly saying the Appeals courts 'decide policy' and her rants against 'white men' clearly disqualify her.
However she will be confirmed because the GOP do not stoop to the level of the Dems as in the Bork or Thomas hearings.

Posted by: rpcurt1 | May 26, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

You can't count on Republicans to trot out the paranoidal rantings at the drop of a hat: troubling, concerning, disastrous, most liberal jurist....you name it, they've got it. And yet, their audience is getting smaller and smaller. Attack this minority woman who worked her way out of poverty and into a position of esteem and see your party forever banished to the basement.

Posted by: ATLGuy | May 26, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Lazy, lazy, lazy. You dismissively pass off Sotomayor for "intellectual lightness" and blithely cite the supposed opinion of some other journalist. Give me a break. I'm a lawyer. I read judicial opinions for a living. Sotomayor is not Learned Hand, but she's a perfectly capable and competent jurist. You, on the other hand, are one of those individuals who (to paraphrase Obama) has no problem talking about something before you actually know what you are talking about.

You've reached the Peter principle, Gerson.

Posted by: nwflyfisher01 | May 26, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Ho-hum; merely the conservative talking points.

Rosen didn't so much examine "Sotomayor’s reputation for intellectual lightness and a fiery temperament" as invent it. (Darn uppity minority women anyway!)

The Supreme Court occasionally dismisses an appeal without comment; perhaps the panel majority that included Sotomayor thought the District Court opinion covered the territory fairly well?

I'm sure it will come out in the hearing. Until then, if this is the worst the opposition can dig up, "intellectual lightness" is a pretty good description of Gerson's comments.

Posted by: j2hess | May 26, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Gerson accusing someone else of being an intellectual lightweight...dude, really, I mean you worked for George W. Bush, Bob Dole, and Chuck Colson!

Posted by: Bob22003 | May 26, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

While I don't know the details of Ricci v. DeStefano, I get the impression that to rule otherwise would set a precedence that an entity is required to make a hire based on nothing more than a help wanted advertisement.

Posted by: Frazil | May 26, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

You need to admit that the Rosen piece is tripe, and foul tripe at that. Do you, like so many of your brethren, somehow believe that if you repeat it often enough that the general public will get the idea that Mr. Rosen, or you, or any of you ilk, even remotely approach having the credentials to judge her intellect?
Mr. Gerson, you and yours are not even qualified to carry the judge's briefcase.....
BUT - Don't let that stop you from fighting every inch of the way, especially guys like McCain and others from states with large Hispanic populations.
The New Republic piece is garbage and everyone here needs to know that. Typical neocon GARBAGE.

Posted by: Tomcat3 | May 26, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

repugs knock this appointee at your peril, she is everything your party is against. try to be the adults in the room, and for you gerson to say this great jurist is a lightweight proves all our points no matter who is appointed you would find fault.you are so predictable,show a little maturity, and for the first time, think what's best for this coutry.

Posted by: ninnafaye | May 26, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

The Party of Repukes Wrapped the American Flag around themselves and proclaimed themselves to be the True Patriots. Then they snookered the Evangelicals into believing they were the True Believers and made sure they were Photo-Op 'ed sitting in the Front Row at a church in DC. Condi, Rumsfeld, Rove, Cheney, Bush sitting in the front row their with their hands folded, as they contemplated the Neo-Cons plan for the invasion of Iraq, pushed by the American Enterprise Institute. The Failed Plan became the Destruction of the American Economy and the Constitution became a Roll of Toilet Paper for Wolfowitz, Frum, Kristol,John Yoo, Kagan,Gerson, Bybee,George Will ,and the Heritage Foundation.

Posted by: orionexpress | May 26, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

The GOP would be wise in using caution to oppose Sotomayor ... but they won't ... they won't be able to control themselves and their hatred of anything or anyone that may oppose them.

Posted by: paris1969 | May 26, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Gerson's comments are straight from the Retardlican talking-points list that was accidentally emailed to the press earlier today. Skip Gerson's filtering and read it for yourself at http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/rnc-fumbles-sotomayor-talking-points-2009-05-26.html
Must be nice to get paid to type in someone else's copy. Gerson and Bill Kristol, how low the Post has sunk.

Posted by: hairguy01 | May 26, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Once again, Gerson proves the predictable and partisan lightweight he always is at the Post. Hey, Post, if you want his drivel, hire me - I will work for half the price, and can just about come up with word-for-word about anything Gerson writes about. Gerson ought to thank God every day for Kristol, which means he is only the second worst, and second most predictable, writer on the planet. Junk. And the Post charges for this??

Posted by: faygokid | May 26, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives "might" engage in an eight week minority-hate festival and thus shrink themselves even further into oblivion?

I can't imagine what possible case you could make for the idea that they won't do exactly that.

Of course they will.

Listen, when Michael Gerson is warning you that you've gone around the extreme right wing bend, you better believe it's starting to become just a tad obvious.

Despite the gratuitous parroting of the utterly disgraced and thoroughly debunked Rosen TNR piece, some of the rest of this column almost made sense and should definitely be heeded by Republicans.

Do I think they will?

Don't make me laugh.

Posted by: BillEPilgrim | May 26, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Yeah...concerns Gerson. Just like the concerns the Dems had for Roberts and Allito. Good luck with your "concerns".

Posted by: Flabergasted | May 26, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

She doesn't have a "reputation for intellectual lightness." Some snot-nose twenty somethings who worked for other judges dished on her anonymously to Rosen, who published their hearsay without attempting to make an independent judgment. Read her opinions, and you'll see what a crock that charge is.

Posted by: sophie2 | May 26, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

>..."confirm the worst Republican stereotypes">>>>

Uh, little buddy? Those stereotypes got confirmed all last fall with the McCain campaign's rallies and their "Obama is a Muslim" and "I'm glad to be here in REAL America" moments. Nixon thought he was pulling a fast one with the Southern Strategy, and Reagan one-upped him by paying lip service to the Moral Majority, but both of those elements have come to swallow the party that once dominated the midwest and parts of the northeast.

Sotomayor may or may not prove brilliant, but she's a good antidote to the Thomas/Scalia tag team of far-right ideologues, and I'd imagine that she'll even going to be willing to take on Alito and Roberts if they get a little too uppity (nobody f__s with a girl from the Bronx if they know what's good for them). If Sessions and his old Confederacy associates want to try to make some hay with her hearings, they'll do so at the risk of further alienating the common-sense center of the country who can look at last November's results and count.

And if Obama picks up another Senator or two and a few more House members in '10, he'll have been handed a truly lethal weapon. If the leadership in the Senate GOP is smart, they'll understand that Obama's win last fall necessarily gets him this nomination, and they'll save their fight for a battle they can win instead.

Posted by: Marcus3 | May 26, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Judge Sotomayor's reputation as an intellectual lightweight? That seems to be a fiction which conservatives are attempting to manufacture out of unconvincing statements from anonymous sources. There is a great deal of contrary evidence starting with her outstanding record at two of the country's most outstanding academic institutions and including the opinions of others in the legal community who weren't sought out to participate in a hatchet job. That hatchet job is not going to hold up, Mr. Gerson.

Posted by: debpet732 | May 27, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

In order that I be completely understood, I must say first that I've never voted Democrat and I do not vote Republican. I am a Libertarian. I voted for Ron Paul as President and Dennis Kucinich as Vice President because from both sides of the isle came the clarion call to "restore our Constitution." The people that voted proved what they were more interested in, and that Constitution didn't prevent Obamanation's election / selection. We Americans have signed our own death warrant. You don't even have to wait to see!

That said, I would like to remind Gerson, who I wouldn't know from one toilet stall to another, that it was under the Republican cornservative watch that our Republic was finally and thoroughly trashed. For example, there no longer exists any mechanism under the Constitution to submit a petition for redress of grievances for whether or not Obama ripped us off by spending millions of dollars to keep his birth certificate from actually being seen.

I say Sotomayer is as good as any other nomination (thank God it's not Hillary) -- yet. If the cornservatives don't keep their mouths shut it can get a lot worse.

Finally, I'm totally opposed to Affirmative Action as racist and unconstitutional. But like Jay Leno said in his 14 second comedy sketch to the howls of laughter, "They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it's worked for over 200 years and heck, we're not using it anymore."

So, let Sotomayor be the poster girl for Affirmative Action. We aren't using the Constitution any more and maybe, just maybe her ethnic thinking would be a plus rather than a minus. After all, America is already the Communist / Socialist state Kruschev promised would be buried without firing a shot. Let's face it, they won fair and square. We who were waiting for the split second return of Christ didn't think about the souls He's got in Asia. We have been so arrogant. But it made us complacent enough to allow the enemy to win, and WIN he did.

We have nothing to face but a bloody civil war which I have predicted will come since 1968, and which will be the cornservatives breaking the law to violently overthrow the government of these very united states under Socialism / Communism. Do the readers of "Washington Post" even know about the coming civil war? Doubtful, but I ask, why else would more guns legally have been purchased this year, enough which would outfit the two largest standing armies in the world, China and India? Smoke indicates a fire, I think. "My Little American Test" ought to prove that. Let Sotomayor be confirmed. She's alright and far from the worst that the "Obamanation of Desolation" could have selected.

Posted by: DonWood1 | May 27, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Liberals gleefully predict political doom for conservatives if they offend Latinos. But American of every stripe are already doomed. Liberals are so intellectually and morally empty they haven't noticed. Losing becomes meaningless when everything of worth has long since been dissipated. REAL white conservative men threw in the towel decades ago. How else could we come to be represented by Bush II who wasn't conservative but was certainly a cretin? Or the bone head, John McCain?
I love the irony that the Latinos will certainly exterminate liberals exactly the way they will conservatives when the time comes. Civilization has already said hasta la vista baby to America. Sotomayor is only a single plankton in the belly of a dying whale as it sinks to the very bottom of a reeking slime pit.

Posted by: jimcoulter8 | May 27, 2009 1:54 AM | Report abuse

Gerson needs to understand that citing Rosen's anonymously-sourced sleaze-a-thon disqualifies whatever may follow.

Posted by: winemule | May 27, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

You need to understand that nobody cares what you think, Gerson.

Posted by: MsM0u53 | May 27, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Just for perspective, here's the kind of thing that was going on when Gerson was serving in the White House:

---------------------------------
An internal U.S. Justice Department report has concluded that a top aide to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez broke federal civil service laws by subjecting job applicants to religious and political qualifications.

Monica Goodling, a graduate of TV preacher Pat Robertson's Regent University Law School, screened applicants for their loyalty to the Republican Party and Religious Right views, even though the positions at stake were supposed to be non-partisan.

Posted by: tboyer33 | May 27, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse


Gerson's first, middle and last thoughts on anything are a joke.

Instead let's have him outline or post outright the speeches he wrote for GWB.

Let's see what he is, pathetic, for one.
He'd be thoroughly corrupt if he were
stable enough to be thoroughtly anything his little pink, perfectly manicured hands waving wildly.

Posted by: whistling | May 27, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

People's opposition to conservatives should not blind them from considering whether Gerson has a valid point. I don't know whether Sotomayor is an intellectual lightweight or is hot tempered, but if she is, then either characteristic should disqualify her from sitting on the Supreme Court. We need rational people making deep decisions, not irascible people shooting from their hip. after all, we just got through a president like that and see the trouble it got us into.

Generally, I think trying to profile Justices (I'm sure President Obama was looking explicitly for a Hispanic woman for the Court) is a bad idea as it greatly narrows the pool of qualified applications. With Justice Thomas, looking for a conservative black justice probably eliminated 99% of potentially qualified candidates and THomas has been criticized as an intellectual lightweight as well. Looking for a Hispanic, liberal, woman to fill the seat probably also ruled out 99% of the potential candidates. I hope we don't get a bad justice as a result.

Posted by: adifferentpointofview | May 27, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

The only thing that one has to understand is that Gerson is an idiot.

Posted by: mtravali | May 27, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Racist much. “Intellectual lightweight” –summa cum laude Princeton graduates are never ever “intellectual lightweights”. “Fiery temperament” what does that mean? “…halting and overwhelmed…” this woman has served as a judge for years. She has more judicial experience than any nominee of the past 100 years.

You’re stupid for putting this quote in writing without any backup. My mother always said you should never call people names but in this case stupid is well deserved.

Posted by: rlj611 | May 27, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

In fact, Sotomayer doesn't have a reputation for intellectual lightness and a fiery temperament. And Jeffrey Rosen didn't examine anything. He passed on some anonymous and unsubstantiated hearsay and character assassinations, and called it journalism. Then Gerson here spreads the sniping, envy, and innuendo even further. But we're supposed to believe that it's Sotomayer who's intellectually light?

Posted by: SLSP | May 27, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

She is just fine, she is ok, no problems here, a good choice, no arguments. Now can we get the hell on with it and quit the silly little kiddie politics games? EGad some of you get out of your diapers and join the rest of us grownups. Geeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssccccccccchhhh!

Posted by: eaglehawkaroundsince1937 | May 27, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

The kind of affirmative action I worry about is the kind that got a moron like George W Bush into Yale, the Texas governorship and the US presidency - the same kind that gives a Gerson a column.


Posted by: AlanDownunder | May 27, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I'M SITTING AROUND MY PUERTO RICAN FRIENDS WATCH SEAN HANNITY. EVERYTIME HANNITY OPENED UP HIS MOUTH ABOUT MS. SOTOMAYOR. THE PEOPLE IN THE ROOM GOT ANGRY AND CUSSED HIM OUT... VOWING TO VOTE FOR OBAMA IN 2012... LMAO... REPUGNANTS ARE JUST CREATURES OF STUPIDITY. BAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


The president nominates federal judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, putting her in line to become nation's first Hispanic justice and creating a difficult political equation for Republicans as they weigh how aggressively to fight her appointment.

Posted by: opp88 | May 27, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm a Dem., but Obama said he was post-racial, etc., etc., etc., and he nominates a judge who said:

"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Doesn't sound very post-racial to me. That seems to be right in the racial identity politics wheelhouse.

Posted by: Beantown317 | May 27, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

@ DonWood1:

Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Posted by: crblaisd | May 27, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

The GOP is sinking fast...only the trolls be left!

Posted by: Canadamike | May 27, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

As I've elsewhere on the Washington Post on this topic:

The reality is that Sotomayor is going to be confirmed.

Even Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute says that she will be confirmed with "at least 70 votes."

Fighting Sotomayor's inevitable appointment will simply confirm the GOP as being, in the public's mind, the party of losers.

If the GOP has a collective brain in its collective head, it will be unfailing polite, moderately questioning and extremely well-mannered in its acquiescence.

If this annoys the base, so what?

The aptly-named base is not the future of the GOP -- unless the GOP wants to be permanently irrelevant, permanently marginalized.

The short-fingered vulgarians who constitute the base have made the GOP small and will -- unless muzzled and kept in their place -- keep the GOP small.

In short, the base can be safely ignored -- along with no-hopers like Gerson, Kristol, Kagan, Cheney, Krauthammer, Rove, Gingrich...

They are all "Yesterday's Men."

Posted by: pali2600 | May 27, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

@ DonWood1: "Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Posted by: crblaisd | May 27, 2009 11:12 AM

___________________________________

He didn't mention having a newsletter.

So one can only conclude that you and he are in collusion to peddle his mindless, no-hoper, Libertarian crap.

As you may or may not know, that violates the Washington Post's posting rules.

Posted by: pali2600 | May 27, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

obama won fair and square the presidency" kenya born thats a hot one! activist judges? appointed justice? judicial memberships? you know like in detroit michigan 235 of them jewish holocaust members? civil rights? ACLU! agenda and activist members like ginsberg? agenda! new world order" security" like into canada white people goverment ID for extremist you list? but not mexico hispanic people cartel communist swine flu TB extremist? trust liars! support troops USA obama say! yet his homeland security administration attacks the veterans and calls them extremist? trust a agenda? trust no taxes on anybody making under 250,000 dollars obama liar? trust a liar and hand pick criminal cabinet of sissy and tax cheaters? trust a sissy? republiCON! demoCRAP! MITCH McCONNELL VS CHRIS DODD? see any difference? agenda! trust! memberships! civil rights! SOTOMAYOR? AGENDA! culture change? civil rights!judicial agenda and syndicate of criminal corruption! i open that door! DATAPAK of howell michigan my brother and nephews by taken my documents are trying to close that window of truth justice and the american way! obama cabinet picks and judicial TRUST picks? illinois obama TRUST? ASSOCIATIONS ayers jew! emanuel and hollywood brother jews? geithner jew! bananke jew! transparency promise obama? stimulus where is the money going? special activist members ACORN! holocaust members! judicial syndicate you think? obama work for ACORN securing loans to minorities with poor credit histories? TRUST a wrong? connections actions show alot of criminally wrong of NO stimulus transparency live today! illinois and michigan corruption gone countrywide you think? yep! something ain't right if your white live today! example SOLOMAYOR ACTIVIST AND AGENDA GINSBERG on supreme court of united states? TRUST activist sissy agenda politics like california ghetto debt? like security we all have live now with open borders and ports of entry CHINA? sissy jews and people of color agenda gang of criminals in our goverment we paty for our own destruction" argument? TRUTH is a MOTHER! INDEPENDENT ARMY for our own protection from SISSY minded them. AMEN.

Posted by: franklkinney | May 27, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Ricci v DeStefano is all you need to know about her. Or Merrill Lynch v. Dabit, where she held that state courts could entertain certain securities lawsuits notwithstanding the preemptive effect of federal law which the High Court reversed.

Or Pappas v. Giuliani where Sotomayer summarized the majority opinion this way "The Court holds that the government does not violate the First Amendment when it fires a police department employee for racially inflammatory speech..." Even though it was anonymous speech by an employee of the police department's Management Information Systems Division with no evidence of prejudice to the police department's reputation or functioning.

Posted by: leeh11281 | May 27, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

leeh11281: Sotomayor dissented in Pappas v. Giuliani, so when she wrote about the decision, she was *disagreeing* with it, not supporting it.

In Merril Lynch v. Dabit, she followed the letter of the law (isn't that what you conservatives are always screaming for?), and was overturned by the Supreme Court which said it should be interpreted more broadly.

Try using actual facts rather than right-wing talking points, and you might come close to having an argument.

Posted by: jimeh | May 27, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I usually criticize Mr. Gerson because he seem likes the run of the mill “team lemming” Republicans, but this piece is excellent. I think many of your commenter’s are not reading the piece and going after Gerson for his old works. He provides logical consequences to the GOP laying down allowing an easy confirmation, and logical consequences to attacking the Judge all out. Gerson predicts his contemporaries will choose the latter course of action, which is sad, but I agree that the GOP will act as he says they will. However, he lays out an excellent plan to derail the confirmation process. Another incredibly wonderful part of this column is that Gerson doesn’t use “team lemming” labeling terms such as “Liberal” like it’s going out of style, he presents logical set of counters to approving Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. I don’t agree with the arguments, however I can not deny their logic.

I hope Republicans are taking note, because we need more of this thinking and style of thinking for the party to come back to prominence. The more Republicans listen to Limbaugh the worse the party will be. We need Republican thought process to counter the Democrat party thought process, so the country can have good choices, which is something the country needs.

Posted by: GC4Life | May 27, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

leeh11281: if military folks use Racial inflamitory speech they usually get fired and no one has a problem with that.

BTW what are you thoughts on flag burning?

Posted by: GC4Life | May 27, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I'M SITTING AROUND MY PUERTO RICAN FRIENDS WATCH SEAN HANNITY. EVERYTIME HANNITY OPENED UP HIS MOUTH ABOUT MS. SOTOMAYOR. THE PEOPLE IN THE ROOM GOT ANGRY AND CUSSED HIM OUT... VOWING TO VOTE FOR OBAMA IN 2012... LMAO... REPUGNANTS ARE JUST CREATURES OF STUPIDITY. BAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


The president nominates federal judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, putting her in line to become nation's first Hispanic justice and creating a difficult political equation for Republicans as they weigh how aggressively to fight her appointment.

Posted by: opp88 | May 27, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

SOTOMAYOR SAID HER MOTHER WAS HER HERO… HIISPANIC NOMINEE PRAISING HER MOTHER FOR RAISING HER TO BE THE WOMAN TODAY.. AND NOW BEING NOMINATED FOR THE SUPREME COURT.

DIDN’T MISS CALIFORNIA SAY, WHEN DENIED HER CROWN SAY….”THIS SHOULDN’T HAPPEN IN AMERICA”

REPUBLICANS ARE GOING TO THROW THE REVERSE DISCRIMINATION ON BOTH THE PRESIDENT AND THIS NOMINEE?

WHITE PEOPLE SHOULDN’T BE USING ANY LANGUAGE THAT INVOLVES THE WORDS DICRIMINATION… WHEN HAS THERE BEEN AN HISPANIC SUPREME JUSTICE????

LET ME SEE, LAST TIME HISPANIC HELD A JUSTICE SEAT… UMMMMMMMMM NEEEEVEEEEEERRR!

AND NOW YOU SAY DISCRIMINATION… BAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAAHAHAA

Posted by: opp88 | May 27, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Why hasn't Gerson been indicted and shipped to the Hague for his War Crimes trial yet?

Seriously, the guy should resign from WaPo first, before he's sentenced for his crimes.

Posted by: WillSeattle | May 27, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I’M SITTING AROUND MY PUERTO RICAN FRIENDS WATCH SEAN HANNITY. EVERYTIME HANNITY OPENED UP HIS MOUTH ABOUT MS. SOTOMAYOR. THE PEOPLE IN THE ROOM GOT ANGRY AND CUSSED HIM OUT… VOWING TO VOTE FOR OBAMA IN 2012… LMAO… REPUGNANTS ARE JUST CREATURES OF STUPIDITY. BAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

The president nominates federal judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, putting her in line to become nation’s first Hispanic justice and creating a difficult political equation for Republicans as they weigh how aggressively to fight her appointment.

Posted by: opp88 | May 27, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

THE PARTY OF “NO” DON’T YOU JUST LOVE THAT THEIR DIGGING THEIR OWN GRAVES?

The president nominates federal judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, putting her in line to become nation’s first Hispanic justice and creating a difficult political equation for Republicans as they weigh how aggressively to fight her appointment.

Posted by: opp88 | May 27, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

VIVA PUERTO RICO… AND ROBERTO CLEMENTE GREATEST PUERTO RICAN BASEBALL PLAYER OF MODERN BASEBALL ERA…

SONYA SOTOMAYOR… DAUGHTER OF PUERTO RICO, DAUGHTER OF AMERICA, GROOMED TO SERVE ON THE HIGHEST COURT IN THE LAND… THE SEPREME COURT.

VIVA PUERTO RICO… VIVA PUERTO RICO… VIVA PUERTO RICO… VIVA PUERTO RICO… VIVA MY PEOPLE.

Posted by: opp88 | May 27, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Bre in Ohio says: The Audacity of Unawareness………..April 15th, 2009 5:03 pm Barack Obama, through his spokesman, was unaware of the tax day tea parties.
===============================================

BUT MORE INTERESTING IS…. WOULD YOU CARE ABOUT A “RABBIT DOG” WHO WAS CAGED UP AND COULDN’T HURT ANYONE?

Posted by: opp88 | May 27, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Bre in Ohio says: The Audacity of Unawareness………..April 15th, 2009 5:03 pm Barack Obama, through his spokesman, was unaware of the tax day tea parties.
=========================================
FIRST OF ALL…

#1 JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE BRAINED WASHED TO THIS TEA BAG HOAX, DOESN’T MEAN THE REST OF AMERICA HAS TO BE BRAINED WASHED WITH THIS HOAX.

#2 THE POINT IS NOBODY GAVE A RATS AZZ ABOUT THIS (R) PARTY GIMMICK BUT THE REMAINERS OF THE MCSHAME/”HOP SCOTCH MOM” CAMPAIGN….

WHICH AT THIS TIME IS AT ABOUT 23% OF THE 58% WHO VOTED FOR MCSHAME/”HOP SCOTCH MOM”

Posted by: opp88 | May 27, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Judie in Va says: PREJEAN IS A REINCARNATION OF “HOP SCOTCH MOM” NO CLASS, NO SCRUPPLES AND NO GOD… SHE’S BEEN HAVING SEX WITH HER FATHER… GODLESS WHITE TRASH…
================================

NOW YOU BELIEVE ME?

Posted by: opp88 | May 27, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

WHITE PEOPLE SHOULDN’T BE USING ANY LANGUAGE THAT INVOLVES THE WORDS DICRIMINATION… WHEN HAS THERE BEEN AN HISPANIC SUPREME JUSTICE????

LET ME SEE, LAST TIME HISPANIC HELD A JUSTICE SEAT… UMMMMMMMMM NEEEEVEEEEEERRR!

AND NOW YOU SAY DISCRIMINATION… BAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAAHAHAA

Posted by: opp88 | May 27, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"If done with the wrong tone and in the wrong spirit, an eight-week conservative campaign against affirmative action could solidify Democratic gains with minorities and confirm the worst Republican stereotypes."


Gingrich Calls On Sotomayor To Withdraw Because She’s A ‘Latina Woman Racist’

Tancredo: Sotomayor ‘Appears To Be A Racist’

Limbaugh Says 'Sotomayor Is A Reverse Racist'

Bye, bye love... bye, bye happiness... hello loneliness, I think I'm going to cry... Bye, bye my love goodbye...


and good riddance.

Posted by: artmann11 | May 27, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

SOTOMAYOR SAID HER MOTHER WAS HER HERO… HIISPANIC NOMINEE PRAISING HER MOTHER FOR RAISING HER TO BE THE WOMAN TODAY.. AND NOW BEING NOMINATED FOR THE SUPREME COURT.

DIDN’T MISS CALIFORNIA SAY, WHEN DENIED HER CROWN SAY….”THIS SHOULDN’T HAPPEN IN AMERICA”

REPUBLICANS ARE GOING TO THROW THE REVERSE DISCRIMINATION ON BOTH THE PRESIDENT AND THIS NOMINEE?

WHITE PEOPLE SHOULDN’T BE USING ANY LANGUAGE THAT INVOLVES THE WORDS DICRIMINATION… WHEN HAS THERE BEEN AN HISPANIC SUPREME JUSTICE????

LET ME SEE, LAST TIME HISPANIC HELD A JUSTICE SEAT… UMMMMMMMMM NEEEEVEEEEEERRR!

AND NOW YOU SAY DISCRIMINATION… BAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAAHAHAA

Posted by: opp88 | May 27, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

@ DonWood1: "Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Posted by: crblaisd | May 27, 2009 11:12 AM

___________________________________

He didn't mention having a newsletter.

So one can only conclude that you and he are in collusion to peddle his mindless, no-hoper, Libertarian crap.

As you may or may not know, that violates the Washington Post's posting rules.

Posted by: pali2600 | May 27, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse


Excuse me for interrupting you but I thought you might like to know: "Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter." is a quote from Homer Simpson.

Posted by: artmann11 | May 27, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Judge Sotomayer is no lightweight . Mr. Gerson , if you're going to recite Rosen then you must know that he has been discredited . You are a white male and your credibility is zero .

Posted by: grammy29649 | May 27, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious about Gerson's statement, "I am not opposed to affirmative action in all cases. Does he mean that there are instances when he will approve of the practice of allowing race to trump merit (a/k/a affirmative action or reverse discrimination), but that this case with the fire fighters is not one that meets his approval? Where does he draw the line? In what sort of case would a race-over-merit preference be something he supports?

Posted by: dcmike100 | May 27, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

@ DonWood1: "Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Posted by: crblaisd | May 27, 2009 11:12 AM

___________________________________

He didn't mention having a newsletter.

So one can only conclude that you and he are in collusion to peddle his mindless, no-hoper, Libertarian crap.

As you may or may not know, that violates the Washington Post's posting rules.

Posted by: pali2600 | May 27, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse


Excuse me for interrupting you but I thought you might like to know: "Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter." is a quote from Homer Simpson.
*****************************************

That's pretty funny stuff there. Why are liberal so angry all the time about everything? Is it because they under achieve in this cruel, unjust world?

Posted by: restonhoops | May 27, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

"That's pretty funny stuff there. Why are liberal so angry all the time about everything? Is it because they under achieve in this cruel, unjust world?"

Not sure about liberals but I'm angry because Republicans have become nothing but nasty, vicious, hateful zealots who insist on ideological purity.

Anyone who doesn't meet their qualifications is unpatriotic, evil and in league with Satan himself.


And that's coming from someone who has voted Republican many times in the past.

Posted by: artmann11 | May 27, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

GC4Life, I agree - you and I may be the only people who actually read this entry.

Posted by: frenchyb | May 27, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

There's probably many reasons for Sotomayor not be a Supreme Court Justice but they all stem from these two reasons and in her own words:

"Courts are where policy is made"

AND

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

For these statements alone, Sotomayor should not be anywhere NEAR the Supreme Court.

I believe what Sotomayor says and not what the media pimps say what they think she meant.

Posted by: ekim53 | May 27, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

"I believe what Sotomayor says and not what the media pimps say what they think she meant."


How about the Republican corporate w hores?

Did you read the whole speech or are you happy to take it out of context like the pig Limbaugh?

Posted by: artmann11 | May 27, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

First of all Rosen's comments on Sotomayor were much more qualified than Gerson's blanket blast that she lacks judicial temperment. Actually, what she is accused of doing on the bench, being obnoxious and bullying on occasion, is what Scalia does everyday of the week. A fair criticism of Sotomayor is fine, but this stuff just nonsense. To pass Gerson's test, a democrat would have to appoint a saint.
The Ricci case, which hasn't been decided yet the the Supremes, is probably a 5-4 decision. That means according to Gerson that five or four of the current Justices must lack the qualifications to be on the court. Look, this lady has a long history and the right, such as Gerson, keeps repeating the same three things as if this summarizes a career. From this they generalise that she must be unsuited for the job. This is totally partisan hogwash masquerading as a thoughtful piece. It's intellectually dishonest. Gerson, you'd have more credibility if you brought the same criticisms, which certainly exist, to your right wing friends. What's the real difference. Right wing good and left wing (and she isn't even left wing) bad and it's as simple as that. If you want to be a public intellectual be one and avoid beong a parisan hack.

Posted by: sactoman | May 27, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

How rich is it to listen to the disgraced Gerson talk of the learned and accomplished Judge Sotomayer's "intellectual lightness"? Is it any more amusing in light of his lack of a similar criticism on the clueless VP nominee the Republicans put up in '08?

Gerson needs to quit while he's not too far behind.

Posted by: B2O2 | May 27, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the case of Ricci vs. DeStefano is the very bad recommendation for Sotomayor. It is the very obvious case of the reverse discrimination. I, honestly, thought that she had the opposing opinion on the subject. I vividly remember the fuss Obama made, as a presidential contender, about necessity of good education for minorities, and restrictions on affirmative actions. Unfortunately, Obama again contradicted his campaign promises. Not the first time, and, surely, not the last one. It does not look nice for the quality of education, not at all.

Posted by: aepelbaum | May 28, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

You can debate all you want what the political ramifications of opposing Sotomayor are. But it is clearly the right thing to do. Her "wise latina" crack is one of the most racist and offensive things said by a public official in recent years. And her supporters have the chutzpah to say that the opponents are racist??!

Posted by: yourstruly1991 | May 28, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

You're either with America, or you're against us.

And right now the Party of No is showing they stand against America and our core values of Truth, Justice, and the American Middle Class way of life.

Keep it up, Whigs.

Posted by: WillSeattle | May 28, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

New Haven's action was upheld in the appellate court based on precedent law, as I understand it. In other words, it wasn't about "empathy" for the white firefighters who passed the exam (which, to me, seems unfair because I empathize with their plight), but rather about sticking to a prior New Haven law.

Those who insist that we ought to stick to strict readings of law and precedent, with almost robot-like disregard of that now-suspicious word "empathy", should agree with the decision, right, Mr. Gerson? Yet . . . they don't.

Instead, the right is using not just empathy for the firefighters, but raw emotion (anger, outrage, fear), to somehow argue that Sotomayor will be too "empathetic" or will decide cases in a non-literalist fashion.

Is this a bit Alice in Wonderland, or what?

Posted by: cturtle1 | May 29, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

the republicans don't have a chance of getting the white house back. frist they are with the wroug people to talk for them. they will lose at least 11 states right off the bat. rush is out of the running. keep up the good work conservatives! america is listening!

Posted by: davidmichaelhill | May 29, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"...an additional Obama victory."

This is what it boils down to? Not a good for the Nation, not our constitutional directives at work, the President deciding with advice and consent? Not a long-awaited good for people of color, for females, for hispanics? Diversity is not a good for the Court, for the people who protect and defend the most precious of all laws - our civil rights?

A victory for an opponent?

Republicans need to pour themselves a glass of courage and try being a citizen rather than a partisan.

Posted by: dutchess2 | May 30, 2009 4:50 AM | Report abuse

She didn't issue a long opinion on the Ricci case because she was coming up for SCOTUS nomination. Argue too strongly for affirmative action in an opinion right before confirmation hearings and conservatives hammer you with it. If she wavered at all, liberals would have been dissatisfied with the opinion and probably dissatisfied with her as well. Any opinion on the Ricci case was lose-lose for her.

Posted by: srg10 | May 30, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

YOU PEOPLE ARE JUST SOOOO OUT OF WHACK! THOSE OF YOU WHO SPEAK IN THESE TERMS HAVE NO PUBLIC RESPECT FOR THIS WOMAN. SHAME ON YOU AND MAY GOD SAVE YOUR EVIL SOULS.
============================

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 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Petty, uninformed, low-information, second-hand smear job. Yep...typical Gerson.

Posted by: polaris11 | May 31, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps yourstruly1991 needs to actually read the whole speech before quoting the judge out of context and/or believing the rebublican lies.

Far be it from me to educate people on "the google". Low-information fool.

Posted by: polaris11 | May 31, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON POST, PLEASE, NO CENSORING, WE AREN'T ALL WASP'S YOU KNOW?!!!!

Posted by: mavericktradingco | May 31, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

WP IF YOU QUIT CENSORING MY COMMENTS I WILL JUST GO BACK TO THE NY TIMES, LA TIMES, CHIGAGO TRIBUNE, HOUSTON POST AND THE EAGLE PASS NEWS...BETTER THAN YOU PROTECTING THE RIGHT, WHAT, U AFRAID OF BUSH AND CHENY, LIMBAUGH AND NEWT THE TWIT?

Posted by: mavericktradingco | May 31, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Madam Sotomayor has left a huge footprint on numerous individuals who through no fault of their own have requested justice concerning their civil rights and have received instead biased opinions and extreme violations of their constitutional protections.

Posted by: a4853916 | May 31, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

What troubles me in this opinion piece is Gerson's bottom-line concern with team sports, the Red jersey versus the Blue jersey scoring issue. He's more bothered by points or gains by Democrats than any lasting effect that this appointment has on the American populace or the future of justice under the law. His final comments say what is valued most by Republicans, it seems, more than other issues:
"If done with the wrong tone and in the wrong spirit, an eight-week conservative campaign against affirmative action could solidify Democratic gains with minorities and confirm the worst Republican stereotypes. And that would be an additional Obama victory."
I'd like to think we have more long-term worries. We'll have to wait for the hearings to find out if any of the issues raised by the Rush and the Newt have weight with the senators.

Posted by: MDesMarets | June 1, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Why is it no surprise Gerson has more concern that the Democrats will score more points than the Republicans. As with the current Republican conservanuts, there is more concern about a hand full of so called "base" than there are about the American people.

Gerson is a tool, whose only claim to fame was as a bush speech writer and whose only conributation to political writing is the one sided BS spouted by the Conservatives. His creditability went out the window when he left the crib and as a columnist, it has never been there.

Posted by: 1ken | June 2, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

"We have nothing to face but a bloody civil war which I have predicted will come since 1968..."

You sound as if you relish the prospect. But if what you're hankering after is already a political impossibility, no civil war can produce what you want either. I should think that having a bunch of armed yahoos tell him what to do would be the last thing any libertarian would want.

The next civil war (actually the next several, since 1968) already happened, but this escaped your notice because no blood was shed, unless figuratively speaking. The warriors in these conflicts are corporations, and they don't bleed much. We human beings are merely hostages. In the most recent contest Goldman Sachs won, took over the government of the USA, and annihilated its principal competitors.

Guns? What a joke. Ready for civil war you are, but you don't have a clue who to shoot.

Posted by: fzdybel | June 2, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

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