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Renowned Conservative Backs Sotomayor

By Jerry Markon
Kenneth W. Starr – investigator of President Bill Clinton and longtime pillar of the conservative legal establishment – has endorsed President Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court.

During a question-and-answer session after a speech Thursday in Los Angeles, Starr said he “supported the nomination” of Sonia Sotomayor to the high court, according to a statement issued by Starr’s office at Pepperdine University Law School, where he is Dean.

Starr told the gathering at Loyola Law School that he “thinks very well” of Sotomayor, whose nomination has triggered strong opposition from conservative groups.

The statement added that Starr still wants “a variety of issues” explored at Sotomayor’s Senate confirmation hearings, including her controversial remark in 2001 that she hoped a “wise Latina woman” would tend to decide cases better than a white male.

Starr, the deeply religious son of a San Antonio minister, is a former Republican-appointed federal appeals court judge and U.S. solicitor general. He is best known, of course, for his role as independent counsel investigating Whitewater and Clinton’s relationship with White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky, which led to the president’s impeachment.
Starr’s affinity for Sotomayor may surprise his former colleagues on the political right, including former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, who is a key organizer of the opposition to Sotomayor. Meese and Starr served together in the Reagan administration, where Starr was a top Justice Department official.

By Washington Post editors  |  June 19, 2009; 11:48 AM ET
Categories:  Supreme Court  | Tags: Jerry Markon, Sotomayor, Starr  
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Next: An Asterisk for Sotomayor?


Ken Starr!!?? WTF!!!??? That SOB!!!???

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | June 19, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Genuflect you neo-con peons!

Oz has spoken.

Long live Oz!

(or he'll spend gazillions of dollars "investigating" your aXX)

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | June 19, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I did not read the article.

Ken Starr???? Why is he relevant? Oh, because he was the last independent prosecutor. He traced whitewater all the way back to Monicka Lewinski- hope she's OK- what a paragon. Hey Ken! got anew job for ya, let's see if you can trace any violations of the Geneva Conventions back to theur perpetrators. Thought not.

Thanks Ken, what a shill.

Posted by: jmdziuban1 | June 19, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Can I conduct a carte blanche investigation Ken? I'll come up with more than you ever would.

Yeah Sotomayor, I'll entrust my Constitution to her.

Posted by: jmdziuban1 | June 19, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

As a person gets closer to the end of his life, the desire increases to leave at least one good deed behind.

Posted by: imhodudes | June 19, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Dang. I thought Sotomayor was a good choice, but if Starr endorses her ... I'll have to think again.

Posted by: frodot | June 19, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

This is not surprising at all. I'd venture to guess that the bulk of Ken Starr's income comes from his private legal practice at Kirkland & Ellis, and not from his job as dean at Pepperdine. It's not in his interest or that of K&E to pick a fight with a judge who's going to be deciding the cases that you argue, and Ken Starr's smart enough to know that.

Posted by: albertcr | June 19, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Slow news day?

Posted by: MarkT3 | June 19, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Ken Starr? isn't he too busy investigating the sex life of interns? surely there must be a few where he works now? Shouldn't he be looking for semen stains on dresses instead of recommending supreme judges?
I don't know why such a totally honourless dirt-digger can still be atrributed any credibility in a serious newspaper.

Posted by: karlbelgium | June 19, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I think I view the law much as Ken Starr would and I too think Sotomayor is a very good pick for those of us that believe the law as written takes primacy over so-called "social-justice" law.

Sotomayer is a longtime judge which in and of itself makes legal precedent and the law as written more grounding that would an elected politician like Earl Warren even like a Thurgood Marshall lawyer. Certainly, she seems much more tempermentally anchored in the law than liberal lions like William O Douglas and William Brennan.

Conservatives should welcome her as about the best pick we could have expected out of an Obama administration. Of course, that doesn't mean that there shouldn't be a lengthy and thorough examination of her record this Summer for this lifetime appointment.

Posted by: lancediverson | June 19, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Watch for Limbaugh and O'Reilly to start condemning formerly-useful Starr as a traitor and sellout. Jeez, Colin Powell breaks ranks, now even Starr- where have all the useful idiots gone?

Posted by: hairguy01 | June 19, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse


I agree with starr that 2+2=4 and on a lot of other things, but even if i do, every time his name is mentioned i will first of all say what a totally honourless , totally partisan, law-abusing dirt digger he is. This man has lost all rights to be an authority in no matter what domain because of his immoral bahaviour in the whitewater case, which he turned into the lewinsky case by using extortion and other dirty techniques, only with the aim to politically hurt the president. His activities are called dirt digging, and his spade was (his abuse of-)the law. NO respect for that guy!

Posted by: karlbelgium | June 19, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I agree with frodot. Everything I have read tells me that Sotomayor is well-qualified and is a fine choice for the Supreme Court. However, the fact that that Ken Starr agrees with this assessment is unsettling. I would not like to think that I would ever agree with KS on anything.

On the other hand, I emphatically disagree with the WAPO's headline writer. By whose definition is Ken Starr "renowned"?

Posted by: exco | June 19, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Pretty obvious the Repubs put Starr up to it so they don't have to waste more of their "Party of No" believability. The Republicans have done nothing but say whatever Obama wants is wrong. They have no ideas and no policy except to deny and denounce. I think they realize this is wearing thin on the electorate and asked Starr to give them an out.

Posted by: maddymappo | June 19, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I guess Starr wants to keep his position at Pepperdine.

Posted by: Kansasgirl | June 19, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

WHAT?!?! Kenneth W. Starr endorses her? That's enough for me to hate her guts! The man that wasted 10's of millions of US dollars to bust a man because of a blow job?

Worthless POS! If Sotomayor does not refuse his endorsement I will forever see her as pure scum!

Posted by: jyang26 | June 19, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse, I don't want to agree with Ken Starr...take it back, take it back you stain chasing idiot!!!

Posted by: Beingsensible | June 19, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I had a BB gun. Learning to shoot, there were some some birds I should not have killed. So now I work for the goals of the American Bird Conservancy's Cat Indoors program, trying to pay off those birds I shot and did not eat. Starr has a lot of political sins to pay off. He owes our country. Big time. He needs to get busy. An endorsement to an obviously qualified judge is at least a good start.

Posted by: rking8 | June 19, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

what gives..first cheney backs same sex starr backs sotomayor..actually, both make perfect sense..cheney has a gay daughter and is sympathetic to gays' plight..and starr makes sense too since sotomayor is a catholic pro-life, anti-gay, racist..

Posted by: rmcgolden | June 19, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, if Starr endorses the nominee, then logic dictates that we should reject the nomination.

Posted by: jhpbriton | June 19, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Ken Starr is a good man and would have been a far better SC justice than any of the right-wing extremists currently on the court: Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Thomas.

Starr is a much more nuanced thinker, and his endorsement of Sotomayor is not a surprise.

Starr got a terrible rap for going after the lying Clintons so vigorously. History will redeem him.

Posted by: angelcortazar | June 19, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Now, this makes me think that Obama has chosen the wrong person .. again, for a high level position. If Ken Starr is for her, then there must be something that we don't know about her yet.

Posted by: paris1969 | June 19, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

If, say, Osama bin Laden says "The sky is blue", I don't have to start calling the sky red or green just because I wouldn't want to be caught in agreement with bin Laden.
Similarly, if you are a Sotomayor backer, who cares what Ken Starr says? He has his own reasons, and I'm puzzled why this would make anyone hesitate about her.

Posted by: gfriday | June 19, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Ken Starr has done something that the Leftist simply cannot understand (particularly the most hate-filled of the Leftists).

He has put his personal opinions and views to the side, and rendered an opinion based solely upon Judge Sotomayor's qualifications. Based upon that, he declares that she is qualified for the position.

The Leftists could never do such a thing towards Ken Starr or any other 'conservative'. They know it, they realize they are of a lesser character than he is, and it makes them all hate him (and the rest of us) all that much more.

A quick glance at the previous postings proves this.

Posted by: NeverLeft | June 19, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

@ angelcortazar:

"history will redeem him"? i think his activities will be seen as a shameful episode in the US history, when the law still allowed this kind of total hypocrits to go about there dirty business. I don't mind if you hate clinton or not, but what starr did even has nothing to do with clinton: it would have been an egrarious abuse of the law against any president.

Posted by: karlbelgium | June 19, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Ken Starr - that "pillar of the conservative legal establishment".

WHO CARES? Other than to point out that this should be an embarrassment for Sotomayor.

Posted by: dougd1 | June 19, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse


and same thing to you neverleft

Posted by: karlbelgium | June 19, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

If there's a lawyer I respect less than Ken Starr, the name escapes me at the moment, but this can only be good for Sotomayor. We'll take it :)

Posted by: douglaslbarber | June 19, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I was nervous about Sotomayor before, now I'm practically terrified. I'm sure she'll make the far right decisions necessary to satisfy any corporation finding itself before the USSC.

Posted by: jpsbr2002 | June 19, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Is Starr's support a good thing?

Posted by: truth1 | June 19, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

This will have the wingnuts frothing at the mouth. Let's hear about how "liberal" and "left wing" Starr is, you whack jobs.

Posted by: PutDownTheKoolaid | June 19, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Words, words, words.

Think how much different things would be if Sotomayor had said "as well as" a white male instead of "better than".

How many of us parse our statements that precisely, day in and day out, 100% of the time?

Posted by: wgmadden | June 19, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Wise Latina woman,
Prosecutor man,
We git together ever chance we can
Ethnicity can't keep us apart,
Thar's too much love in this wise Latina heart,
Too much love in this prosecutor heart ...

Yee haw!

Some people would be offended by some lady singing about how special it is that she's a coal miner's daughter. Not me, though. I can dig that stuff.

What? Oops, whoa, gimme three steps, mister.

Posted by: pressF1 | June 19, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Star has to do everything he can to get himself out of the cross hairs of the leftist loony tunes.

Posted by: georgegarrett | June 19, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Gee, the neocons weren't frothing at the mouth when George HW nominated her to the 11th Circuit. Hypocrites, one and all.

Posted by: maryesq | June 19, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The comments here about Ken Starr and his endorsement of Sotomayor, tell a lot about the liberals who contributed comments. Conservatives, liberals tell us, are mean and intolerant. If that is so what can we call people who call Starr an SOB, a neo-con peon, an idiot and more? This is typical of the intellectual bankrupcy of most liberal thinking. I was a liberal Democrat until I got down wind of the stench emitted by my colleagues whenever thay opened their mouths. These are really low class human beings.

Posted by: mhr614 | June 19, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

mhr614 wrote:

"Conservatives, liberals tell us, are mean and intolerant. If that is so what can we call people who call Starr an SOB, a neo-con peon, an idiot and more? This is typical of the intellectual bankrupcy of most liberal thinking."

followed by:

"I was a liberal Democrat until I got down wind of the stench emitted by my colleagues whenever thay opened their mouths. These are really low class human beings."
Talk about hypocrisy!

The poster condemns an action and takes the exact same action in the very next sentence.

Posted by: mhhaggard | June 19, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Ken Starr has been bought and paid for by Lib Dem money for years. This just means they got what they paid for.

Kind of like the Unions and Obama himself

Posted by: Obama_TRAITOR_in_Chief | June 19, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"Starr told the gathering at Loyola Law School that he “thinks very well” of Sotomayor, whose nomination has triggered strong opposition from conservative groups."


Not to point out the blatantly obvious, but asking a nominee to the high court to explain his or her previous writings and statements...and asking for the time to hear and discuss those explanations, is not strong opposition. You can generally count on Republicans to use advise and consent opposed to inventing nightmares about back alley abortions and pubic hair on soda. Most prominent Republicans have conceded that Sonia has the pre-requisite quals to sit on the court. Is it out of bounds for Republicans to ask questions? I think not.

Posted by: angrierthanyou | June 19, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

"Ken Starr Endorses Sotomayor"

Which ought to disqualify her automatically.

Starr, "a pillar of the conservative establishment"?
I think you mean a perfect example of in-bred Republican corruption.

Posted by: wardropper | June 19, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

How can a group of people whose candidate won still be so bitter, angry, and nasty?

So much for tolerance and diversity.

Posted by: HughAkston | June 19, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

"If that is so what can we call people who call Starr an SOB, a neo-con peon, an idiot and more?"


This tells me that many people don't have the foggiest idea who Ken Starr is...nor do they seem to know what a Neocon is. Big shock there.

Posted by: angrierthanyou | June 19, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Kenneth Starr is no fool; however, I find his backing of Sotomayor interesting. He is very conservative while she is very liberal. Her intellectual honesty is very questionable judging from her previous remarks. I do not believe she is "color/race blind" nor is she "gender blind," both traits of which must be present for someone who sits on the high court. The Constitution must pertain to every citizen equally regardless of color or gender and not favor one over the other. I also can't believe that Starr missed this in his assessment.

Posted by: Ruggles2 | June 19, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, reading the comments section here shows that the brain dead left still doesn't get it. Ken Starr was investigating PERJURY!! NOT THE TOPIC OF THE PERJURY!! HELLO...The lights appear to be on but of course, no one is home! Take the case of Scooter Libby...Don't know weather he had anything to do with the Valerie Plame case but he committed perjury! SAME THING!! Once you get the concept throught your fat, empty skulls you can get promoted to the second grade!

Posted by: ftbindc | June 19, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Ken Starr would do just about anything to get his name in the paper...........any paper!

Posted by: GordonShumway | June 19, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

And this is news, why? WHO CARES? Ken, who? Anyone who is wondering why newspapers are going broke, just read this non-story.

Posted by: capitolguy | June 19, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

During law school, I spent a semester under Starr studying advanced constitutional law. He's a class act. The posters here could learn a great deal from him. I disagree with his endorsement of Sotomayor, but I have the greatest respect for him.

Posted by: Jitpring | June 19, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

The left-leaning posters on this page are so roiled by hate you can feel it. I can see their addlepated heads bloated with a seething mass of contempt like the belly of a puppy that needs to be wormed.

Posted by: kmne68 | June 19, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

albertcr said, "It's not in his interest or that of K&E to pick a fight with a judge who's going to be deciding the cases that you argue, and Ken Starr's smart enough to know that." .....Yep I think you hit the nail on the head, Ken may be a lot of things but above all he's pragmatic. No doubt that's why he didn't take Bill to the mat when he had the opportunity....It's all about form over substance in these sorts of cases. ...the funny twist is... it's their sustinance that is is paramount...the principle be damned.

Posted by: dmacwired | June 19, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Ken Starr is not a "renowned conservative", he is just another "whor**ng" lawyer. His "endorsement" is tantamount to a campaign contribution, to a judge, before whom he has argued cases, and before whom he might again wish to argue cases. I would suggest that this action disqualifies him to argue cases before the SCOTUS, if this racist judge makes it to the court.

Posted by: Americanus | June 19, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

My fellow Conservatives are going to weep on this news.

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor | June 19, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Why would a hall of fame quarterback... oh wait that was Bart Starr... never mind.

Posted by: whocares666 | June 19, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

kmne68 said, "... their addlepated heads bloated with a seething mass of contempt like the belly of a puppy that needs to be wormed.". ..... I like it, nice bit of wordsmithing there !

Posted by: dmacwired | June 19, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Ken Starr gee why is he even being given air time. Is he going to run for president? Newt the salamander is, so I guess anybody can. But Starr should change his name to Mudd cause that's what he is a piece of......

Posted by: msealock | June 19, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: 12thgenamerican | June 19, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Wow, for the party of "inclusion", you liberals are full of HATE.

Just proves what I have suspected for a long time, liberals are the bigots.

Posted by: tshep21 | June 19, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Ken Starr's endorsement may mean something to the religious right, but I doubt it. His report on the Bill Clinton matter was less than appropriate in terms of hearsay and allegations. His report was designed to "prejudice the jury" and it failed to bring about a "guilty" verdict on the articles of impeachment.

Regarding others who blog here, I suspect that Judge Sotomayor is much more centrist and qualified than most and surely more qualified than those who say that she isn't. Those who say that she is not qualified do not have the qualifications to know what they are talking about. For those who possess the qualifications to pass judgment on Judge Sotomayor, they seem agree that she has the requisite qualifications.

Posted by: EarlC | June 19, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

This is a bit of a dog-bites-man story. I'd be interested in knowing the detailed reasons for his support. Has anyone seen an article in which they appear?

Posted by: apn3206 | June 19, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Ken Starr is not a "renowned conservative", or a renowned anything, he is just another ambulance chaser. His "endorsement" is tantamount to a campaign contribution, to a judge, before whom he has argued cases, and before whom he might again wish to argue cases. I would suggest that this action, in going out of his way to promote a candidate for the Supreme Court, should disqualify him from arguing cases before the SCOTUS, if this candidate judge makes it to the court.

Posted by: Americanus | June 19, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Is that the Ken Starr who got the largest collection of pornography in history paid for with taxpayer money? That Ken Starr?

Posted by: Leofwine | June 19, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

it's all a game, sadly we are the dopes who get played time after time by both sides. hopefully the time is coming where we can pick up the game board and throw across the room and start all over.

Posted by: russfinch | June 19, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Ken Starr, with his endorsement, and now if they could only rev. Sharpton's too it would be in the bag. Oh Ken, say hi to Bill for us. Ken was one of the our nations truely notable todies.

Posted by: enigmaforever | June 19, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

BWAH HAA HAA........with Ken Starr "approving" of the Sotomayor nomination, you'd think that the Democrats would be stumbling over themselves to get AWAY from her...

I'd think that her having the Ken Starr stamp of approval would be the kiss of death for her chances.....but, then again, we're dealing with democrats here, and they can't be counted on to be consistent on anything unless the name "George W. Bush" is thrown in front of them, and then they just go berserk!!!!

It's just that old "Bush Derangement Syndrome" in action.......

Posted by: jammies | June 19, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Sole reasonable argument against nominating Sotomayor

Posted by: kunino | June 19, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Ken Starr leans whichever way the wind is blowing. When the Republicans are running the country, he's a conservative Republican. Now that the Democrats are in total control, he's a progressive. He knows which side his (and his law school's) bread is buttered on.

Posted by: dlopata | June 19, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Ken Starr was a distinguished judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most successful advocates in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court (having argued approx. 35 cases), served 4 years as the U.S. Solicitor General, a 2-term law clerk for former Chief Justice Warren Berger, a renowned appellate lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, and now Dean of the Pepperdine Law School.

Of course his opinion matters!

You'll notice I left off this truncated resume his stint where he was appointed as Independent Counsel -- a job he didn't ask for and a job where anyone who took it was bound to be vilified by any Clinton supporters.

I'm a former student of Judge Starr. The comments on this board are ridiculous but not surprising. If you're on the left, you buy whatever the Clintonites and liberal media pundits spoon-fed you. If you're on the right, you may remember that conservatives shot down Starr's potential nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court during the first Bush presidency (i.e., pre-Whitewater) because he was reportedly a "squish" (read: too moderate, based on his record as a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judge). Or perhaps you think -- in knee jerk fashion -- that all Republicans must reject each and every Obama nomination.

Starr remains a regular advocate before the Supreme Court. He's very well respected by both conservative and liberal legal scholars. And he is the farthest thing from a publicity hound. In fact, based on some of the comments on this board, he'd probably do well to hire a publicist to improve his image.

Here's what I know: he's one of the nicest and most approachable professors I ever had. And if he's offering his opinion, you can count on the fact that it's genuine.

Posted by: hulk_hagen | June 19, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I *was* for her, but now I don't know.

Posted by: sarahabc | June 19, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Sole reasonable argument against nominating Sotomayor

Posted by: kunino | June 19, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

i never liked sotomayor before the starr announcement...just another obama dissappointment..the starr thing just confirms it..come on said elections matter...

Posted by: rmcgolden | June 19, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: WALDENSR | June 22, 2009 3:34 AM | Report abuse

The answer to Sotomayer is still NO. And as far as Ken Starr being a "renowned" Republican, I think NOT.

But, hey, the Washington Post and other Leftist rags is proving that the Big Lie theory (repeating a lie until folks start to believe it) is still a working political ploy. Goebbels and Goering would be proud.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | June 23, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

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