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Supreme Court Watch

Julie Hirschfeld Davis writes for the Associated Press: "Republicans see little chance of blocking Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination, a key GOP senator conceded Wednesday. But senators and advocacy groups are still girding for this summer's battle — partly with an eye toward raising money and perhaps preparing for Barack Obama's next nominee."

Robert Barnes writes in The Washington Post: "The White House enlisted lawyers and constitutional experts to say that in Sotomayor's 17 years on the federal bench, she has been a cautious jurist who respects precedent. But conservative legal groups countered that her remarks in speeches and symposiums bolster their claims that she is a liberal activist waiting to flower on the high court."

The New York Daily News reports: "Never ones to shy away from a fight -- even a losing one -- the Holy Trinity of the GOP -- Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh -- have taken to calling the Supreme Court justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor a 'racist,' with Gingrich even going so far as to ask her to withdraw."

Frank Newport writes for Gallup: "Americans' first reactions to the news of President Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court are decidedly more positive than negative, with 47% rating the nomination as 'excellent' or 'good,' 20% rating it 'only fair,' and 13% rating it 'poor.'...

"Gallup conducted similar reaction polls immediately after former President George W. Bush's nominations of John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court in 2005. Although in all instances, the reactions were more positive than negative, the net positive rating (the percentage excellent or good minus the percentage only fair or poor) was highest for Roberts and Sotomayor, and lowest for Alito and Miers."

Peter Baker and Adam Nagourney write in the New York Times: "In the months leading up to Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s selection this week, the White House methodically labored to apply lessons from years of nomination battles to control the process and avoid the pitfalls of the past, like appearing to respond to pressure from the party’s base or allowing candidates to be chewed up by friendly fire....

"From the beginning, Mr. Obama had been focused on Judge Sotomayor, a federal appeals court judge from New York, officials said Wednesday. She had a compelling life story, Ivy League credentials and a track record on the bench. She was a Latina. She was a woman. She checked 'each of the grids,' as Mr. Obama’s team later put it. And by the time the opportunity arrived, it became her nomination to lose....

"Recalling nominations that had foundered on poor research, the White House team assigned two inside lawyers to vet each candidate’s public speeches and rulings and recruited outside law firms to examine each candidate’s personal finances, taxes, medical history and ethics."

The New York Times editorial board writes: "President Obama seems to have made an inspired choice in picking Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. She has an impressive judicial record, a stellar academic background and a compelling life story. Judge Sotomayor would also be a trailblazing figure in the mold of Thurgood Marshall, becoming the first member of the nation’s large and growing but still under-represented Hispanic population to serve on the court."

E.J. Dionne Jr. write in his Washington Post opinion column: "In his September 2005 speech explaining his vote against [now Chief Justice John] Roberts, Obama...insisted that Roberts 'far more often used his formidable skills on behalf of the strong in opposition to the weak' and 'seemed to have consistently sided with those who were dismissive of efforts to eradicate the remnants of racial discrimination in our political process.'

"Obama believes Roberts's subsequent behavior on the court has justified his initial suspicions. He hopes that Sotomayor will be the anti-Roberts, a person whose experience growing up in the projects of the South Bronx will allow her to see life and the quest for justice in a way Roberts never will."

Karl Rove, in his Wall Street Journal opinion column, jumps into the Empathy War with both feet: "'Empathy' is the latest code word for liberal activism, for treating the Constitution as malleable clay to be kneaded and molded in whatever form justices want. It represents an expansive view of the judiciary in which courts create policy that couldn't pass the legislative branch or, if it did, would generate voter backlash."

By Dan Froomkin  |  May 28, 2009; 12:15 PM ET
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I find the Republican's opposition to this nomination a little baffling. She was nominated to her current seat on the Appeals Court by Bill Clinton, but was nominated to the Federal District Court by George H. W. Bush. Her judicial philosophy appears conservative. And her credentials are impeccable.

The Republicans seem to think it is their job to oppose whomever Obama nominates for the position. The lack of seriousness of their objections underscores how baseless their opposition is. They decry a Princeton/Yale graduate and sitting Appeals Court judge as lacking intelligence. They lob accusations of racism, sexism, and judicial activism.

The only people whose opinions matter are the Senators. The job of all Senators, Republican or Democrat, is the same. They must review Sotomayor's record, question her at the hearings, and vote yes or no on her confirmation. All the rest is just circus sideshow.

Posted by: fletc3her | May 28, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully the republican "Brain Trust" (if they even have one) will continue to cry "WOLF" each and every time President Obama issues a statement, nominates someone for appointment or proposes a new idea. In so doing, they marginalize themselves and make it much easier to ignore them each time that the Big Bad Wolf fails to materialize.

Posted by: tdrake579 | May 28, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"They decry a Princeton/Yale graduate and sitting Appeals Court judge as lacking intelligence." They lob accusations of racism, sexism, and judicial activism."...
Posted by: fletc3her |

Just as they decried a Columbia/Harvard graduate as lacking intelligence, an empty suit.

And not just gradustes, but two who were at the top end of the spectrum.

It is as if they say, well democrats accused Bush and Gonzales for lacking intelligence so we can use the same arguments against any democrats and their nominees

Posted by: JohnnyCanuck1 | May 28, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I agree with tdrake579. I think this was precisely part of candidate Obama's strategy on many issues. At yesterday's briefing they didn't provide other sound bites from Sotomayor's speech but suggested that if one were to read the whole speech one would see the right wing interpretation was wrong.
Every time he gives the right more rope to play with, the more enfeebled they become.

Posted by: JohnnyCanuck1 | May 28, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Lest anyone forget, the absence of empathy is a clinical condtion identifying a sociopath. Sounds like Rove expected Obama to nominate a libertarian.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 28, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey fletc3her - While it is true Bush I first elevated her to Fed District Court, this was an arranged horse trade between the two NY senators at the time (think Moynahan & D'amato, Dem & Repub). Each got to pick one as a compromise. So she flowed thru as a result of the compromise, not so much Bush's endorsement.

That said, on her resume, she seems well qualified. The whole Equal Opportunity issue is a joke. She will pass easily.

Posted by: nameit23 | May 28, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I know you have to quote Karl Rove, but I really wish you didn't.

I cancelled my subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek just to avoid his smug, lying mug.

Posted by: motorfriend | May 28, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting that Judge Sotomayor's use of her life experience to gain empathy for the disadvantaged would make her racist, biased and a "liberal activist." Do these critics honestly think that Alito's life experience with guns didn't influence his decision in Heller v. D.C.? Can they ignore the fact that Roberts' privileged Midwest upbringing influenced his decision that weakened the Voting Rights Act that protected minorities? Apparently, only liberal empathy is objectionable, and there's no such thing as conservative activism.

Posted by: emm2 | May 28, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse



ping free

Posted by: bannic | May 28, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I cancelled my subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek just to avoid his smug, lying mug.


Why would anyone want to read the Wall Street Urinal?

In my mind the people who read that are pencil-necks who always have the banner page facing out, peeking over it constantly to see who's impressed. And they're usually doing so on the bus, which isn't exactly congruent with the big-deal financier image they're trying to project.

That paper isn't fit to line canary cages.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 28, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

How about a fair deal here...

If Obama withdraws Sotomayor because she referred to her Latina background, Alito resigns because he made the same sort of statement during his nomination (which the GOP saw as validating his nomination).

What could be more fair than that? C'mon Newt, Rush, and the rest, aren't you speaking solely for honor and honesty, without any political agenda?

I love GOP hypocrisy...

Posted by: lmb02 | May 28, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I love GOP hypocrisy...

Posted by: lmb02


they're too stupid to recognize it

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 28, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh -- is this who leads the Republic Party now?

Just when you thought the party could not possibly marginalized itself any further, now this.

Posted by: jpk1 | May 29, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

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