The coming war on Sonia Sotomayor
It’s already underway, of course. The attacks in fact began well before her nomination.
Barack Obama’s selection of Sotomayor for the Supreme Court weaves another bright strand into an epic of American political transformation — both a groundbreaking and politically shrewd move by the president. But don’t think for a minute that’ll stop opponents from fighting dirty and doing whatever they can to block her path to the nation’s top bench.
Since the announcement of her selection on Tuesday morning, many pundits have parroted the same silly theory: The tattered Republican Party, the reasoning goes, just can’t afford to attack the first Hispanic woman ever nominated to the court — not least because the GOP in recent years has screwed itself royally with the pivotal voting bloc she represents.
“Unless the vetting process missed something big that will turn sentiment against her,” wrote Chicago Tribune blogger Eric Zorn, “Republicans who try to stall or block the first Hispanic nominee to the high court will be stepping into what looks almost like a political trap — a way to further marginalize the GOP and identify it as the party of angry white people.”
Across the cable news networks on Tuesday, this same wishful thinking was flowing from liberal guests holding forth with Keith Olbermann and Larry King. The folly can also be seen in this post from blogger David Kopel at The Volokh Conspiracy, who points out the herd-like denial of lefty bloggers on the subject:
A special poll of bloggers from The National Journal asked “Would it be politically smart for Republicans to try to block the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor?” Among the Left bloggers, the unanimous answer was “No.” On the Right, 53% said “No” and 47% said “Yes.”
I voted “Yes,” and wrote: “The Democrats who tried to block Roberts and Alito appear to have suffered no adverse consequences. [And, I should have added, neither did the Dems. who filibustered Miguel Estrada, who, like Sotomayor, is a Hispanic with an impressive life story.] Sotomayor is on the wrong side of fairness, empathy, the Constitution and the American people in regards to firearms ownership (Maloney v. Cuomo; United States v. Sanchez-Villar); wealthy people using the government’s eminent domain power to extort money from small business (Didden v. Village of Port Chester); and a racial spoils system for government employees (Ricci v. DeStefano).
Conservatives know full well that the stakes with Sotomayor’s nomination go far beyond the next election cycle or perhaps a couple more years in the political wilderness. While her place on the Supreme Court’s political continuum (presumably somewhere left of center) wouldn’t be clear for some time, if confirmed, the 54-year-old judge is likely to serve for decades.
The battle began even before she was nominated. In a preemptive strike published in the right-wing magazine FrontPage in early May, John Perazzo played to racial fears in an article titled “The Next Token Justice?”
“Sotomayor considers her ethnicity of paramount importance,” he wrote. “She began consciously developing a sense of her ethnic identity as a young woman and has allowed identity politics to act as a lens through which she sees her jurisprudence. During her student years at Princeton University in the 1970s, Sotomayor became actively involved in two campus organizations devoted chiefly to the celebration of an ethnicity distinct from that of the white majority.”
Sotomayor comes from the far left and will likely leave us with something akin to the “Extreme Court” that could mark a major shift. The notion that appellate court decisions are to be interpreted by the “feelings” of the judge is a direct affront of the basic premise of our judicial system that is supposed to apply the law without personal emotion. If she is confirmed, then we need to take the blindfold off Lady Justice.
Rush Limbaugh wasted no time, of course, calling Sotomayor a “reverse racist” and “hack.” Newt is also in on that act, via Twitter. Others are running with “socialist,” thanks to an obviously sinister Norman Thomas citation Sotomayor used — for a college yearbook photo in 1976.
Without a doubt the attacks, from low-down to laughable, are just beginning.