WH: Sotomayor reversal proves what a great judge she is

posted at 8:47 am on June 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Give Robert Gibbs points for chutzpah, if not logic or consistency.  When the White House press corp peppered him with questions about the status of Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination after getting reversed on Ricci, Gibbs explained that the ruling proved that Sotomayor was — get ready — a judicial originalist.  Not only that, but it turns out that the administration had already rejected part of Sotomayor’s previous judgment on Ricci before the court reversed it:

The White House came to the defense of President Obama’s pick to be the newest Supreme Court justice after Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s ruling in a racially charged case was reversed by the Supreme Court.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs all but accused the current court of “judicial activism,” a buzz term used by conservatives in recent years, in overturning what the White House saw as Sotomayor’s upholding of precedent. …

But Gibbs said that the case “denotes that [Sotomayor] is a follower of precedent,” and the arguments over judicial activism “seem to be at the very least upside-down in this case.”

Gibbs said the case proves “she doesn’t legislate from the bench.”

Not even the Supreme Court’s dissenters to Ricci would go that far.  As Stuart Taylor notes in his analysis of the dissent, none of the nine justices defended Sotomayor’s judgment or reasoning in Ricci [emphasis mine]:

What’s more striking is that the court was unanimous in rejecting the Sotomayor panel’s specific holding. Her holding was that New Haven’s decision to spurn the test results must be upheld based solely on the fact that highly disproportionate numbers of blacks had done badly on the exam and might file a “disparate-impact” lawsuit — regardless of whether the exam was valid or the lawsuit could succeed.

This position is so hard to defend, in my view, that I hazarded a prediction in my June 13 column: “Whichever way the Supreme Court rules in the case later this month, I will be surprised if a single justice explicitly approves the specific, quota-friendly logic of the Sotomayor-endorsed… opinion” by U.S. District Judge Janet Arterton.

Unlike some of my predictions, this one proved out. In fact, even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 39-page dissent for the four more liberal justices quietly but unmistakably rejected the Sotomayor-endorsed position that disparate racial results alone justified New Haven’s decision to dump the promotional exam without even inquiring into whether it was fair and job-related.

Justice Ginsburg also suggested clearly — as did the Obama Justice Department, in a friend-of-the-court brief — that the Sotomayor panel erred in upholding summary judgment for the city. Ginsburg said that the lower courts should have ordered a jury trial to weigh the evidence that the city’s claimed motive — fear of losing a disparate impact suit by low-scoring black firefighters if it proceeded with the promotions — was a pretext. The jury’s job would have been to consider evidence that the city’s main motive had been to placate black political leaders who were part of Mayor John DeStefano’s political base.

Wait, wait, wait — the Obama administration filed a brief against Sotomayor’s judgment?  Their argument was that Sotomayor overreached in issuing a summary judgment, a point that won unanimous approval from the Supreme Court.  Isn’t that the definition of “judicial activism”?

Now the White House wants to pretend that Sotomayor is an originalist, when they themselves fought against her activist ruling.  That’s impressively Orwellian.

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This is the same reasoning I’ve read from leftist scientists to deal with evidence that doesn’t fit into Global Warming theory. Global cooling is evidence of Global Warming. Indeed, everything is evidence of Global Warming. So, I expect that if Sonia Sotomayor was arrested for some criminal offense, that too would be evidence to the Obamanation of her great qualifications for the Supreme Court.

Loxodonta on June 30, 2009 at 12:13 PM


Seven Percent Solution on June 30, 2009 at 12:14 PM

Gibbs is as ethical and honorable as David Letterman or Michael Jackson

Jeff from WI on June 30, 2009 at 12:14 PM

He’s like the salesman you ask a question about a product that you were defiantly going to buy only for him to answer you and convince you to not buy it.

– The Cat

MirCat on June 30, 2009 at 12:27 PM

The clock runs out.
The quarterback scrambles and scores – 5 seconds after the game is over.
Head referee Giblet declares that the touchdown will count.
His explanation:
“I’m a referee originalist.”

PaddyJ on June 30, 2009 at 12:36 PM

That’s impressively Orwellian.

Yes, and?

Oooooh, but the speech in Cairo was pretty good!

Mcguyver on June 30, 2009 at 12:37 PM

This buffoon can’t cover for the landslide of truths that are going to bury the lies they’ve been telling. They need four whipping boys for all of the coming bullsh*t they have to answer for.

marklmail on June 30, 2009 at 12:37 PM

Last night, I saw a clip on tv of Jamie Foxx on the BET awards. He said Michael was theirs. I assume being black, he belonged to the Black community, and that they were only letting us borrow him. As if they owned him. I found that comment kind of offensive, and telling.

How will we ever overcome racism, and predjudice, with this kind of thinking? Why don’t we see ourselves, all of us as, Americans? The divisiveness is sad. I really felt sadness listening to that comment.

Sotomayor is no different. She views the world in parts. Black, white, Hispanic, etc… and each has their own laws to abide by. Again I ask… why are whites to be excluded from having civil rights? All laws should apply to all people in this nation. Every fireman involved in this, had the same test, the same amount of time to study, the same opportunity. It boils down to one thing. We know who worked hard, and studied for this test, and we know who didn’t. So bottom line is….they dissed the guys who passed, to make it racially fair. If that’s not judicial activism, I don’t know what is.

capejasmine on June 30, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Once again, the Barry White House finds one of the least impressive candidates for a post of critical importance:

– tax-dodger for the Fed
– someone who didn’t file taxes for Dept of State protocol
– a complete nincompoop for head of DHS who doesn’t want to uphold immigration law
– a liberal, pro-abortion Catholic for Vatican ambassador
– a transportation secretary that wishes people would just stop driving their cars, already!
– a heavily pro-union labor secretary
– a SCOTUS candidate for whom the Constitution is a mere inconvenience

Lost track of the numerous other offensive, ridiculous, incompetent, hypocritical appointments – some confirmed, others not.

redfoxbluestate on June 30, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Gibbs is a tool. I am reminded of Baghdad Bob every time he speaks.
Baghdad Bob

TechieNotTrekkie on June 30, 2009 at 12:56 PM

Did Robert Gibbs need medical attention after the briefing to see if he may have possibly incurred any brain damage. After all, if you are an Obamaist addicted to “Hopium”, it takes a lot of mind power and exertion to come up with a phrase like “judicial originalist” without doing some serious injury to yourself.

pilamaye on June 30, 2009 at 1:02 PM

Gibbs must be SMOKING UP (the funky Cheech and Chong sized hand-rolled joints) just before he goes on camera. This is the only rational explanation for the transparent lies he keeps telling.
The Left Wing Media (not MSM) just keeps nodding their heads and ignoring the C**P. Kindof like watching and listening to “Bagdad Bob” at a Saddam Hussein attended presser as the whine of stealth fighters, the whistle of falling bombs, and the flashes and blasts punctuated the news conferences just before the U.S. Military took down the regime.
Unbelievable! Get Gibbs Bagdad Bob’s beret–it will fit perfectly.
John Bibb

rocketman on June 30, 2009 at 1:16 PM

Obama is really successful at confusing every single issue with misinformation. You would think he was at war with the American people.

petunia on June 30, 2009 at 11:45 AM

He is. The funny thing is that the libs are cheering him on, which shows how much their brains have deteriorated.

Geronimo on June 30, 2009 at 1:41 PM

She definitely is not the “activist” judge people claim she is …

Monkei on June 30, 2009 at 1:59 PM

I don’t know about anyone else, but I have no doubt that Obama is also a racist.

lilium on June 30, 2009 at 4:25 PM

you think obama is a racist–how about his wife. i went to school with people just like her and she is an angry woman

rjoco1 on June 30, 2009 at 5:46 PM

Speaking of my belle. I have a pic of her looking at Carla Bruni that agrees with what you say. Pure anger/jealous look. It was on Drudge but I don’t know how to get it on this post.

lilium on June 30, 2009 at 6:11 PM

Speaking of my belle. I have a pic of her looking at Carla Bruni
lilium on June 30, 2009 at 6:11 PM

She probably thought she was looking at breakfast.

mr.blacksheep on June 30, 2009 at 7:24 PM