Green Room

An Unserious Candidate For A Serious Age (Updated)

posted at 3:00 pm on July 15, 2009 by

Sonia Sotomayor has turned out to be an objectively poor choice for the Supreme Court. How is someone who looks like a fool under questioning from Republican Senators supposed to confront the most challenging legal issues of our time? A nominee who can make Lindsay Graham look like Stonewall Jackson is not A-list material.

Why did Obama choose her as his nominee? The obvious answer is that he found her judicial philosophy agreeable, and felt her race and sex would shield her from criticism during her confirmation hearings. Also, he hoped her nomination would firm up his support with Hispanic voters. This line of thinking, along with the childish behavior of Democrats at the confirmation hearings, highlights the fundamental lack of sobriety in their approach to the Supreme Court, among many other issues. These are unserious people, holding power in a serious age.

The moment in the Sotomayor hearings that best illustrates this point was Chuck Schumer’s strange ode to Nancy Drew novels as a formative influence on the nominee. This is like someone listing their World of Warcraft skills on their resume for a top executive position. If Sotomayor is also into “Star Wars,” she may be an even wiser Latina than we thought!

Conservatives often speak of their opposition to an “activist” Supreme Court, but the lightweight Sotomayor nomination suggests that liberals see the activist phase as largely completed. Their objective in selecting Court nominees has shifted to conserving the gains liberalism has already made. Neutralizing the Second Amendment was the last item on their Supreme Court wish list, and that seems to have moved out of reach. Their primary concern for justices now is preservation of the landmark court decisions that empower much of the liberal agenda. As long as a nominee can be relied upon to uphold decisions like Roe vs. Wade, there isn’t much else the Left needs from them any more.

This is why considerations of racial politics so obviously trumped judicial aptitude, and debating skills, in Sotomayor’s case. The Left needed judicial lions to construct the legal framework of post-Great Society liberalism. Now they’re willing to settle for kittens. Sotomayor will not be expected to write any brilliant opinions, or persuade her fellow justices to hunt for exciting new “rights” in the penumbras and emanations of the Constitution. It’s not a drawback that she has the judicial temperament of a Berkeley undergraduate, as long as she votes like one.

The judicial philosophy expressed by Sotomayor is defined by its lack of seriousness. Racialist judgments, like the infamous Ricci decision, are lazy and childish, because they relieve the judge of any need to understand the topic under consideration. It requires no knowledge of emergency services to decide that the paramount objective of a firefighter exam is to produce the proper number of black firefighters. To govern the world through politics, all you need to understand is politics. Liberals know the messy real-world consequences of their philosophy will never be allowed to come back and haunt them. The media is no more interested in telling the stories of the firefighters wronged by the Ricci decision, than they are in researching the people who filed all those bogus ethics complaints against Sarah Palin. The media would be even less interested in telling the stories of people who died because unqualified firefighters with politically-favored skin color botched a rescue.

The most offensive thing about Sotomayor’s notorious “wise Latina” comment is how painfully silly it was. We don’t need wise old grandmothers and grandfathers deciding court cases, much less sitting on the Supreme Court. We need people with the finely honed intelligence, humility, and discipline to fairly and impartially interpret our highest laws in difficult cases. Free people live under clear laws, administered with consistency. The cultural background of the judge should be no more relevant than the skin color of the plaintiff.

Sonia Sotomayor has wilted under polite, but direct, questioning from Republicans, while Democrats have treated her like the precocious winner of a third-grade talent contest. Her nomination is no more serious than the trillion-dollar fantasy of Obama’s health care scheme, or the expensive sop to bummer New Age religion imposed by his cap-and-trade bill.

Update: I posted the above article before learning about Sotomayor’s persistent confusion of basic legal terminology, and Al Franken using his (ahem) hard-won Senate seat to ask her about Perry Mason episodes. Consider these incidents as further evidence of my thesis. The country is supposedly in such dire straits that we must immediately pass sweeping, unconstitutional, economy-destroying legislation, without even pausing to read the thousand-page bills… but these jokers nominate a pathetically unqualified Supreme Court justice, then treat her like a sophomore applying for membership in a high-school social club.

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All of this is true.

The key point is that the Libs are moving onto another phase.

Since she can’t be defeated (60 vote majority) is there a point in *not* using this as a show of Repub dissatisfaction?

Mew

(and would it matter since the 40 Republican senators seem more concerned with keeping their jobs than with doing ‘em)

acat on July 15, 2009 at 3:17 PM

I recall someone reporting that the WH thought she would influence Kennedy because of her “forceful” arguments, which is laughable, if you think of how long Kennedy has been on the Court. As if some pushy newbie would dazzle him with her “brilliance.”

And given her show so far, she isn’t that smart, or she’s trying to explain away her left-wing statements in the past and doing a clumsy job of it.

Obama doesn’t really take foreign relations or the economy seriously, either. Why should he do so with the Supreme Court. He lives in a fantasy in which his hopium and personal narrative are supposed to wow everyone. And that somehow there will be money to pay for all his grand plans.

Wethal on July 15, 2009 at 3:26 PM

Since she can’t be defeated (60 vote majority) is there a point in *not* using this as a show of Repub dissatisfaction?

Mew

(and would it matter since the 40 Republican senators seem more concerned with keeping their jobs than with doing ‘em)

acat on July 15, 2009 at 3:17 PM

Yes, there is. An NRO Corner poster pointed out that Sotomayor is backing off her traditional liberal viewpoints and trying to paint herself as mainstream. This sets a marker for future nominees who have to backtrack, too. Anyone who’s made wilder statements than the “wise Latino” is going to have more explaining to do.

Sotomayor, rather than proudly expousing the liberal view of the constitution that Obama and other lefties have (e.g., the empathy standard), is almost ashamed of being liberal. That may annoy Obama’s left wing (not that they’ll abandon him, though).

Yes, she’ll vote liberal on SCOTUS. But it makes it harder for Obama to nominate anyone with a more liberal paper trail. Unless that person can finesse perjury better than she could.

Every blow they can strike against her might lose a GOP vote. Obama wants here confirmed by a big bipartisan margin, maybe even by as much as Roberts was (75, I think). A closer vote (Alito, Thomas) shows up how partisan Obama’s nominations are.

Wethal on July 15, 2009 at 3:32 PM

If Sotomayor is also into “Star Wars,” she may be an even wiser Latina than we thought!

This is not the SCOTUS nominee you’re looking for, move along.

Catseye on July 15, 2009 at 3:43 PM

I have emailed my Republican senators asking that they oppose her every step of the way. The NRSC will join the NRCC in my boycot of contributions if one R votes to confirm this wise latina.

farright on July 15, 2009 at 3:57 PM

This is like someone listing their World of Warcraft skills on their resume for a top executive position.

Um, I have to change my resume….

Speedwagon82 on July 15, 2009 at 4:49 PM

Dr. Zero you mention “New Age religion imposed by his cap-and-trade bill” in this post. How about the next step? When exactly does a theory become a law? Presumably it occurs over time when there has been no scientific evidence to refute the theory, correct? Our government is not allowing this debate of climate change a level playing field. Saying a concensus has been reached or exist doesn’t quite make it a proven scientific law. I am a skeptic of climate change but don’t have your gift to craft a substantially worded and coherent argument.

Doctor Zero please write an article about the global warming / climate change hoax for us. They are shoving a theory done our throats. There is no law of climate change on the books. Their arguments are pure semantics. Saying that they have consensus does not make it law. Mathematics & much of the accepted Sciences of today have coherent and provable theory[s] (laws). Climate change hypothesis has not been proven. An example of a law is Newton’s law of gravity accounts for the detailed information we have about the planets in our solar system.

Can you help us out here at HA & the world for that matter so that this hoax? / hypothesis? / theory? can be laid to rest once and for all.

Americannodash on July 15, 2009 at 5:05 PM

An NRO Corner poster pointed out that Sotomayor is backing off her traditional liberal viewpoints and trying to paint herself as mainstream. This sets a marker for future nominees who have to backtrack, too. Anyone who’s made wilder statements than the “wise Latino” is going to have more explaining to do.

Wethal on July 15, 2009 at 3:32 PM
—–
I don’t see this.

She’s either lying or she’s changed her position, and if she’s changed her position, it’s too recent a change to show up in her judicial record. So.

Why should a Repub support putting this person on the court?

Why *shouldn’t* the Repubs, en masse, walk out and let the Dems ponder putting this person on the court *on their own*?

That may manage to sink her… and while she’s a wise latina and likely enjoying the good kind of fed health care, she’s young enough we’ll be paying the price for her dubious decisions for decades to come.

How long have we had Souter, after all? I remember when the “stealth justice” was first nominated…

Mew

acat on July 15, 2009 at 6:09 PM

A Lawrence Tribe would be an excellent choice from the Left…and he’d probably stick more with the Constitution as it is written than to wander off on some penumbra road…or wax nostalgic over what books he read as a kid. He knows law.

I do not agree with his point of view much of the time, but I cannot fault his expertise and his body of work.

He is certainly of the Left…but he has the cred.

Question is, why not Tribe? Why Sotomayor?

Is she truly the best legal professional in all the Nation to be elevated to the Supreme Court?

Not even close.

coldwarrior on July 15, 2009 at 6:16 PM

These are unserious people, holding power in a serious age.

Dr. Zero, that sums it up rather nicely, good job.

TeeDee on July 16, 2009 at 1:51 AM

These are unserious people, holding power in a serious age.

But that has deadly serious implications for America.

NOBODY listening to this woman can be impressed by her judicial thinking.

NOBODY listening to this woman can see her…or her sponsors…as remotely truthful.

It is not telling that THE ONE and his pick for the Supremes HAVE to lie to the American people?

In Sotomayor’s case, she is not even an artful liar. Just a liar.

Ragspierre on July 16, 2009 at 8:44 AM

But, the ABA rated her well qualified.

/sarc

cs89 on July 16, 2009 at 2:13 PM