Why such a thorough repudiation of all that progressives feel? Why must Sotomayor be portrayed as identical to a George W. Bush appointee before Democrats can vote for her?
Because, apparently, that’s what Democrats suspect the public wants. On some level, the president and his congressional allies believe the public would not stand for a justice who thinks the Constitution must breathe modern air, that world opinion must inform our law, that abortion is a constitutional right if not a sacrament and that who you are should matter to how the law treats you…
From this, two possible outcomes emerge. One, Sotomayor is confirmed, and it turns out her conversion is real. Wise Latina? Nah, she’s an umpire in the Roberts mold. Result: Conservatives win.
Two, she’s faking. She’s confirmed and becomes a reliable liberal vote to mutate the Constitution into what she’s sure the writers would have made it had they been as smart as modern liberals. Result: No change from the man she replaces, David Souter, and Obama loses more credibility with independent voters.