DAVIS: Sotomayor: Great judge, strict constructionist
If there were a “one-innocent-gaffe rule” that disqualified people from holding public office in Washington, there would probably be no one left in Washington holding public office. Excuse me: Did I just write a sentence that could produce a national standing ovation?
To state the obvious, there can be no dispute that Judge Sotomayor is highly qualified to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. A summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University and graduate at Yale Law School, she would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any other justice in 100 years.
The facts and her record prove that she is no ideologue and certainly not a result-driven judge. For example, in cases where Judge Sotomajor and at least one judge appointed by a Republican president were on the three-judge panel, she and the Republican appointee(s) agreed on the outcome 95 percent of the time.
I admit that Democrats, including the president, set the precedent that it is fine to vote against a Supreme Court justice if you have serious disagreements with an overall judicial philosophy that leans too “conservative,” no matter how qualified the nominee. That being the case, there are thoughtful Republicans who will choose to vote against Judge Sotomayor because, in their opinion, she leans too “liberal,” and those decisions should be respected.
This column’s theme of “purple nation” requires adherence to the rule of “what’s good for the goose … .”
But one thing is certain: Judge Sotomayor will be confirmed by the U.S. Senate; the only question is when. And I predict she will get considerably more than 60 votes, with some Republicans voting to confirm because, in the final analysis, fair-minded senators from both parties will judge her on the facts and her actual record, not on the smears and reckless accusations from the far right of the far right of the Republican Party.
Lanny J. Davis, a Washington lawyer and former special counsel to President Clinton, served as a member of President George W. Bush’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. He is the author of “Scandal: How ‘Gotcha’ Politics Is Destroying America.”