Friday, July 17, 2009

Even some liberals are not enamored with Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

It turns out that many on the left are insulted that Judge Sotomayor has run away from her radical record to appear more moderate during her Senate confirmation hearings.

Georgetown University Law Center’s liberal professor Louis Michael Seidman couldn’t constrain his anger. “I was completely disgusted by Judge Sotomayor’s testimony today,” he posted on Tuesday. “If she was not perjuring herself, she is intellectually unqualified to be on the Supreme Court. If she was perjuring herself, she is morally unqualified … . Perhaps Justice Sotomayor should be excused because our official ideology about judging is so degraded that she would sacrifice a position on the Supreme Court if she told the truth. Legal academics who defend what she did today have no such excuse.”

Dahlia Lithwick, a contributing editor at Newsweek, complained on MSNBC Wednesday night that Democratic senators and Judge Sotomayor “are promising us that Sotomayor is going to be tough on crime, loves guns, is a strict constructionist, is a minimalist. It is just bizarre.” Ms. Lithwick also was very upset that Judge Sotomayor and the Democrats had publicly “bought into [Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s] notion that judges call balls and strikes” without introducing their own personal opinions.

“[I]f she weren’t sitting before this [Senate Judiciary] committee right now, and with so much at stake, would she really be backing off of that statement?” CNN anchor Campbell Brown asked her guest Cathy Areu Wednesday night.

“No. As a wise Latina, I can tell you, no, she [wouldn’t be] backing down,” Ms. Areu said. “And she probably would want to say, not only do I mean a wise Latina, I meant any Latina could make a better decision than a white man could … . It’s not just in her mind. She may not say it, but maybe she’s thinking that.”

Eva Rodriguez, an opinion writer at The Washington Post, wrote on Tuesday: “I’m surprised and disturbed by how many times today Sonia Sotomayor has backed off of or provided less-than-convincing explanations for some of her more controversial speeches about the role of gender and ethnicity in judicial decision-making … . [Sotomayor at times] came across as dodgy at best and disingenuous at worst.”

If anything is amazing, it is that liberals are willing to speak so openly about Judge Sotomayor’s failure to defend her liberal beliefs. That the nominee is playing it safe is less of a surprise. Judge Sotomayor wants to be on the Supreme Court, and keeping her head down and avoiding strident remarks during her confirmation hearings is a safe way to get there. The fact that some liberals think she is selling out means Judge Sotomayor is doing a good job of selling herself. It doesn’t mean she will be a good justice, but it is an indication that she probably will be confirmed as one.

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