Wednesday, May 27, 2009

GOP Wing-Nutting It On Sotomayor

Reading Between the Lines: Obama Warns GOP That the Right Fights Sotomayor Confirmation at Their Own Peril

At no point in the press conference organized to officially unveil Sotomayor as the nominee was the newly-controversial word "empathy" uttered. In fact, Obama was sure to emphasize as important qualities for a Supreme Court justice a "recognition of the limits of the judicial role," and "respect for precedent" in their role to "interpret -- not make -- law."

No, the message was more of a dare to the right wing than a defense of Sotomayor. As in, "Do you really want this to be the sword you fall on?"

SCOTUS: Get Yer RNC Talking Points Here
Oh my. So much for the super secret wingnutty wurlitzer blast faxer-iffic strategery. The RNC has sprung an unintentional media leak out the wazoo.

Conservatives Blast Obama’s Hispanic SCOTUS Nominee As ‘Not The Smartest’ And An ‘Intellectual Lightweight’

Rove: Attending top schools doesn’t mean that Sotomayor is smart, but it proves that Bush is.

Sessions Goes Off-Message, Admits That Supreme Court Justices Write The Constitution

Gee, what a surprise: The right-wing talking points on Sotomayor are misleading distortions
Again, Media Matters has the goods:
The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (2005) notes that federal appellate courts do in fact have a "policy making" role...
Sonia, Maria, Harriet....Whatever.
"Liberal judicial activist."

"Legislating from the bench."

"Far left."

"Hispanic chick lady..." Uh, wha????

There are your run-of-the-mill talking points that you know you're going to hear from the right no matter who the nominee is--yesterday The Hill even got the full list of them when that well-oiled political machine that is Michael Steele's RNC accidentally sent their talking points not just to their jabberers, but to the media they jabber on.

The Sotomayor nomination and the limits of language
Nowhere in this labeling frenzy was there any analysis of Sotomayor's legal decisions -- other, of course, than that as a wise Latina woman the judge naturally detests white male firefighters; just a dulling, deafening repetition of reductionist simplicity -- liberal, liberal, leftist, leftist, radical-radical activist. [...]

While the American Left has been developmentally deficient in thunderous slogans and bumper-sticker intellectuality, the American Right has excelled at them. Its first modern major success was "liberal media," an efficient assault on two political birds with one deceptive stone. And with that success, the right then saw what it took as the unlimited possibilities of make-believe language.

Scraping The Bottom of Barrel
So far the criticisms of Sonia Sotomayor are much more revealing about her conservative critics than they are about her.

GOPers already going overboard with ugly (and ridiculous) attacks on Sotomayor
The Republicans just can't help themselves. They can't control their most base instincts. It's instinctive: Must throw every every nasty and racist (sometimes subtle, sometimes not) attack at Sotomayor without regard to the political consequences. This really is who they are.

Sotomayor on the Bench
A couple of weeks ago, Tom Goldstein of the SCOTUS Blog pointed out that the debate over Sotomayor's qualifications seemed to ignore the single most important source of information about her legal thinking: the opinions she's written while serving as a judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. While fools like Jeffrey Rosen love to focus on gossip, innuendo and b.s., the rest of us are fortunate to have a detailed, extensive, and public trove of data to analyze. Even better, Goldstein's crew has pulled together summaries of what they consider Sotomayor's most important civil decisions. A sampler...

Flashback: Seven GOP Senators Backed Sotomayor For Judge
Seven Republicans currently in the Senate voted for the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor in 1998 as U.S. Circuit Court judge, suggesting that Republican ranks could be divided over whether to confirm her to the Supreme Court.

According to the roll call, the seven Republicans who backed Sotomayor at the time are Richard Lugar, Olympia Snowe, Robert Bennett, Thad Cochran, Susan Collins, Orrin Hatch, and Judd Gregg. [...]

If some of these Senators continue to back Sotomayor, it could divide the GOP caucus and kill any efforts by the GOP to filibuster the nominee.

Who Wants Judges With Empathy?

Hypocrisy watch: Under Bush, Senator Grassley and his GOP colleagues demanded an "up or down vote"

Fact Check - In Their Own Words: The Majority's Prerogative
In 2005, many Republican Senators went so far as to claim the filibuster of judicial nominees was unconstitutional. Now four years later, with President Obama's first Supreme Court appointment looming, will they remain consistent in their position or commit one of the most blatant acts of hypocrisy in the 220-year history of the United States Senate?

In Praise of the Nuclear Option
Just like the Judicial Confirmation Network, many prominent Republicans argued -- not so long ago -- that filibusters of judicial nominees was unconstitutional. They threatened to go nuclear. They praised presidential discretion. Media Matters Action Network has compiled video and transcripts of some of their remarks. [...]

On the "Democracy or Hypocrisy" question, I doubt there's any uncertainty at all as to the actual outcome. They'll try to filibuster; they'll need to satiate their base and their baser instincts.

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