Obama makes more history with Sotomayor nomination

The big news of the day is that President Barack Obama nominated U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. If confirmed, she would be the third woman to serve on the high court and the first Hispanic justice of either gender.

Sotomayor reportedly sealed the deal during her interview with the president last Thursday.

Deoliver47 has more background and video clips in this post.

Senate Republicans will try to drag out the confirmation process, but there will be no long-term vacancy on the high court. Justice David Souter has made clear that he will retire once his replacement is confirmed.

I don't know a lot about Sotomayor, but I look forward to learning more. She has the qualities I wanted to see in a Supreme Court nominee, even if she is not as progressive as I would like. Tom Goldstein of the SCOTUS blog previewed arguments for and against her nomination. Excerpt:

Objectively, her qualifications are overwhelming from the perspective of ordinary Americans.  She has been a prosecutor, private litigator, trial judge, and appellate judge.  No one currently on the Court has that complete package of experience.

On the other hand, this criminal defense attorney who has argued cases before her court isn't too impressed.

On principle, I am glad that a hit piece on Sotomayor filled with anonymous quotes did not derail her nomination. More on that hit piece is here.

Before I open the floor for comments, here's some Supreme Court-related humor from The Onion.

What do you think of Obama's choice?

UPDATE: Greg Sargent points out that "Seven Republicans currently in the Senate voted for the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor in 1998 as U.S. Circuit Court judge[...]." That's not counting Arlen Specter, who also voted to confirm her in 1998 but is no longer a Republican.

SECOND UPDATE: Sports fans may remember that as a U.S. district court judge, Sotomayor ended the baseball strike in 1995.

THIRD UPDATE: Senator Chuck Grassley released this statement:

"A lifetime appointment requires a thorough vetting, and I expect Judge Sotomayor to receive fair and deliberative consideration.  The United States Senate has a responsibility to carefully review nominees to the Supreme Court.   The Judiciary Committee should take time to ensure that the nominee will be true to the Constitution and apply the law, not personal politics, feelings or preferences.  We need to ask tough questions to learn how this individual views the role of a Supreme Court justice.  The last 25 years of Senate review of nominees has been entirely different than the first 200 years, and today the Senate can't just be a rubber stamp for President Obama's nominees."

Grassley is incorrect to imply that the Senate has been a rubber stamp of Supreme Court nominees for most of this country's history. During the 19th century, the Senate rejected approximately one fourth of the presidential nominees for this office.

Here's a list of failed nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Obama's choice is a politically brilliant one

    He's no fool...this was a great political calculation, and people on the right and left know it.

    Elena Kagan and Diane Wood have a LOT more baggage than Sonia, and they're probably not that much more progressive than her.

    He has placed the GOP in a position that if you oppose her, you oppose Hispanics and women.  The GOP won't, can't, and wouldn't dare filibuster.

    Sure, there will be tough questions that Sessions and Co. will ask during the hearing, but ultimately, she will sail through the hearings a la Roberts, and be confirmed with more than 70 votes.

    The GOP has very little political capital, and they dare not use it on Sonia.  They'll save up said capital for a more controversial appointment.  

    Toobin's right.  She's moderate-liberal, right in the mainstream on liberal judicial though.  She'll probably veer more left when she's on the court...same as Souter.

    Scalia and Thomas probably won't draw her in to their opinions that often.

Login or Join to comment and post.