May 292009

I pointed out in a post on May 8 that the GOP was already gearing up for a smear campaign on Obama’s SCOTUS nominee, whoever it turned out to be. Well, the hypocrites have certainly rolled out of the woodwork to condemn Judge Sotomayor. Let’s take a look, shall we?

court_rustic2_1.jpgThe leader of the Republicans, Rush Limbaugh claims she should be stopped because, “She is a horrible pick, she is the antithesis of a judge by her own admission and in her own words. She has been overturned 80 percent by the Supreme Court, she may as well be on the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals given all the time she’s overturned.” Let’s get right to this reversal thing. Out of nearly 300 decisions, she’s had 6 reviewed by the Supreme Court, and been reversed 3 times…That’s 50%, but then Rush is using that Republican math I guess.

The average reversal rate is 75%. Let’s remember, the SCOTUS reviews cases in which it thinks there may have been an error. So I would think the reversal rate would be on the high side. The issue is how many cases reached the SCOTUS.

Rush goes on to say, “So she’s not the brain that they’re portraying her to be, she’s not a constitutional jurist. She is an affirmative action case extraordinaire and she has put down white men in favor of Latina women. She has claimed that the court is all about making policy.”

Well, first, I’ll take a smart Latina over old white men any day. Let’s see what Rush and the other old white men have brought us:

  • A stolen Presidential Election
  • The Presidency of George W. Bush
  • Two simultaneous wars, one of which we entered on false terms
  • Government sponsored torture
  • The erosion of our Constitutional protections
  • The health insurance industry
  • Jim Crowe laws
  • The Wall Street debacle
  • The economic meltdown

And the hits keep on coming. So, I think it’s about time we give someone else a shot. But of course you can’t base a SCOTUS nomination on just that. So let’s take a look at the context of the comment on which they are relying to make their claim that she is a racist. Here’s what Media Matters has on it:

“Contrary to Kelly and Greenburg’s claims, Sotomayor did not say or suggest that Latina or Latino judges are “better” than white male judges, but was instead talking specifically about “race and sex discrimination cases.” From Sotomayor’s speech delivered at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and published in 2002 in the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal:”

And now Orrin Hatch has weighed in opposing Judge Sotomayor. Never mind that he voted to confirm her for the Court of Appeals (and, oh by the way, it was George H. W. Bush who nominated her for appeals court). Hatch has his nickers all in a wad over a comment where they claim she said that Judges make policy. The statement on which they are relying is:

“The saw is that if you’re going into academia, you’re going to teach, or as Judge Lucero just said, public interest law, all of the legal defense funds out there, they’re looking for people with court of appeals experience, because it is — court of appeals is where policy is made.”

It was made as part of panel discussion at Duke University, but let’s get, as Paul Harvey used to say, “The rest of the story.” You see Sotomayor continues:

“And I know — and I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don’t make law, I know. OK, I know. I’m not promoting it, and I’m not advocating it, I’m — you know. OK. Having said that, the court of appeals is where, before the Supreme Court makes the final decision, the law is percolating –” 

On MSNBC yesterday, Tom Tancredo (known for singing Dixie with a group of white supremacists  friends, and saying,  “If you belong to an organization called La Raza, in this case, which is, from my point of view anyway, nothing more than a Latino – it’s a counterpart – a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses.”) was on the air calling Sotomayor a racist:

Unfortunately for her and fortunately for us there are plenty of things that we’ve even talked about her already. I’m telling you, she appears to be a racist. She said things that are racist in any other context…You can still be a racist and have all those things in your background. You can be a racist and have all that stuff in your background.

Now this is a guy that called Miami a Third World Country, and postulated, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, that we should bomb Mecca. I think all that counts as racism, Tom. This goes way beyond “the pot calling the kettle black.”

NBC’s David Gregory has said that Sotomayor’s personal story opens the door for scrutiny because of how it might influence her rulings. He seems to think it’s a bad thing, but Glenn Greenwald, doing his excellent job of reporting, has found that the Republicans invited Alito to tell his personal story, and how it influences him, during his confirmation hearing. Then it was a good thing. According to Daily Kos:

“In an exchange with Sen. Tom Coburn, who had asked Alito to discuss how his personal experiences shows that “he cared for the little guy,” Alito said that his family’s experience as immigrants influenced his outlook on immigration cases.So when Sam Alito said his family’s immigrant experience influenced his outlook, it was okay, but now that Sonia Sotomayor (who, like Alito, is an appeleta judge) has been nominated to the Supreme Court, she’s a “racist?”

Juan Cole at Informed Comment shows us just how stupid Newt Gingrish’s arguments against Sotomayor are:

“Republican poobah Newt Gingrich has lambasted Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as a ‘racist’ because she implied that a Latina woman could empathize with certain situations as a judge better than a white male could, and so would come to sounder judgments.

Just so everyone remembers, this is Newt Gingrich’s idea of the difference between the sexes:

‘If combat means living in a ditch, females have biological problems staying in a ditch for 30 days because they get infections…. Males are biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes.'”

And Karl Rove, that bastian of intellectual analysis, has said she is not that smart. “I’m not really certain how intellectually strong she would be,” he opined on Fox News. Of course that sort of flies in the face of her winning the highest academic honor and graduating summa cum laude from Princeton, then graduating from Yale Law School and being an editor of the Yale Law Review.

There are certainly legitimate areas of inquiry when the Senate fulfills its constitutional advice and consent requirement. Let’s get to those, and cut out the silly horse shit.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.