Thursday, May 28, 2009

WAS SOTOMAYOR THE BEST CHOICE OR THE BEST POLITICAL CHOICE?

Obama'S choice of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. Sotomayor was as much political as anything else. The Hispanic community kept the pressure on Obama to appoint a Hispanic and with it being a foregone conclusion that the nominee would also be a woman, Sotomayer was the logical choice, if politics is the first criteria.

But it's going to be hard for Republicans to make an issue of her qualifications since she has a good resume, and more experience as a judge than anyone else now on the court had at the time of their confirmation hearings. She also has a reputation for being hard to get along with and having a fiery temperament which should make her interaction with people like Scalia, Roberts and Alito a fun time for all.

The real question is was she the most qualified and did Obama simply give in to pressure from the Latino community which had been howling for him to nominate a Hispanic.

Given Obama's history of giving in to whatever political pressure is exerted on him from any side ( i.e. his constant reversals on torture, torture memos, prosecutions, investigations, and photos, depending on who he spoke to last) it is almost a certainty that Sotomayer was chosen because she is a Hispanic woman.

Most people more familiar with her record and the record of other candidates say there were many candidates more qualified than Sotomayer. Diane Wood is one name mentioned frequently. On the other hand with the Latino population in the U.S. growing, there is little doubt that Obama was told by House and Senate Democrats that choosing a Hispanic would give the Democrats a very strong political position in the next election and a reason for them to vote Democrat. Something the Republicans will try to undermine with a different constituency, Angry White Males.

But no one can argue that Sotomayer is a bad or unqualified candidate. She is no Hariet Miers. Sotomayer has all the qualifications and experience needed. A graduate of Yale Law School she was first appointed in 1992 by, of all people George H.W. Bush and appointed as an appeals judge by Bill Clinton in 1997.

The Republicans will surely try and do what they can to make political points in an attempt to damage Democrats. Thats all they can do. But regardless of what Republicans say or do, the Democrats have the votes to confirm her so minus some skeleton in her closet that could derail her nomination she will become the first Hispanic to sit on the Supreme Court, despite the fact that the news media insists on calling it a "battle" for her confirmation.

There will be no battle, though Newt Gingrich has already called her a racist which in itself is pretty funny. If her confirmation lacks drama it seems that Gingrich is intent on providing the comedy. He believes she is an anti-white racist which sounds like a Gingrich and Republican attempt and trying to rise from the ashes politically by galvanizing the Angry White Male and making it a race issue.

The most interesting part of the hearings is going to be Republicans questioning Sotomayer on the 2nd ammendment. As anyone with any Constitutional knowledge knows the 2nd amendment has nothing to do with an indivduals right to own a gun. Any politician who says so is just pandering to the gun crowd as Obama has done many times and most politicians do publicly.

With Obama having made statements that support the idea that the 2nd amendment somehow relates to individual gun ownership and Sotomayer having made rulings which at the very least suggest she doubts this, that could provide the fireworks the media is praying for.


9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Marc,

You need to correct the spelling of her name. It's "SotomayOr."

HeyJude said...

Great question Marc - here is my take. This was a brilliant political checkmate from Obama, and while it has some to do with maintaining a stronghold on the Latino base, it has everything to do with Obama and his Chicago thugs playing the race card again. The innoculation Obama was given from criticism based on his race helped him win and continues to help him move things his way. The nomination of Sotomayor is more of the same, this time to engage and enrage Latino/a folks.

Newt tried to bring it to surface, which just didn't go well. But this was a cynical, calculated move from the administration, tinged with the same kind of racism that we grew so weary of being blamed for by the Obama campaign machine.

Anonymous said...

Good job once again Marc, but I, along w/most likely a few others who read your posts, will knock it down a notch for your subtle sexist reference:

"...She also has a reputation for being hard to get along with and having a fiery temperament..."

I find this reminiscent of the Hillary bashings of past. Why must a woman's professionalism and/or processes (good or bad) be written with an undertone of "feelings" in order to make a point? Would you word it the same way if "SHE" were a "HE"? Com'on Marc, re-work that statement.

H4me, PUMA

Marc Rubin said...

"...She also has a reputation for being hard to get along with and having a fiery temperament..."

I find this reminiscent of the Hillary bashings of past. Why must a woman's professionalism and/or processes (good or bad) be written with an undertone of "feelings" in order to make a point?"

Needless to say I don't know Sotomayor so this was not my own conclusion. I was just reporting what others have said about her in print. And the reason I would disagree with you about characterizations involving her personality as not being relevant is because, when it comes to appointing judges, something call "judicial temperment" is a legitimate issue for any judge, male or female and Scalia's temperment which has rubbed people the wrong way has been commented on frequently so I dont see it as being sexist.

RIChris said...

"...She also has a reputation for being hard to get along with and having a fiery temperament..."

******************************

McCain's fiery temperament was a focus of the campaign on more than one occasion. Fair to say that allusions to temperament aren't relegated to women only.

Everything that Obama does is purely for political gain. The reason Obama is consistently touted as having such an even temper is because he has no deep convictions about anyone or anything other than himself.

Nola said...

Yes!

sue said...

I think heyjude really nails it by saying it was a cynical calculated move- much as everything that Obama does is.
Likewise on RIChirs's post- Obama has no convictions about anything.
I for one am really angry that I can't even take pleasure in a hispanic woman being nominated because of the calculation behind it- it was purely political-
And once again- we need to hold the media responsible here again- they no longer report objective facts- they write the scenario as they see it and tell you what to believe.
Thank goodness for places like this to get the truth and gain some perspective.

Sarah Ferguson said...

and the announcement of her nomination came on the heels of his 'terror' speech, delivered in front of the US constitution, where he introduced the idea of "prolonged detention" and called for a legal framework so that the we can legally deny due process to people that are detained on the basis of suspicion or expectation of a future crime.

Anonymous said...

Why shouldn't the Republicans " play the race card"? Obama and his handlers certainly did...until they figured they didn't need the Black vote anymore.