An all-out assault on Sotomayor by Republicans could alienate both Latino and women voters, deepening the GOP's problems after consecutive electoral setbacks. But sidestepping a court battle could be deflating to the party's base and hurt efforts to rally conservatives going forward.
In the same edition the Post has the following, showing the Republicans being delicate.
First up, a discussion moderated by National Review's Ramesh Ponurru:
Here's some of what we know about President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court:
--Judge Sotomayor believes that the courts are "where policy is made."
--She has Democratic colleagues who wonder if she has the intellect to be on the high court.
--She was picked by a president who has announced that he has a pro-abortion litmus test and that he wants judges who will rule with empathy, at least for some groups.
--She has a high reversal rate. In one case, the Supreme Court has voted unanimously to reverse her.
We will doubtless learn more about Sotomayor, both good and bad, in the days to come. But based on the early signs it appears that President Obama has made the crassest of political picks.
What do you think?
Fact-free columnist George Will:
Her ethnicity aside, Sotomayor is a conventional choice. The court will remain composed entirely of former appellate court judges. And like conventional liberals, she embraces identity politics, including the idea of categorical representation: A person is what his or her race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual preference is, and members of a particular category can be represented -- understood, empathized with -- only by persons of the same identity.
Democrats compounded confusion by thinking of the court as a representative institution. Such personalization of the judicial function subverts the rule of law.
Now that's just the mainstream Washington Post. A short foray in to the fever swamps shows the delicacy of Republican politicians in dealing with Judge Sotomayor's nomination.
LIMBAUGH: Do I want her to fail? Yeah. Do I want her to fail to get on the court? Yes! She’d be a disaster on the court.
Now I know that Obama has some very well-thought-out, or at least elaborate, arguments for his idea of a good justice. But isn't it possible that some of this is really just a rationalization for a more fundamental narcissistic projection? After all, it is hardly news that Obama thinks very highly of himself, and sees all sorts of major issues through the prism of Obama. Everything he says about what would make a great, ideal, Supreme Court justice is stuff he clearly sees in himself. I think that is at least interesting.
Yeah, I can see how tricky this is for Republicans, and how they are handling the pressure.
Of course, one could argue that Sotomayor has already received the kiss of death.
Since President Obama announced Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court this morning, conservatives — such as Karl Rove — have publicly questioned whether she has the qualifications and “intellect” for the job. Today on CNN, however, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said there is “no question” that Sotomayor is qualified
I'd want that endorsement sent back.
UPDATE: Man, I gotta keep reading sometimes. I just found this gem, from Robert Reich:
[N]ever underestimate the Republicans' capacity for taking big political risks that turn out badly.
UPDATE II: The following sentence is making the rounds to the right of Atilla the Hun, including here:
I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.
The inimitable Digby provides the bulk of the entire speech within which this single sentence occurs.
In our private conversations, Judge Cedarbaum has pointed out to me that seminal decisions in race and sex discrimination cases have come from Supreme Courts composed exclusively of white males. I agree that this is significant but I also choose to emphasize that the people who argued those cases before the Supreme Court which changed the legal landscape ultimately were largely people of color and women. I recall that Justice Thurgood Marshall, Judge Connie Baker Motley, the first black woman appointed to the federal bench, and others of the NAACP argued Brown v. Board of Education. Similarly, Justice Ginsburg, with other women attorneys, was instrumental in advocating and convincing the Court that equality of work required equality in terms and conditions of employment.
Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O'Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.
Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.
However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.
UPDATE III: From tbogg:
I've spent the evening doing that thing I do, which is exploring the nooks and crannies of , if not the wingnut mind, at least its byproducts. And I just have to say that the nomination of Sonia Sotomayer to the Supreme Court has made these people, as my grandmother would have put it, 'lose their shit".
He uses an Ozzy Osbourne song title for his post. I was going to use Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine.
Among the many many many Republican miscues of the past eight years, I've always believed the one that made the American people sit up and take a long hard look at the Republican party was the Terri Schiavo case, when the elected members of the party became unwitting dupes of their own lunatic base. My sense is that, if they really want to go after and beat up on this Sotomayer, who presented herself very well this morning, they will pay for it at the polls for years to come. Not with Hispanics, who were lost to the party dating back to the Pete Wilson days ( not that the peck-sniffier elements of the right can help themselves), or with women, but with people for whom "empathy" and compassion aren't qualities to be sneered at.