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Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Sotomayor to SC

There will be a minor fight about this, but expect her to be confirmed relatively easily. This is a status quo nomination and will not change the balance of power in the court. I am troubled by this quote:

"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 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 experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." [U.C. Berkeley School of Law, 10/26/2001]

If Samuel Alito had said that the richness of his life experience as a white male meant he would reach better conclusions than a black woman, we'd not be calling him Justice these days. On the other hand, it's kind of like those stupid coffee mugs that women had back in the late 1970s, proclaiming that in order for a woman to be thought half as good as a man she had to do twice the work in half the time; fortunately this is not difficult. Obnoxious, certainly, but not disqualifying.

Nate Silver points out that a little over half (29-25) of the Republican senators in 1998 voted against her nomination, including 11 current GOP members. But 6 current GOP senators (plus then Republican Arlen Spector) voted in favor of her.

Her bio is compelling; Puerto Rican girl growing up in the Bronx attends Princeton and graduates at or near the top of her class, goes on the Yale Law Journal, then a career as a prosecutor and judge. You can see the danger here for the GOP in a protracted struggle; it will become the mean Republican men against this high-achieving minority woman.
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