Tuesday, May 26, 2009


The video surfaced a few weeks ago, but it's about to become the scariest thing in the universe, scarier even than Muslim superterrorists in your neighborhood!!!!!:

I thought the existence of that clip -- which the right can use to suggest the notion that liberal judges legislate from the bench and conservative judges don't -- might dissuade President Obama from picking Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, but she's his choice, which means he wants a fight. Either that or he's underestimating the ability of the weakened but still vicious GOP to turn a reasonable person into a monster in the public's eyes -- especially a woman, and especially a non-Caucasian woman. (Remember Lani Guinier?) And, no, I don't think putting the clip in context is going to drown out the braying from the right.

The right is going to work this angle:

Sotomayor describes Latinos as one of America's "economically deprived populations" which, like "all minority and women's groups," are filled with people "who don't make it in our society at all." Attributing those failures to inequities inherent in American society, she affirms her commitment to "serving the underprivileged of our society" by promoting Affirmative Action and other policies designed to help those who "face enormous challenges."

Of Puerto Rican heritage, Sotomayor served from 1980 to 1992 as a Board of Directors member of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. This organization promotes amnesty and expanded rights for illegal aliens living in the United States; advocates hiring minority job applicants who have lower testing scores; favors preferential treatment for minorities in job promotions and career advancement; seeks to promote Spanish as an acceptable alternative to English in the business world; and supports race-based redistricting plans that would guarantee electoral victories for Latinos.

It doesn't matter how much exaggeration there is in that. It's going to be shouted from the housetops.

Of course, there's an even-the-liberals opportunity here -- The Washington Post's Richard Cohen hates her ruling in the Ricci affirmative action case involving New Haven firefighters. And, yeah, there's that New Republic hit job.

Oh, and because the right can't mount one of these character assaults without ridicule, we'll be reminded of this case:

In 1998, she was awarded the Court Jester Award by the Family Research Council for extending the application of the Americans With Disabilities Act to a woman who failed the New York bar exam several times because, she said, she couldn't read very well.

For the record, the woman had dyslexia.

Is this enough to get every non-Maine Republican senator lined up against Sotomayor? Oh, absolutely. Is it enough to get the right-leaning and self-hating Dems (Bayh, Nelson, Landrieu, etc.) lined against her? Quite possibly.

I don't know if Obama plays chess, but I wonder if he's sacrificing a pawn here, in the belief that the battle will reinforce his image as a reasonable guy (and reinforce his party's standing with Hispanics for the foreseeable future) -- while perhaps also thinking that if he wins a tough one, that will increase his stature. In any case, he's asking for trouble with this pick -- which may be the point.


UPDATE: I think Bill Campbell is right -- somebody is going to start telling us soon (on the birther fringe, perhaps?) that Sotomayor was a Puerto Rican separatist terrorist once upon a time ... or at least that we can't prove she wasn't.


MORE: Paul Mirengoff of Power Line begins a post on Sotomayor thus:


That's how a friend of mine refers to Sonia Sotomayor. He's joking, I think.

No explanation is offered. The rest of the post is a fairly evenhanded assessment of Sotomayor that doesn't suggest radicalism in the slightest. But, hey, it's clear the right is itching to attack her in the terms Bill describes.

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