Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Sure, it's appalling that John Yoo walks the streets as a free man, much less that he's holding forth on the subject of Barack Obama's Supreme Court pick. But what I find striking is the fact that, in addition to the now-boilerplate complaints about "empathy" and identity politics, Yoo -- like all wingnut apparatchiks right now -- is so desperate for battle that he's criticizing Sonia Sotomayor using our side's arguments:

Obama had some truly outstanding legal intellectuals and judges to choose from -- Cass Sunstein, Elena Kagan, and Diane Wood come immediately to mind. The White House chose a judge distinguished from the other members of that list only by her race....

Sotomayor's record on the bench, at first glance, appears undistinguished. She will not bring to the table the firepower that many liberal academics are asking for. There are no opinions that suggest she would change the direction of constitutional law as have Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, or Robert Bork and Richard Posner on the appeals courts. Liberals have missed their chance to put on the Court an intellectual leader who will bring about a progressive revolution in the law.

And the lead item at right now is headlined "Vicious Attack on Sotomayor's 'Lack of Intellectual Depth.'" Follow the link and you arrive at a National Review blog post that features ... a Talking Points Memo clip of Jonathan Turley talking to David Shuster on MSNBC. Here's the crux of the "vicious attack" by Turley that has right-wingers so riled up:

... liberals are obviously enjoying, rightfully, a certain short-term elation with this two-fer, a woman and a Latina, being put on the Court. But in terms of long-term satisfaction, she does not naturally suggest that's she's going to be the equal of a Scalia, and I think that that was the model for liberals -- they wanted someone who would shape the intellectual foundations of the Court. Her past opinions do not suggest that she is like that. She actually -- it suggests that she'll be a great justice, like Thurgood Marshall, she'll be the first Latina, but I'll remind you, Thurgood Marshall's opinions did not have a lasting intellectual impact on the Court.

So, according to Turley, she lacks the intellectual candlepower of (as he says elsewhere) Diane Wood or Elaine Kagan -- but she can be "a great justice" anyway. Wow, that's vicious.

Like speed freaks, righties are pacing the floor and balling their fists; they just want to fight. The talking points they're able to marshal regarding Sotomayor aren't enough to get their juices flowing. They need more, dammit! So they're stealing talking points from our side. If we won't engage them in a bare-knuckle brawl, they'll fight both sides if they have to.


The alternate approach is just to ignore the facts and go into a spittle-flecked rant against Sotomayor as an Obama surrogate, not caring whether certain aspects of anti-Obama fury even apply to Sotomayor. Hence, Quin Hillyer of The American Spectator:

I never in my life thought I could possibly see a Supreme Court pick as bad as Sonia Sotomayor. Barack Obama is quite clearly trying to upend all the underpinnings of American society in order to create his own version of a Brave New World. Government takeovers of banks and car companies, firings of executives, politically based decisions on which individual car dealerships remain open, world tours apologizing for supposed American sins, mollycoddling our enemies while insulting our friends, broken promises about transparency combined with selective release of classifed documents to serve political purposes.... and so much more, and now.... THIS.

Somebody fetch the tranquilizer gun. These guys need sedation.

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