Friday, July 10, 2009

So When Did You Stop Beating Your Spouse, Judge Obama -- I Mean Sotomayor?

Steve Sailer wants the GOP to go after Judge Sonia Sotomayor by hammering her on her decision denying promotion to the white firefighter plaintiffs in Ricci and her longtime aggressive support for racial preferences for Hispanics and affirmative action generally.

Sotomayor can extricate herself on Ricci quite easily by stating that she was simply applying the precedents in force at the time as she was required to do, that the majority decision in the Supreme Court chose to alter legal doctrine as they alone have the right to do, and that she herself as a 2nd circuit judge would not have had the power to alter legal doctrine that way even if she wanted to. (GOP Senators and witnesses may say otherwise but the interchanges will degenerate into an inconclusive and dull debate on the state of existing precedent before Ricci). When asked if she agrees with the majority decision in Ricci she need only repeat the formula: she cannot prejudge questions that may come for her if she is so blessed by God as to be confirmed to the position of justice of the United States Supreme Court.

She'll need to talk her way out of the (repeated) wise Latina statements. She may take the line of least resistance which is to say that she believes that a bench that is more representative of the diversity of the population will provide better justice to everyone than a bench that is not. This is not of course what she said in the Wise Latina statements but may be her first option for defusing the situation. If pressed she may retreat to the position that she was referring to discrimination cases where it may be useful to have judges who have experienced discrimination or at least seen it up close and first hand. The GOP will have to keep after her and point out that most of the times she made the comment there was no connecrion at all with discrimination cases. I suspect that Sotomayor will be able to play rope-a-dope on this one for as long as she needs to.

But Sotomayor is going to be confirmed and it doesn't particularly matter that the GOP can turn the public against her position on affirmative action. She's never going to have to run for re-confirmation. And besides, even if she could be defeated and filibustered it's not in the Republican interest to do so. Her replacement nominee would likely be a more effective advocate for liberalism and thus more dangerous. For the GOP there is a more important purpose to the hearings:
Will they forego their best opportunity to point out that Obama not the post-racial uniter of David Axelrod’s imagination, but is merely Sotomayor with a more oleaginous prose style ?

The objectionable effects of Sotomayor's legal philosophy need to be pinned where they belong: right on the collar of Barack Obama. Don't ask her what she thinks of racial preferences. Ask her what she thinks of the Obama Administration's mandated racial preferences. Don't ask her whether she agrees with the reverse discrimination imposed by "disparate effect" doctrine; ask her whether she agrees with the reverse discrimination imposed by the Obama-administration-supported disparate effect doctrine. When discussing the Wise Latina comment, pause to generously acknowledge that the statement is a fair reflection of the Obama Administration's judicial philosophy.

I expect not so much a grilling next week as a light toasting.

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