Judge Sotomayor

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I know little about Obama’s SCOTUS nominee.  I did happen to see a long oral argument before the 2nd Circuit on C-SPAN earlier this year.  I was impressed enough at the time to think, without ever having heard of her before, that she had the chops to be a Supreme.

On the other hand, Rachel Maddow said it well: the Democrats have won the last 2 elections by large margins, have almost 60 members in the senate, and just elected a hugely popular president, so why is that president nominating a “moderate” judge to join a conservative court whose oldest, illest members are the 3 remaining liberals?

I use quotes there because one of the things Obama went out of his way to announce today was that Judge Sotomayor voted with her conservative colleagues 95% of the time.  How someone who votes conservative 95% of the time qualifies as something other than a conservative, I confess I don’t understand.  But then, I never was very good at math.

Everybody’s talking about whether Obama can sell this pick to conservatives in the senate.  The more relevant question might be: how’s he gonna sell it to liberals?  It seems to me people are counting on the words “Hispanic” and “female” to preempt all liberal interest in her record.

Maybe that’s the way it will work out.  Identity politics goes a long way with both liberals and conservatives.  But I hope not.

Part of me thinks this is Obama playing the long game, again.  Appoint a “moderate” whose personal qualities put the GOP in an extremely difficult bind, leaving them even more internally divided, with even less popular support, and maybe a bit gun shy the next time, then pick a liberal nominee for that seat.

Update (5/27/09): Yglesias has some pointed things to say about identity politics . . . or lack thereof.

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6 Responses to “Judge Sotomayor”

  1. michaellasley Says:

    Come on, JU. Sotomayor is byfarhandsdownnotevenclose the most liberal person to ever breathe! Plus she’s a racist.

  2. urbino Says:

    Shouldn’t you be studying?

  3. michaellasley Says:

    I value the future of my nation more than the future of my own self. I’m like that.

  4. michaellasley Says:

    Also: the update….good stuff.

  5. Terry Says:

    What’s her middle name?

  6. urbino Says:

    Sassafras.

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