Sotomayor’s Temperament


I agree with TWI’s Daphne Eviatar, completely.

When I watched the oral argument in Arar v. Ashcroft earlier this year, I came away thinking, specifically, that Judge Sotomayor could make a good Supreme; not that she had temperament issues.  It was Judge Calabresi who went over the top, posing question after question without ever letting the government’s lawyer respond.  (Though, in his partial defense, I think he could tell from the way the lawyer’s attempted responses started that they weren’t going to address the real point of his question.)  Another judge, whose name I don’t remember but whose sympathies cut the other way, went similarly over the top when questioning Arar’s lawyer.

Sotomayor was doing exactly what an appelate judge should do: ask very pointed questions that get directly at the problems with a lawyer’s argument, and listen, critically, for a good answer.  I thought, of the entire 12-judge panel,  she struck the right balance.

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