Over the last few days, we posted two new Right Wing Watch In Focus pieces analyzing the Right’s response to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
Right-wing political and legal groups and pundits responded to President Barack Obama’s nomination of federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court by cranking up their well-funded attack machine, following their pre-fab attack script (they have been attacking her for months as a potential nominee), launching ads against her confirmation, and threatening to use the nomination as a political bludgeon against Democrats from more conservative states.
The second day of right-wing attacks on Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor continued many of the themes of the first day’s attacks, mostly distortions of her judicial record and public remarks and distortions of President Obama’s desire for judges who exhibit empathy. National Review published a wave of anti-Sotomayor commentary on its website. (Some of this information may have been distributed on Day 1 but didn’t make our initial analysis.)
We are also going to start regularly posting some of the raw material we use in these RWWIF analysis pieces on the blog, as well. Here is the news from yesterday:
Committee for Justice
The Democrats have the numbers to make a Sotomayor confirmation all but inevitable, but Ed Morrissey picks up on another opportunity that her nomination affords the GOP.
“They have an opportunity to use the hearings to show Sotomayor as a routine appellate jurist with a spotty record who got elevated to this position as an act of political hackery by a President who couldn’t care less about his responsibilities to find the best and brightest for the job.”
Like many of Obama’s other appointments, it demonstrates a lack of executive talent and intellectual curiosity on his part. This appointment makes an argument for more Republicans in the Senate after the midterms, if for no other reason than to force Obama to start putting a little effort in making his nominations.”
Her detractors say Sotomayor, 54, was trying to divert attention from the cases, hoping to prevent Supreme Court review and possibly enhance her resume for a promotion.
“It makes me wonder whether she’s just cautions by nature or whether she was already thinking about being appointed to a higher court,” said Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice in Washington and a critic of the Sotomayor nomination. He said Sotomayor might have been “covering her tracks” by limiting the scope and prominence of the opinions.
Curt Levey, executive director of the conservative legal group Committee for Justice, said her judicial record would probably not be enough to stop Sotomayor’s confirmation, given the Democratic dominance in the Senate, but her speeches are another matter.
“The best predictor of whether a controversial nominee can be stopped is whether the case against her is based on more than just her legal analysis,” he said.
Although Levey acknowledged that his description of Sotomayor as a “wild-eyed judicial activist” would be hard to extract from her record on the bench, he said “her words are the best indication” of how she would see her role as a justice.
Other conservatives said they would focus on her ruling in a New Haven affirmative action case or on how she might rule on same-sex marriage.
“Abortion is in some sense a stale issue that has been fought over many times, but gay marriage is very much up for grabs,” said Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice, a legal group. “Gay marriage will be bigger than abortion.”
Judicial Confirmation Network
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ comments yesterday that “We can all move past YouTube snippets and half sentences and actually look at the honest-to-God record” raise an important question for Mr. Gibbs. The Duke University comments by Judge Sotomayor are quite clear and unequivocal. Is Mr. Gibbs suggesting that Judge Sotomayor was lying in the tape or that she really didn’t mean it?
President Obama promised the American people a transparent presidency. In that spirit, we are calling on White House Press Secretary Gibbs to post the Duke University video on The White House web site and let the American people judge her comments.
JCN has also launched a website campaigning against Sotomayor, it can be found here.
Recognizing that personal history is at least a factor – if not a significant one – in judicial decision-making is an important step, and one that Sotomayor has taken.
She has already been criticized for it. Wendy Long, a spokeswoman for the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network, said Sotomayor’s background will trump fairness. “Judge Sotomayor will allow her feelings and personal politics to stand in the way of basic fairness,” Long said.
Coalition for a Fair Judiciary
Conservative grassroots groups began to weigh in on the Sotomayor nomination immediately yesterday, among them the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary, a group of over 350 organizations working together during the confirmation process in support of most of President George W. Bush’s nominees, Harriet Myers being the exception.
“Although Justice dons a blindfold when weighing the scales of justice, Sotomayor admits that she lifts that blindfold so as to peek at her own complexion and the skin color of the parties before her,” said Kay Daly, President of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary.
“That might explain why she held it was constitutional for white firefighters to be denied promotion based on their skin color. Sotomayor’s own words should be her nomination’s undoing.”
Gary Bauer is chairman of American Values. He says while the American people should celebrate Sotomayor’s story of overcoming poverty after growing up in New York City’s South Bronx, it is not a reason to select her as a justice for the nation’s highest court.
“Unfortunately, when you do look at the reasons for putting somebody on the Supreme Court, their judicial philosophy — whether they respect the rule of law, whether they’ll be impartial or not — she fails on those criteria, so I’m disturbed by the selection,” he notes.
“She is somebody who believes in reverse discrimination,” he contends. “We have evidence that she thinks it’s okay to discriminate against white Americans because she’s inclined toward believing in quotas.”
Robertson cited Sotomayor’s views on judicial activism as he criticized her nomination during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity Tuesday.
“I think Obama has reached out to one of the most left-wing judges that there is in the United States,” Robertson said. “I think it’s an outrage.”
“Lady Justice is blindfolded for a reason: she’s supposed to be impartial, not empathic. Empathy belongs in the legislature and the executive branch, and not in the judicial branch. Sotomayor is a living, breathing example of making the law subjective and relative, rather than objective and impartial.”
Family Research Council
I hear all over the place that Ms. Sotomayor has a “compelling story” that makes her more in tune with her feelings. With all due respect to the popular daytime television queen, a judge needs to be more like John Roberts and not Oprah Winfrey.
That is why this process can not be rushed and why the role of the Senate Judiciary Committee is so important in properly vetting any nominee to ensure that the nominee has the requisite competence, temperament, character, knowledge of the law, and experience to make a good jurist.
Conservative critics are already spotlighting a ruling by the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, including Sotomayor, that found that the 2nd Amendment’s protection of citizens’ gun rights did not apply to state or local regulations.
“These senators will jeopardize their seats if they vote to support an anti-gun radical for the Supreme Court,” said Ken Blackwell, a senior fellow with the conservative Family Research Council.
For now, though, it shows Obama has united liberals behind his pick and left conservatives scouring her record for ammunition.
“How aggressive the effort is depends on whether more comes to light,” said Tony Perkins of the conservative Family Research Council. “This is still kind of in the discovery process.”
Many of Sotomayor’s potential opponents, ranging from groups opposing abortion rights to those backing gun rights, have not committed to an aggressive campaign against her.