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Supreme Court Nomination = Madness

Posted by AB on May 27, 2009

It’s already begun, and yes, it’s madness.  Yesterday, President Obama announced his nomination for the Supreme Court seat vacated by the retirement of  Justice David Souter.  The nominee is United States Second Court of Appeals Judge, Sonia Sotomayor.  If confirmed by Senate, she will become the first Latina, and only the third woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court.  The Republican Party and conservative special-interest groups have been waiting to fight this nomination, whoever it was going to be, for years.  They wasted no time, as Judge Sotomayo has been eviscerated in the last 24 hours.

US President Barack Obama applauds his nominee for Supreme Court ...

Sonia Sotomayor’s academic record is stellar.  She graduated summa cum laude and phi beta kappa from Princeton.  After that, she graduated from Yale Law School, where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Review.  Her professional record is just as impressive.  Out of Law school, in 1979,  she landed a job as an Assisstant District Attorney in Manhattan.  In 1984, she entered into private law, and in 1988, she became a partner at Pavia and Harcourt.  Miss Sotomayor became a trial judge in October of 1992, when she was appointed to the US District Court by President George H. W. Bush.  In 1998, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the US Second Court of Appeals, where she was also the first Latina.

Anytime there is an opening on the highest court in the land, a fight can be expected.  After all, this is an exclusive club of only nine, and to increase the stakes even more, this is a lifetime appointment.  The importance of this process demands that difficult questions be asked about the nominee’s judicial philosophy, so I would never argue that she get a soft ride through the confirmation process.  It should, however, be a respectful process.  So far, it has not been.

Barely a few hours after the announcement of Sonia Sotomayor as the nominee, conservative radio show host, Rush Limbaugh declared that she was racist, or “reverse racist.”  He also demeaned the President as a “reverse racist.”  Also last night, former Republican Representative, Tom Tancredo, along with a never-ending list of right-wing pundits and bloggers, all called her racist.  And today, the former and disgraced Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich “tweeted” that she should remove her name from nomination because she is a “Latina racist.”  This from a group of individuals who constantly complain that they can’t criticize the President without being accused of being racist.  Of course that’s not true, but false political outrage has been used by all sides for many years.  These remarks are simply disgusting, but these are disgusting men.

Strangely, Republican Congress members, who actually have to vet this nomination, have been cautious with comments about Judge Sotomayor.  I don’t know how long they can resist the hatred of fellow conservatives, but let’s hope they can focus upon the job of, respectfully, vetting the nominee.  Unfortunately, they are also being silent about the attacks being brought about by the haters.  If the Republican Party is to survive, its members must be careful to be respectful to this nominee, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but she represents the fastest-growing demographic in the country. 

Get ready.  This thing will be debated throughout the Summer, ending in the likely confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as the next United States Supreme Court justice.  If the early rhetoric is any indication, this will be really nasty.  I hope that all sides will be respectful of one another, but I am not mad.

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