By now I’m sure you’ve heard President Barack Obama has named federal Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring Justice David Souter on the United States Supreme Court. Already some conservatives are attacking Sotomayor for being unqualified to serve on the Supreme Court, with Kevin Binversie of Lakeshore Laments going so far as to compare Sotomayor to failed George W. Bush nominee Harriet Miers:
I firmly believe Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor is the liberal-equivalent of former Bush Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers; in the sense that she fits a profile (Like Miers, she’s a woman, and like Bush before him – Miguel Estrada – Obama wants to put a Hispanic on the high court), and is really under-qualified for the position that’s been asked of her.
I’ve heard Kevin’s a smart guy, but his comparison of Sonia Sotomayor to Harriet Miers is just about the stupidest thing I’ve read in a long time. After all, even the most cursory of glances at the legal experience of Miers and Sotomayor makes it obvious that a comparison between the two is simply laughable partisan hackery. Prior to joining the administration of George W. Bush, Miers served as a lawyer in private practice for 27 years, handling business cases and acting as then-Governor Bush’s personal lawyer. She also served as chair the Texas Lottery Commission, but notably absent from her resume was any judicial experience. Contrast that with Sotomayor’s resume, which includes a 6 year stint as a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, followed by her almost 12 years sitting as a Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
However, to further bolster his vague and weak argument that Sonia Sotomayor is an “affirmative action” nomination, Binversie cites a hit piece written by Jeff Rosen of The New Republic, who cites numerous unnamed and anonymous sources in calling Sotomayor a judicial lightweight, but here’s the one passage from Rosen’s piece that I find to have the most value in assessing the quality of his writing:
“I haven’t read enough of Sotomayor’s opinions to have a confident sense of them”
That best sums up the quality of Rosen’s reporting. It’s ironic he’d call her a legal lightweight based on “anonymous sources” without actually reading enough of Sotomayor’s decisions to be able to get a confident sense of them, but then again, facts are often bothersome when one is trying to spew talking points.
However, moving back to Kevin Binversie’s assertion that Sonia Sotomayor is simply not qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, I’d love to hear his reasoning. After all, she’s got as much time on the federal bench as John Roberts had when he was nominated for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.