The Justice is a YF

Bronx-born Sonia Sotomayor, lifelong Yankee fan, is President Obama's nominee to the SCOTUS. Sotomayor was the judge who ended the 1994-1995 baseball strike. Play ball!

45 comments… add one

  • Brilliant political pick (let’s see the GOP run a block without kissing Florida and the West goodbye), but is she deserving? I don’t know but it does seem like she’s said some dumb things. And her reversal record does seem like she tries to change the laws through judicial fiat. Only the Supreme Court can do that, and even then it’s rare.

    Rob May 26, 2009, 11:23 am
  • Tremendous choice.

    I'mBillMcNeal May 26, 2009, 11:28 am
  • irrelevant to the thread, but the fact that justice is blind always makes me laugh.

    attackgerbil May 26, 2009, 12:12 pm
  • great choice indeed. a YF to replace an SF, i like the way obama thinks…

    sam-YF May 26, 2009, 12:30 pm
  • could be worse.

    Brad May 26, 2009, 12:40 pm
  • could be worse.
    Like a SF.

    Rob May 26, 2009, 12:42 pm
  • I guess.

    Brad May 26, 2009, 12:48 pm
  • BREAKING NEWS:
    sonia sotomayor as her first order of duty, hit a home run into the right field upperdeck at yankee stadium.

    sf rod May 26, 2009, 5:14 pm
  • Dang it, until now I thought it was a good pick… though I agree she’s said some things that would have probably torpedoed her chances of even being selected were Congress more closely divided.

    Paul SF May 26, 2009, 8:36 pm
  • You’re in Texas, right? Any idea how Hispanics there are receiving the pick?
    Obama would love to win Texas in ’12. Will this pick help him there?

    Rob May 27, 2009, 10:03 am
  • Any idea how Hispanics there are receiving the pick?
    Did anyone ask “how are whites receiving the Roberts pick?”? Ethnicities aren’t monolithic, of course. Not trying to start a fight, but I am not a big fan of these kinds of reductions.

    SF May 27, 2009, 10:22 am
  • …and then as if to show she has no bias, she followed it up by hitting a towering popup in the hole at shortstop in fenway that landed in the green monster seats scattering the fans and spilling their beer…they responded by throwing pizza at her…the game had to be stopped for 10 minutes while the grounds crew swept up pepperoni and cheese…

    dc May 27, 2009, 10:48 am
  • Uh oh, political-correctness police! There is no such thing as race!
    When Obama was elected everyone was talking how it was an historic moment, and rightfully so. But if someone mentions how she’s Hispanic and wonders how fellow Hispanics feel about it, they’re ostracized.

    Atheose May 27, 2009, 10:51 am
  • Nor am I. But the plain fact is that reduction was a big, prevailing, reason for this particular pick (especially the effect in cementing FL and CO). Hispanics represent a significant minority (over 30%) in TX.

    Rob May 27, 2009, 10:54 am
  • If this pick were made in 2011, I think people would remember Rob. However by the time the 2012 election gets going this pick will long be forgotten.
    Not that it matters at all. The Republican party is reeling right now, and probably won’t rebound until 2020.

    Atheose May 27, 2009, 10:56 am
  • But it’s historic. That’s seldom forgotten. You don’t think Johnson and the Democrats benefited immensely from Thurgood Marshall and the rest of the civil rights movement? If Obama (who’s a once in a generation politician) keeps pushing things important to the Hispanic community (see also the Cuba policies), he’s cementing a Democratic majority for twenty or thirty years.
    Agreed on your second point. Still, how they react here could dig them a deeper hole (Tancredo is already calling her a racist) or help the rebound. I’d prefer two strong political parties. But they’re completely overmatched.

    Rob May 27, 2009, 11:11 am
  • I think the key part is “If Obama keeps pushing things important to the Hispanic community.” This one appointment isn’t going to win him a ton of Hispanic support by itself.
    But again, none of it really matters. Obama could cruise into a second term based on his charisma and George W Bush alone. Throw in the fact that he’s extremely intelligent and will probably do an okay job and it’s no contest.

    Atheose May 27, 2009, 11:19 am
  • Also, regarding the Johnson comparison: it wasn’t just that one act that helped him and his party, it was their consistent effort to promote civil rights. The combined effort of that, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and his/Kennedy’s overall attitude towards blacks are what won them their support.

    Atheose May 27, 2009, 11:22 am
  • Yeah, like it or not, the headlines today are all about the first Hispanic pick to the court. Comparing it to white people’s reactions over the Roberts and Alito picks is just missing the point.
    Texas is becoming a purpler state with every election cycle (though we shouldn’t forget it was once a solidly Democratic state as recently as the late 1980s, and that one George W. Bush was the man who broke the Dems’ monolithic hold on the governor’s mansion). I think the general reaction is that while this doesn’t necessarily help Obama — Hispanics in Texas are worried far more about jobs and immigration, the latter issue in particular having driven many socially conservative Latinos into the arms of the Democrats — it obviously puts the GOP in a bind. It’s nationally in huge trouble, and in Texas, Democrats have seen gains in Houston and Dallas while Obama outperformed Gore and Kerry in essentially every county outside the hillbilly-infested Piney Woods. The Republican Party cannot afford to be seen opposing the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice — even if Hispanics themselves do not have it high on their priority lists.
    It’s politically a masterful move, much like selecting the Utah governor as ambassador to China. It portrays the Democratic Party as an inclusive party, welcoming to moderates, conservatives and minorities, while the GOP tries to decide whether it likes having Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh as its spokesmen. The move will probably have little effect in Texas — the state will not suddenly turn Democratic, and I doubt Republicans are so dumb to give more than token opposition to the selection — but, as you say, in borderline states with large Hispanic populations (Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, even Arizona), this could change just enough votes come the 2010 midterms and even the 2012 presidential election.

    Paul SF May 27, 2009, 11:22 am
  • We don’t need to venture too deep into politics, but it seems damn clear that Sotomayor looks eminently qualified for the Supreme Court bench regardless of her ethnicity.
    Her ethnicity is important for many other reasons, the biggest is that the court should be at least (nominally?) representative of our country’s populace; at the moment (and historically) it has been representative of our country’s power structure (white men!), not it’s population. I am thrilled by this pick, politically and otherwise. She’s make six Roman Catholics on the bench, which is another issue entirely, though I am not certain of the significance.
    Back to baseball, I think.

    SF May 27, 2009, 11:23 am
  • This one appointment isn’t going to win him a ton of Hispanic support by itself.
    Right. But symbolically it’s a signpost for all the other initiatives.
    As for your second part, I agree. But he’s playing a long game over 20 or 30 years. Where Turd Blossom talked big about a long-term GOP majority, Obama is laying all the pieces in place for the exact opposite.

    Rob May 27, 2009, 11:24 am
  • Right, that’s why I was alluding to Cuba policy. Next up, in the second term, is immigration reform.
    But remember, the Democrats were trying to overcome in the Kennedy years about 100 years of racist policies. The slate is much cleaner w/r/t Hispanics.

    Rob May 27, 2009, 11:26 am
  • It’s politically a masterful move, much like selecting the Utah governor as ambassador to China…
    Indeed. And agreed on Huntsman. Obama is grabbing the middle while the far right fights over a rotting corpse of a stump. Just an amazing politician.

    Rob May 27, 2009, 11:29 am
  • If by qualified you mean she meets some threshold, then I agree. But certainly there are more qualified individuals, no? And some of the things she’s said, while she knew she was on camera, were just plain dumb. She’s known at least since she was appointed that she’d be high on the list of picks the next time a Democrat had the option. And she couldn’t have kept a lower profile? Ricci was an effort to avoid controversy and now it’s going to be the center of her hearings.
    Look it this way: There are many white men with her legal pedigree. What made her stand out is her family background. I’m not saying that’s good or bad.

    Rob May 27, 2009, 11:34 am
  • SF, I don’t think anyone here is saying that the pick is a bad thing. She’s probably as qualified as any of the white men that could have been chosen, except her race helps make things more diverse. All other things equal, making one third of our government more diverse is a good thing. Diversity brings a lot to the table, and doesn’t take much away from it.
    It’s like Bush choosing Condi Rice for his cabinet back in 2000. She was EXTREMELY qualified (she was a prodigy throughout her life and probably the smartest person in politics even now), but the fact that she was a black woman certainly didn’t hurt.
    I don’t like the double standard where it’s okay to talk about race sometimes, but not at other times.

    Atheose May 27, 2009, 11:39 am
  • Did race ever come up with Roberts, Alito?
    Race and gender ALWAYS come up with women, non-whites. They are always used as the prime motive. It’s remarkably cynical, often hypocritical. That’s the biggest problem.

    SF May 27, 2009, 11:54 am
  • You’re being naive or willfully ignorant if you don’t think that was the prime motive. Every person on the short list was a woman.
    That’s not a value judgment. But it’s certainly a big part of the politics, especially since Obama would like to improve his standing with women and Hispanics.

    Rob May 27, 2009, 11:59 am
  • Who here is saying it’s his PRIMARY motive for nominating her? Nobody is saying he did this solely to win the Hispanic vote.
    Pretending that Obama is colorblind is stupid. Race matters in politics, and the fact that she’s Hispanic certainly entered Obama’s mind. It wasn’t the primary reason he picked her, but if she’s as qualified as the other candidates then what’s wrong with diversifying things? It’s a great fringe benefit to promoting someone who is otherwise as qualified as the white men that could have been picked.

    Atheose May 27, 2009, 12:00 pm
  • Well I guess Rob and I are saying slightly different things. But the overall point is the same. Nobody is colorblind, nor should they be. The diversity in the United States is an asset that other countries do not have. Pretending that SCOTUS appointees are chosen solely on the basis of professional experience is naive.

    Atheose May 27, 2009, 12:03 pm
  • I agree. But I do wish she were exceptional rather than typical. Roberts and Scalia are exceptional. Souter, Thomas, and Ginsburg are typical. Marshall was exceptional.
    I voted for Obama because he was clearly the best choice, irrespective of race. I don’t think this choice meets that threshold where she’s so good her identity doesn’t matter. We’re not at that point yet, but I hope sometime in my life we will be.

    Rob May 27, 2009, 12:15 pm
  • I am certain Obama picked her because she is a she. I am certain he picked her because she is Hispanic. I am certain he picked her because she is bright. I am certain that all of these things are valid reasons to pick someone.
    The point being that the idea that she is an objectionable choice because she is Hispanic, a woman, is hypocrisy. Not saying that anyone here is saying this, but what the GOP noise machine is already purveying is that she is not qualified and only chosen because she represents a race, a gender. Rush Limbaugh has already loudly called her a “racist”, and Obama a “reverse racist”, and Michael Steele and other GOP elected officials have followed suit. There’s a reason they are marginalized, and it isn’t because they are underappreciated.

    SF May 27, 2009, 12:17 pm
  • Under what auspices is Roberts “exceptional”? That he smartly advocates executive power and the perpetuation of existing power structures, that he is articulate and can cohesively argue against the power of the individual against the state, the status quo? Why is this exceptional? To me it is typical, predictable, self-serving. It isn’t exceptional; in fact, it’s the opposite of that.
    I suggest reading Glenn Greenwald, or a number of other legal scholars who have all attested to Sotomayor’s intellectual excellence.

    SF May 27, 2009, 12:19 pm
  • Nobody here is saying that, so please don’t lump our opinions in with right-wing conservative talk radio. I may be a Republican, but I am nowhere near the likes of Limbaugh or Nancy Grace.

    Atheose May 27, 2009, 12:24 pm
  • Yes, but look at what you called it a “noise machine”. And that’s exactly what it is. They’re shooting themselves but the GOP, i.e. the people that actually have to compete in elections, won’t bite. Even Sessions is backing away from a fight.
    Politically it was a brilliant pick. I’m just not convinced it was the best pick. Ricci stands out for me and I’ll be interested in what she has to say on the matter.

    Rob May 27, 2009, 12:27 pm
  • By all accounts, Roberts controls the debate. As Chief, he damn well should. But I have little doubt that his legal acumen helps.
    More to the point: Who would you say is exceptional on this Court? Anyone on the left? I don’t think she’s going to be a counterweight to Scalia.
    I read, and appreciate, Greenwald, esp his analysis of the Rosen smearjob. But he’s not exactly unbiased.
    My own politics are more libertarian. The one decision that pissed me off the most in my lifetime? Kelo. That was the left of the Court and Sotomayor has previously sided with companies over individuals, the most notable being The New York Times against freelancers.

    Rob May 27, 2009, 12:33 pm
  • I have no problem with reading a biased opinion. In fact, Greenwald isn’t an enormous Sotomayor fan, from reading him.
    Greenwald is a pit bull, and I don’t always agree with him. But he has standards, high ones, regarding the intellectual honesty of debate, and for that I love reading him.
    I also know that I don’t really know enough to know who is exceptional and who isn’t. I know about those who have reputations for intellectual brilliance (Scalia chief among them), and I find him to be a pretty despicable person, at least in terms of the decisions he has made and the comments he has made off the bench. So I have become quite skeptical that intellectual brilliance = qualification. Intellectual curiosity is more important to me than pure intellect, though obviously they are somewhat related.
    And Ath, I made it pretty clear I wasn’t lumping anyone in here with the noise machine, I wrote that explicitly. I do worry that the talking points of the right end up mainstreamed; you can see it in the way CNN, MSNBC during the hours of 11pm-8pm all service this type of story, the soundbites their chyrons and crawls offer up. I for one am enjoying the circular firing squad that is the GOP, it couldn’t happen to bigger bunch of small-minded people. The world has changed around them and they have little desire or knowledge about how to deal with it.

    SF May 27, 2009, 12:42 pm
  • Read Roberts’ wikipedia entry:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_G._Roberts
    Havard Law, clerk for Rehnquist, 39 cases argued before the Supreme Court, etc.
    Then read Sotomayor’s:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonia_Sotomayor
    The difference is telling.

    Rob May 27, 2009, 12:47 pm
  • Scalia gets his reputation, I think, from his opinions. They’re forceful. He’s a forceful personality. When you’re one of nine, that’s very important.

    Rob May 27, 2009, 12:53 pm
  • “The difference is telling”
    Not sure what you are getting at. The clerking is something, but Roberts also spent 14 years in private practice, while Sotomayor was an ADA. Roberts was the ME of the Harvard Law Review, while Sotomayor was the editor of the Yale Law Review.
    Different people, different worldviews. Not sure I see the point in comparing them apples-to-apples.
    Every appointment like this has political calculus. I am curious to know how this will affect the next court pick, as Obama is likely to have at least one more, maybe two. I can’t imagine he will pick someone just like SS with his next tab, if he gets one. My guess is that he will strive for variety, and left-of-center variety. He is continuing to fulfill his campaign promises, that’s admirable.

    SF May 27, 2009, 12:58 pm
  • 39 cases argued before the Supreme Court is what specifically stood out for me. Thurgood Marshall argued 32 (and won 29).
    Many folks serve as ADAs. Only a select few argue cases in the majors.
    I think she’s fine. But for a balanced Court I think we need better than fine. Still, let’s see how she defends Ricci. If anything could torpedo her, it’s that case.
    Agreed on Obama. He’s exactly what he said he was going to be.

    Rob May 27, 2009, 1:05 pm
  • For those interested, this is an excellent resource, source of information.
    http://www.scotusblog.com/wp

    SF May 27, 2009, 1:15 pm
  • Great link SF.

    Atheose May 27, 2009, 1:24 pm
  • Um….go yankees???

    krueg May 27, 2009, 2:29 pm
  • Asking whether race came up in the Roberts/Alito nominations: No, it obviously did not, but gender did because Alito was replacing O’Connor.
    I am curious as to the huge number of Catholics on the court, relatively speaking. Is there a relationship there? The fact that moore justices come from the appellate courts of the Northeast, where there are far more Catholics in general?
    I am unconvinced by arguments that a justice needs to have a huge amount of previous legal experience. The court only recently has come to represent the big leagues to the appellate courts’ minor-league system. In previous decades and centuries, plenty of justices with a knowledge of law came immediately from other branches of government entirely — including William H. Taft, the only POTUS turned SCOTUS. If anything, Sotomayor will have a diversifying effect in more ways than just race and gender. She’ll also bring a little more real-world experience (is the only justice to have actually served on a trial court? I think so), which frankly is a needed voice, given the lifetime tenure and relative seclusion expected of the sitting justices.

    Paul SF May 27, 2009, 3:00 pm
  • > Scalia gets his reputation, I think, from his opinions. They’re forceful. He’s a forceful personality. When you’re one of nine, that’s very important.
    Or statistically consistent.

    attackgerbil May 27, 2009, 4:20 pm

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