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Cherry-Picking the Judge

If one factor has made me distance myself from the Gang of Idiots currently calling themselves the GOP, it has been the ridiculous and unncessary smears hurled against their political opponents.  Taking little quotes and exploding them beyond all measure; gathering tiny residues of a rumor in place of large rivers of fact; accusing opponents of the worst sort of motivations—that’s something liberals do, Goddammit.  The strength of conservatism, for a quarter of a century, lay in being confident in our point of view and letting the liberals make jackasses of themselves all on their own.  They excelled at that.

We’re seeing this ugly shrillness—or at least an echo of it—in the Sotomayor nomination.  No less than Karl Rove, who wouldn’t know the rule of law if it put him in a stress position, opines that Sotomayor will judge based on her empathy.  Contrast that with Greenwald, a constitutional lawyer who has actually argued a case before Sotomayor, describing her highly technical and narrow decision in the case he brought.  Then John Yoo, whose torture memos would get a first-year law student kicked out for incompetence, bashes her record and her empathy again.  Contrast that with Orin Kerr’s careful explanation of the role empathy plays in justice.  Then there’s Tom Tancredo, calling her a member of the Latino KKK.

We’re told she’s had three of five decisions overturned by SCOTUS—not told that SCOTUS overturns about 75% of the decisions they get anyway.  A random comment from eight year ago about “wise Latina women” suddenly indicates she’s a secret racist lunatic.  Read the relevant section of the actual speech here and judge for yourself.  To me, it’s just standard liberal blithering about “diversity” laced with enough caveats to render it all meaningless.

Sotomayor is liberal (although maybe not as liberal as some Dems would like).  But her record—her entire record, not two cases plucked from the larger sample—is not that of a radical.  Read the AP’s analysis here; read Walter Olson here.  Read about her disturbing Didden decision here (if you can call an unsigned one sentence dismissal a decision).  Read more about the Ricci case here.

Why do I care about this?  Not because I am afraid of hurting the delicate feeling of liberals, I can assure you.  I care because we only have so much ammunition we can throw at the liberals before the American Middle tunes us out.  Last year, the GOP got played like a violin by Barack Obama.  They screamed about Jeremiah Wright, they shouted about Bill Ayers, they tried to dig up dirt in his wife’s thesis, they called him a celebrity and an elitist.  They won every news cycle.  But when it came time to point out that Obama was filling oceans of spending with teacups of taxes, when it came time to point out that he was pulling health care numbers out of his ass, when it came time to point out his unswerving obedience to the unions ... no one was listening anymore.

Sonia Sotomayor does not cross me as the fire-breating, racist, unqualified, affirmative action picked, empathic, radical running dog crazy person that is drawing such shrillness.  We need to slow down.  Be patient.  Quietly gather our facts.  Discard pointless distractions like a meaningless speech.  Focus on the relevant, like her record.  Let Obama win today’s news cycle.

And then, when the hearings begin, question her as thoroughly and effectively as possible.  If she’s incompetent or crazy, a good hearing will make that very very obvious.  I would particularly like to see her grilled on the commerce clause.  Stick to what’s relevant, not what’s juicy.

Because if we don’t cut it out and focus on the task in hand, then Obama will send up someone really crazy next time.  And the public won’t be listening.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 05/28/09 at 07:07 PM in Politics Law, & Economics • Permalink

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