Go Ahead, Make My Day
May 29, 2009
The GOP’s opposition to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is laughable not just because there is little to their argument but because they fail to recognize that their prized wedge issues only increases the public perception of the GOP as the Southern White Man’s Party.
The Republican attack machine, using Sotomayor’s statements that her ethnicity would make her better able to understand discrimination claims and that courts are where policy is mad, is smearing her as a “racist” and “activist” judge. As an initial matter, the GOP is silent over the fact that conservative Justices Alito, Thomas and Scalia have made similar comments.
The more important fact, however, is had Republicans bothered to read the entire speeches quoted they would have seen that Sotomayor actually rejected both positions. In addition, her Republican colleagues on the bench have stressed that that she is a not a judicial activist.
It does not help the GOP that the anti-Sotomayor camp is being led by two white Southern men: former-Speaker Newt Gingrich, who once circulated a manual to Republicans that included a list of smear words, which they clearly still use; and the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican, Jeff Sessions, whose 1986 nomination to be a federal judge was rejected by that Committee because of his racist views (he considered NAACP to be “un-American”).
Jim is right: Judge Sotomayor should be carefully evaluated like any Supreme Court nominee. Unfortunately, the Republicans are more interested in cheap-shot politics than any serious review of the Judge’s record. By playing its antiquated, Southern strategy, the GOP will only increase Democrats’ advantage among women (13 percent) and Hispanics (36 percent)—which could mean the Republicans will get four more opportunities to learn from this mistake.