June 9, 2009

SHE'S RIGHT, IT'S HER PERSONAL LIFE THAT MATTERS, STUPID PARTY:

Cautious at Heart (DAVID BROOKS, 6/09/09, NY Times)

If you look at the whole record, you come away with the impression that Sotomayor is a hard-working, careful-though-unspectacular jurist whose primary commitment is to the law.

When Sotomayor left Yale, she didn’t take the route designed to reinforce her ideological dispositions. She became a prosecutor with District Attorney Robert Morgenthau in Manhattan. She told The Times in 1983 that in making this decision, she faced “a tremendous amount of pressure from my community, from the third-world community at Yale. They could not understand why I was taking this job.”

In the years since, she has not followed the easy course. More than any current member of the Supreme Court, she worked her way up through the furnace levels of the American legal system. And when she reached a position of authority, she did not turn herself into an Al Sharpton in robes.

She is quite liberal. But there’s little evidence that she is motivated by racialist thinking or an activist attitude.

Tom Goldstein of Scotusblog conducted a much-cited study of the 96 race-related cases that have come before her. Like almost all judges, she has rejected a vast majority of the claims of racial discrimination that came to her. She dissented from her colleagues in only four of those cases. And in only one of them did she find racial discrimination where they did not. Even with what she calls her “Latina soul,” she saw almost every case pretty much as they did.


The most distinctive thing about the Judge is that her personal life is completely empty. She's divorced with no children and supposedly her "best friends" tend to be whoever happens to be clerking for her. She's far more likely to be co-opted into the social milieu of the Court than to influence its rulings.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 9, 2009 7:35 AM
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