* Stuart Taylor in National Journal -- ...So accustomed have we become to identity politics that it barely causes a ripple when a highly touted Supreme Court candidate, who sits on the federal Appeals Court in New York, has seriously suggested that Latina women like her make better judges than white males.
Indeed, unless Sotomayor believes that Latina women also make better judges than Latino men, and also better than African-American men and women, her basic proposition seems to be that white males (with some exceptions, she noted) are inferior to all other groups in the qualities that make for a good jurist.
Any prominent white male would be instantly and properly banished from polite society as a racist and a sexist for making an analogous claim of ethnic and gender superiority or inferiority...
* David Limbaugh -- True to form, President Barack Obama -- in his remarks introducing his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor -- said he was doing one thing while doing the exact opposite. He articulated his criteria for the optimal nominee yet chose someone who falls squarely outside those criteria -- as best we can tell.
But what's all the fuss? A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little conservative minds. Obama's mesmerized audiences are not supposed to pay attention to the meaning and context of his words, only to their aesthetic appeal and to the tonal qualities and modulation in his voice.
Obama said a Supreme Court nominee's two most important qualities are her rigorous intellect and mastery of the law and her recognition of the limits of the judicial role -- that a judge's job is to interpret law, not to make it.
Then came the "but," the exception that imperceptibly swallowed the rule. He quoted former Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes as saying, "The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience." In other words: "Forget what I just said about how judges should interpret, not make, the law. I want my judges to have empathy. And don't tell anyone, but when I say 'empathy,' that's code for bending the law to achieve the results I want based on the selective empathy I have for certain victimized groups." ...
* Ken Blackwell -- Judge Sonia Sotomayor... is one of only three federal appellate judges in America to issue a court opinion saying that the Second Amendment does not apply to states. The case was Maloney v. Cuomo, and it came down this past January.
That means if Chicago, or even the state of Illinois or New York, wants to ban you from owning any guns at all, even in your own house, that’s okay with her. According to Judge Sotomayor, if your state or city bans all guns the way Washington, D.C. did, that’s okay under the Constitution...
* Michelle Malkin -- Since when did securing a Supreme Court seat become a high hurdles contest? The White House and Democrats have turned Second Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination into a personal Olympic event. Pay no attention to her jurisprudence. She grew up in a Bronx public housing project. She was diagnosed with childhood diabetes at 8. Her father died a year later.
And, oh, by the way, did you hear that she was poor?
It's a "compelling personal story," as we heard 20,956 times on Tuesday. Sotomayor's a "real" person. Why, she even read Nancy Drew as a young girl, President Obama told us. She's "faced down barriers, overcome the odds and lived out the American dream that brought her parents here so long ago," Obama said.
If Sotomayor were auditioning to be Oprah Winfrey's fill-in host, I'd understand the over-the-top hyping of her life narrative. But isn't anybody on Sotomayor's side the least bit embarrassed by all this liberal condescension?
Republicans are not allowed to mention Sotomayor's ethnicity lest they be branded bigots, but every Democrat on cable television harped on her multicultural "diversity" and "obstacle"-climbing. Obama made sure to roll his r's when noting that her parents came from Puerrrrto Rrrrico...
* Jonah Goldberg -- Obama says law and precedent should determine rulings in "95 percent of the cases." But in the really hard and important cases, justices should go with their heart. "In those cases, adherence to precedent and rules of construction and interpretation will only get you through the 25th mile of the marathon. That last mile can only be determined on the basis of one's deepest values, one's core concerns, one's broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one's empathy."
Now, keep in mind that 5 percent of Supreme Court cases isn't everything, but it's nearly 100 percent of what we argue about as a country. For the hard cases Americans care most about, Obama says empathy should rule.
So, what's wrong with empathy?
Well, nothing. Empathy is a fine thing, and all decent people should employ it, including Supreme Court justices.
But Obama has something specific in mind when he talks about empathy. He wants the justice's oath to in effect be rewritten. Judges must administer justice with respect to persons, they must be partial to the poor, and so on.
I don't think this is open to much debate. When Obama voted against Chief Justice John Roberts' confirmation, he said that Roberts didn't have the "heart" to vote the right way in those 5 percent of cases. Rather than Roberts the Cruel, Obama explained, "we need somebody who's got the heart -- the empathy -- to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old -- and that's the criteria by which I'll be selecting my judges." Cue Sotomayor the Empathic.
The reasoning here is a riot of dubious assumptions. Obama and Sotomayor both assume that a firsthand understanding of the plight of the poor or the African-American or the gay or the old will automatically result in justices voting a certain (liberal) way. "I would hope," Sotomayor said in 2001, "that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." This is not only deeply offensive, it is also nonsense on stilts. Clarence Thomas understands what it is like to be poor and black better than any justice who has ever sat on the bench. How's that working out for liberals?...