Monday, May 4, 2009

And the nominee is?

The ink was barely dry on David Souter's retirement announcement when liberals, conservatives, black folks, gay folks, Hispanics and women's rights advocates – just to name a few – started weighing in on what sort of person should replace Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court. Conservatives are worried that President Obama will nominate someone so far to the left that he or she would make Nancy Pelosi look like Jesse Helms. Liberals, of course, are looking for exactly that sort of person. Hispanics want a Hispanic. Black people want someone who looks like them. Gay-rights leaders pine for a homosexual justice. And women think Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should have some company in the girl justice locker room. Obama finds himself in a position in which no matter what he does, a whole lot of people are going to find fault with him. One person who might make at least two groups happy is Judge Sonia Sotomayor, above left, a jurist on the federal 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City. She's a woman, clearly, and also a Hispanic. In addition, she's considered a moderate, which might tamp down the expected firestorm of opposition from Republicans. If she had a handicap of some sort, she might be a shoo-in. I'm not trying to make light of people with handicaps, but I do believe that political correctness and pandering to interest groups has gone too far when it comes to filling sensitive positions at the highest levels of our government. The president's appointments to his Cabinet were, in my opinion, fairly lackluster. Some seemed politically motivated, rather than aimed at putting the most qualified person in the post. Would it be wrong to simply name someone with impeccable credentials and standing as a legal scholar to fill Souter's position, no matter what that person's political bent might be? Of course it wouldn't be wrong, but that's not how it works. The most recent President Bush nominated two strongly conservative judges – John Roberts and Samuel Alito - to fill court vacancies, and he pretty much dared Democrats to do anything about it. He even had the gall to nominate the clearly unqualified Harriet Miers to the post that eventually went to Alito. Democrats are expecting Obama to defend their turf. In other words, with the liberal Souter stepping down, only another liberal will do as his replacement on a court that is precariously balanced between liberal and conservative viewpoints. But how can Obama be sure that his liberal appointee will remain a liberal once on the high court? He can't. Just ask the elder President Bush how that Souter appointment worked out. It will be years before Obama's first high-court pick can be evaluated. I guess we should just hope, in the short term, that the person paid taxes and didn't have an undocumented Honduran maid living in the spare bedroom.

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Blogger Harry Funk said...

Judge Sotomayor is known to baseball fans as forcing the settlement that ended the 1994-95 strike. The owners were prepared to stay the course in pursuit of a salary cap, but her ruling, in effect, ruled out that possibility.

May 4, 2009 at 5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just when I think you are clinically insane you post something that makes perfect sense.

May 4, 2009 at 7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She been berry, berry bad to baseball ...

May 4, 2009 at 8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any descendants of Judge Roy Bean around?

May 4, 2009 at 8:57 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

To the second poster: I am clinically insane. Just a rare moment of clarity, maybe?

May 5, 2009 at 7:17 AM  
Blogger Dale Lolley said...

He, of course, can't nominate just any black, Hispanic, homosexual, crippled woman. Remember what we learned from the Clarence Thomas hearings.

May 6, 2009 at 12:53 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

What we learned (actually, we learned it way before Thomas, but it was reinforced) is that politics plays a huge role in this process, to the detriment of the court and the country. Even if Obama nominates a person broadly considered to be a moderate, the howls will emanate from the far right reaches of the Republican Party, and also from the far left reaches of the Democratic Party. Moderation is not acceptable to these people.

May 6, 2009 at 6:31 AM  

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