May 26, 2009

ILYA SOMIN ON THE SOTOMAYOR PICK: “My general sense is that she is very liberal, and thus likely to take what I consider to be mistaken positions on many major constitutional law issues. I am also not favorably impressed with her notorious statement 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.’ Not only is it objectionable in and of itself, it also suggests that Sotomayor is a committed believer in the identity politics school of left-wing thought. Worse, it implies that she believes that it is legitimate for judges to base decisions in part based on their ethnic or racial origins. . . . On the plus side, Sotomayor does meet the minimal professional qualifications for nomination to the Supreme Court. Her ten years of service on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ensures that. At the same time, her record is far less impressive than that of most other recent nominees, such as Roberts, Alito, Breyer, and Ginsburg. Each of these was a far more prominent and better-respected jurist than Sotomayor, and Breyer and Ginsburg were leaders in the development of their respective fields of law. Sotomayor also seems far less impressive than Diane Wood and Elena Kagan, reputedly her top rivals for this nomination.”

Plus, thoughts from Roger Kimball.