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Pro-con on Sotomayor

APTOPIX Obama Supreme CourtAlthough Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor must withstand scrutiny from the Senate, barring some unlikely revelation of impropriety she should be confirmed expeditiously, in time to join the court for its fall term. Sotomayor satisfies President Obama's criteria: experience, erudition and, as he put it, "a common touch and a sense of compassion, an understanding of how the world works and how ordinary people live." Conservatives pounced on the empathy standard, arguing that it conflicted with a judge's oath to "do equal right to the poor and to the rich." But Obama's point was that the court benefits when justices have a lived experience of the law rather than a more abstract appreciation for doctrine. Sotomayor's experiences as a Hispanic raised in a housing project who went on to excel at Princeton and Yale don't in themselves qualify her for the court. They do, however, complement her sterling credentials and equip her with perspectives that could illuminate legal issues that come before her. So does her experience as a trial judge, applying the often abstract rulings of the Supreme Court to particular cases. None of the eight justices she would join has comparable experience. — Los Angeles Times editorial

With his nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court, President Obama has abandoned all pretense of being a post-partisan president. While he may like to think of himself as a thoughtful moderate soaring above the issues that divide America, his actions reveal what hides under that hopeful lining. Presidents usually nominate judges that espouse their philosophy. So what does this nomination tell us about Obama's true colors? Even the liberal establishment worries that Sotomayor tilts too far to the left. New Republic essayist Jeffrey Rosen reports that fellow liberals who have watched or worked with her closely "expressed questions about her temperament, her judicial craftsmanship, and . . . (they have said) she is 'not that smart and kind of a bully on the bench.'" A suspiciously high number of her decisions have been overruled by higher courts. Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network said that record shows "she is far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal activist Supreme Court." Sotomayor seems to be the most radical person ever nominated for the high court. To continue to command public respect, the Senate will have to ask her some hard questions. The simplest one to ask will be the hardest one for her to answer: Given her statements against whites and males, can she be fair to all Americans? — Washington Times editorial