Republicans In Bad Faith

It’s been less than 48 hours since President Barack Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton and got her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Judge Sotomayor has been a federal judge for nearly 17 years–she has more federal judicial service under her belt than any other sitting Supreme Court Justice had when they were nominated.

But here we are, less than 2 days from her nomination, and conservatives have smeared Sotomayor as “incompetent”, “unqualified”, “racist”, “sexist”, “bigoted”, a “judicial activist”, etc.

Republicans are ignoring Judge Sotomayor’s long, accomplished academic career and longer, more accomplished judicial career in order to launch superfluous political smears based on nothing substantive.

The GOP isn’t even saying they’re going to reserve their judgment until Judge Sotomayor testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee. They have had nearly no time to review her record as a federal judge, yet they have already declared her unfit to serve on the Supreme Court.

Where is all this unwarranted, unprecedented hostility coming from? This exchange between MSNBC’s David Shuster and Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton explains it all:

David Shuster: “What evidence do you have that she would put her feelings and politics above the rule of law?”

Tom Fitton: “Because President Obama chose her.”

Judge Sotomayor is absolutely, undeniably qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, period.  I doubt conservatives will find anything substantive in her judicial record–if they even get around to looking at it–that will undermine that.

(I mean, it’s not like Judge Sotomayor voted to uphold police strip-searches of children, unlike Judges Roberts and Alito did in Hedgepeth v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and Doe v. Groody, respectively)

Republicans are acting in bad faith, period. They would have tried equally hard to torpedo anyone President Obama appointed to the Supreme Court, no matter what their record, accomplishments, or judicial philosophy were.

And, in all likelihood, if the GOP goes to the bat to oppose Sonia Sotomayor, they will fail. In the past 30 years, only 3 Supreme Court nominees have failed to make it to the high court, and only one of those was rejected; the other two withdrew their names from consideration.

Plus, the GOP is extraordinarily weakened–they have only 40 Senators, meaning that they would have to maintain total party unity to successfully filibuster Judge Sotomayor, an extraordinarily unlikely prospect.  And with only 7 seats on the Judiciary Committee–as opposed to the Democrats’ 12–it’s extremely unlikely they’ll be able to block her in committee, either.

So, with all probability, despite the GOP’s sound and fury, Judge Sonia Sotomayor will be seated on the Supreme Court.  And if the GOP mounts an all-out defense, history will remember that the Republican Party attempted to filibuster the first Hispanic woman to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court–a woman who, in the end, won’t be much more liberal than the man she is to replace.