The Reality: Sotomayor is a moderate, who sometimes makes liberal decisions that anger conservatives and sometimes makes conservative decisions that anger liberals, like ruling against abortion clinics in the “global gag rule” case, and the loathsome ruling that public schools can punish a student for free speech written on a blog off campus. My beef with that is the freedom-crushing precedent it set, opening the door to much more freedom squashing in the future.
But overall she’s a moderate “pragmatist,” in the Obama mold.
The Far-Right Crazy Land Place: As I reported yesterday, Glenn Beck suggested that empathy is bad and can lead to Naziism, so Obama’s “empathetic” judicial nominees should be rejected. Sean Hannity called her a “radical.” Rush Limbaugh compared her to David Duke. Some are concerned how “platos de arroz, gandoles y perni,” her Puerto Rican foods, will affect her judging, and Jeffrey Rosen in The New Republic allowed an anonymous source to attack Sotomayor as “not that smart” (because, obviously, doofuses can graduate summa cum laude from Princeton).
With the public opinion of Sotomayor high (polls show 45% of likely voters saying the Senate should confirm her, and only 29% who say they should not) this process will be more about trying the Republicans than her. How badly will they shoot themselves in the foot?