Ben Buchwalter


Soaring Toward Confirmation?
May 27, 2009, 2:02 am
Filed under: 2010 and 2012, Republicans, Supreme Court

My first reaction to Obama’s decision to nominate Sonia Sotomayor to fill Justice David Souter’s Supreme Court seat was “this guy has balls.” Conservatives consider her very liberal (though she’s actually not) and she has been on record saying that federal judges make policy, which some could say is a clear indication that she would be an activist judge.

But so far the nomination looks like  a clear win for Team Obama.  Oddly enough, if a white man with the same voting record who had made such comments on the record were up for the spot, he would probably face more opposition. But the GOP is doing so poorly with women and minorities, that they might not be able to risk opposing Sotomayor in fear that those demographics would abandon them entirely in 2010 and 2012.

Brian Beutler notes that none of Obama’s appointments have so far been successfully blocked by Republicans. That reasoning is a little sketchy because even though Daschle and Richardson withdrew for “personal reasons,” it seems pretty well accepted that they would have faced long confirmation battles and damaged Obama’s political momentum. But Brian’s point emphasizes the fact that Obama remains an incredibly popular President who has yet to make a serious mistake. Opposing his nominee would be politically dangerous no matter who it was.

I was definitely gearing up for an all out offensive from the GOP against Obama’s SCOTUS nominee, but it looks like Team Obama made another politically shrewd choice by daring the GOP oppose Sotomayor. It’s also worth noting that seven current Republican Senators voted to confirm Sotomayor when she was nominated by Bill Clinton as a federal judge in 1998.  So if all the Democrats support her in addition to those seven Senators who liked her a decade ago, she would be easily above the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster. So hard-line Conservatives in congress could have little to no sway over Sotomayor’s confirmation.

So unless we learn that Sotomayor once killed a man or is secretly a terrorist, it seems that we will be talking about Justice Sotomayor, the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice, before long.

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