Sources: Obama’s SCOTUS pick is federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor
Update – 10:58 AM: It’s official. Ed Morrissey has more.
The “official” announcement is due today at 10:15 AM ET, but the AP is already reporting “sources” as telling them that Obama’s pick for SCOTUS is federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayer:
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama tapped federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court on Tuesday, officials said, making her the first Hispanic in history picked to wear the robes of a justice.
If confirmed by the Senate, Sotomayor, 54, would succeed retiring Justice David Souter. Two officials described Obama’s decision on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement had been made.
Administration officials say Sotomayor would bring more judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice confirmed in the past 70 years.
Obama had said publicly he wanted a justice who combined intellect and empathy — the ability to understand the troubles of everyday Americans.
Democrats hold a large majority in the Senate, and barring the unexpected, Sotomayor’s confirmation should be assured.
If approved, she would join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman on the current court.
Sotomayor is a self-described “Newyorkrican” who grew up in a Bronx housing project after her parents moved to New York from Puerto Rico. She has dealt with diabetes since age 8 and lost her father at age 9, growing up under the care of her mother in humble surroundings. As a girl, inspired by the Perry Mason television show, she knew she wanted to be a judge.
A graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School, a former prosecutor and private attorney, Sotomayor became a federal judge for the Southern District of New York in 1992.
As a judge, she has a bipartisan pedigree. She was first appointed by a Republican, President George H.W. Bush, then named an appeals judge by President Bill Clinton in 1997.
Well, with this nomination, Obama has killed two political birds with one stone: He’s picked a Hispanic woman, which will be appealing to both Hispanics and women – those who worship at the altar of identity politics, anyway.
Which would include Sotomayor herself:
“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” — Judge Sonia Sotomayor, in her Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture at the University of California (Berkeley) School of Law in 2001
The above assertion and the rest of a remarkable speech to a Hispanic group by Sotomayor — widely touted as a possible Obama nominee to the Supreme Court — has drawn very little attention in the mainstream media since it was quoted deep inside The New York Times on May 15.
It deserves more scrutiny, because apart from Sotomayor’s Supreme Court prospects, her thinking is representative of the Democratic Party’s powerful identity-politics wing.
Sotomayor also referred to the cardinal duty of judges to be impartial as a mere “aspiration because it denies the fact that we are by our experiences making different choices than others.” And she suggested that “inherent physiological or cultural differences” may help explain why “our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”
So accustomed have we become to identity politics that it barely causes a ripple when a highly touted Supreme Court candidate, who sits on the federal Appeals Court in New York, has seriously suggested that Latina women like her make better judges than white males.
Indeed, unless Sotomayor believes that Latina women also make better judges than Latino men, and also better than African-American men and women, her basic proposition seems to be that white males (with some exceptions, she noted) are inferior to all other groups in the qualities that make for a good jurist.
Any prominent white male would be instantly and properly banished from polite society as a racist and a sexist for making an analogous claim of ethnic and gender superiority or inferiority.
Imagine the reaction if someone had unearthed in 2005 a speech in which then-Judge Samuel Alito had asserted, for example: “I would hope that a white male with the richness of his traditional American values would reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman who hasn’t lived that life” — and had proceeded to speak of “inherent physiological or cultural differences.”
Here’s more, from Wendy Long at NRO’s Bench Memos blog:
She reads racial preferences and quotas into the Constitution, even to the point of dishonoring those who preserve our public safety. On September 11, America saw firsthand the vital role of America’s firefighters in protecting our citizens. They put their lives on the line for her and the other citizens of New York and the nation. But Judge Sotomayor would sacrifice their claims to fair treatment in employment promotions to racial preferences and quotas. The Supreme Court is now reviewing that decision.
She has an extremely high rate of her decisions being reversed, indicating that she is far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal activist Supreme Court.
Sounds like just what we need. /sarc