FROM POLITICS DAILY:
Maybe it's time for a contrarian view. Is anybody else concerned about Sonia Sotomayor chanting that she simply follows the law? "It is very clear that I don't base my judgment on my personal experiences." Is she serious?
Perhaps it's just the subterfuge her White House handlers have concocted to deflect controversy over her "empathy" and her "wise Latina" construct, but what if she means it?
What if she genuinely feels that a Supreme Court justice should strictly adhere to "settled law" with no regard for society's changing mores and ethics, to say nothing of context? She argues that her cautious rulings as a judge show that she does just that. Thoroughness is a good thing. Timidity is not.
How many times have we been outraged when we find that the law stands in the way of fairness, sometimes in extreme ways? Shouldn't a "wise" member of the highest court in the land aggressively look for ways to right those legal wrongs?
Here's the contrarian part: Should a senator who considers him- or herself to be progressive vote against confirmation because she's not demonstrably "empathetic" and proud of it?
Also, will someone please explain why Sotomayor being curt to lawyers in her courtrooms is a negative? Setting aside the obvious point that vast numbers of us hold the entire profession to be deserving of nastiness, the job of attorneys is to represent their clients. Diversionary tactics are one of the time-honored ways they do that. Any judge worth his or her salt needs to exercise control. They often need to be abrupt about it. Anyone who's watched "Law and Order" knows that.
It wouldn't be a stretch, in fact, to conclude she has been inordinately polite to the senators who have been asking the same inane questions for several days now, in the same long-winded ways, to make the same points -- irrelevant points except for their real purpose, which is to satisfy one "base" or another.
Of course, she does have to be polite to them. After all, they're about to vote on whether she becomes a justice. Even though it seems to be a foregone conclusion, there's no sense rocking the boat.
Then, she joins the rest of the Supremes. She replaces David Souter, who was a bitter disappointment to conservatives. Will she be a similar one to those on the other side who expect her to hold Souter's place on the court's left flank?
Their best hope was that she was only kidding about how her beliefs and background should not help shape her decisions. And that she doesn't abandon all she learned in life. The pursuit of justice doesn't need still another heartless Justice.