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Contentions

Re: Banking on Biography

The Hill reports:

White House officials have assembled a squad of distinguished legal experts to rebut charges that Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s Supreme Court pick, is an intellectual lightweight who puts her political views ahead of the law.

White House advisers and allies have scrambled to repair the damage to Sotomayor’s reputation inflicted by an article published early this month in The New Republic, a left-leaning magazine, which painted Sotomayor as “not that smart.”

I don’t recall the need for such an effort in the John Roberts or Sam Alito nominations.

This is what comes from a roll-out that puts biography and personal anecdotes above all else. Well, actually this is what comes from choosing a judge who isn’t known for scholarship, has a reversal rate of 60% and has said some pretty wacky things. (Ed Whelan is doing the hard work of plowing through another Sotomayor speech and finds no evidence of deep thinking.)

It is a mistake for critics to accuse Sotomayor of being “dumb.” She completed law school and has been a sitting judge for eleven years so she’s not dim. But that’s not the test here. We’re talking about the Supreme Court. As Jonathan Turley said, a first class intellect should be the primary consideration for the Court. If that was the case here, I suspect that the Obama administration wouldn’t need a damage control team.


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