Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

No unilateral disarmament in the Senate: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sent signals Sunday that the option of a filibuster of Judge Sonia Sotomayor was on the table, without committing to exercising that option. McConnell echoed the measured words of other Republican lawmakers, but said Senate Democrats had established the precedent of filibustering judicial nominees during the Bush administration. ‘I think it’s entirely too early to tell,’ McConnell said of the chances of a filibuster on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ Sunday morning. ‘I think the precedent has been firmly established.’” Set by then Senator Barack Obama, in fact.

Others are discovering that looking at the “wise Latina” comment as part of the entire 2001 speech doesn’t help Sotomayor. Steve Chapman: “On the contrary, it fit neatly into her overall argument, which was that the law can only benefit from the experiences and biases that female and minority judges bring with them. She clearly thinks impartiality is overrated.”

Not an Onion headline: “Democrats differ on ‘wise Latina’ defenses.” No really:  her backers are “struggling to come up with a coherent line of defense.” She was joking. No, she misspoke. Maybe she changed her mind? Oy.

“Context” on the Ricci case doesn’t help Sotomayor either. As John McCormack observes: “Sotomayor may have not wanted unqualified firefighters to be elevated to the position of captain and lieutenant–she simply wanted less qualified firefighters to be placed in charge of the lives of other men in the interests of racial diversity.”

Ruth Marcus has figured out that the president’s spin on Sotomayor’s speech is bunk.

Lindsay Graham strikes the right tone: respectful, skeptical and taking full note of the Obama precedent of filibustering Supreme Court justices. And, yes, he slyly suggests an “apology” is in order from Sotomayor on the “wise Latina” speech. But here’s the rub: ”As an Illinois senator, Obama voted against both of President Bush’s Supreme Court nominees not because he did not believe they were not qualified but disagreed with their legal philosophy. Graham said if he used Obama’s reasoning he would find it tough to vote for Sotomayor.”

One for the “president’s popularity doesn’t mean his policies are popular” file: “Only 21% of voters nationwide support a plan for the government to bail out General Motors as part of a structured bankruptcy plan to keep the troubled auto giant in business. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 67% are opposed to a plan that would provide GM with $50 billion in funding and give the government a 70% ownership interest in the company.”

Is it time for a “change” on our North Korea policy? “The U.S. is now working to secure a fresh U.N. sanctions resolution, and good luck making that stick. North Korea has never honored any commitment, or abided by any convention, or respected any international law. And until some very clear signal is sent by the U.S. and its allies that they will not be gulled again by the allure of negotiations, it never will.”