Supreme Cloister Amends David Souter appear his retirement beneath than a anniversary ago, but we already accept our aboriginal altercation in the activity to alter him: Jeffery Rosen’s commodity “The Case Adjoin Sotomayor,” appear on Monday in the New Republic.
Rosen’s article, the aboriginal in a alternation he affairs to address about the acceptable short-list candidates, opens with the an overview of Sotomayor’s activity adventure — “so compelling,” Rosen writes, “that abounding appearance her as the presumptive front-runner.”
She grew up in the South Bronx, the babe of Puerto Rican parents. Her father, a chiral laborer who never abounding aerial school, died a year afterwards she was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of eight. She was aloft by her mother, a nurse, and went to Princeton and again Yale Law School. She formed as a New York abettor commune advocate and bartering litigator afore Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan recommended her as a commune cloister appointee to the aboriginal President Bush. She would be the aboriginal Hispanic Supreme Cloister justice, if you don’t calculation Benjamin Cardozo.
Rosen again bound riffs through a few what-it’s-like-to-work-for-her anecdotes from her above clerks (she’s a “demanding but anxious boss” and treats her clerks “like her continued family”) afore affective on to the affection of his allotment — opinions from “a ambit of bodies who accept formed with her, about all of them above law clerks for added board on the Second Circuit or above federal prosecutors in New York.” None of it is positive:
Nearly all of them accustomed that Sotomayor is a presumptive front-runner, but about none of them raved about her. They bidding questions about her temperament, her administrative craftsmanship, and best of all, her adeptness to accommodate an bookish balance to the bourgeois justices, as able-bodied as a bright advanced alternative.
The best constant affair was that Sotomayor, although an able lawyer, was “not that acute and affectionate of a annoyer on the bench,” as one above Second Circuit agent for accession adjudicator put it. “She has an aggrandized appraisal of herself, and is arrogant during articulate arguments, but her questions aren’t biting and don’t get to the affection of the issue.” (During one argument, an aged administrative aide is said to accept leaned over and said, “Will you amuse stop talking and let them talk?”)
Rosen continues in this attitude for three added paragraphs, with angle on her opinions — “competent” but “not abnormally apple-pie or tight” — and “concerns about her command of abstruse accustomed details.”
He does adduce one agent who praises Sotomayor, but alike this animadversion has a ing-with-faint-praise feel:
“I apperceive the chat on the artery is that she’s not the brainiest of people, but I didn’t accept that experience,” said one above agent for accession judge. . . . “She’s a accomplished Second Circuit judge–maybe not the smartest ever, but how about are Supreme Cloister nominees the smartest ever?”
Rosen ends by advancement Obama to get the “complete picture” on Sotomayor afore “taking a gamble” on her, commodity Rosen tells us, in an odd disclaimer, he wasn’t able to do:
I haven’t apprehend abundant of Sotomayor’s opinions to accept a assured faculty of them, nor accept I talked to abundant of Sotomayor’s detractors and supporters, to get a absolutely counterbalanced account of her strengths. It’s accessible that the above clerks and above prosecutors I talked to accept an abridged account of her abilities.
Rosen’s commodity bound drew absorption and links. Posting at the Corner, the National Review’s accumulation blog, Mark Hemingway quoted a baby block of the anathema passages and again added: “Oof. So she’s impaired and obnoxious. Got it.” Which was followed by John Derbyshire’s rejoinder: “Mark: Adjudicator Sotomayor may absolutely be impaired and obnoxious; but she’s additionally changeable and Hispanic, and those are the things that calculation nowadays. Get with the program, Pal.”
Most of the absorption was not casual on Rosen’s reporting, however, but advancing it. At Salon, Rebecca Traister said Rosen’s commodity is a “primer on how we allocution about ladies aback they are up for big (and commonly male) jobs like actuality on the Supreme Court.”
It’s . . . unsurprising, but grossly familiar, that questions about Sotomayor’s bookish chops appear afterwards so abundant focus on how abundant an asset her accomplishments as an burghal Puerto Rican woman is to her Supreme Cloister prospects. It seems a about buried setup, if not by Rosen than by his sources, for an acknowledging activity insinuation: that she is abandoned in altercation for the SCOTUS bench — and apparently was abandoned at Princeton, and Yale, and at the Commune Attorney’s office, and on the 2nd Circuit, etc., etc. — because of her cachet as a minority.
At Dissenting Justice, Darren Lenard Hutchinson alleged Rosen’s commodity a “hatchet job” and took affair on several specifics. First, the association he did and did not allocution to:
It is cryptic why Rosen abandoned interviewed prosecutors and above clerks for added judges, rather than aegis attorneys, litigators, and Sotomayor’s own above clerks. But it does not booty a amount in statistics to apprehend that Rosen’s sample is acutely biased and limited. Although prosecutors do not authority compatible viewpoints, accustomed the across of attorneys who accept accomplished afore Sotomayor, Rosen’s absolute assurance on prosecutors is inexcusable.
Furthermore, clerks for added board do not accept the best adeptness to appraise Sotomayor. In fact, the use of clerks to actuate whether a adjudicator should accept a Supreme Cloister choice is acutely problematic. Best clerks accept aloof accelerating from law school, accept never approved a case or accomplished law, and do not accept acceptable acquaintance or adeptness of the law to accomplish an a appraisal of a judge. Accustomed these inherent weaknesses associated with a law clerk’s appraisal of a judge, Rosen’s assurance aloft law clerks who never formed for Sotomayor is a rather awkward and annoying way of evaluating her qualifications.
He additionally took affair with Rosen’s description of a comment in an appraisal in one of the cases Rosen discusses:
[Rosen] cites to a comment in an appraisal accounting by Adjudicator Ralph Winter, a chief adjudicator on the Second Circuit, which discusses a case that Sotomayor authored. Rosen says that the comment is “unusual” and that Adjudicator Winter finds that Sotomayor’s appraisal “might accept aback misstated the law in a way that addled litigants.”
Rosen’s affirmation is clearly untrue, and it grossly distorts the footnote’s language. Winter’s comment is not “unusual.” Instead, the comment chides attorneys for misreading Sotomayor’s cardinal and for aggravating to aggrandize the case above its holding. . . .
Rosen has absolutely biased Winter’s comment in adjustment to catechism Sotomayor’s adequacy as a judge, aback the comment absolutely criticizes the attorney’s confused assurance aloft the appraisal she authored. The cardinal at affair was absolutely decided.
Glen Greenwald at Salon alleged the commodity a smear:
Jeffrey Rosen’s New Republic apply of Sonia Sotomayor’s adeptness and appearance — based about abandoned on anonymous, chattering “sources” — is such a archetypal of shoddy, irresponsible, and (ironically enough) intellectually bank “journalism” that it care to be advised carefully. Continuing alone, it reveals absolutely a bit about anonymity-dependent “reporting” generally, The New Republic specifically, and how abundant of our political address is conducted.
Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic was agape by Rosen’s acceptance about his abridged advertisement and research:
I can’t get accomplished that line–mostly because, as Greenwald said yesterday, it drips with accidental irony–Rosen is advancing Sotomayor’s adeptness to do the all-important bookish heavy-lifting, while absolutely apathy to do any of his own. In this instance, his allotment reads like a burglar’s abrupt adjoin aggressive criminality. Authored mid-robbery, no less.
So was Eric Bohlert at Media Matters: “Isn’t it apparently a acceptable idea, journalism-wise, to do that [reaserch and reporting] afore publishing a take-down allotment that’s abounding with bearding quotes and is headlined, ‘The Case Adjoin Sotomayor’?”
On this accurate issue, Rosen has at atomic one accessible defender. Writing at the American Scene, Reihan Salam said it was acceptable of Rosen to accommodate his admonition and amiss for him to be attacked for it:
Rosen was actuality so alert and accurate that he accustomed his limitations in casual judgment, a acceptable and amenable affair to do, and his abasement is actuality acclimated as a lacerating bang adjoin him.
In accession to the abounding critiques of Rosen’s article, above assembly of Sotomayer accept amorphous dispatch advanced to acrylic a altered account of her: Rob Kar, one of her above clerks, dedicated her in a diffuse column at Prawfsblog; Gerard Magliocca, who interned for Sotomeyer aback she was a Commune Cloister adjudicator and after clerked for accession amends on the 2nd Circuit, does the aforementioned at Concurring Opinions. (In his post, Glen Greenwald additionally discusses his adventures afore Adjudicator Sotomayer.)
At Tapped, Adam Serwer said this accomplished adventure “makes the absolute case for why we still charge acknowledging action.”
This is absolutely what acknowledging activity is meant to correct: Bodies advancing to the approximate cessation that addition is “an idiot” admitting all affirmation to the contrary, except if you accede not actuality a white man evidence. Sotomayor’s detractors see themselves as Frank Riccis [the white firefighter denied a promotion], white men whose abundance isn’t accustomed because we’re too active giving amber bodies who can’t tie their shoes certificates of achievement. But the accuracy is that in activity and in employment, bigotry rarely manifests itself the way it did adjoin Ricci, as commodity as accessible to quantify as an arbitrary test. It’s far added insidious — a rumor, a feeling, a angle that the being continuing in advanced of you who doesn’t attending like you is aloof “dumb and obnoxious.” So you bandy their resume in the “no” accumulation because you don’t like their name, you bench them in the aback of the class, you advance accession person. You aloof can’t absolutely explain why. It’s… aloof a feeling.
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