Sotomayor and the Character Assassination Follies

We’ve launched another game of “Assassinate the Supreme Court Nominee’s Character.”

Nobody plays this game better than the Democrats. Just think back to Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. They went after Samuel Alito pretty hard and unjustly, too, though nothing stuck. 

But what Republicans are doing right now is way over the top, in my book. It disgusts me, in fact. They’re not attacking Sonia Sotomayor’s decisions, but her basic character.

  • She’s a racist.
  • She’s a bigot.
  • She’s an angry woman.
  • She’s treats other people badly.

Sotomayor is no racist. Republicans are taking one quote out of its context. If you read the whole text of what she said, it’s exactly what you would want someone in her position to say. But the right-wing pundits lack intellectual integrity. They aren’t interested in helping viewers get a true picture of this woman. They just want to destroy her reputation. And for no good reason. Because in the end, she WILL be confirmed. Yet both parties always feel duty-bound to destroy a nominees character and distort his/her record.

I wish we could just stop it.

None of the justices are bad people. They rose through the ranks because of their brilliance and competence (with or without help from political connections). They’ve distinguished themselves. All of them have issued rulings that angered people on the right and on the left. 

Sonia Sotomayor is not a conservative, certainly. But I’m not afraid of her, either (like Rush et al want me to be). I’m not afraid of any of The Nine. When you’re one of nine, any radical leanings get averaged out. I want diversity on the court. I would be afraid of having nine conservative justices, or nine liberals, or nine moderates. That wouldn’t be good for America. We’re a diverse country. The Court needs to reflect that diversity–not only in politics, but in gender and race. 

The Democrats won the election. One of the spoils is the privilege of nominating Supreme Court nominees. The lunatic left fringe of the Democratic Party wants a flaming liberal on the court. Instead, we’re getting a moderate liberal. I think Republicans should be content with that (and privately, they probably are).

And yet, we still go through this character assassination charade. Most Supreme Court nominees emerge relatively unscathed. Ginsburg, Breyer, Kennedy, Alito–they all endured fierce attacks from the opposition party, but who, now, can even remember what the charges were? I can’t. 

It would be nice if the Republicans could just say, “We’re okay with Sotomayor. She’s not who we would have picked, but it’s not our choice, because you won the election. Thanks for not choosing a radical liberal. We can live with this pick.”

But that’ll never happen. Instead, Sotomayor will endure months of unfair criticism from Republicans, who will make her sound like the absolute Worst Person in the World. But in the end, she’ll WILL become a Supreme Court justice, and she will serve my country well for many years. She won’t represent my views all of the time, but she will represent the views of many other Americans in this richly diverse country. 

But for now–she’s evil and must be destroyed. And when Republicans regain power and nominate someone, Democrats will do the same thing. 

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