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  • Rob Will

Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor has officially been sworn in as the new U.S. Supreme Court Justice. I’ve been paying close attention to the media coverage of Sotomayor and it seems the press — including to my great disappointment the leftist independent media — have failed to address some of the vital issues concerning the new Justice.

So many on the left seem to be interested in solely applauding the fact that Ms. Sotomayor is the first female Latina appointed to the court. In some detached, abstract manner I suppose that is indeed a good thing. But what of her previous judicial actions and her overall judicial philosophy? The sad fact is that concerning the former and the latter, Sonia Sotomayor is arguably farther to the right than Justice David H. Souter who she is replacing. Indeed, Sotomayor makes Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg look like a red-flag waving radical. At best Sotomayor could be considered a center-right moderate.

The Washington Post reporter E.J. Dionne made a good observation when Sotomayor was first nominated: “Republicans would be foolish to fight the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court because she is the most conservative choice that President Obama could have made. And even though they should support her confirmation, liberals would be foolish to embrace Sotomayor as one of their own because her record is clearly that of a moderate. It is highly unlikely that she will push the court to the left. Indeed, on many issues of concern to business, she is likely to make the Chamber of Commerce perfectly happy.”

So why have the Republicans and right-wing pundits been tenaciously lambasting Sotomayor, acting as if she is the embodiment of leftist “judicial activist” villainy? Political posturing, plain and simple. If Obama would of nominated The Great Law Giver Moses to the Supreme Court, they’d be doing the same thing. Being that I’m in good ole Texas my radio picks up a seemingly endless pandemic stream of right-wing talk shows. At this point, I suppose that I must admit to engaging in persistent, voyeuristic debauchery — I listen to such shows quite often. On the day that Sotomayor was nominated, I was glued to my radio, flipping through the dial catching all news concerning her. The right-wing pundits seemed perfectly happy with Sotomayor’s nomination, calling her “the most conservative judge Obama could have picked.” Only after the official Republican party line was drawn, denoting Sotomayor as a ‘radical leftist judicial activist’ — did the conservative Republican punditocracy pick up the “down with Sotomayor!” banner.

This campaign really has nothing to do with Sotomayor. It’s all about opposing Obama in every manner imaginable, on every possible issue. And why did Obama choose Sotomayor? One can only assume that he did so in “the spirit of bipartisanship.” Although, I’m starting to think that Obama’s modus operandi is centered around making theatrically appealing gestures that have no relation to bringing forth tangible, positive, social change.

Being that I’ve already admitted to the degradative activity of listening to the right-wing talk-shows, I suppose that the most persuasive Sophia, Lady of Truth and Wisdom, demands that I admit to another act of shame: blind Obama worship.

Yes, I was one of those hopeful souls who cheered “Go Obama, Go!” when he secured the Democratic presidential nomination. I was one of the twinkling-eyed masses who jumped up and down with overwhelming glee, filled with a sense of glorious triumph, when Obama won the Presidential election.

I had read much about his Life and I truly felt that he was engaged in a — and I hope I will be forgiven for using this term — Barakavellian, masterful, political strategy: Obama was playing the non-threatening bipartisan good guy so he could get into a position of major world political power, the position of President of the most powerful country in the world… And then… And then! Muuuhahahaaaa! — Barack Obama would valiantly fight to end all forms of oppression! He would remain unwavering and uncompromising in working to bring about True social change!

And one of the most important contributions he will make will be appointing at least one very liberal Justice to the Supreme Court! A Judge appointed for a Life-long term! Sí, se puede! Yes we can! …

Blame it on my Yoga-inspired overly positive outlook on Life and call me a foolish, starry-eyed liberal if you must but this is what I thought.

In the spirit of all fairness — or perhaps I should say in the spirit of infinite possibilities — we do not positively know what type of Justice Sonia Sotomayor will be. One can only hope that now that Sotomayor has been appointed to the highest court in the land, a position not subject to any form of recall, she will cast aside her moderate veil and reveal herself to be more liberal and push the court to the left.


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