Rewind the clock back a few years and recall the last change of a Supreme Court Justice. Then President George W. Bush nominated one of his friends—Harriet Miers—to the bench with problems on both sides of the aisle.
Judge Sotomayor—a judge with a much longer record in jurisprudence and who is about to enter the confirmation process—has poll numbers from the country that come close to that of Harriet Miers.
Forty-seven percent of respondents to the poll say they would like to see the U.S. Senate vote to confirm Sotomayor versus forty-percent who say they would not. In the final CNN poll taken before Miers withdrew her nomination, forty-three percent of respondents said the Senate should oppose her confirmation.
No other recent nominee, not even Robert Bork, whose own nomination under President Ronald Reagan was scuttled, faced public opposition this severe. In the last poll taken during the Bork confirmation fight, thirty-eight percent wanted to see him confirmed versus thirty-five percent who did not. [Sotomayor Enters Confirmation Process with Miers-Like Numbers, Now! Hampshire]
Now, to some extent this bothers me less than the fact that she is a liberal court justice who claims that she “knows better than the white guys” and who rules based on race. President Obama has the right to nominate whomever he chooses, and the role of the Senate is to advise and consent. This doesn’t mean rubber stamp, but it does mean that they should look into her record and let the President know the problems.
What’s also of concern is our recent desire to drag private citizens out into the limelight for a public flogging when they contradict an agenda that we have. Remember a certain plumber during the last election, whose private life was laid bare because he dared to question then Senator Obama. And now, the same type of thing is happening to the fire fighter in the case in which the Supreme Court overturned Justice Sotomayor:
Supporters of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor are quietly targeting the Connecticut firefighter who’s at the center of Sotomayor’s most controversial ruling.
On the eve of Sotomayor’s Senate confirmation hearing, her advocates have been urging journalists to scrutinize what one called the “troubled and litigious work history” of firefighter Frank Ricci. [Sotomayor backers urge reports to probe New Haven firefighter, McClatchy]
This is a new low. While it is in bounds to discuss the trial—or anything Sotomayor may have discussed in her ruling—it’s totally out of bounds to have reporters investigating the person to dig up dirt on him. That should have been done in court.
So, while it’s fine to have an opinion, and it’s fine to do research, the nominee and her belief system should be the one examined. That there was a case that she ruled inconsistent with the court on no one disagrees—and the issue should remain there.