Sotomayor: Intellectual Firepower... or Foot-in-Mouth Disease?
Barack Obama told us he wanted his nominee to have “intellectual firepower,” supposedly meaning a first-rate legal mind. But there are some unresolved questions in that regard when it comes to Sotomayor.
Even liberals are questioning her qualifications. Consider an article written by legal journalist Jeffrey Rosen in the liberal New Republic. Rosen interviewed a number of individuals who had worked with or around Sotomayor in the 2nd District Court of Appeals, and he says:
1. “They expressed questions about her temperament, her judicial craftsmanship and... most of all, her ability to provide a liberal counterweight to the [Supreme Court’s] conservative justices...";
2. One law clerk described Sotomayor as “not that smart and kind of a bully on the bench... . She has an inflated opinion of herself, and is domineering during oral arguments, but her questions . . . don’t get to the heart of the issue”;
3. During one court session, an elderly jurist asked her; ”Will you please stop talking and let them [the litigants] talk?”
As for her legal opinions, Rosen adds: “although competent, [they are] viewed by former prosecutors as not especially clear or tight, and sometimes miss the forest for the trees.”
Finally, Sotomayor has a reputation for treating her appellate court colleagues – some of them far more distinguished than she – in a patronizing manner, for example... red-penciling their spelling on drafts.
Does Sotomayor talk too much and think too little? Is she someone who irritates law clerks, judicial colleagues, and litigants. Is she, at best, a marginal member of the Appellate Court?
In short, is she Supreme Court material?
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