May 27th, 2009
10:47 AM ET

Sotomayor pick not based on merit

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/26/borger.sotomayor/art.supremecourt.gi.jpg]

Ilya Shapiro
Special to CNN

In picking Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama has confirmed that identity politics matter to him more than merit. While Judge Sotomayor exemplifies the American Dream, she would not have even been on the short list if she were not Hispanic.

She is not one of the leading lights of the federal judiciary, and far less qualified for a seat on the Supreme Court than Judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland or Solicitor General Elena Kagan.

To be sure, Sotomayor has a compelling story: a daughter of working-class Puerto Ricans raised in Bronx public housing projects, diagnosed with diabetes at 8, losing her father at 9, accolades at Princeton and Yale Law, ending up on the federal bench.

Still, in over 10 years on the Second Circuit, she has not issued any important decisions or made a name for herself as a legal scholar or particularly respected jurist. In picking a case to highlight during his introduction of the nominee, President Obama had to go back to her days as a trial judge and a technical ruling that ended the 1994-95 baseball strike.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Tina Autry

    Another round of conservative dribble and partisian opinion displayed as facts. She is so much more qualified than chieif justice roberts its almost laughable. Lets go back and see what he had to say then. Hmmm let me guess. Roberts is brilliant, Bush is a great president, and Cheney never authorized torture.... I really believe this guys opinions.

    May 27, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  2. Jeanette

    sick and tired of the same old politics.....WHERE AND WHEN is the change??? right,,, like there ever was any change.

    May 27, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  3. Marian

    No matter who President Obama nominated to the Supreme Court, the Republicans will accuse the President of playing politics and all of the other negative things they can come up with. This is what they do and what seems to make them happy. If the conservatives think that the majority of Americans want a packed court of anti-abortion advocates, advocates of the death penalty, against same-sex marriage, guns in the hands of every one in the family, including the crazy family cousin they are courting a very unrealistic, antiquated way of thinking. This last election pretty much said it all.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  4. Beverly

    Apparently the Republicans have forgotten about the WH's nomination of Clarence Thomas????? (Did the fact that he's black have anything to do with it, or his conservatism???) With the Repubs it's do as I say – not as I did. To say President Obama is playing politics is the same as saying Dick Cheney didn't make any money off our solders' backs with Haliburton!!!

    May 27, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  5. Kathryn

    Talk about racist... this woman wouldn't have gotten the nom without being a hispanic woman with a hard knock tale? you people astound me, what's wrong with wanting ALL americans to be represented in the Supreme Court? our latin neighbors don't deserve representation in our governing bodies? grow up.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  6. Heather,ca

    Well what I think is most interesting about the process this time around is the technology we have and how quickly anything and everything she has said is making it to air before the process has even started. I'm a converative Dem and I find her various comments from the past very unsettling and I don't care about politics. The supreme court yes is a political appointment but those people are supposed to represent the constitution and all of us with out preconceived notions or personal opintions. I think her past will come to haunt her and with the internet that is entirely possible. I could care less about her beibg a women or Puerto Rican. She's an American , but she has issues, person problems with various people. Its obvious she is intelligent and has worked hard , but I have a real problem with her comments . Of course I don't think Obama has a clue what he's doing.

    May 27, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  7. SLM

    This can't be a surprise that Obama is making choices based on race/sex over qualifications. Guess discrimination is ok if you're president. Sotomayor will continue to discrimate as she has already proven by her decision. She is NOT a good choice. A supreme court justice is supposed to make their decisions based on the law, not personal opinion.

    May 27, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  8. Debbie

    This is nonsensical and disgusting. Bush nominates Hispanics and African-Americans but their race has NOTHING to do with it in the eyes of his detractors; when Obama does it, he is praised and applauded and the Republicans are expected to rubber stamp his brilliance.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  9. Melissa

    More hatred and vitriol from the far right. Don't you guys have anything to actually offer instead of just whining like children every time something happens that you don't like? Do your damned jobs, and no I don't just mean "whine and say no to everything Obama does because we aren't in power any more, whether it has merit or not".

    May 27, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  10. Mike in NYC

    @Michael C. McHugh:

    Conservatives are not all Republican operatives.

    You don't take him seriously simply because he's opposed to an Obama pick? That's some pretty lazy thinking on your part.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  11. Michael C. McHugh

    I meant to say, it's "his" job to make a case against any Democratic nominee, but as far as I can tell, she's at least as qualified as most of the others on there, and probably more so than some.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  12. Michael C. McHugh

    Well, he's from the conservative CATO Institute, so it's him job to make a case against anyone Obama nominates. I don't take that very seriously, and more than the fact that the conservative bloc on the Court didn't like some of her decisions. To me, that's all a plus, in fact.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  13. Barb Kvaal

    If Stomayor was hot Hispanic, female, and grew up like the President, she would not have been selected as a nominee. Review her decision in regard to the promotions for the fireman in New York. No minorities passed the next so no promotions were made – appealed to Second Circuit Court – she agreed with the denial of promotions. Is this not reverse discrimination??? What is going to happen in the Supreme Court??? Her statement that the Supreme Court makes policy is really scary for Americans. I believe that they should read and review the law and make sure that all Americans get a fair trial.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  14. Cindy

    Great article! It just goes to show that Obama is still doing nothing but playing politics! That's all he has ever done!!


    May 27, 2009 at 10:59 am |