[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/27/sotomayor.problems/art.sotomayor.latino.jpg caption="Judge Sonia Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic woman to serve on the Supreme Court."]
Jeffrey Toobin | Bio
CNN Senior Legal Analyst
New Yorker Columnist
Sixth Catholic. Second woman. Third New Yorker. (First from the Bronx. Ruth Bader Ginsburg hails from Brooklyn, Antonin Scalia from Queens.) First Hispanic. It’s understandable and appropriate to examine Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court according to the customary demographic designations. And it’s interesting, too, to learn (as we will at great length) about her remarkable personal story. (Raised in a single-parent home, in a housing project; summa cum laude at Princeton; Yale Law School; prosecutor under Robert Morgenthau.)
But it’s worth noting that the things we talk about now, during the confirmation process, tend to mean little down the road, when it really counts. John Paul Stevens had the opposite of a hard-luck story. (Raised in a luxury hotel in Chicago—the Stevens Hotel.) The question about Anthony Kennedy was whether he had resigned at the appropriate time from a restricted club. The National Organization for Women put out a leaflet that said, “Stop Souter—Or Women Will Die.” All of this was either irrelevant or (as with Souter) simply wrong. Only on rare occasions do we learn things of real importance—as we did, in 1991, about Clarence Thomas.
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