Just days after President Obama’s decision to nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, one doesn’t have to look too hard to find an opinion on the subject. Advertisements supporting and opposing the nomination can already be found on television, and statements from dozens of organizations have already been released.
The Washington Post reports that conservative legal groups are attempting to define her as a judicial activist, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich going so far as to call her a racist. Charmaine Yoest of the conservative group Americans United for Life had this to say about the nominee: “There is no doubt that Judge Sotomayor’s philosophy is that she is not only a practitioner of activism, but a defender of it.”
Judge Sotomayor also has her share of supporters. Senator Leahy released a statement praising her for her work on the bench:
Judge Sotomayor has a long and distinguished career on the federal bench. She has been nominated by both Democratic and Republican presidents, and she was twice confirmed by the Senate with strong, bipartisan support. Her record is exemplary. Judge Sotomayor’s nomination is an historic one, and when confirmed she will become the first Hispanic Justice, and just the third woman to sit on the nation’s highest court.
Vice President Joe Biden praised the Sotomayor nomination as a “home run” because of her life story, arguing in an e-mail to supporters that as someone “herself born and raised in a South Bronx housing project — has summed up the American dream in her own incredible story and never once forgotten how the law affects our daily lives.”
Despite the backlash from conservative groups, it is generally expected that Judge Sotomayor will be confirmed, given the overwhelming majority Democrats enjoy in the Senate. In fact, Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has admitted that there is little chance of a filibuster, according to the Associated Press. However, he has promised to raise questions about what he calls “serious problems” regarding Judge Sotomayor.
“We have an absolute constitutional duty to make sure that any nominee, no matter what their background and what kind of life story they have . . . will be faithful to the law and not allow their personal views to influence decision-making,” Sen. Sessions said.
Initial polling also seems to favor her confirmation. Talking Points Memo discusses two new polls that show an overall favorable opinion of Judge Sotomayor from the general public.