SCOTUS: Media Heathers Want To Talk “Character” Now

Well, why not just come out and say what you are really insinuating, NYTimes?

Judge Sotomayor’s sharp-tongued and occasionally combative manner — some lawyers have described her as “difficult” and “nasty” — raises questions about her judicial temperament and willingness to listen.

You want to know why those opposing Sotomayor keep raising this issue of "she’s a bitch on the bench?" (And how often have you seen this tack with a man.  Honestly.)

It’s because they know that a Heathers campaign is media catnip.

The titillating nature of junior high anonymous gossip mongering is so much more amusing and more easily understood by political reporters who don’t bother trying to comprehend legal intricacies. 

Having to wade through all those tedious legal opinions?  It’s hard work.  Forcing people to go on the record if they want to snipe?  Glenn’s been having a field day with this sort of idiocy, and for good reason.

It’s just easier to pass notes in class and knife someone in the back anonymously, isn’t it?

The fact that Sotomayor can hold her own during questioning, and doesn’t stand fools gladly in her courtroom makes her, by implication in far too many articles at this point, a bitch. Perusing just the right-wing PR releases on Sotomayor’s nomination shows their intention to reinforce that with the press because they know it’s a tantalizing hook for our People Magazine media culture. Let’s just take one example from Ed Whelan:

President Obama abided by his dismal and lawless “empathy” standard and, in his selection of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, picked a nominee whom he can count on to indulge her own liberal biases. Sotomayor’s outrageous shenanigans in Ricci v. DeStefano—the case now awaiting a ruling by the Supreme Court in the next four weeks or so—shows what the Obama “empathy” standard means in practice….

She "indulges her liberal biases," and an opinion in which she participated as one of several judges equals Sotomayor’s "outrageous shenanigans." (See this summary from Hilzoy on why that’s laughable.)

Does Ed always feel that way? I’m sure you’ll be shocked to know that Justice Scalia’s famously outspoken demeanor is a-okay with Ed:

…Scalia’s supporters say it is simply Nino being Nino, offering the public a playful taste of his unvarnished thinking, which they call healthy for the court.

"I think people have called for the justices to be less monastic and get out there and talk to the people, and he’s doing that," said M. Edward Whelan III, a former Scalia law clerk who heads the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington.

What’s wrong with Sotomayor being similarly outspoken like her fellow New Yorker Scalia? As Tom Fitton said, "Obama nominated her." And there you have it.

Maybe I should just take a Midol and calm down.  My female parts clearly make me so irrational and bitchy. 

I’ll let Kevin Russell, who was on a WH-sponsored call I sat in on the other day, speak for me with his manly wisdom:

I understand that she has the reputation for being tough and doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

I understand some of those fools may not be happy about that.

Is it too much to ask that when these anonymous gripers come calling that the following be disclosed publicly:  Who asked you to speak to the media?  How did this contact come about — who arranged this?  So the public might ascertain for themselves the real agenda.  Or even, dare I say it, require them to go on the record so that their intent and agenda might be squarely front and center?

(YouTube — Rolling Stones, live in 1972, performing "Bitch.")


 
106 Responses to "SCOTUS: Media Heathers Want To Talk “Character” Now"
Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 05:52 am 1

Morning all. Who wants coffee?


Phoenix Woman | Friday May 29, 2009 05:54 am 2

Hell, if anything, Sotomayor is a center-right judge, as her opinions — which the Heathers can’t be bothered to read, much less understand — show.

But in a world where the Federalist Society and the Regent University madrassa crowd have managed to put their right-wing cadre drones on the bench in large numbers, to the approval of their allies in the media, she looks like the great jurist Louis Brandeis in comparison.


Phoenix Woman | Friday May 29, 2009 05:54 am 3

Coffee, please! Milk and sugar, and if you have any chocolate that’s great, too.


Millineryman | Friday May 29, 2009 05:55 am 4

Good morning Christy. Better a sharp tongue then a forked tongue.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 05:58 am 5
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 2

They have to fundraise somehow, don’t they? SIGH I just wish they’d get called on motive rather than being treated as impartial observers.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:00 am 6
In response to Millineryman @ 4

Exactly so. And, honestly, I have never, ever been in front of a judge that suffered fools gladly. Their schedules are packed, their workloads are immense and someone who drags things out or has no idea of what they are doing wastes their time — and everyone else’s. You either prepare for your courtroom time or suffer the consequences with the judge and the jury, both.

Who doesn’t know that as a practicing attorney? Seriously?!?


Millineryman | Friday May 29, 2009 06:03 am 7
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 6

My experience with the term sharp tongue is people who use it don’t like getting called on their bs, or don’t like it when someone is direct and speaks their mind.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:07 am 8
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 3

I could use some chocolate — good idea. *G*


RevBev | Friday May 29, 2009 06:07 am 9

And how many cranky male judges do you know?


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:08 am 10
In response to RevBev @ 9

Most of the judges I know are male, so…


Millineryman | Friday May 29, 2009 06:14 am 11

Top Republican calls Limbaugh, Gingrich comments ‘terrible’

“Neither one of these men are elected Republican officials. I just don’t think it’s appropriate. I certainly don’t endorse it. I think it’s wrong,” he said.

How long until he has to apologize to Rush?


Phoenix Woman | Friday May 29, 2009 06:15 am 12
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 6

Furthermore, when a judge sees a bunch of white-shoe-firm attorneys and their staff come bouncing into the courtroom, he or she is all too aware that the lowliest go-fer on the attorney’s team is making a better salary than the judge.


TarheelDem | Friday May 29, 2009 06:16 am 13

Increasingly, it boils down to “follow the money”.

The media sniping supports the campaign contribution mailings, which support the mailing list and PR firms on wingnut welfare and give the multi-millionaire Rushbo’s and Rushbo wannabes emotional fodder to keep shoveling at the dittoheads.

How much money can you raise on pseudo-outrage?

It’s the GOP stimulus package.


WarOnWarOff | Friday May 29, 2009 06:17 am 14

Damn…first she’s too empathetic, now she’s a bitch. The Heathers gots theyselfs prezteled.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:19 am 15
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 12

I don’t think a salary issue factors in much — but lack of preparedness from a big firm team does, because the judges know that they have both the staff and resources to fully prepare. When they don’t, it shows and they usually get hammered.

The Libby trial team screw up on Cathy Martin comes to mind here when they tried to make a big deal out of needing an extension to deal with disclosures that ended up being about an inch thick and not substantial in terms of applicability. Judge Walton let them have it on the spot for wasting his time — and well he should have — and instead of whining about it Jeffress stood there and took it because that’s how it works in every courtroom everywhere.

Walton was absolutely right. You don’t whine, you take your lumps and move on. Period.


Badwater | Friday May 29, 2009 06:20 am 16
In response to Millineryman @ 11

He has until close of business today.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:21 am 17
In response to TarheelDem @ 13

It’s the 2010 pre-election cycle fundraising bonanza. The right wing isn’t the only one who takes advantage of this sort of thing — Jane did an article earlier this week on the NARAL fundraising on Roberts and Alito that they sat on, for example. The difference was that it pissed us off royally and we called them on it. But I’ve heard nary a peep from the right wing on comperable fundraising tools.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:22 am 18
In response to WarOnWarOff @ 14

It can be so hard to talk out of both sides of your two-facedness at once, can’t it? *G*


perris | Friday May 29, 2009 06:23 am 19

say christy, we had hannity going through the criticism of Sotomayor without giving the accolades from the same issue

they then demonstrated Alito’s accolades without giving the criticism in his issue of that publication during conformation

I am wondering if it’s possible to find those criticism of Alito to give side by side just like we found the accolades for Sotomayor


Peterr | Friday May 29, 2009 06:24 am 20
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 6

As someone who just got called up for jury duty, I’m rather pleased to be in the courtroom of a judge who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Not only is the fool wasting the judge’s time, but mine too — and if the judge slaps down the fool, it’s a sign of respect to me and the other jurors.


TarheelDem | Friday May 29, 2009 06:26 am 21

It is so comforting to know that they are about to send good money after the bad they wasted in 2008 and on the stupid they are putting out against Sotomayor.

It is also instructive who is not twitting the Heathers — anyone who is really contested in 2010. Why Michele Bachmann, to my knowledge, has to weighed in yet. Or Virginia Foxx. Interesting crickets these.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:28 am 22
In response to perris @ 19

Could be a really good post with the context — I think there have been a couple done that I’ve read, I just can’t remember where. But it would make a great post for Oxdown, at the least, I’d think.


oldgold | Friday May 29, 2009 06:31 am 23

Breaking: While attending grade school in Brooklyn Judge Sotomayor is reported to have received several check marks on her report cards for not playing well with others!


watertiger | Friday May 29, 2009 06:32 am 24
In response to TarheelDem @ 21

The whole “Nino being Nino” thing is infuriating, especially since he has no problem airing his rather “bitchy” belief set all over the place. I mean, this is the effin’ guy who, on a Fred Friendly panel on the death penalty, “Well, if the defendant isn’t guilty of this, he’s probably guilty of something else.”


JimWhite | Friday May 29, 2009 06:32 am 25

And then there are the outright insane members of the GOP, like Tancredo calling la Raza a KKK-like organization. Before the shitstorm over that one subsides, Tom will be wishing he’d made that accusation anonymously.


watertiger | Friday May 29, 2009 06:32 am 26

Whoops. Started to reply to tarheel, but was distracted by something shiny. I’m such a GIRL!


eCAHNomics | Friday May 29, 2009 06:32 am 27

All professional women recognize this kind of attack.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:33 am 28
In response to Peterr @ 20

Exactly so — no one has time to have things drag out in court, no matter how important the case might be. There are just too many other things on the plate of everyone involved for that to happen. It’s especially true for a state court judge who is fielding criminal and civil matters along with juveniles and abuse and neglect cases all at once. They simply don’t have time for foolishness.

And the Federal docket is just as bad.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:33 am 29
In response to oldgold @ 23

Damn! Did she run with scissors in kindergarten, too?


cbl2 | Friday May 29, 2009 06:34 am 30
In response to perris @ 19

Mornin Christy and Firedogs,

Rachel dismantles the major criticisms against Judge Sotomayor:

“makes law” “personal influences”, and “empathy”

by making comparisons to some um, previous candidates. the fun starts at about 2:20 in :D


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:35 am 31
In response to watertiger @ 26

It really is sad when so much of the griping comes down to a “she probably had PMS when she called me on the carpet, too” sort of level of critique.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:36 am 32
In response to eCAHNomics @ 27

Sadly, all too true. Wouldn’t you think that would get really old after a while? This whole line of malarky is so remniscent of so much of the Hillary Clinton “she wore a shirt that showed her boobies” idiocy from the last campaign cycle, it’s hard to know whether to be exasperated by the stupidity or just laugh out loud.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:37 am 33
In response to JimWhite @ 25

Yes, and Tancredo is clearly really, really familiar with the KKK’s belief system, isn’t he?


peterboy | Friday May 29, 2009 06:37 am 34

yes, and that article, which starts out with such a sharp and dark anecdote of Sotomayor questioning the attorney…actually concludes with the lawyer (Cohn-below) saying it was all fine and fair. but you have to read 30 inches to get to this ending:

Judge Calabresi said that Judge Sotomayor could quickly transform the atmosphere at the Supreme Court. “I would think she would try to make it a place where people got along more, talked to each other more,” he said.

Judge Richard C. Wesley, another colleague, agreed. He said his interactions with Judge Sotomayor had been “totally antithetical to this perception that has gotten some traction that she is somehow confrontational.”

Judge Wesley said that in cases like the terrorism claims involving the Canadian man, Mr. Arar, whose case is still pending, there were “tough and important issues” that needed to be addressed, and that questioning could be intense.

“And sometimes, judges themselves get involved in the argument,” he said. “You press a bit, and sometimes some of your colleagues may think you pressed too hard. But let’s be fair. I think there is a difference between tough questioning and demeaning questioning, and I haven’t seen that line crossed by any of my colleagues.”

Mr. Cohn, the government lawyer in the Arar case, said he had not been taken aback by Judge Sotomayor’s volley of inquiries. “I thought her questions and demeanor were reasonable and fine,” he said.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:38 am 35
In response to peterboy @ 34

Yeah, talk about burying the real lede, eh? Gee, do you think they did that on purpose? *g*


foothillsmike | Friday May 29, 2009 06:39 am 36
In response to oldgold @ 23

If I lived in the Bronx and attended grade school in Brooklyn I’d be kind of cranky too.*g*


peterboy | Friday May 29, 2009 06:39 am 37
In response to peterboy @ 34

I thought they had three editors for every story at the NYTimes. It makes no sense to have that lead and set up and refute it ALL 30 inches later.
what’s up with that?


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:41 am 38
In response to peterboy @ 37

I think that is a good question for the public editor, don’t you?


Lindy | Friday May 29, 2009 06:41 am 39

Coffee? Coffee! Me!

Re: the press disclosing the “complainers”…in our wildest dreams, perhaps.


dmac | Friday May 29, 2009 06:44 am 40

this is perfectly understandable, i don’t know why there is such an uproar about how sonia is being talked about, what’s so wrong with it?/s

from the male’s perspective, of course, since that’s the only valid allowable one. and unless a woman uses this framing, she is ‘out of school’ or ‘out of turn’..another lovely phrase by men to show that she did not have permission to jump the line and is now because of her lack of decorum, not a member of the club. but she never was anyway. so many women adopt this thinking to stay in the club.

many people use these phrases every day to explain the behavior/temperament of women and men…

when you’re young, you’re ‘on the rag’ , when you’re mature you’re being ‘menopausal’…..
((i cna’t count the times i was told to not be so ‘emotional’…men around me saying the same exact thing in the same exact tone were ‘making a point’.))
just say to a man that he’s ‘on the rag’ and see him go explosive….has many connotations to it, ever wonder why it’s such an insult to a man? yet is used for women all of the time.

since a man is so reserved and controlled, when he shows emotion there must be a good reason….

male bad behavior?
a young man is ’sowing his oats’ and later has a ‘mid-life crisis’…

in other words–
IOKIYAAM


peterboy | Friday May 29, 2009 06:45 am 41

yea, Christy. But who can bother with that stuff?
it goes into a black hole and they just keep whittling over at the Times building.
Hell of a place, though.


Mithras61 | Friday May 29, 2009 06:46 am 42

I found Judicial Watch President’s comment to David Schuster about her being too liberal simply because Obama nominated her to be refreshingly honest. Too bad it has degenerated to the “she’s such a bitch” stage of things (especially since that’s R-code for any strong-willed and/or strong-minded woman).

Its just so sad to me, because she is by a wide margin the most quallified nominee in as long as I can remember (possibly century or more). She has had fewer positions overturned on appeal that most Federal Circuit Judges, and writes well reasoned opinions (even if Jonathan Turley doesn’t like HOW they are written). Having her opinions be as accessible as they are is very important to me, since I am a lay person, not a lawyer. I think its important that laws and rulings be understandable and well written so that “we the people” can follow the reasoning of them.


ShotoJamf | Friday May 29, 2009 06:51 am 43

Good Morning, Fire Pups:

I understand that I’m late to the party, and this observation has undoubtedly already been made. I’m not a lawyer, but as regards that whole “activist judge” bullshit:

Would it not make sense to suggest that handing the presidency over to someone who lost the popular vote would constitute an inordinately activist judicial construction? Or am I missing something here?

Just sayin’…


Beerfart Liberal | Friday May 29, 2009 06:51 am 44

soon after she was first appointed to the USDC my firm had a case with her. Our experience from that one case? All this stuff about her being nasty? 100% true. Relevance? 0 as in ZERO. Lawyers piss and moan about “nasty” judges but as Christy and others can attest, we have thick skins. Have to. It’s all part of the deal when you get that license. Besides, i’ve never heard any of this said about her when she was an appellate judge which to me is a heckuva lot more…. I was going to say important. But this whole demeanor crap is just that. Who cares? (And BTW, i would say the same thing about a right-wing linatic nominee.)


peterboy | Friday May 29, 2009 06:52 am 45

I sent in an email asking the question and citing the story and its ending.

thanks, Christy, for getting me going at 6 am in CA


WarOnWarOff | Friday May 29, 2009 06:53 am 46
In response to Mithras61 @ 42

Having her opinions be as accessible as they are is very important to me, since I am a lay person, not a lawyer. I think its important that laws and rulings be understandable and well written so that “we the people” can follow the reasoning of them.

That’s it exactly. The Priesthood wants their sacred texts to remain obscure as it gives them a sense of magical omnipotence.


Peterr | Friday May 29, 2009 06:53 am 47

Maybe I should just take a Midol and calm down. My female parts clearly make me so irrational and bitchy.

Or maybe Whelan and the rest of the Heathers need to take the Midol.

(When I first started hearing these kinds of attacks on Sotomayer, I was reminded of the old Bill Cosby routine where he has a splitting headache and there was no aspirin in the house. All he could find was his wife’s Midol, so he took some. The pain disappeared, and all was right with the world. The Midol was so good, he went into the pharmacy, picked up a box, and proudly proclaimed “It’s for me!” The bit concluded “Of course, I get irritable every 28 days now . . .” Sadly, it’s an old enough routine that it doesn’t seem to be up on YouTube that I can find.)


MrWhy | Friday May 29, 2009 06:54 am 48

Re the NYT article, she’s not allowed to have Empathy for the Devil, is she?


Millineryman | Friday May 29, 2009 06:54 am 49

You would think some of the sexist crap from the traditional media would’ve stopped after they got called out during the Clinton campaign. But that makes the assumption that a lot in the traditional media actually think.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:55 am 50
In response to Beerfart Liberal @ 44

Seriously, when have you ever known a judge to get on the bench without having a strong personality? You just don’t get there by being milque-toasty. Ever.

It’s the dichotomy between Scalia being awesome and Sotomayor being a bitch that is grating on my last nerve with this.


perris | Friday May 29, 2009 06:57 am 51

so, besides coming from a diverse backround, has anyone looked to see if this candidate has a progressive history on the bench?

I believe I’ve read her opinion concerning choice for being host to an unwanted child is suspect


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:57 am 52
In response to Millineryman @ 49

Well, heaven forbid that Sotomayor might wear a top that showed that she has boobies. Remember that shitstorm about Hillary’s “cleavage?” Aiiiyeeeeeee.

Newsflash: women have boobies. Get over it.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:58 am 53
In response to perris @ 51

She hasn’t issued any opinion directly on the issue of choice that I’ve seen. The only thing that comes close is a gag rule case, where she ruled based on precedent.


ShotoJamf | Friday May 29, 2009 06:58 am 54

“Seriously, when have you ever known a judge to get on the bench without having a strong personality? You just don’t get there by being milque-toasty. Ever.”

Um…I’m going to have to think about that one. Let’s see…Um…

Never.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 06:59 am 55
In response to Peterr @ 47

I spent an hour and a half trying to find the clip from SNL on the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. The one where Dana Carvey played Strom Thurmond.

SNL doesn’t have it up on their website. I wanted to put it up this week so badly and I cannot find it anywhere. Waaaaaaaaah!


Kurt | Friday May 29, 2009 07:00 am 56
In response to dmac @ 40

dmac, you tend to blame men for the way women are looked at. Don’t forget that women are the harshest critics of each other in just about every segment of society (however I am guessing this is some man’s fault too). I would venture to say that the majority of those phrases you identified came from women as well.

As far as Judge Sonia goes, she does tend to fly off the handle at things you would not expect a judge to do…doesn’t matter if the person is female or male. That is what is being called into question. Also, to my understanding, she has had 4 of 5 cases overturned that went to the US Supreme Court, not to mention on a couple of those, she was reprimanded by other judges for her lack of Constitutional knowledge.


peterboy | Friday May 29, 2009 07:00 am 57
In response to perris @ 51

I dont think OB would screw up on picking a justice. he is no kennedy and no bush the first.
he did the heavy lifting with her himself based on his expertise in the area.


Prairie Sunshine | Friday May 29, 2009 07:03 am 58

Excellent idea, Christy.

Imus talking to Sen. Hatch this am about Sotomayor. Hatch’s half-assed -hearted recitation of the same ol’ same ol’ laundry list of right wing talking points was delivered with such lack of enthusiasm that I got to wondering if his RNC handlers were standing close by with the “enhanced” bundle of lobbyist checks just out of his reach….


perris | Friday May 29, 2009 07:05 am 59
In response to peterboy @ 57

your idea of “screwup” is differant then obama’s, he seems to have corrupted himself in many arena’s, for instance corporate bialout for casino’s, no protection for the victims, for instance executive power, for instance torture responsibilty

I for one am not going to accept his judgement ever again on faith that’s for sure

christy;

She hasn’t issued any opinion directly on the issue of choice that I’ve seen. The only thing that comes close is a gag rule case, where she ruled based on precedent.

have you seen her judicial opinions over all?


Beerfart Liberal | Friday May 29, 2009 07:06 am 60

Really. On the one hand, it’s not a gender thing. She was, again, from limited experience but it’s borne out by others, not nice. Not her job to be. On the other hand, it is a gender thing, I’ve never seen “judicial temperment” be made an issue with a male nominee. Let’s make it an ethnic thimng while we’re at it. Have we heard yet that those Latinas are just hot blooded and have bad tempers?


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 07:06 am 61
In response to Prairie Sunshine @ 58

Hatch, Cornyn and Sessions have all been quite lukewarm to tepid in their comments. It’s been rather amusing and I’m wondering how long they can keep that up without getting hate mail from the base?


WarOnWarOff | Friday May 29, 2009 07:06 am 62
In response to Kurt @ 56

As far as Judge Sonia goes

Nope, no condescending disrespect there…


wigwam | Friday May 29, 2009 07:06 am 63

Yet another excellent response to a developing line of the wingnut attack.

You and the rest of the blogosphere have been all over this preplanned assault that rightwing think tanks have been planning out for some weeks now. It has been a most impressive response. Thanks.


alank | Friday May 29, 2009 07:07 am 64

Back in the day, these people burned women as witches. What else do you expect from them?


peterboy | Friday May 29, 2009 07:07 am 65

has reid and leahy set the hearings yet.
this should be over by the end of july. no el foldo to Jeff Sessions claiming his staff needs maw tihm.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 07:07 am 66
In response to perris @ 59

Yes, I’ve been wading through a lot of them for weeks — did a post about the Ricci case earlier in the week wherein I also linked up the exceptional work SCOTUSblog has been doing on them. The 2nd Cir. has a lot of its opinions available for the reading if anyone cares to actually read them for themselves — including members of the media.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 07:09 am 67
In response to wigwam @ 63

I started looking at potential Obama SCOTUS nominees when he was first elected to get a jump on needed research. I’m glad some of what I’ve been working on has been helpful for folks.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 07:09 am 68

I’m hearing the second week of July at the earliest for a starting point, but I don’t think Leahy and Sessions have come to a firm start date as yet. Will let you know soon as I hear anything firm.


Sufilizard2 | Friday May 29, 2009 07:10 am 69

First off, Heathers took place in high school, not Jr. high — just a point of order.

Secondly, while hypocrisy can be found on both sides of the aisle, Republicans have taken it to unprecedented levels.

The whole “activist” judge meme is the perfect example as their right-wing idealogue appointees legislate from the bench more than their liberal counterparts. They only get away with it because our “press” has been so co-opted by the corporatist powers that anyone who doesn’t actively seek out alternative points of view have no idea what’s really going on. And our culture has made each of us more isolated from our communities so we tend to only associate with like-minded people.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 07:10 am 70

I have been so tempted to put up another clip from West Side Story with Rita Moreno singing ”America.” Too perfect for the stereotyping, I have to say. *G*


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 07:11 am 71
In response to Sufilizard2 @ 69

For clarity’s sake, I didn’t say Heathers took place in junior high — but the media behavior falls squarely at that level of juvenile behavior in my mind. So there. *G*


peterboy | Friday May 29, 2009 07:12 am 72

apparently Hatch said September to NPR.

Shouldnt the Dems push to have this over before the August break in Congress?


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 07:13 am 73

I think the Hatch quote was that things could be concluded by then — not that hearings would start then. But I could be misremembering the interview. They usually have links to their stories online if anyone wants to check — don’t have time at the moment…


Mithras61 | Friday May 29, 2009 07:14 am 74
In response to Kurt @ 56

Your implication in the first paragraph that something is OK because women do it to each other is somewhat offensive. Bad behavior is bad behavior whether it comes from a man or a woman.

I am not familiar enough with Judge Sotomayor’s courtroom behavior to rebut this accusation, but it is irrelevant. I “fly off the handle” about things that don’t phase other people in the least. It upsets me greatly, for example, to have people lie about things political/legal. Most of the people I know don’t care in the least if these things are misrepresented. Conversely, many of the people I know get quite upset if their dove hunting is interrupted by work, whereas I couldn’t care less if dove hunting happens. By your reasoning, I suppose that makes me somehow unsuitable for a judgeship.

As to her judgements being overturned, you might want to check your facts. She’s running at 50% (3 cases overturned on appeal out of 6 cases appealed, out of several hundred cases on which she has ruled). The current average for circuit court judges is 75% of appealed cases being overturned.


Prairie Sunshine | Friday May 29, 2009 07:14 am 75

Now that Cornyn has spoken out against both Gingrich and Limbaugh, it’ll probably be about 30 seconds into the 4-F one’s show today.

On a serious note, we watched a documentary last night about the skinheads on the History Channel. It’s troubling to realize that thanks to the compliant good ol’ boy inbred media, we have made bigots and hatemongers like Limbaugh and Hannity and Beck and Dobbs and their B teams into media icons instead of the latterday Tom Metzgers and Hal Turners that they are. The Jay Severin firing was notable most for what a rarity it is.


alank | Friday May 29, 2009 07:15 am 76
In response to Sufilizard2 @ 69

I’m afraid the Obama and the people he surrounds himself with are of the same corporativist ilk.

The most notable thing about the candidate in question is that she’s quite establishment with her academic credentials and experience on the bench. You can’t get much more establishment than her.


twolf1 | Friday May 29, 2009 07:16 am 77

Jane has a new post up back at The Lake…


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 07:16 am 78
In response to Prairie Sunshine @ 75

Dave Niewert has been doing some superb work on the Beck antecedents for a while — check out the book salon we did with Dave recently for some great discussion with him and Digby on that.


Millineryman | Friday May 29, 2009 07:16 am 79

VP Joe Biden sent me an e-mail, I’m so special I even get e-mails after unsubscribing a gazillion billion times.

Anyway, there is page where you can add your name of support for Judge Sotomayor.

Click here to sign up.


Raven | Friday May 29, 2009 07:16 am 80
In response to alank @ 76

Yea, they should get someone who got a correspondence school law degree. jesus


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 07:18 am 81
In response to Raven @ 80

Dammit — you just made me spew my coffee. *g*


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 07:20 am 82
In response to Prairie Sunshine @ 75

How long until Cornyn goes on Rush’s show to apologize, do you think? We should do a pool on the overs and unders…


Prairie Sunshine | Friday May 29, 2009 07:20 am 83

yes — I read Dave’s posts regularly. Digby as well. One of the powers of the blogosphere is the rising tide eventually will be strong enough to wash away the sludge on the media beaches.

Republicans have already telegraphed that they’ve got nothing. Their only tactic is stall, stall, stall and delay. Must be an Axelrod strategy in the works to take that down.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 07:22 am 84

btw, if anyone finds a clip of the SNL Clarence Thomas skit online, do send me a link. Please. *g*


Prairie Sunshine | Friday May 29, 2009 07:24 am 85

I’m guessin’ he’ll be on today *g*


dmac | Friday May 29, 2009 07:24 am 86
In response to Kurt @ 56

i was being snarky and pointing out what has become common cultural reference. i guess because i am a woman i must have an ‘axe to grind’ that my opinion is based upon. eh? uh huh.

i am not a ‘man basher’. so, don’t hop on your man train just yet.

i have a friend who is black male./s

the circumvention of of a woman’s validation by proxy because she is a woman, it exists, it happens. it is happening as we speak.
and the woman to woman bashing? not in my circles…or they won’t be.
and the woman to man bashing? nope, outta here.
and the man to woman bashing? same thing.

bashing the injustice not the person? yep, there’s wehre i live. but many people don’t ‘live there’ so, i feel it’s aok to use their own terms when addressing them.

that would be the same level of character as the men i was mentioning.

and i believe your numbers are wrong in re: her sc cases. thought her percentag3e was more in the 60% range and average for everyone else was 95%..ask christy.


foothillsmike | Friday May 29, 2009 07:24 am 87
In response to Prairie Sunshine @ 83

It appears that they may be gearing up to employ the Coleman strategy on Sotomayor.


pluege | Friday May 29, 2009 07:31 am 88

A judge that grills attorneys sounds like a pretty good idea to me. But in wingnutville its only good when a man does it. Then he’s bold, decisive, tough, fair-minded, thorough. When a woman does it, she is a beoytch.


Peterr | Friday May 29, 2009 07:34 am 89

Here’s the script, but alas, no video.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 07:36 am 90

You know what — I just thought of an example of a milquetoasty judge: Judge Ito from the OJ Simpson murder trial. Which ought to be a cautionary tale for anyone who wants a non-confrontational judge on any bench — it was a fiasco and a horrid example of what not to do just about every day of that trial. No judge that I know here would have put up with even a fourth of the crapola that went on in that courtroom. That jury must have been losing their minds with all the bench conferences and arguments.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 07:38 am 91
In response to Peterr @ 89

Yeah, I found that, too. But, alas, it does not do the Dana Carvey impression of Strom Thurmond any justice without being able to watch it.

It’s fall out of your chair hilarious. If anyone from SNL is reading, please put that clip up online. I beg you.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday May 29, 2009 07:39 am 92

FYI kids, muppet blogging is up and running…for anyone wanting a giggle or two.


oldgold | Friday May 29, 2009 07:40 am 93

Lawyers who litigate and /or appear before appellate tribunals either have the hides of rhinos or soon become transactional lawyers. That is the way it is.


wigwam | Friday May 29, 2009 07:41 am 94

Thanks. This is really excellent work.


Phoenix Woman | Friday May 29, 2009 08:06 am 95

Meanwhile, Gawker has a lovely shot of Nino Scalia being oh-so-civil:

http://gawker.com/5272595/soto…..es-reports


dmac | Friday May 29, 2009 08:20 am 96

christy–

still no clarence clip anywhere…
here’s the transcript-season 17 1991
http://snltranscripts.jt.org/91/91cthomas.phtml

joyride with perot
dana carvey
http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Ni…..ot/229095/
and i wish they would bring back dana to do lindsay graham.


douglas | Friday May 29, 2009 08:25 am 97

I find this unfair to the Times. The article certainly sets out the criticism being used as a feeble weapon by the right, but the people it interviews and the explanations they give completely undermine that criticism. Even the lawyer who was supposedly the victim of vicious questioning says in the article that he found no problem with that questioning.

Substantively, I have worked in the appellate court system for 30 years, and the worst, hack-ridden panels of judges I have seen are those who ask no questions or who are overly deferential to the attorneys. The law is a tough business. The tougher the questioning, the more the truth will out.


RevBev | Friday May 29, 2009 08:34 am 98

So, maybe that’s all of them, as in don’t piss ‘em off…+ no telling how many have a “hot” lunch date. N’est pas?


earlofhuntingdon | Friday May 29, 2009 08:37 am 99

Your time of the month, isn’t it? Wimin judges should only git 80% pay; what with their “headaches” an all, they barely show up that many work days.

Sharp-tongued observer that you are, you point out that the language the Right is using, like my parody, above, is about as archaic, sexist and vituperative as their attitudes. It’s about them, not who they purport to describe. Soon, I expect to hear them tell of visions by three anonymous of soothsayers dancing round a bubbling cauldron of trouble, giving Newt his political fortune over a broth of newt’s eye and frog’s toe.

The good thing is that Cheney’s damned spot will not out and that his successors’ fortunes will fare no better. I’m optimistic that blogs such as yours can be the substitute carriers of the Birnam woods to Capitol Hill.

The Right has no shame, no restraint, no context for its angst, just greed and lust for power, diapers and no accountability. It will be up to citizens and their pitchforks to make clear whether those are sufficient attributes for high office and the control of their courthouse, state house and White House.


constantweader | Friday May 29, 2009 08:53 am 100

What got me about the Times article was the way the Times hid way on the 2nd page (which you have to click on to read online) comments from respected jurists who refuted the sore-loser attorneys’ assessments. The headline was misleading & the structure of the story made the whole thing misleading. The writers (or their editor) planned to do a hit job & they buried the mitigating information.

What I got out of the Times article (&, yes, I had to read between the lines) is that a number of attorneys think Judge Sotomayor should act more like their maid who’s always so polite.

The Constant Weader at http://www.RealityChex.com


earlofhuntingdon | Friday May 29, 2009 09:23 am 101

There was no legitimate reason for Becker and Liptak to title their piece, “Sotomayor’s Sharp Tongue”. The title is straightforward tabloid journalism [sic], regardless of the article’s content, so perhaps we should thank the front-page editor, too. I’m sure no one at the NY Times has one or has ever been on the wrong side of one in the bedroom, the newsroom or the smoke-filled room. It’s an attribute only of those with whom they can’t have their way.

Even if Judge Sotomayor had one, far from certain, she would not be the first or only judge to have an acid tongue. Even among the manicured and the courtly, they spring like mushrooms in the manure shoveled at them daily in court, even by the whitest white shoe firm lawyers in town.

Keeping control of her courtroom is as important as getting the law right. If she ceded it to anyone, whether forthright and competent or negligent, narcissistic and corrupt, she would be finished as a competent jurist. She has not. She uses a mix of humor, chattiness, directness and command to make her points clear.

I would favor a more progressive voice. I fear Ms. Sotomayor may sometimes miss the legal forest for the statutory trees. But her demeanor is not a problem; it’s an asset, and one thing the Right is afraid of. It may feign apoplexy that she doesn’t look divine in pumps and pearls, but what it’s afraid of is that the most important part of her day is not looking good and having those two martinis ready for hubby when he comes home from a hard day’s work.


dmac | Friday May 29, 2009 09:33 am 102
In response to earlofhuntingdon @ 99

oh, that newt’s fortune would be the same as macbeth’s…


DeanOR | Friday May 29, 2009 11:07 am 103

Christy, I’m still waiting for the story that begins with “A Republican operative called me this morning and suggested I do this story (wrote it for me)”.
And the example of confrontational behavior that the NYT article cites was in the Maher Arar case, in which she aggressively asked whether the government is saying they have a license to torture. No judge should ever appear to have any feelings about torture.


gardengirl | Friday May 29, 2009 11:27 am 104

Unbelievable how thin the veneer of “equality” is. Did anyone grill the white, male SCOTUS nominees on their viewpoints? It simply amazes me that any response other than milquetoast from a woman is automatically invalidated as “emotional” and “bitchy.”

Has anyone seen the “How to be a good wife” excerpt from an old home-ec textbook that circulates about here and there? I wonder if that’s really what a lot of these openly sexist pundits really still believe.


tejanarusa | Friday May 29, 2009 02:54 pm 105
In response to gardengirl @ 104

Rhetorical question. No doubt. about. it.

Coming in late, I know. my blood was reaching the boil… until I got to this:

I understand that she has the reputation for being tough and doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

I understand some of those fools may not be happy about that.

{I once had a reputation for not suffering fools gladly, either, nor did my father, who taught me to argue at the dinner table. Tells you a lot about why I ultimately was unsuccessful in the telephone customer service biz.)

There’s no doubt whatsoever – what’s good for the goose is NOT good for the gander in many people’s eyes. (well, switch the sexes in that proverb)


earlofhuntingdon | Friday May 29, 2009 03:18 pm 106
In response to earlofhuntingdon @ 101

I see that the ever thoughtful Times has changed its online description of Ms. Sotomayor’s style from “Sharp Tongue” to “Blunt”. They should have needed to be told.


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