SocraticGadfly: Sotomayor as Obama's 'unsafe' SCOTUS choice?

May 26, 2009

Sotomayor as Obama's 'unsafe' SCOTUS choice?

It's clear that, strongly conservative bomb-throwing aside, Sonia Sotomayor is actually about as liberal as ... well, as the man who nominated her.

And, if you truly believe President Barack Obama is that much of a liberal, I've got some Arizona swampland to sell you.

First, from a SCOTUSblog review on civil cases, she's fairly thin on First Amendment issues

I quote:
First Amendment - Speech: Sotomayor has considered First Amendment issues relatively infrequently.

Abortion Rights: Although Sotomayor has not had a case dealing directly with abortion rights...

And, she's not that good, at least vis-a-vis the executive, on civil liberties/privacy:
In two cases involving requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Sotomayor wrote an opinion that declined to order the release of the requested information, explaining that she did not want to “unreasonably hamper agencies in their decision-making.”

That said, the cases that ARE on her relatively thin resume aren't very encouraging.

Interesting that SCOTUSblog doesn’t even mention the Niehoff case (PDF), yet another of those cases where judges chip away at free-speech rights of minors at school.

And, it gets worse.

At least some religious conservatives are playing her up on issues such as churches’ freedom from some labor law issues, which the White House itself is trumpeting.

For those reasons, Americans United for Separation of Church and State is concerned.

Even without a serious political battle, it's clear Obama could have done better.

And, speaking of politics, this pick is probably, to be blunt, worth 5 percentage points among Hispanic voters in the 2012 presidential election.

It's also clear that, despite anything he may say to the contrary in days ahead, this was a "demographics" nomination.

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