Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Piety and Hypocrisy about the Prospective Supreme Court Nominee

There will be much talk about the alleged qualifications and brilliance of the Supreme Court nominee, whoever she is. (There is little doubt it will be a she.)

Let's stop this folderol.

President Obama will pick a nominee who he thinks will embrace the attitude toward constitutional interpretation that he happens to favor and who he thinks will be acceptable to major interest groups in the Democratic party (my guess: left-leaning women, left-leaning Hispanics, in that order) without unduly raising the hackles of political moderates.

My own hope is that President Obama picks a person from the lower economic orders who has not forgotten what life is like in the lower economic orders.

This is why, if I had a vote, I would cast my vote for

Sonia Sotomayor

and against

Elana Kagan

We don't need another rich white male on the Court. We also don't need another rich woman (of any color) on the Court. To wit: we need a woman who has known poverty and who remembers what it's like to be poor.

  • If Elana Kagan hails from the lower economic orders, I will reconsider my position. But since identity politics is in play, I would still favor Sotomayor; Sotmayor has a life story that has to warm the cockles of any immigrant's heart. (I confess to being an immigrant -- but not one with a presently-fashionable national origin.)
  • As far as I'm concerned, Dawn Johnsen is out because she's a zealot. Zealots of any stripe make me uncomfortable. We don't need a left wing equivalent of Dick Cheney's former counsel David Addington on the Court.

    The hooker in this scenario, methinks, is that President Obama -- for all of his undeniable talents -- does not seem to have a clear constitutional philosophy. (Given that he has taught constitutional law, this is a bit odd.)


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