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Button up. Your sexism is showing.

Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor

So now it’s Sotomayor. According to Jeffrey Rosen, who spoke to some law clerk, she’s not fit to be a judge on the Supreme Court because she has opinions, she expresses those opinions, she expresses those opinions forcefully and at length.

(Shows you how much I know about the law. I thought that was practically the description of the Supremes.)

Greenwald does one of his usual masterful takedowns, and adds a very interesting update at the end:

Jeffrey Rosen’s brother-in-law is Neal Katyal, the current Deputy Solicitor General in the Obama administration. If Sotomayor’s prospects are torpedoed, that could clear the way for one of the other leading candidates to be named to the Court: current Solicitor General Elena Kagan. The selection of Kagan (rather than Sotomayor) would almost certainly result in Rosen’s brother-in-law (Katyal) becoming Solicitor General. Additionally, Katyal himself was once a clerk for a Second Circuit judge, obviously raising the question of whether he was one of the anonymous sources for his brother-in-law’s hit piece disparaging Sotomayor’s intellect and character.

One can question whether this Rosen/Katyal relationship should have been disclosed by TNR (on balance, it was probably unnecessary), but at the very least, these are illustrative of the types of problems that inevitably arise when anonymous sources are used so casually in a political culture rife with incestuous relationships and conflicts of interest.

However, what’s a boring potential conflict of interest? Let’s talk about Sotomayor. She talks! She’s forceful! How awful!

And apparently that’s been enough to get the “keepers of conventional wisdom” (to use Greenwald’s words) riled up about the potential horrors of affirmative action. “Good God. You can’t waste such a vital job on some politically correct nonsense. The only criterion should be the best, um, person for the job. Why should a woman get it?”

As I said, button up. Your sexism is showing.

There isn’t one shred of evidence that women have inferior mental capacity to men. (Insofar as there is evidence, it’s actually on the other side. On average girls show earlier verbalization in infancy, better school grades, and higher test scores until, for some reason — possibly they talk too much and they’re too loud — they hit the job world and start getting paid less and promoted less.) So, in a reality-based context it’s safe to assume that women are at least the equals of men in ability. And yet the overwhelming preponderance of powerful positions are filled by men.

Yes, there’s affirmative action. And, yes, it does lead to less competent people being given jobs that are beyond them. It’s time to end that. We should find the best person for the job. Why should it be given to a man?

47 Responses

  1. You should add a picture of Justice Sotomayor

  2. Obama is an affirmative action president, and look how that’s working out.

    I say we’d be better off with a competent woman on the court, but there’s no reason to think the One will nominate one.

    • I’m not so sure that Obama is an affirmative action prez. Shrub was. Obama got in because enough people were desperate for non-racist cred, and because he used thuggery, dishonesty, and cheating. That’s different from affirmative action.

      • Considering Obama’s track record with the black community, the word I would use to describe him is “token.”

        • Ha. Yes, indeed.

        • A token white guy who has dark skin — but culturally he is NOT black. He can act like a black guy — and he can also act like a rich white guy.

          The white faux liberals who are sooooo thrilled are the r@cists who call us r@cists.

          Did I tell you about the African American clerk at Costco who was really pissed off at all the white who just assumed she would be so thrilled that HE was elected. She was NOT pleased — she was probably afrocity’s sister.


          How refreshing — a Latina with an attitude on the highest bench. I’d like to hear her question some of the jerks who appear before the Supremes.

  3. I read on the TNA blog today that, apparently, some folks are making Sotomayor’s weight an “issue.” I’d never heard of this particular “qualification” before. It’s so ridiculous that it makes one wonder if the Onion didn’t start this “debate.”

    • Good Lord!

      I didn’t realize that our female Supreme Court justices needed to be able to wear a bathing suit in addition to doing pagaentry questions(eyes rolling). Perhaps they should have just combined the Supreme Court nomination with the Miss USA pagaent(heavy snark).

    • gxm17,

      Thanks for the FWI.

      That is discrimination on two fronts. First, she is diabetic and unlike most people worries more about what she eats and it is a matter of what is health for her. Secondly, it is misogynist as this too was brought up with Hillary and Hillary is just FINE, but they are so used to pencil thin due to the glam magazines (which studies show leave women depressed after reading).

      The patriarchy at work, using false body images to defeat qualified women.

      • There is alot of pressure on women to appear a particular way. It doesn’t help that many women are just as guilty as men at judging a book by its proverbial cover.

        Personally, Judge Sotomayer looks perfectly fine to me. Even more important is the fact that she has opinions and isn’t afraid to be vocal regarding those opinions. I can’t believe anyone would consider that a detriment, particularly in a judge. Isn’t the idea to argue or debate an idea on their merits? I was always under that impression perhaps since the courts themselves take the time to issue opinions and dissenting opinions.

        • I have only seen her face on photos, I was just used to people making comments about Hillary (that is why I said she was fine, it wasn’t a judgment on the judge) and I would look at them as if they had lost their minds. No one every makes comments of men in public office, checking out their pants, weight or how good their skin looks, but women, ah…they try and check the pore size on the face.

        • I don’t see her as an eyelash batter and an open honest laugh can be a direct threat to the “men” of the dem party.

          Sadly, she’s probably toastwith these twits.

          • Geez…Can’t have a curvy woman there on the bench! Next thing you know she might show up without make-up and refuse to get the menfolk their coffee (((snk))

    • I think her ‘weight problem’ is probably the only reason that she wants the job. As a woman, she finds the judicial robes the perfect thing to wear if you are overweight. Her only other option was to move to Afghanistan and don a burka.

      • I think I would die (pass out from the heat) if I were to wear one of those things (burkas), not to mention that I would feel I was in a cloth coffin. 😦

        • I’m guessing you have to have a guy to escort you because otherwise there is a huge risk you’d get hit by a car. I don’t imagine you’d have much peripheral vision in those things.

    • They’re couching it in bogus health concerns, saying we need to pick someone who is statistically less likely to die. Of course, as many people have pointed out the best statistical marker of longevity besides heredity is…femaleness. Funny how the concerned brigade aren’t making that argument.

      • Well then we should just get rid of all the men since we’re all sorts of concerned with statistics. We have ten years worth of longetivity on males last time I looked.

  4. “some law clerk” is that code for “some sexist ass”?

    Personally, I don’t care much for anonymous charecter assasination. I take people much more seriously when they take credit for their own positions instead of cowering behind the term anonymous.

    • “some law clerk” is that code for “some sexist ass”?

      Yes, and you won the brand new coffee maker, because you showed you are spot on, and sharp as a tac.

  5. Moreover, speaking as the law clerk for an appellate court judge, no law clerk with any professional integrity would speak to anyone, not even a close friend — and never ever ever a journalist — about a judge on the court on which the law clerk had served/currently serves. Any law clerk who would stoop to doing that is automatically lacking all credibility.

    • I have to slightly disagree with your take.

      You read all the time about the perspectives and insights of various judges from clerks all the time.

      Whenever there is a nominee, we hear from clerks all the time about their views and workload under that individual. For instance, Professor Lombardi at UW Law School told stories about working for Alito as a clerk and his personality. When I worked at Macalester College in the late 90’s, I shared office space with a co-worker whose spouse worked at Hamline Law School and clerked for a State Supreme Court Justice and shared stories about the judge.
      As a general rule for me, the problem is ONLY that they are rumor and scuttlebutt until there is a source attached to the information. Personal traits will all be part of the vetting process that are fair game for people to know. The B.S. that is happening (diabetic, weight and the like) is not the same as learning that the person is not the hardest worker.

      (Like finding out that Clarence Thomas doesn’t do a lot of writing, falls asleep on the bench occasionally and usually sides with Scalia and hardly ever speaks or asks questions) could be important information.

  6. OT but important.

    There will be no “Breakfast Read” tomorrow.

    I haven’t received any raise from my Myiq, wherefore I have decided to go on a 1 day strike. (hey, now that I’m in Europe, I have to learn from the French.)

    Please no collective suicide. Your “News Department” will be back Saturday. I’m traveling tomorrow and iPhone-blogging is way too painful.

  7. You”re the reason I am spending more time on the computer. Not good, but I love all the great links and when all my family comes home in the evening, i have tons of stuff to discuss at the dinner table. Enjoy the day off. You will be sorely missed.

  8. “because she has opinions, she expresses those opinions, she expresses those opinions forcefully and at length.”

    I’m reminded of a well worn slogan:

    “Well-behaved women RARELY make history!”

  9. off-topic sorta. Here’s a woman who wants to run for public office:


  10. Uh-oh, I lost a post. It disappeared!

  11. Oops! There it is!

  12. Here’s may take on all this – I haven’t tried to figure out who the best nominee would be because what’s the point? I could study 20-30 resumes and then Obama picks someone not on my list.

    When Obama makes a selection I will read as much as I can and form an opinion of that person. Until then I have some general ideas what I am hoping the nominee will be like (non-white male, liberal)

    That said, the smear job on Sotomayor is disgusting.

  13. OT but a warning:
    Hey, be careful that you don’t cause anyone stress using the internet you could go to jail…

  14. The last couple of years with the patrimony and trashing of women has made me consider try to get up a petition that all male children should be drowned at birth.
    Every women that runs for office has to suffer trashing that males do not. This is wrong. Their looks are discussed as if that is important. Look at some of the men in office they were beaten with an ugly stick, Experience, ideas, intelligence no longer count in this country. A penis trumps all. We know that can be cut off, ask Lorrena Bobbit.



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