A Liberal Alito?

Orin Kerr:

I don't know a ton about Sotomayor, but her resume hints at someone who is sort of like a liberal mirror image of Samuel Alito: the humble kid who goes to Princeton and Yale Law, becomes a prosecutor, and then gets appointed at a young age to the federal bench and puts in 15 years as a respected (if not particularly high profile) federal judge. In some ways, that makes Sotomayor a pretty conservative pick.

One of his conservative readers is relieved:

As a conservative lawyer, I'm fine with this pick. As far as appellate judges go, Sotomayor is generally undistinguished. She's a political pick designed to appeal to an interest group. Obama has 59, practically 60 seats in the Senate, and he could have named a strong, dynamic liberal who would have been a game-changer (even if only taking Souter's seat). He didn't.

Sotomayor was the safe choice: Hispanic, female, compelling life story, and few controversial decisions. She's a reliably liberal vote who doesn't move the ball in any significant way. There could have been much stronger picks (Kathleen Sullivan, Pam Karlan, even Diane Wood), but Obama, ever the politican, made a political decision.


And she's not a lesbian. So we lose the gay seat (just kidding).

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

What Advice Would You Give to Adults?

"If you have a problem, go meditate or go on a vacation. Don't think about it."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."

Video

What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.

Video

Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.

Video

How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

Just In