A Liberal Alito?

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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).

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