The Wimmins Factor

One other thing that should be said about Rosen's piece is the extent to which gender played a role in how Sotomayor came across. I'm out my league on this one. But some people who I trust are right at home. Here's Emily Bazelon over at Slate:

Rosen quotes a bunch of negative comments from attorneys-"overly aggressive," "abuses lawyers"--followed by a brief acknowledgment of a couple of tepidly positive ones--"good legal ability." She sounds like a bitch. Who'd want her on the Supreme Court?

Or many other women judges for that matter. Because this is how lawyers often talk about women on the bench. It's an old story. In 1994, in writing up the findings of the Ninth Circuit Gender Bias Task Force, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor noted that "attorney evaluations of judicial performance revealed a 'pattern of bias;' 'female judges were rated lower consistently than their male counterparts on every attribute measured.'" O'Connor was quoting a 1993 study by law professor Joyce S. Sterling.