President Obama has picked the SCOTUS candidate many had handicapped as favorite all along, nominating Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court this morning.
Sotomayor has held the highest profile of any of the potential Supreme Court candidates since Justice David Souter announced his retirement April 30: she quickly became the most talked about possible choice, and, consequently, she has drawn more criticism than any of the other candidates.
The news cycle has already digested one round of criticism aimed at Sotomayor--in a New Republic piece that was widely read among SCOTUS-watchers, Jeffrey Rosen laid out "the case against Sotomayor" as articulated by former clerks who had worked with or around her, who portrayed Sotomayor as a bully who is not particularly talented with the law. Some bloggers pushed back, defending Sotomayor and slamming Rosen for the story, and Rosen followed up with a response.
None of the other possible candidates have been the subject of such a high-profile cycle of public vetting. With that might come pros and cons for Obama and Sotomayor: there is already a storyline against her, but opinion makers have already heard it, and, to some extent, the drama has already been played out.
Sotomayor was also the target of a Judicial Confirmation Network (JCN) campaign to discredit her candidacy, along with those of Elena Kagan and Diane Wood.
If JCN's web ad gives us any window into what other attack-line Sotomayor's opponents might take, we can expect critics to focus on Sotomayor's rejection of Ricci v. Destefano, a case brought by white firefighters claiming racial discrimination when they were denied promotion because a qualification test yielded no black candidates eligible for promotion. The case is now being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.