Thursday, August 06, 2009

Senate confirms Sotomayor, Republicans commit mass seppuku on Capitol steps

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Alright, I made that last part up. While conservatives shot a few loads Sotomayor's way in a smear campaign that was racist and personal -- she's an affirmative action case, she's not up for the job -- most Republicans kept their fire to themselves, even if most of them in the Senate voted against her. (Even Mitch McConnell said some rather nice things about her, before falling back on the silly notion that her "personal" and "political" agenda prevents her from being a fair judge, as if it is possible for anyone not to have personal/political preferences -- even neutrality, strictly speaking, constitutes an agenda. For more on this, see my lengthy critique of this conservative view.)

This afternoon, the Senate voted 68-31 in support of confirmation. (Only Ted Kennedy, alas, a man who has done so much to promote racial equality and a just society did not vote, given his poor health.)

The fact is, she was a solid nominee, with an impeccable record and distinguished credentials, and there wasn't anything Republicans could do to prevent her from being confirmed. What's more, the risk of further alienating Hispanics was simply too great. Republicans have already burned so many bridges beyond their narrow right-wing base, but attacking her too vociferously, not to mention viciously (as conservatives in the media were doing, like Dear Leader Rush), would have been a bridge too far even for them. Their largely symbolic votes against her hardly came with much verve.

While Sotomayor's confirmation was largely inevitable, and rightly so (although I would like to see the whole conformation process taken more seriously, with serious questions being asked and answered and without so much grandstanding from senators), today's vote was nonetheless a notable achievement. Obama's poll numbers are down this week -- largely, I think, because of effective Republican propaganda over health-care reform, and with the Beltway media establishment continuing its long tradition of regurgitating right-wing talking points -- but the vote continues a pretty remarkable week for him, what with the successful release of the two journalists held in North Korea and now the confirmation of his first Supreme Court nominee.

Well done, Dems.

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  • I'm a little worried about this appointment. Being Cuban myself, I applaud them for finally appointing a Hispanic, as that was long overdue. I feel though that there were better options out there.

    Sotamayor's financial irresponsibility troubles me. She does not live within her means, and this usually reflects irresponsibility in other aspects of her life. I wish her well, but I find that aspect extremely troubling.

    Check out my blog about her personal finances at

    By Anonymous Frank Fitton, at 1:34 PM  

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