You’d think there’d never been a woman on the Supreme Court before. The reactions to the nominations of Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were genteel compared to what’s being thrown at Sonia Sotomayor. As I remember it, Ginsburg’s judicial record at the time of her nomination was, arguably, more “liberal” than Sotomayor’s is now. Certainly when Ginsburg was nominated plenty of conservatives spoke against her confirmation. But (as I remember it) most of those objections were about Ginsburg’s support of Roe v. Wade, not her potentially fluctuating female hormones.
BARNES: I think you can make the case that sheâ€™s one of those who has benefited from affirmative action over the years tremendously.
BENNETT: Yeah, well, maybe so. Did she get into Princeton on affirmative action, one wonders.
BARNES: One wonders.
Sotomayor was valedictorian of her high school class and went to Princeton on scholarship.
I doubt any of these same people called Clarence Thomas an “affirmative action pick,” although I found a biography of Thomas that says “Yale University Law School accepted Thomas through its affirmative action program.” To be fair, Thomas’s academic record was respectable enough that he would have been considered for admission regardless of race, I suspect. His academic record is less impressive than Sotomayor’s, however.
O’Connor’s nomination was a long time ago, and my memory of it is hazy. Being nominated by Ronald Reagan rather than a Democrat probably shielded her from the worst of what might have been thrown at the first woman nominee to the SCOTUS.
However, reactions from the Right to Sotomayor are so much more over the top than than they were to the nomination of Ginsburg, who is at least as liberal as Sotomayor, and I do wonder why. Tossing out some ideas —
- Ginsburg is Jewish. Antisemitism really is a big no-no on much of the Right. Gotta support the state of Israel, you know.
- Sotomayor is Latina. I think these days the Right is twitchier about Hispanics than they are about any other racial minority.
- No leadership. There’s no authority on the Right who can order the worst of the hotheads to tone it down.
- They’re out of power. Nothing fights harder than a wounded, cornered animal.
Anything else you can think of?