Knocked off a piece for Global Comment on Sotomayor yesterday. As usual, here's a piece of it and you can read the whole thing there if you'd like.
Sotomayor is 54, from the Bronx, Puerto Rican, a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton and a Yale Law School grad, where she edited the Law Journal. She has also been an adjunct professor of law at New York University and a lecturer at Columbia University. She was the early target of attacks from the right, who called her a bully and implied that she would be an affirmative action choice—because Ivy League schools give out honors designations by gender and choose law review editors because of their skin tone all the time.
Aside from the fact that there’s nothing wrong with going with the one qualified jurist who has a background not currently represented on the Court, Obama’s choice of the judge who had faced the earliest, most pointed racist and sexist critiques from the right and a horrible article in “even the liberal” New Republic is a welcome sign. It shows critics and supporters alike that he’s not afraid of the fight, not afraid to put some political capital behind a judge with a working-class background and impeccable credentials. After the news of recent weeks, with discussions of indefinite detentions and restarting military tribunals, a signal from Obama that he hasn’t forgotten his roots is a move in the right direction.
Of course we can prepare for more racist, sexist Bingo in the upcoming fight. No doubt there will be more hints that Sotomayor isn’t that smart, that she isn’t qualified, that there’s some white guy out there being oppressed by the fact that Obama’s chosen a Latina. Post-Sarah Palin, it could be harder for the GOP to turn around and make the predictable sexist cracks, though, and post-Michael Steele, when at least part of the party seems to realize it has a diversity problem, can they afford to vote against the first Latina nominee to the court?