Thursday, May 28, 2009

CNN's Borger willfully ignorant of Soto criticism

I'll say this up front, I fully expect Sotomayor to be confirmed barring any serious new revelations. This is a post about media laziness and bias.

In a blog post entitled "'Empathy' is not a dirty word", Gloria Borger acknowledged the conservative argument against empathy then very unconvincingly tried to ignore those arguments. Then she displayed how little serious work she had put into her rambling:

And then there's this: Can anyone point to a pattern in Sotomayor's opinions which are based more on 'empathy' than the law? Of course not.

Well, Borger clearly didn't go to the Heritage Foundation's website, or casually browse National Review Online or any other well established conservative haunts. That would require... uh... work. And it would have revealed talk of the Ricci v. DeStefano case going back to October of 2008 -- that would be the "white (and Hispanic) firefighters" case.

But had she perused The New Frickin' Republic she might have noticed accusations of bullying, sloppy legal reasoning, and poor temperament.

The most consistent concern was that Sotomayor, although an able lawyer, was "not that smart and kind of a bully on the bench," as one former Second Circuit clerk for another judge put it. "She has an inflated opinion of herself, and is domineering during oral arguments, but her questions aren't penetrating and don't get to the heart of the issue." (During one argument, an elderly judicial colleague is said to have leaned over and said, "Will you please stop talking and let them talk?")


Her opinions, although competent, are viewed by former prosecutors as not especially clean or tight, and sometimes miss the forest for the trees.


Some former clerks and prosecutors expressed concerns about her command of technical legal details: In 2001, for example, a conservative colleague, Ralph Winter, included an unusual footnote in a case suggesting that an earlier opinion by Sotomayor might have inadvertently misstated the law in a way that misled litigants.


[The 2nd Circuit panel ruling on the Ricci case] provoked Judge Cabranes, a fellow Clinton appointee, to object to the panel's opinion that contained "no reference whatsoever to the constitutional issues at the core of this case."

After reading Rosen's reporting in TNR one is left to conclude that Sotomayor is either not terribly intelligent or that she's the sort of emotional flake that makes a bad judge. I'm not inclined to call a graduate of Yale Law and Princeton undergrad dim, but neither prospect excites me.

Ms. Borger -- it's called Google. Use it.

1 comment:

Samay said...

The New Republic hasn't been liberal in years. They're anti-corporate regulation, against preventing climate change, anti-affirmative action (except for hiring unqualified wealthy men from the northeast), anti-gay marriage, anti marijuana decriminalization, pro-death penalty and anti-union. And they were one of the loudest pro-Iraq War supporters.

The only thing they have is that they're assholes who act like the Northeast Corridor is the only "civilized" part of the country because it's allegedly not full of the sterotypical NASCAR fan "republican voter". Despite the fact that tracks in NY, NJ, DE and NH are always full for a race. And you know, New Jersey being much shittier than North Carolina in terms of the arts and education.

Yeah, that's not a liberal magazine.