Sotomayor a true judge — incoherent *UPDATED*

You know that I don’t like judges.  I’ve certainly made no secret of that fact, and it’s no doubt a by-product of practicing law in a region crawling with activist judges.  Listening to Sotomayor struggle to articulate things — and to avoid her own footprint — in response to Sen. Lindsay Graham’s questioning is painful.  It’s especially embarrassing when you hear her try to explain why the Constitution directly addressed abortion.

(Graham’s questioning, incidentally, is excellent.  He makes incredibly good use of his “good ole boy” persona to leave her without anything to say.  When Sotomayor does answer, her answers are manifestly non-responsive.)

While Sotomayor’s incoherence and weaseling aren’t surprising, what is surprising is the truly nasty attack that Nancy Benac at the AP — the AP! — launched against her:

It’s a good thing Sonia Sotomayor speaks Sotomayoran.

After week upon week in which plenty of other people on the planet interpreted Sotomayor’s past comments, the Supreme Court nominee at last got a chance to deconstruct her own words Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Fingers splayed, palms flat, hands bouncing up and then deliberately pressing down to the table, Sotomayor elaborated, clarified, expanded, retracted.

She drew loopy circles on her paper; she ran rhetorical circles around her past words.

“I didn’t intend to suggest …” she explained.

“What I was speaking about …” she offered.

“As I have tried to explain …” she parsed.

“I wasn’t talking about …” she demurred.

She was a tough critic at times.

“I was using a rhetorical flourish that fell flat,” she averred.

“It was bad,” she said. Of her own words.

You really have to read the whole thing to get the flavor.  Benac is hostile.  It’s bizarre coming from an AP writer.  I wonder how long Benac will have a job.

UPDATE:  Welcome, Instapundit readers!  This is, of course, the obligatory (and heartfelt) “stop and look around” message.  I really do mean it, though.  Much as I’m delighted that you’re visiting this post, it’s not the best representation of how I write.  If you want to see whether I’m worth visiting again, you’ll get a better sense of me by reading this post (which is one of my periodic better efforts), or this one (which is pretty typical for me).

UPDATE II:  For more on the fact that Sotomayor is not merely imbecilic, but is also dishonest, Jennifer Rubin is a great place to start.  The question then, and it’s a question only for intellectual entertainment, is whether she knows she’s lying or whether she’s a pathological narcissist whose version of the absolute truth is always defined by the needs of the moment.

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  • Charles Martel

    Benac is probably a feeler, a stalking horse. Let’s remember that the left gladly eats its own when it senses the time has come.

    Remember how Hillary was the media’s darling until The One came along? Suddenly she was yesterday’s news, then meat.

    There is an increasing feeling of unease among leftists. The smart ones—and there are some smart ones—are beginning to emerge from the fog. They see how limited Obama is and they are beginning to see what they have to do: To continue with their agenda, which is being increasingly botched by the second-raters who are running the government, they will have to become critics. “There’s nothing wrong with our scheme for utopia, it’s just that we selected the wrong people to bring it about!”

    The Mafia has used that tactic all along. When you see one of your lieutenants losing control, you separate yourself from him and even help him toward his final (personal) destruction. But you leave intact the organizational mission.

  • Oldflyer

    Thanks for validating my impression of her. I didn’t listen to much. I am just too old to put myself through avoidable pain; but I heard more than enough.

    Lindsey Graham can rise almost to the occasion, then he loses it. After stating that he would probably vote for her, barring a meltdown, not much mattered.

    I wish I had heard just one Senator explain to her, and the nation, that our Constitution is a framework for government. It does not grow, it does not evolve. The Legislature is responsible for insuring that our laws keep our society up to date within that framework. If we don’t agree with aspects of the framework, let us go through the amendment process. The Justices need only determine if the laws do indeed fit the framework. They don’t need empathy; they don’t need foreign guidance; they don’t need a sense of the mood of the country. The Legislature needs some, if not all, of those attributes. All the Justices need is an understanding of the Constitution; and the motivation and temperament to apply it consistently. Anything else violates their oath. At least that is my understanding. I won’t hold my breath waiting to hear it espoused in the Judiciary Committee.

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  • suek

    >>After stating that he would probably vote for her, barring a meltdown, not much mattered.>>

    He’s a puzzle. Sometimes he’s excellent, sometimes he’s just an embarrassment. Maybe his goal was to produce the meltdown????

    You know…I’m not sure he said he’d probably vote for her. I’ve heard this, but when I listened to the statement that I thought people were referring to, I thought he said that she would probably be confirmed, barring a meltdown. I don’t think he said _he_ would vote to confirm her – just that he thought she’d be confirmed. But perhaps I was looking at the wrong quotes.

  • Charles Martel

    I remember back in 1970 when Nixon nominated G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court. The nomination started withering on the vine when Carswell’s incredibly mediocre record as a jurist came out.

    The coup de grace was delivered by Nebraska Senator Roman Hruska, who, trying to be helpful, sank the nomination when he declared, “Even if he is mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they, and a little chance?”

    It was funny then. It is chilling now. This medicore, obtuse, second-rate, full-time I’m-a-Latina-victim is being foisted on us as a raw exercise of political correctness and affirmative action.

    For God sakes, is Sotomayor the best that our country’s supposed best and brightest can serve up?

  • Deana

    Charles –

    “Benac is probably a feeler, a stalking horse. Let’s remember that the left gladly eats its own when it senses the time has come.”

    I think you’re exactly right.

    As for watching Sotomayor’s testimony, it IS painful. There is no depth to the discussion. None. No insight into legal thought. It is a long, tedious exercise in attempting to excuse that which is inexcusable.

    I agree with you Charles – is she the best this country can produce?

  • Deana

    I’d love to see a side-by-side comparison of the discussion that took place during Roberts’ hearing and Sotomayor’s.

    I distinctly recall thinking during Roberts’ hearing that he was running circles around some of the senators.

  • Charles Martel

    Given the low level of senatorial intelligence in general, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Roberts had also run squares, triangles, octagons and ellipsoids around those dunces.

  • Charles Martel

    I know this is way off topic:

    Wow, I just saw a video of The One throwing out the first pitch of the All Star Game in St. Louis.


    Do the Dems have any men left?

  • Ymarsakar

    Do the Dems have any men left?

    They got suicide bombers and Islamic mullahs, Martel. Don’t forget Zel and Chavez too. Real men. Strong men. The perfect role model for Leftist women.

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  • gpc31


    President Bush threw a strike in the 2001 World Series. That’s how you throw. And he didn’t brag about it beforehand, like Obama. He just did it.

    Watching the youtube of President Bush at Yankee Stadium just after 9/11 still brings tears to my eyes.

  • gpc31

    And another thing, while I’m at it…

    The camera angle made it difficult if not impossible to tell if Obama threw a strike. As flattering as possible to Obama, misleading in terms of outcome. Kind of a metaphor, eh?

    To me, baseball is the most important thing in life that doesn’t matter. I don’t need no wussy armed pretender on the mound.

  • Ymarsakar

    This is rather quaint. The perfect parable of news reporters focusing the camera in on Obama, the figure, and totally ignoring the consequences of Obama’s actions.

    So long as we have this bait and switch crook up on the mound, it doesn’t matter what he threw. The fact that He threw it is what the media thinks we should pay attention to.

  • Mike Devx

    There’s no doubt about it: Obama definitely threw a curve ball.

    All of his advisors predicted the pitch would come in at 85 miles per hour, but they were off by a huge amount. The pitch came in far slower than anyone expected and was completely ineffective. Afterwards, the advisors blamed Bush, and said they’d always planned on a very slow pitch that would end up being effective just in time to affect the 2010 elections.

    Web aficionados analyzed the YouTube video of the pitch and determined it was far to the left of the plate. But later that afternoon, when they clicked the link o return to the video, it now showed Obama winding up and delivering a blazing fastball at 104 miles per hour perfectly painting the outside corner of the plate. And on the audio, the volume of the cheering crowd had somehow tripled in size.

  • BrianE


    Speaking only for myself (I guess that’s obvious), I was completely disgusted by Judge Sotomayor’s testimony today. If she was not perjuring herself, she is intellectually unqualified to be on the Supreme Court. If she was perjuring herself, she is morally unqualified. How could someone who has been on the bench for seventeen years possibly believe that judging in hard cases involves no more than applying the law to the facts?…- Louis Seidman, Georgetown Law Professor

    Then today:

    I want to elaborate on some of the (perhaps intemperate) comments I made last night. There’s no denying that Republicans on the committee put Judge Sotomayor in a difficult moral position, and I need not elaborate on their own culpability for doing so. Either Judge Sotomayor had to misrepresent what she knows judges (all judges, conservative and liberal) do in hard cases, or she had to risk defeat.- Seidman

    Then this:
    Radford University’s Matthew J. Franck replies:

    For my part I find the president’s account of the role of “empathy” in judging to be alarming, and I would welcome Judge Sotomayor’s repudiation of his arguments—if I believed her. Frankly, I don’t.

    I think I know what you mean by the “official version” of what judges do. I agree with you that “applying law to facts” is too simplistic to capture the nuances of what Felix Frankfurter called “judicial judgment.” But if it’s not where I would stop, it’s not a bad place to start. And if you mean to say that the political convictions of judges are either a) inevitably a part of their legal judgments or b) desirable elements of the same, then I disagree. Certainly their political convictions are not desirable elements in judicial judgment, and to the extent that they inevitably creep in, they should be minimized as close to the vanishing point as possible by every conscious effort a judge can muster.

    Judge Sotomayor, in the speeches from which she now flees unconvincingly—sorry, I mean which she now assures us were misunderstood—takes the view that gender and ethnicity influence the convictions of the judge, which in turn influence legal outcomes. Like the president, she celebrated this rather than worrying about it. Now she sings a different tune.

    The hearing is particularly disgusting. The next Supreme Court Justice of the United States, is lying though her teeth. Everyone on the left and right knows she is lying through her teeth and apparently no one cares.
    I know that she is trying to appear reasonable, and Republicans are trying to get her to admit her deep desire to replace the Constitution with the communist manifesto, but either she has enough contempt for the process to not even attempt to disguise her lying, or she doesn’t have the intellectual ability to fend off the Republicans while remaining true to her core principles.
    Either way she doesn’t deserve to be on the court. Yuck.
    Yahoo headline:
    Sotomayor vows stability even as trailblazing justice

  • BrianE

    Obama’s throw proves he’s not a natural born citizen.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Let me see if I understand…Obama’s girlie-man pitch curved downwards to the Left and fell short of its target and thudded down in a cloud of dirt. Did I get that Right?

  • suek


    Love it!

  • Charles Martel

    Sarah Palin would have tossed a fastball strike right up the middle.

    While holding Trig.

    In heels.

  • Charles Martel

    Ooops, wrong topic.

    However, as Eleanor Roosevelt would say, “Nevertheless.”

  • Charles Martel


    Lack of morning coffee = lack of higher brain function.

    Pay no attention to the Martel behind that curtain.