Mark Levin highlighted two new damaging blows to Sonia Sotomayor's nomination at the start of his show Wednesday night. First, Greg Sargent of the Washington Post's Who Runs Gov site found that Sotomayor said almost exactly the same thing about "wise Latina women making wiser decisions" in 1994 as she did in 2001.
Second, and more shocking, via Ed Whelan on the Bench Memos blog on NRO, former New York Times and Newsweek legal reporter Stuart Taylor asked his friend K.C. Johnson to look at Sotomayor's Princeton thesis. Johnson was disturbed that Sotomayor declared herself a Puerto Rican nationalist and dismissed the U.S. Congress as the "North American Congress" or the "Mainland Congress."
First, I'm curious as to when Sotomayor ceased being a Puerto Rican nationalist who favors independence -- as she says she does in the preface. (The position, as she points out in the thesis, had received 0.6 percent in a 1967 referendum, the most recent such vote before she wrote the thesis.) I don't know that I've seen it reported anywhere that she favored Puerto Rican independence, which has always been very much a fringe position....
Second, her unwillingness to call the Congress the U.S. Congress is bizarre -- in the thesis, it's always referred to as either the 'North American Congress' or the 'mainland Congress.' I guess by the language of her thesis, it should be said that she's seeking an appointment to the North American Supreme Court, subject to advice and consent of the North American Senate. This kind of rhetoric was very trendy, and not uncommon, among the Latin Americanist fringe of the academy.
This morning, Whalen updated the Puerto Rico material with Sotomayor wanting an "affirmative action plan" for Puerto Rican statehood in the Yale Law Journal in 1979.
Here's a piece of the 1994 speech where Sargent found:
Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that "a wise old man and a wise old woman reach the same conclusion in dueling cases. I am not so sure Justice O’Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes the line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, if Prof. Martha Minnow is correct, there can never be a universal definition of ‘wise.’ Second, I would hope that a wise woman with the richness of her experience would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion.
Sargent is a liberal blogger, and he brought up this speech to make the point that Senators at Sotomayor's 1998 confirmation for the appeals court were given this speech transcript, so if they allowed it then, why object now? But he was also forced to concede that this rerun also disproves the liberal theory that Sotomayor "misspoke" or simply stumbled into a "poor choice of words."