With the start of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination confirmation hearings the topic of abortion naturally arises – not only because it one of our most polarizing legal and social issues, but also because Sotamayor claims to be Catholic, a religion that adamantly and explicitly teaches the evil of abortion.
And while her Catholicism scares some liberals, others are using it as a selling point, and in doing so desecrating a holy image of the Virgin Mary. Felix Sanchez, the CEO of D.C. government and public relations firm TerraCom and chairman of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, has updated his Twitter page with a background of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Over Our Lady’s face, the likeness of Sotomayor has been superimposed (shown at right).
The patron saint of all the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe has a special place in the hearts of Hispanic Catholics, especially Mexicans (which Sotomayor is not). But Sanchez seemed to use the image to appeal to all Hispanics and to promote his plea to “Confirm Sonia Maria Sotomayor,” as his Twitter page says.
Two months ago, as President Obama was contemplating a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, many in the media elite — particularly NBC News reporters and anchors — sycophantically touted Obama’s credentials as a constitutional law professor as evidence of his deep experience when it came to the judiciary.
Yesterday, however, Obama’s pick for the Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, explicitly repudiated Obama’s belief that judging should be based on “empathy” or “the heart.” Sotomayor told senators: “I don’t, wouldn’t, approach the issue of judging in the way the President does.”
None of the broadcast networks juxtaposed Sotomayor’s slap at Obama with the President’s supposed brilliance as a constitutional scholar, or explored whether it was credible that Obama’s nominee really disagrees on the role of empathy, what the President previously declared the “essential ingredient” of a good judge.
Reporting on Sonia Sotomayor responding to questions about her "wise Latina" comments during Tuesday’s confirmation hearing, CBS’s Wyatt Andrews glossed over the multiple times she made the remark: "What did she mean in her 2001 speech to Hispanic law students at the University of California that "a wise Latina woman...would reach a better conclusion than a white male?"
In addition to the Evening News story, Andrews similarly reported on Wednesday’s Early Show: "She said it in a speech to a mostly Hispanic audience at the University of California in 2001." In reality, Sotomayor made some version of that controversial statement at least four other times during speeches in 1994, 1999, 2002, and 2004.
In the Early Show story, Andrews went on to depict the comment as an isolated incident: "At the hearing, she first explained she was trying to inspire the students, that she was misunderstood. But pressed hard by Senator John Kyl, she admitted to some overheated rhetoric...But she also argued the comment did not reflect some deep-seeded bias."
Former Democratic strategist-turned-journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared on Wednesday's Good Morning America to coo that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor "didn't make any mistakes" and "did exactly what she had to do" in her confirmation hearings on Tuesday. In contrast, during Sam Alito's confirmation hearings in 2006, Stephanopoulos related Democratic complaints about membership in a supposedly discriminatory group.
The ex-Clinton aide enthused that Sotomayor brushed aside evidence that she was difficult to deal with: "On the question of bullying, she answered that with her manner all day long. No matter how many tough questions she got, she stayed even. She stayed calm. She stayed cool." He added, "She didn't meltdown. She didn't make any mistakes."
Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's "Hardball," invited on HBO's Bill Maher to mock GOP criticism of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as Maher accused them of being "racist," and Matthews marveled at how Republicans can admire Sarah Palin but not someone who worked as hard as Sotomayor to achieve her position, as he pondered: "Why do they like somebody who's shown no sweat equity against somebody who's shown nothing but sweat equity?"
Before discussing Republican treatment of Sotomayor Matthews asked Maher to rate the audiences that come to see him in the South. Maher, not surprisingly, belittled most of the region, saying the ones that do come to his shows are the minority as they are "marbled in and surrounded by a bunch of hillbillies and rednecks." To which Matthews rejoined: "Isn't it refreshing to meet Southern liberals? Because the great thing about Southern liberals is they don't, they're not competing for the latest nuance of sexual freedom like in Greenwich Village. They are liberals, meaning they're, they're for black equality for example. Things like that, that are pretty nice and wholesome." [audio available here]
Not long after that slam against non-liberal Southerners, Maher threw out the charge of Republican racism:
MSNBC hosts Tamron Hall and David Shuster on Tuesday repeatedly grumbled at the tough questions Senator Lindsey Graham posed to Sonia Sotomayor over the judge's ability to keep her feelings in check. At one point during live coverage, Shuster derided the lawmaker's remarks as "patronizing" and fretted that "the blogs are already going crazy over this." Hall saw the statements as insinuating the nominee is too "hot blooded."
The comments that drew the ire of the anchors were Graham's quizzing of Sotomayor as to reports that lawyers have found her difficult to deal with in the courtroom. Graham probed, "I never liked appearing before a judge who was a bully. Do you think you have a temperament problem?"
Co-host Hall vociferously objected to Graham's queries. Responding to news articles about the subject, she complained, "These are anonymous sources....One might read into this that he's [Graham] talking about her being a hot-blooded person or a woman who can't control her emotions."
NPR’s Nina Totenberg apparently needs to brush up on her knowledge of judicial philosophy and American jurisprudence. On the July 13 edition of “Charlie Rose,” Totenberg told Charlie Rose that Supreme Court nominee Sonya Sotomayor has “a pretty conservative record.” There are many words and phrases that could be used to accurately describe Sotamayor: intelligent, successful, to name a few. But conservative?
Totenberg went on to tell Rose that Sotomayor’s record is “very much in the mainstream,” and that “you could say that she's more conservative than some members of the Supreme Court, including Justice Scalia, perhaps.” Judge Sotomayor’s decision to uphold the New Haven firefighter case, Ricci v. DeStefano, which was overruled by the High Court this May, and whose majority included all four of the “conservative” justices, clearly illustrates that Sotomayor is in no way, shape, or form a conservative.
NBC's Ann Curry, on Tuesday's "Today" show depicted a political minefield for those Republicans who dare to challenge Sonia Sotomayor during her hearings. The co-anchor, in a 9am half-hour news brief sketched out the arduous task the GOP senators have in front of them as they attempt to avoid "offending women and Hispanics," in their questioning of the Supreme Court nominee.
The following was aired on the July 14 edition of the "Today" show:
While discussing the Sotomayor confirmation hearings with former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith wondered: "Senator Lindsey Graham said, ‘unless you have a meltdown, you're going to get confirmed.’ So is this all theater then, or is this a process that should literally be paid attention to?"
Gonzales responded by describing the importance of a Supreme Court seat: "This is a lifetime appointment. She will be making decisions that will affect the lives of millions of Americans for decades. And so I think the members of the Senate have taken an oath of office to the Constitution and to the American people to ensure this is a person that should serve on the Supreme Court. So it's more than theater. I think it's – it’s a learning experience, a teaching experience."
Earlier, Smith asked Gonzales if Sotomayor’s assurances of objectivity would be enough for Republicans: "Because she pledged her fidelity to the law. She said, ‘my personal and professional experiences help me to listen and understand with the law always commanding the result in every case.’ Is that going to make any difference to Republicans? What she says and her track record?"
If you want to see how liberals in the media “do” their thing, nothing has been a better example than the analysis by CNN’s Jeffery Toobin. We’ve highlighted some on-air work of his Sotomayor coverage, but he also has a written piece on CNN.com that is a perfect example of how the left spins rhetoric to legitimize leftist precepts.
In his July 13 piece, for instance, Toobin calls Sotomayor a “cautious and careful liberal” like Ginsburg and Breyer. So, it makes one wonder, has Toobin ever called anyone on the right a “cautious and careful conservative”?
On Monday’s Newsroom program, CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin stuck with his analysis of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor from late June- that the judge was “mainstream,” and that it would be difficult to use the reversal of her decision in the New Haven firefighters case and her “Wise Latina” comment against her.
When anchor Rick Sanchez asked if one of those issues was more problematic, Toobin replied, “I think it’s a combination....some Republicans will use [it] to paint a picture of her as kind of an activist...someone who is more interested in helping her community than in interpreting the law. That’s a very tough sell, but I think that’s the argument that they’re building towards.”
During an earlier appearance on the June 29, 2009 edition of the CNN program with anchor Heidi Collins, the very day that the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Ricci/firefighters case, the analyst stated that the decision “will be a main focus of the attack against her by conservative senators, who will say that her views are out of step with the Supreme Court. Now, that will be a somewhat-tough argument to make, because...her views are clearly in-step with four justices on the Court, including the justice she will be replacing. So, it’s not like her position was so far out the mainstream on this case that you couldn’t even get a single justice to agree with her.”
On Monday’s Fox and Friends, FNC judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano summarized the implications for the Supreme Court when President of liberal ideology is elected in a way rarely seen in the media. As he explained the goals that Republicans will have during this week’s confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Napolitano contended that electing a liberal President can lead to the appointment of judges with some of the "strange" and "odd" views and rulings exemplified by Sotomayor. Napolitano:
The Republicans want to accomplish making the country aware of the fact that when you elect a liberal Democrat as President, you get a judicial nominee with these strange ideas. Like, if you take a test, and you pass the test and you're supposed to get promoted, well, you won't get promoted because not enough people from another race passed the test. A lot of Americans will reject that attitude which she embraced. ... If they can show her as embracing odd attitudes like that, they can show up the President for being the liberal that we know he is and that the American people might not be willing to accept.
During live coverage of Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing on Monday, MSNBC's Chris Matthews gushed about the judge's opening statement, saying "Well, I'm getting one of those thrills I get about America. I'm sorry, I'm shouldn't say this. And I'm getting it again." Matthews, who famously proclaimed that Barack Obama gave him a "thrill" up his leg, also offered a fawning aside about what a "genius" the President is.
Responding to a comment the Supreme Court nominee made about working hard to advance herself in school, the "Hardball" host followed-up his "thrill" remark by rhapsodizing, "When she talked about sitting at that table and not being a genius like Barack Obama, not being one of these people that can walk into a college scholarship, who had to sweat for it." [audio available here]
Responding to Senator Jeff Sessions describing Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as a "typical liberal activist judge" CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith argued: "You feel like her record indicates that? I mean, she gets a glowing review from the American Bar Association. Her record doesn't seem to necessarily match up with her – what – some of the things she said."
Later in the Monday interview, Smith defended Sotomayor’s record, particularly her decision in the New Haven firefighter case: "But basically, she was following precedent. I think people who would actually look at it would agree she was kind of acting as any judge in that position probably would – most judges would have acted in that position. Do you really believe – you really believe her words indicate that there are – she's a different person than her record would indicate?" Sessions replied: "I think philosophically her – her statements indicate an approach to judging that's outside the mainstream so far as I can tell."
On Monday, CBS correspondent Wyatt Andrews reported on the beginning of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and declared: "To Democrats, Sotomayor is the perfect nominee. That a child of the projects would progress through Ivy League schools and later a 17-year career as a federal judge makes hers an all-American story."
The Early Show segment began with co-host Julie Chen citing poll numbers that showed the American people were not fully impressed with that "all-American story": "A new CBS poll finds that 23% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Judge Sotomayor [decrease from 33% in June], while 15% were unfavorable [up from 9% in June]. 6 in 10 are still undecided or have not heard enough yet [62%, up from 58%]. And 35% say it's very important to have another woman on the high court." An on-screen graphic of the numbers showed a shift from June, but Chen failed to note the change in people’s attitudes toward Sotomayor.
New York Times White House reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg issued another flattering bunch of factoids about Obama's Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor -- she controls her diabetes: "Court Nominee Manages Diabetes With Discipline." Stolberg suggested that Sotomayor's "no-nonsense" approach to her insulin injections was a sign of how she will tackle Supreme Court cases.
Judge Sonia Sotomayor carries a small black travel pouch, not much larger than a wallet. It contains the implements she needs -- a blood sugar testing kit, a needle and insulin -- to manage diabetes, a disease she has had for 46 years. Friends say she is not shy about using it.
"She'll be eating Chinese dumplings," said Xavier Romeu Matta, a former law clerk to the judge, "and she'll say, 'Excuse me sweetie,' and pull out the kit and inject her insulin."
That no-nonsense attitude, combined with the attention to detail that characterizes her legal opinions, has been a hallmark of Judge Sotomayor's approach to Type 1 diabetes, according to friends, colleagues and her longtime doctor, Andrew Jay Drexler. An endocrinologist in Los Angeles, Dr. Drexler pronounced her "in very good health" in a letter provided by the White House.
As the confirmation hearings for President Barack Obama's Supreme Court appointee Sonia Sotomayor are upon us, the left-wing attack machine had to take a few last shots ranking Senate Judiciary Committee Republican Sen. Jeff Session, Ala., and the Republican Party as a whole.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow explained the junior Alabama senator would take over the spot after Sen. Arlen Specter's defection to the Democratic Party on her July 10 program, suggesting his selection to the post was part of some rebranding by the GOP.
"Republicans have also decided to have Senator Jeff Sessions lead this battle for them," Maddow said. "When Arlen Specter defected to the Democratic Party, the Republicans had a choice of who should be their top senator on the Judiciary Committee. They overtly chose Jeff Sessions of Alabama to be that top Republican."
On the eve of Senate hearings on the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, her supporters are urging the media to attack the Connecticut fireman in the middle of a key ruling she made that could impact the proceedings.
The only question is whether or not Obama-loving press will comply with these wishes...or is that really even a question?
While you ponder, the following was reported by McClatchy Friday:
Imagine, if you will, an expert on the federal judiciary told a Washington Post reporter a few years ago during the Sam Alito nomination that the conservative jurist took "a kind of carpet-bombing" approach to the law, showing a determination "not to just defeat the other side, but to annihilate it" when rendering his opinions from the bench.
It's hard to image that being buried deep in an article on the jurist.
But of course the nominee in question isn't Alito, it's President Obama's pick of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace outgoing liberal Justice David Souter. Post reporter Jerry Markon opened his July 9 front-pager -- "Uncommon Detail Marks Rulings by Sotomayor" -- by noting Sotomayor's "unusual" attention to detail for an appellate judge.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell apparently can't do a television interview anymore without going after conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
Unfortunately, Sunday wasn't any different.
Appearing with John King on CNN's "State of the Union," Powell couldn't resist referring to Limbaugh in a question about Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
On Tuesday’s Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC, substitute anchor Megyn Kelly read a brief story informing viewers that now more people oppose the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor than support it. According to a new Rasmussen poll, those in opposition outnumber supporters by 39 to 37 percent, in contrast with its poll from two weeks ago which found she was favored 42 to 34 percent.
Kelly: "Well, public support for Judge Sotomayor appears to be slipping. A new Rasmussen Reports survey indicates just 37 percent support her confirmation now, while 39 percent oppose it. Compare that to two weeks ago, when her confirmation was favored by a 42 to 34 percent margin."
Following up on Monday’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of New Haven firefighters who were denied promotion after no black applicants passed a written exam, ABC’s Bob Woodruff on Tuesday’s Good Morning America approached the decision from a liberal perspective, wondering if “the ruling really make future workplace discrimination harder to prove” — as opposed to wondering whether the ruling will protect workers from discriminatory tactics from employers seeking to achieve nebulous goals such as workplace “diversity.”
Woodruff also asked correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg whether the ruling could “tarnish” the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who was part of a three-judge panel that ruled against the firefighters.
Greenburg stressed the arguments of Sotomayor’s supporters: “Oh, Bob, right away we saw critics say this was a clear rebuke to Judge Sotomayor, since she had ruled against those white firefighters. But, her supporters said, ‘Look, she was just following the law,’ and they pointed out that the Court, the Court itself, was deeply divided. The four liberal justices would have agreed with her, including that justice she’s been nominated to replace, David Souter.”
In the midst of pretty balanced ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscast stories on the Ricci reverse discrimination case involving New Haven firefighters, who were victorious, one quibble: CBS's Wyatt Andrews framed the ruling as issued by the Supreme Court's “conservative” justices and opposed not by liberals but by “civil rights leaders,” as if the majority of justices who ruled against the racial discrimination were not advancing civil rights.
Andrews announced that “in a close 5 to 4 decision, the court's swing vote, Anthony Kennedy, sided with conservatives,” before he set up a soundbite from a representative of the NAACP: “Civil rights leaders also predicted an era of confusion over when minorities are protected and when they are not.” The NAACP's John Payton declared: “I think it hurts the cause of having a discrimination-free workplace.”
Neither ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg nor NBC's Pete Williams applied a conservative or liberal label.
On Monday’s Newsroom program, CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin couldn’t find a consistent argument about the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of New Haven firefighters who accused their city of reverse discrimination. Toobin first reported that Justice Kennedy, “the swing vote in this case, as in so many others,” wrote the decision, but minutes later, he labeled it as a ruling by “the five conservatives on the Court.”
When news of the Court’s decision broke early in the 10 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, anchor Heidi Collins brought on Toobin, the network’s senior legal analyst, to comment on the five to four ruling. He began with a summary: “The Supreme Court- five to four- in a decision by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is the swing vote in this case, as in so many others, ruled that the New Haven firefighters were the victims of reverse discrimination.”
Here's something most likely to go unnoticed as the mainstream media continues reporting on the fallout of the New Haven firefighter case.
In his "Bench Memos" blog, National Review's Ed Whelan explains in "9-0 Against Sotomayor" how even the four liberal justices in today's Ricci v. DeStefano ruling thought Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor goofed in issuing summary judgment for New Haven when the case was before her (italics Whelan's, bold mine):
In footnote 10 of her dissent, Justice Ginsburg states: "Ordinarily, a remand for fresh consideration [whether the City of New Haven in fact had good cause to act] would be in order." But because the majority saw no need to remand, Ginsburg explains "why, if final disposition by this Court is indeed appropriate, New Haven should be the prevailing party." (Emphasis added.)
In other words, Ginsburg doesn't believe that final disposition of the case is appropriate. She and her fellow dissenters therefore believe that Sotomayor and her Second Circuit colleagues and the district court were wrong to grant summary judgment to the City of New Haven.
While discussing the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court on MSNBC Monday, guest Eliot Spitzer made a startling observation: "Democratic presidents nominate very centrist justices to the Supreme Court. The Republican presidents over the past 10-15 years have nominated very extremely conservative justices and that’s why the court has eschewed to the right."[audio available here]
Spitzer, the former Governor of New York who resigned from office in 2008 amid a sex scandal with a prostitute, went on to lament the unwillingness of Democratic presidents to appoint more liberal justices: "And the role of the Democratic judges – justices – has been to play the middle... And that is, I think, at a larger ideological point, a discussion we should have, because Democratic presidents have been hesitant to put really liberal justices on the court."
MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan, who was premiering his new show "The Morning Meeting," did not challenge Spitzer’s absurd assertions, but rather turned to Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart and asked: "Yeah, Jonathan what do you think about that? That the Republicans have papered it with very conservative judges and that Democrats have tried to go more middle or slightly left of center, as opposed to way left judges?" Capehart agreed with Spitzer: "Well look, I respect everything my – Governor Spitzer says."
Good Morning America on Thursday unearthed archival footage that featured Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on the show in 1986 complaining about discrimination against women. The clips highlighted her fretting, "There are different styles. And because of those styles, I think that's what affects the ability of women to get ahead in the workplace."
In the video, Sotomayor can be seen talking to then-GMA host Joan Lunden and asserting that men inadvertently discriminate against women: "Well, I found in my experiences that it's not that men are consciously discriminating against promoting women. But, I do believe that as people, we have self-images of what's good. And if you're a male that grew up professionally in a male-dominated profession, then your image of what a good lawyer is a male image."
"Good Morning America's" Claire Shipman on Wednesday conducted a fawning, mostly content-free interview with Supreme Court pick Sonia Sotomayor's brother about his sister's love for Salsa dancing, among other light topics. The ABC reporter asked Juan Sotomayor only one question on the substance of the nominee's comments that a "wise Latina" judge would come to a better conclusion than a white man.
After Shipman prompted, "I read somewhere she says she likes to party," the judge's sibling informed viewers, "She loves to party. She loves dancing. Had her 50th birthday party and she learned how to Salsa." Americans were also instructed on such pertinent information as the fact that, as a young girl, Sotomayor "loved reading Archie, and Casper and Richie Rich." Shipman, however, dwelled on Juan Sotomayor's anger towards criticism of his sister. She related, "And when we asked Juan what he thought about some conservative critics suggesting his sister is a racist, I thought he might jump out of his seat."