The Washington Post’s Saturday story on the approaching Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearings tried to suggest that conservative allegations that the New York appeals judge is a liberal activist who rules with her feelings have been crushed. The trio of reporters Robert Barnes, Michael Shear, and Perry Bacon cited "one recent study" that readers might suppose is nonpartisan – but the cited study came from a very liberal, pro-Sotomayor source, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University -- a think tank named after liberals' favorite activist justice. Here’s where that study emerged:
The White House and Sotomayor's supporters in the Senate and elsewhere say charges that she has let her feelings influence her rulings has not registered with the public in an environment roiled by the still-faltering economy and a showdown on health-care reform. The allegation has also been refuted by a series of studies that show Sotomayor's decisions in 17 years as a district judge and on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit fit comfortably in the mainstream, if on the liberal edge of it. One recent study said that on matters of constitutional interpretation, she has sided with the majority 98 percent of the time.
The Brennan Center is best known as a fighter for squelching free speech, or as they call it, "campaign finance reform." At least The New York Times cited the actual source and its liberal leanings on its blog The Caucus:
Less than a week before Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing is set to open, a liberal-leaning legal center is preparing to inject into the fray a sweeping new empirical study of her constitutional rulings.The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University law school is completing an analysis of nearly 1,200 rulings by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that raised constitutional issues during Judge Sotomayor’s years on the bench....The draft report shows that Judge Sotomayor voted with the majority in 98.2 percent of the 217 constitutional cases in which she participated, dissenting only four times. Moreover, 94 percent of those rulings were unanimous decisions.
It's also not surprising that National Public Radio, the partisan source of Anita Hill's unsubstantiated sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas in 1991, are spinning away with the Brennan Center and other liberal claims on their blog The Two-Way.