29 Oct 2010

Larry Tribe on Sonia Sotomayor

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Someone leaked to Ed Whelan, NR’s legal issues blogger, a pre-SCOTUS-nomination “Dear Mr. President” letter from Larry Tribe at Harvard discussing appointment strategy containing some very candid and interesting observations on the “wise Latina.”

As Jon Adler observed over at Volokh, leftwing Larry Tribe has essentially the same point of view on Sotomayor that Jeffrey Rosen expressed in New Republic.

If you were to appoint someone like Sonia Sotomayor, whose personal history and demographic appeal you don’t need me to underscore, I am concerned that the impact within the Court would be negative in these respects. Bluntly put, she’s not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is, and her reputation for being something of a bully could well make her liberal impulses backfire and simply add to the fire power of the Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas wing of the Court on issues like those involved in the voting rights case argued last week and the Title VII case of the New Haven firefighters argued earlier, issues on which Kennedy will probably vote with Roberts despite Souter’s influence but on which I don’t regard Kennedy as a lost cause for the decade or so that he is likely to remain on the Court.


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