Is Frontrunner Mexican Lady Judge A Dumb? Anonymous Sources Think So!

  possible legislators from the bench

K-Lo's foilBarack Obama needs two very arbitrary things from his Supreme Court pick: that the pick be a woman, and Mexican. Maybe even a liberal, although he does not support Litmus Tests. A quick scan of the system shows that a gal named Sonia Sotomayor, judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, fills these requirements, so she is automatically the frontrunner. Sotomayor was a Poor for most of her life, born into a Puerto Rican family in the Bronx. Later, however, she went to such “lesser Ivies” as Princeton and Yale Law School and had a ton of fancy jobs writing nonsense. Hooray! BUT NO, writes important Washington legal scholar Jeffrey Rosen of important government pamphlet The New Republic in an important article! She’s just another dumb Puerto Rican loudmouth, say his anonymous sources who may or may not have ever heard of her.

Rosen wants us to know right off the bat that Sotomayor is, above all else, a loser with no friends.

Her former clerks report that because Sotomayor is divorced and has no children, her clerks become like her extended family–working late with her, visiting her apartment once a month for card games (where she remembers their favorite drinks), and taking a field trip together to the premier of a Harry Potter movie.

Rosen suggests that maybe she has no husband or family or friends because she is — according to important minds in the legal world — an annoying retard.

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking to a range of people who have worked with her, nearly all of them former law clerks for other judges on the Second Circuit or former federal prosecutors in New York. Most are Democrats and all of them want President Obama to appoint a judicial star of the highest intellectual caliber who has the potential to change the direction of the court. Nearly all of them acknowledged that Sotomayor is a presumptive front-runner, but nearly none of them raved about her. They expressed questions about her temperament, her judicial craftsmanship, and most of all, her ability to provide an intellectual counterweight to the conservative justices, as well as a clear liberal alternative.

Even Sotomayor’s supporters concede that hey, you know, she’s a wacky gal and all, and maybe Princeton and Yale aren’t exactly Brown and Cornell, but everyone is special in their own way, right?

This supporter praised Sotomayor for not being a wilting violet. “She commands attention, she’s clearly in charge, she speaks her mind, she’s funny, she’s voluble, and she has ownership over the role in a very positive way,” she said. “She’s a fine Second Circuit judge–maybe not the smartest ever, but how often are Supreme Court nominees the smartest ever?”

Later, Rosen suggests that quite possibly he is trashing her without knowing what he’s talking about at all, and maybe anonymous people are lying to him?

I haven’t read enough of Sotomayor’s opinions to have a confident sense of them, nor have I talked to enough of Sotomayor’s detractors and supporters, to get a fully balanced picture of her strengths. It’s possible that the former clerks and former prosecutors I talked to have an incomplete picture of her abilities.

It’s possible!

The Case Against Sotomayor [TNR]

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About the author

Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined Wonkette.com in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

View all articles by Jim Newell

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101 comments

  1. x111e7thst

    The S Bronx is no longer what it was. Still, I would like to invite Washington legal scholar Jeffrey Rosen of important government pamphlet The New Republic to meet me there on any eve of any day of the week, so that we might more fully explore his important and interesting views

  2. ManchuCandidate

    Translation: Needs more stories about pubic hair and Long Dong Silver videos.

  3. 51dimes

    If she can remember everyone’s favorite drinks, that’s enough for me. Its Happy Hour for SCOTUS!

  4. freakishlystrong

    “Hello. My name is Sonia Sotomayor. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

  5. alreese

    In the world of law schools – Yale is by far the best – Harvard would be the “lesser ivy” of law schools…

  6. rambone

    We need someone with the intellectual grasp of a Harriet Miers or a Clarence Thomas. Someone dumb enough to do exactly as she is told by her betters.

  7. norbizness

    Jay Rosen should be kicked down a flight of stairs. In related news, he’ll be doing some economic analysis without looking at any numbers and attempting to comment on a Wonkette post about Sarah Palin without using any internally generated catchphrases.

  8. smartypants

    Hey, how did you get my older sister’s HS yearbook pic?? I thought she burned them all..

  9. MattW

    [re=307665]alreese[/re]: Are you saying that Jim Newell, America’s foremost jurist and publisher of U.S News & World Report, is misleading us about the relative quality of our Ivy League institutions? Scandalous!

  10. CorkPopper

    But wait…I thought the mandate was for someone with “real-world experience” who hasn’t just been a judge. So we need a minority woman who hasn’t been a judge or a law professor and who has the force of personality to influence the court in a liberal direction.

    Oprah!

  11. Canmon (the Inadequate)

    George W. Bush has degrees from both Yale and Harvard. This makes him our smartest president ever.

  12. ZiPPerHEaD

    Sonia Sotomayor is brilliant. She could take both Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman in a cage match, also.

  13. prophet1195

    “I’m from the Planet Tee Wanna, you pinche gringos. Pick your own watermelons, Congressman Boner or I’ll breathe North Carolina flu on you and you’ll be whistling Dixie like the Cisco Kid meets Jethro Bodeen in an airport bathroom stall”.

  14. Cape Clod

    How can they consider this woman when Alberto Gonzales is still without a job?

  15. Bruno

    Just because Coultier and Olbermann went to Cornell doesn’t mean you can snark at it. Or maybe it means you can. Fuck both of them.

  16. HoboNutz

    Nobody knows jack about this lady.. Lets just get Geithner to stress test her o-ring

  17. Bruno

    [re=307683]Canmon (the Inadequate)[/re]: “George W. Bush has degrees from both Yale and Harvard. This makes him our smartest president ever.”

    OK, you’re right. Harvard and Yale are the lesser Ivies. Go Big Red!

    Jim, I notice you’ve been ignoring U Penn, isn’t that a state school?


  18. Post author
    Jim Newell

    [re=307697]tony smith[/re]: “Mexican is not the same as Puerto Rican.”

    Are you serious?

  19. Texan Bulldoggette

    That’s some crack reporting there….anonymous source here, someone said there. Jeffrey is on par with the White House press corps as far as substantial reporting goes; see Bo the Dog, Michelle Obama has nice biceps, Joe Biden says something stupid.

  20. Cathangover

    He’s been talking to people over the “past few weeks” about this Mexican lady potentially being a Supreme Court Justice? Is Jeffrey Rosen Souter’s girlfriend?

  21. McDuff

    Jay Rosen day-dreaming about confirmation hearings —

    Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Bubba Gump): Blah, blah, Harlem, Puerto Rican, no kids, ill-tempered lesbo, blah, blah, blah Yale!, card night must mean gambling addiction, blah, blah, blah?

    Hon. Sonia Sotomayor: I’m gonna cut you man! (Pulls switch blade, jumps over witness table.)

  22. Mull_Man

    dammit, with Souter gone, the recluse nutball’s of this world will have no voice.

    wait – I forgot that’s what we want…

  23. chascates

    No one to the left of Robert Bork will get a pass from the GOP. They’re agin whoever Barry will nominate. A simple majority may confirm a nominee but I bet Cornyn finally brings his threat of WWIII to the forefront.

  24. Lazy Media

    [re=307702]Jim Newell[/re]: Yes, he’s serious, you dumb mick. Mexican is the same as Dominican. Guatemalan is the same as Puerto Rican. Get it right, sir, or I will no longer subscribe to your news-letter.

  25. Texan Bulldoggette

    Isn’t this kind of like bashing Kate Winslet as an actress but never actually seeing any of her movies?? I’m befuddled…did this woman get nominated & I didn’t hear about it? Or are they just being dicks to try to make themselves feel important & maybe they are a bit jealous?

  26. JimBob

    Yes, but the most imprtant question, is she legally blonde? As a Puerto Rican, I doubt it…

  27. BklynIlluminati

    Bring it GOP, please try some slam tactic on Sotomayor. We Boricuas take care of our own. You’ll never get another Latin vote in this century again. Putos

  28. Come here a minute

    Rosen’s article can be easily refuted because Judge Sotomayor is well know to, why not, write the best anonymous snark at Wonkette. That proves she is a Mexican genius.

  29. Cicada

    [re=307724]Texan Bulldoggette[/re]: It’s a preemptive bashing. Sort of like a preemptive war, you don’t need any actionable intelligence to start dropping bombs.

  30. LittlePig

    [re=307697]tony smith[/re]: Ahh, the deadly Crits, an infamous Japanese lesbian gang.

  31. Bruno

    [re=307704]Jim Newell[/re]: I thought just the Wharton part was the state school. You know, all those business classes teaching typing (WORD PROCESSING) and reading printouts on computer-generated greenbar paper and the like.

  32. Bruno

    [re=307776]Bruno[/re]: not to mention the Black-Scholes model (racist derivative traders…)

  33. Johnny Zhivago

    I’m going to say it’s possible this Rosen guy is the biggest asshole on the planet. I never heard of him before, and I’ve only seen a few sentances he’s ever written. I’m really not sure I even care enough about this to find any more of his work to read. But I am willing to call him an asshole at this point.

  34. President Beeblebrox

    Wow, for a minute there I thought David Lat was back writing for teh Wonkettes, he of lesser Ivies and third-tier toilet law schools…

  35. ph7

    [re=307672]Bearbloke[/re]: That would be great. And likely open up another slot, when Clarence strokes out.

  36. NunnaTheSOBs

    Let’s hope she gets the nod —- If Clarence Thomas couldn’t control himself around
    Anita Hill, wait until that NewYorican walks her hot little latina ass into the
    chambers, sporting a pair of “daisy dukes” under those robes.

    He’ll get his nose out of Scalia’s ass and up into that cameltoe of this “chica”.

  37. Bearbloke

    [re=307755]Advocatus_Diaboli[/re]: I played the game, and I’m now backing Judge Leah Ward Sears, in part ’cause it would make Bitterz heads explode… but if I were Obama and I had my way, I’d put Ralph Nader (yes, that Ralph Nader) on the court, or maybe Hillary just to get her and her chubby-chasin’ husband outta my White House…

  38. Mahousu

    Her former clerks report that because Sotomayor is divorced and has no children, her clerks become like her extended family …
    Translation: She needs a man, obviously. Unfortunately, the only single guy on the Supreme Court is exactly the one leaving. It’s just like an O. Henry story.

  39. Bowdoin

    That Gonzo guy ruined public service for Puerto Ricans forever, even with a rehabbed West Side Story on Broadway, but we have a 14th Amendment Equal Protection controversy brewing. Everybody who ever will be nominated forever is at least smarter than Uncle Thomas, world’s only utterly ineffable judge (and also f the horse he rode in on).

  40. imissopus

    Translation: This is an under-researched story that I rushed to post on TNR so I could be the first person in the media to start trashing her in case she is in fact nominated. I’m sort of the “Patient Zero” of the coming plague of self-absorbed media pundits expressing their opinions of Judge Sotomayer and then the inevitable expressing their opinions of how they expressed their opinions postgame. Also, I’m obviously a dick. Also.

  41. Citizen Kang

    Sonia, as one person of color to another…your chances would vastly improve if you were a lesbian also. I just saying…think about it. No need to made a decision today, but you might want to keep your eye out for a woman of like persuasian.

  42. nosnikreplliw

    Who gives a shit if she (or whoever) is not the sharpest knife in the drawer? It seems that’s been the standard for a while now, and look where it’s gotten us! The supreme court needs diversity, not just in arbitrary things like sex and race, but in meaningful things like actual legal work (not just head blabbermouth at a fancy law school), prior elected office, etc. The court is currently homogeneous in all of the above categories.

  43. Aquannissiwamissoo

    Aztex used to eat baybeez … and she might not like the white penis …

    Could have harvested spinach … could be e coli on decisions …

    Must do vulcan mindmeld with constructionists like ReelMerkin Zachary Tayler to find troo answer.

  44. PerhapsSo

    [re=307755]Advocatus_Diaboli[/re]: I want someone as young as possible, someone who will sit on the bench for the next 40 years. Lisa Madigan it is!

  45. Advn2rgirl

    [re=307802]Bearbloke[/re]: I am, too. I figure anyone who could take on the Republicans AND the Xian “Right” in GA and WIN can take anything a Senate hearing can throw at her.

    Pick a Latina next go ’round: don’t be all obvious about your identity politics.

  46. Aquannissiwamissoo

    Let’s avoid all this “identity politics” and “political correctness” and “slavery guilt” and “bowing to the matriarchy” —

    Just go with a good old Southern white man who cheats on and beats on his wife and sucks corporate polluting cock.

    It’s worked for the last 200 years.

  47. hobospacejunkie

    Her former clerks report that because Sotomayor is divorced and has no children, her clerks become like her extended family–working late with her, visiting her apartment once a month for card games…

    My wife worked for a Texas Supreme Court judge (who was married) and he also treated his staff (and former staff) like extended family and invited them to his apartment regularly. I thought he was one of the finest human beings I’d ever met. How this activity can be construed as a bad thing for Ms. Sotomayor is beyond me. Rosen is just lebso-baiting. He should be bludgeoned with a blunt instrument, then peed on by a mule.

  48. Bearbloke

    [re=307890]Advn2rgirl[/re]: In fact, at some point in the future after we’ve cleaned-up the STINKING MESS that ReThuglican Evil has made of our country, I’d like to Amend the Constitution to require a 2/3 confirmation vote for all Federal Judges, Senior Military Officers and anybody else who’s trying to get a Lifetime Appointment from the Senate.
    Thus no more reich-wing ’50 senators + VP’ picks – every time I think about it, I wonder how the Founders missed that one…

  49. Accordion-o-rama

    [re=307755]Advocatus_Diaboli[/re]: Did Slate feel that including the candidates’ weights and vital measurements would make that page look vapid and sophomoric? They needn’t have worried.

  50. hobospacejunkie

    [re=307932]Bearbloke[/re]: I was thinking more about Neal Horsely’s first sexual experience.

  51. Neilist

    As someone who knows Her Honor socially (in a minor league way): She be a fine choice for the High Court.

    Maybe not stupid enough for some. Or enough of a mindless ideologue for many.

    But I’m confident she’ll muddy through.

    And if “muddying through” includes pulling a class PR switchblade and carving a Harlem Sunset into Scalia’s ass — well, so be it.

  52. dijetlo

    [re=307918]hobospacejunkie[/re]: “Rosen is just lebso-baiting”

    In a larger sense, isn’t every man?

  53. Bearbloke

    [re=307942]hobospacejunkie[/re]: no, you’re thinking of the ‘spare the rod spoil the children’ weekly discipline that Neal got from his Pa & Stepmulemama…

  54. user-of-owls

    Oh, the banter between her and the guinea would be priceless!

    “Don’t call me gringo you fucking beaner. Stay on your side of the goddamn river.”

    “No me digas beaner, Mr. Puñetero. Te sacaré un susto por racista y culero. No me llames frijolero, pinche gringo puñetero.”

  55. Lascauxcaveman

    Perhaps somebody else already said this (so many comments!) but if it’s gotta be Hispanic and female, I’m holding out for Salma Hayek.

  56. nappyduggs

    Yeah, fuck this noise. The real point is that this decision should be made as the result of a fierce dance battle between Judge Putamayo and Judge Blacklady. Electric bugaloo, betches!

  57. Jukesgrrl

    This is easy. Let her play Scrabble with Justice Thomas and then we’ll see how stupid she is or isn’t. Case closed. Leave the door open, though. I wouldn’t want the poor woman to be alone with him.

  58. Lascauxcaveman

    I hope Hopey picks our own Washington (State) Gov Chris Gregoire .

    Not hispanic, but she fits the other criteria, ie. not a judge, but female, a lawyer and former state atty gen. Plus if she steps out to SCOTUS, that little gnome to her left becomes our gov.

    He’s the size of a hobbit, and currently growing a lush, silvery beard.

  59. Neilist

    [re=308101]problemwithcaring[/re]: Well, I work with words for a living . . . .

    That whole thing about her being a “manhater” is a Crock of Shit, too.

    (Unlike Kathleen Sullivan, who definitely is a Rug Muncher. Trust me on that one, too.)

  60. NYNYNY

    [re=307702]Jim Newell[/re]: I agree with Mr Smith: these are not the same thing. Puerto Ricans are very loud and refuse to work, Mexicans are the vice versa. And Puerto Ricans are always Crit and Mexicans are Blood.

  61. ItRhymes

    [re=307666]SayItWithWookies[/re]: Just in case

    Not clear if she was born in the Bronx or in Puerto Rico, but either way she’s a US citizen. Birth in PR – us citizen. So yeah, Puerto Ricans aren’t immigrants.

  62. Links

    I don’t think she’s qualified, either. Did she harass her employees? Can she bring half a dozen children dressed as Leave it to Beaver kids to congressional hearings? Has she ever published bigoted opinions about women and/or minorities? Does she hate equal rights and does she disdain the poor? Does she believe that poor white men are discriminated against in every sphere of life? Does she think that there should be a Bill of Duties? No? Well, then clearly she’s a lesser legal mind than the likes of Thomas et al. Also, if she has ever said or published anything that betrays the fact that she is a human being with opinions, she is clearly not fit to be a SC justice. Also, she’s a woman and she looks like a Muslin. Dangerous. Also.

  63. lazynamepicker

    “how often are Supreme Court nominees the smartest ever?” Well, how often are Supreme Court nominees the dumbest ever? Or, how do you spell “Clarence Thomas”?

  64. Blender

    Maybe TNR will go easier on her if she personally travels to the West Bank and kicks a Palestinian puppy. In the face.

  65. mookworthjwilson

    [re=307704]Jim Newell[/re]: I guess that makes the public “law school” i attend at night the equivalent of clown college.

  66. YosemiteSemite

    tony smith and LittlePig: The Crits, otherwise known as the Professional Organization of English Majors, terrors of Morningside Heights.

    Bearbloke: It’s wanker in English.

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