Thursday, July 23, 2009

Eisgruber '83: Republicans have nothing to gain by opposing Sotomayor '76

University Provost and Supreme Court scholar Christopher Eisgruber '83 told LegalNewsline that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor '76 is all but assured confirmation in a piece published yesterday. Sotomayor, whose hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee were completed last week, faced questions about her judicial record as well as comments made in a speech delivered outside the court. In addition, the Supreme Court overturned her ruling in Ricci v. DeStefano shortly before her hearings. Despite this Eisgruber noted that he did not beleive that the Supreme Court's reversal of her decision would hurt her chances of confirmation.

"For example, [the Supreme Court] is not bound by Second Circuit precedent and it is free to reconsider its own precedent. Judge Sotomayor may have been quite right as a matter of Second Circuit law," he said.

Yesterday also saw further evidence to support Eisgruber's prediction that Sotomayor would be confirmed. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-GA) announced that he would vote in favor of confirming Sotomayor, joining fellow Republicans Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). None of the 60 senators who caucus with the Democrats have announced plans to vote against her confirmation.


Ray said...

Eisgruber should stick to the law and leave the politics to, well, somebody else. Off the top of my head, Republicans have multiple reasons to oppose Sotomayor.

1) Certain core constituencies and principles demand it. If the Republicans *fail* to mount a significant effort against a pro-abortion, pro-racial qutoas nominee, those constituencies will drop out of their party due to their betrayal of principles.

2) It's good practice. The political and public relations infrastructure necessary to mount a good assault on a political nominee does not materialize out of thin air. Opposition researchers, spinmeisters, legal experts, caucuses, etc., all need to be marshalled, weak and strong points determined, their ability to cooperate and conduct good operations under an intense time frame measured.

I won't go into other reasons which would require more careful and subjective judgments of Sotomayor's expertise, judicial character, etc. But suffice to say that those too would have their adherents.

Troubling too is Professor Eisgruber's casual assumption of solidarity among America's "Hispanic" community. It is America's blessing, and a tribute to our successful assimilation, taht no such community exists, just as there is no "Asian" community. There are, instead, many different communities, which feel little, if any solidarity with each other, and are for the most party happy to take part in American politics on their own terms.