Conservatives Should Hold Their Fire and Confirm Judge Sotomayor

By Tommy De SenoAttorney/Editor,

Is Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a liberal judge? The American Bar Association rates her as a "centrist." Considering the source, that means she is 100% certifiably a far-left liberal judge.

Since she is replacing a liberal -- Justice David Souter -- the appointment will be of no consequence to America.



You are likely to read over the next month scary stories of some of her liberal rulings and even more about her view that her personal background as a woman and minority should be considered in her decisions on cases -- which is of course the opposite of what a judge should do.

However, she's no scarier than David Souter, so in the end, her appointment doesn't matter if you do the math: Minus 1 liberal + one liberal = zero liberal gain on the Supreme Court. Conservatives can't do any better than that in the age of Obama.

Conservatives in Congress are in the position of having to pick their battles carefully right now. Trying to block Sotomayor has more down side than up side.

First of all, since she has been vetted for her federal judgeship in the past, there is likely to be no personal blockbusters to derail her by way of nanny-gate problems or the like, so she will get in. Conservatives have the moral high-ground on nominees ever since the liberals went after Judge Bork. Let's not relinquish that ground on a fight we'll lose. Let's not be petty like liberals are when they hold the minority position in Congress.

Also, I'm a firm believer in the victor reaping the spoils in politics. Elections are supposed to mean something. If Obama wants her, and she has nothing that legally disqualifies her from service, let him have her. The time to block Sotomayor was last November with a vote for John McCain.

Allowing her through without a knock-down drag-out fight allows conservatives to make a hat-tip to Latinos, since Sotomayor will be the first Puerto Rican Supreme Court Justice. Not that ethnicity should ever matter, but you know as well as I do that as a consequence of perception, it will matter.

Latino votes are still in play and conservatives can't afford to jeopardize those votes with a fight they can't win, because there will be phony claims of racism if she receives more opposition than she deserves.

The reports that bother me most about her is that she is considered a "bully" toward lawyers and litigants. Unfortunately, I've watched that become more commonplace in courtrooms in the age of television shows like "Judge Judy." Judges now forget they are government servants. They are no different than our members of Congress. Howver Judges have a special place in American government -- mouth off to your Congressman and it's free speech; mouth off to a judge and go to jail. The problem stems from judges being appointed (which means the bench gets filled with political cronies and hacks) as opposed to being elected.

The best way to handle a bully judge, I've found, is to broadcast that she is a bully. There are ethics committes that handle such complaints, and if we keep a spotlight on her, she'll have to tone it down and treat people with dignity and respect.

Let's set the example and treat her that way during her confirmation hearing. We should be probing but fair during the process.

Read more Tommy De Seno at