Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Empty Robe

Ilya Shapiro's take on Sottomayor:
The more Sotomayor speaks, the more it becomes clear that these types of nonanswers, this inability to see (or lack of desire to express) a big picture view, is her own essence. It continues a pattern that is evident from her judicial opinions, which are mostly unremarkable and, in the neutral sense of that term, unimpressive. For all her career success and a personal story we should all celebrate, she is an average judge who apparently gives little thought to the broad swath of law and where her rulings fit into that.

That is, Sonia Sotomayor is not a Cass Sunstein or Larry Tribe or Elana Kagan or (fellow circuit judge) Diane Wood. She is not a scholar or an ideologue. Her liberality is reflexive and warmed-over, a product of the post-modern educational environment that formed her in the 1970s—complete with ethnic activism—but not an intellectual edifice. This does not mean she isn’t a danger to liberty and the rule of law, or that her votes and opinions won’t harm the Constitution. But it does indicate that, for all her bluster about being a “wise Latina,” she is little more than a left-leaning empty robe.