What a Difference a President Makes


As could be expected, there's an enormous amount of good material over at the Volokh Conspiracy regarding Judge Sonia Sotomayor and all of those attendant "causes for concern" being raised by her libertarian and conservative critics (Make sure to read Damon Root on this very subject and, via Volokh's Jonathan Adler, this WSJ column from George Mason law professor Neomi Rao). And while not nearly as important as all those posts scrutinizing Sotomayor's record, this catch from Orin Kerr, comparing Slate SCOTUS reporter Dahlia Lithwick's take on the confirmation hearings of Sotomayor and Roberts, is particularly entertaining:

Dahlia Lithwick, The Rational Hysterics, today:

Confirmation hearings are inevitably an invitation to behave badly. Something about the bright lights of the Senate judiciary committee brings out the worst in people. Legal thinkers who are otherwise reasonable and intelligent somehow become great big puddles of snarling, hateful id. I think Democrats made a mistake when they accused Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito of being misogynists and racists at their confirmation hearings. And Republicans are poised to make the same mistake when they attack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor. . . .

Dahlia Lithwick, John Roberts' Woman Problem, August 19, 2005:

Score one for Bruce Reed. He picked up on what I completely missed this week: that the most telling aspect of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' adolescence was not his staunch refusal to get high in the woods, but his contempt for all things female. . . .

Yesterday's info dump from the National Archives, raining down more than 38,000 pages of memos from Roberts' service as a legal adviser in the Reagan White House from 1982-86, suggests that Reed has the better of it. . . . What's truly is shocking is his dismissive tone, which seemed to surprise even ultraconservative Phyllis Schlafly, who described it yesterday as "smart alecky." Gender disparities are invariably "perceived" or "purported," in Roberts' eyes. Every effort to solve them is laughable. At a moment when serious inequities in women's wages, employment, and opportunities existed in this country, Roberts seemed to dismiss every attempt to remedy them as a knock-knock joke. . . . .

Does all this add up to John Roberts, woman-hater?

Elliot Mincberg, senior vice president of People for the American Way, told the Chicago Tribune today, "You do see a real clear lack of regard for-and even it could be argued, hostility toward-laws and theories and arguments that would promote equality for women in important ways." And Kim Gandy, president of NOW, fumed in the same paper: "I don't see Roberts' positions as conservative. … I know a lot of conservatives who expect women to be paid fairly, who think women should become lawyers if they want to be lawyers. That is not a conservative position, that is a Neanderthal position. It's unfair to conservatives to call the positions he takes conservative."

NEXT: How Could the Country's Richest State* Have One of the Most Insolvent Public Pension Systems?

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  1. Dahlia Lithwick

    Lithwick is a known moron. I would think this wouldn’t surprise anyone.

    Look, if we could make some sort of profit off of examples of reporters/pundits/joes changing their tune explicitly after their dude got elected, we (and by that I mean “I”) would all be rich. But we can’t, because hypocrisy has no profit margin, unfortunately. Nor does it seem to have negative consequences, as indicated by so many assholes in the press.

  2. Dahlia Lithwick is the Maureen Dowd of court reporters.

  3. Shouldn’t this article be in the HackWatch files?

  4. Slate still exists?

  5. What is this ‘Slate’?

  6. Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low grade regional metamorphism. The result is a foliated rock in which the foliation may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering. Slate is frequently grey in colour especially when seen en masse covering roofs. However, slate occurs in a variety of colours even from a single locality. For example slate from North Wales can be found in many shades of grey from pale to dark and may also be purple, green or cyan. Slate is not to be confused with shale, from which it may be formed, or schist.

  7. More relevant Slate:

    Slate is a prototype-based object-oriented programming language based on Self, CLOS, and Smalltalk-80. Slate syntax is intended to be as familiar as possible to a Smalltalker, for the clarity of messages as phrases. Unlike the Smalltalk family, methods within Slate can be assigned to a signature of objects, instead of being installed on one favored receiver. Slate has also many further expansions of the semantics which enable more concise and natural ways to express solutions to problems.Particular attention is being paid to the design of a fuller and more useful set of libraries than even the usual Smalltalk set, for collections, streams, meta-level protocols, concurrency, and exception-handling, among others. Our prime inspirations are the libraries of Strongtalk, Common Lisp, and Dylan.

  8. But we can’t, because hypocrisy has no profit margin, unfortunately.

    Well, not for third parties. For those engaging in hypocrisy, though, especially the kind that flatters the Powers That Be, it can be quite profitable.

  9. Slate journaleasts just love that Obama cock. They can’t get enough of it.

  10. More relevant Slate:

    Nonsense. Rock beats programming language.

  11. the biggest club in world for 18+ singles from each race to meet cute girls with big *BOOBS* online.

    Big *BOOBS*, you say? Tell me more.

  12. Hey, Slate.com serves two valuable social functions:

    1) Provides Christopher Hitchens with drinking money; and

    2) Keeps Elliot Spitzer off whores for the time it takes for him to write his column.

    A grateful nation thanks you, Slate.com!

  13. “It is also a site where sexy black and white singles like discussing interracial relationship”

    I thought Eric Holder said this was a bad idea.

  14. “Bender’s Computer Dating Service, Discrete and Discreet”

  15. “Stupid anti-pimping laws.”

  16. I’d totally read an on-line journal called Schist.

  17. “That’s no fem-bot!”

  18. Emily Bazelon is way hotter.

  19. Warning to Rational and Sentient Beings:

    This site is frequented by miserable and misery-creating examples of humanity.

    If you cherish your own precious humanity, weary of all the bullshit of our hyper-partisan times, you will not want to spend time here…

  20. Is Buddy warning us or insulting us? I can’t tell, and I’m not sure which is worse.

  21. Warty,

    Not an insult… I pride myself on the misery I create.

  22. “Emily Bazelon is way hotter.”

    That isn’t saying much. Bazelon would be okay if she would get some kind of make over. As it is she dresses and looks like my hippie 4th grade teacher from 1980.

    Lithwick is the worst legal correspondant ever.

  23. What difference does it make? It makes none.

  24. Alito and Roberts have been, generally, awful, siding with the government over defendants, prosecutors over accused, and corporations over consumers.

    Take one area: search & seizure. Roberts, as a Reagan administration lawyer, was part of the campaign to get rid of the Exclusionary Rule – the rule that says that illegally obtained evidence can’t be used against a defendant. Now, there are plenty of reasons to worry about the Exclusionary Rule, but it is the only effective check in the American system against abusive police search procedures.

    So what did he do when he got on the Supreme Court? He, along with Alito and the other conservatives on the bench, further limited the scope of the exclusionary rule this past January. That followed on a 2006 case out of Virginia doing the same thing.

    Similar stuff when it comes to Miranda. Anyway, we knew this about Roberts and Alito before they were nominated, and yet they got generally positive press from the “libertarian” wing of the Republican Party because they were thought to be friendly to business interests.

    Sotomayor may be the exact opposite: someone more likely to protect defendants’ rights, but less likely to protect business interests. But all we get are criticisms of her rulings on affirmative action (a ship that sailed in the 1990s) and one of her two takings cases.

    This is not a fair treatment by libertarians of nominees, but rather grudging support for conservative nominees, and open criticism of liberal nominees. I don’t get it.

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