Liberal Disenchantment with Obama's Supreme Court Picks


Jesse Holland of the Associated Press reports on the growing fears among liberal activists that President Barack Obama will replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens with a "consensus-building moderate" rather than a Scalia of the left:

George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley said there's "a palpable sense of mistrust that's developed" in the liberal community toward the White House.

Questions arose about the liberal credentials of Justice Sonia Sotomayor last year, Turley said, but the groups agreed to put their concerns aside and rally behind her bid to replace retiring Justice David Souter.

"Many liberals feel they bit their tongue during the Sotomayor nomination but the expectation was that the White House would deliver on the Stevens nomination," Turley said.

If that's true, it suggests that some of those activists didn't just bite their tongues, they lashed out in bad faith against Sotomayor's liberal critics, including the New Republic's Jeffrey Rosen, whose article "The Case Against Sotomayor" provoked quite the firestorm on the left. It'll be interesting to see if this summer's confirmation battle leads to any permanent breaks in the liberal legal movement. As Holland notes, right now everybody is still playing nice:

Several leaders of liberal groups that typically support Democrats' judicial nominees refused to speak for attribution for fear of being locked out of White House consideration on this and other judicial nominations.