Supreme Court

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.

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  1. Epistemic closure on the left? Who’d have thunk it?

  2. If the magic Latina is not a real liberal, who the hell is? Seriously, who would satisfy these people? I don’t like Obama, but it must really suck having pricks like these for supporters.

    1. Think Moynahan’s Defining Deviancy Down. We keep moving what’s defined as “center” toward the progressive left so that anyone to the right of Kucinich is a wing-nut. Gotta control the narrative.

    2. Word. Is there some issue that they think Sotomayor isn’t going to come down squarely on the left-collectivist side on? Are they just looking for more fire-breathing dicta?

      1. Defendent’s rights.

        1. Since when do liberals give a shit about defendant’s rights? And if they are so concerned, why is DOJ such a mess even though Democrats run the place?

        2. Actually, it is very arguable that the Justice most in favor of defendants rights is now Scalia.

      2. I suspect they know she will come down their side. The political game now requires defining her as center and throwing a fake hissy so as to nudge Obama toward picking another left-collectivist leaning judge while providing him some cover.

        1. If the hardcore liberals bitch about the choice, it will allow their minions and trolls to claim the choice was “centrist” and anyone who objects as a “wingnut”. It is a game that never gets old for them.

      3. I haven’t looked it up, but didn’t she vote to overturn the most recent campaign finance speech restrictions? That’s got the left pretty apoplectic.

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

    Poor, naive, Professor Turley. That’s not how things work. Failure to challenge an administration on their first nominee only means it’s going to be more difficult to challenge the administration on subsequent nominees.

  4. There are still liberal morons who “have faith” in Obama?


    1. But in Obama’s defense, he did give them a liberal. Even Rosen’s article said Sotomayor was unqualified and had a bad temper. He didn’t say she wasn’t a liberal.

      This is the one thing he did actually keep a promise about, and these people are still miserable.

    2. I don’t have “faith” in any politician. Even libertarianish people like Ron Paul.

  5. This shit again?

    No Democratic president ever has to do anything “liberals” claim they want him to do, or anything he claims he’ll do for them. They’ll never abandon him. His being in power is all that matters to them.

    Sometimes, Republicans fuck around and lose the “base.” Democrats can’t.

    1. Hey a whole 2.7% of then voted for Ralph Nader after Bill Clinton sold them out on welfare, NAFTA and made feminists give up every shred of dignity they had defending him on Monica. What do you mean they are a cheap date?

  6. God hates courtpackers.

  7. How could the left not be happy with Sotomoyor, a liberal bigot?

  8. The current White House isn’t interested in a fight with the Senate to get a liberal leader on the Supreme Court, said Mark Tushnet

    Sounds like a swinger dating website. Sadly, is some boring old law professor at Georgetown.

    1. I said, “Lord take me downtown. I’m just look for some Tushnet.”

  9. It’ll be interesting to see if this summer’s confirmation battle leads to any permanent breaks in the liberal legal movement.

    Perhaps you are unfamiliar with a principle of the Left:

    No enemies on the left.

    There will be no permanent breaks. There will be a certain amount of more-or-less calculated complaining that the nominee isn’t liberal enough, but that’s just prepping the battlefield for the next nomination.

    1. They will send the occasional apostate to a re-education camp though.

  10. When is Obama going to turn water into wine?

    1. He just got done curing the sick… give him a minute…

  11. I won’t be pleased unless the nominee is a gay black dwarf. Nobody out-progressives me.

    1. I thought that WAS Barney Frank. OOPS, sorry, he’s not black.

  12. I thought the court was suppose to follow the law not follow a political ideology.

    1. Welcome to America.

  13. The president doesn’t check ideology. We may get a fairminded ultra-conservative.

    I mean, Obama has already said he’s not going to check the pH level of whatever abortionist he puts up for the opening.

  14. I for one don’t want a “Scalia of the left.” A forceful voice for liberal constitutional interpretation, yes, but not a lying hypocritical jackass who claims all his fairly arbitrary opinions are received wisdom from the corpses of dead founders.

  15. The comments on Reason have really degraded since Obama was elected. Readers used to have intelligent things to say but now it’s a lot of liberal-bashing and blind Obama-hatred. It’s like Fox News lite.

    1. Name one reason not to hate Obama.

    2. This is almost anon-bot-esque.

    3. The comments on Reason have really degraded since Obama Bush was elected. Readers used to have intelligent things to say but now it’s a lot of liberal neo-con-bashing and blind Obama Bush-hatred. It’s like Fox News MSNBC lite.

  16. Theres no such thing as a “Scalia of the Left” anymore. The Left is mostly filled with buffoons like Barney Frank and Al Franken.

  17. We’ll get some leftard version of this guy.

  18. Sotomayor is a moderate…She was appointed to her first court position by George HW Bush in 1991…

    You people on the right are such damn hypocrites…Reagan, and both Bushes flooded the court w/far right radicals (Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Ailito) yet you have the nerve to whine when liberals want a far left justice..

    Doesn’t matter, President Obama is a centrist, and will make another centrist pick…The names being talked about (Kagan, Garland, Sidney Thomas) are moderates, hell Garland is practically a Republican…

    1. There’s not really a need to argue with you since the line about Obama being a centrist discredits you by itself.

      “Sotomayor is a moderate…She was appointed to her first court position by George HW Bush in 1991…”

      Nope, not a moderate. Sorry:…..index.html

      I suppose you think Ginsberg and Breyer are moderates too.

      Your “moderate-meter” is broken, amigo.

      Also, you need some help with the definition of the word “hypocrite.” How are we hypocrites for opposing a modern liberal being placed on the court?

  19. wow. This forum really attracts nut jobs and jackasses. Richard, you are so right…ahem. I mean…correct.

  20. Marlok,

    With all due respect my good sir, President Obama is a moderate…He is the furthest thing from a liberal…Howard Dean is a liberal…Dennis Kucnich is a liberal….Sherrod Brown is a liberal..

    President Obama’s record speaks for itself…One moderate appt. to the SCOTUS, & likely another one coming…HCR was a very centrist bill, no single payer & no public option…He’s been very 2nd. Amendement friendly, (which i have no problem with, I’m not a gun owner, but i totally get that’s important to some people…He hasn’t done anything to restrict gun ownership)….He hasn’t repealed DADT…He’s appointed several Republicans to cabinet positions, & offered a position to Senator Gregg of NH, but he turned it down…Bailouts for Wall St., but not Main St…Gitmo isn’t closed…

    I’m almost wishing Hillary Clinton was president, she certainly would have made better appointments to the SCOTUS…

    1. He is sworn to uphold the constitution which includes the bill of rights. Ergo, he can’t restrict my right to own a gun.
      Where you born stupid?
      Remember, Japan never invaded the 48 states because Tojo knew that Americans could fire back……

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