Supreme Court

Laurence Tribe: Sonia Sotomayor "Not Nearly As Smart As She Seems to Think She Is"


National Review's Ed Whelan obtained a private letter that Harvard law professor and liberal legal giant Laurence Tribe wrote to President Barack Obama shortly after David Souter announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. Spoiler alert: Tribe wasn't too keen on the idea of Obama nominating Sonia Sotomayor:

Bluntly put, she's not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is, and her reputation for being something of a bully could well make her liberal impulses backfire and simply add to the fire power of the Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas wing of the Court on issues like those involved in the voting rights case argued last week and the Title VII case of the New Haven firefighters argued earlier, issues on which Kennedy will probably vote with Roberts despite Souter's influence but on which I don't regard Kennedy as a lost cause for the decade or so that he is likely to remain on the Court.

Read Whelan's full post here. The letter itself is here.

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  1. Sexist!

    1. Alito, Thomas and Roberts are not bad looking men…

      Why are the new women of the supreme court such dogs?

      1. Gender-neutral ugly quota.

      2. I don’t remember the “old” women being attractive.

        1. Sandra Day O’Connor was okay when she first joined the court.

        2. I don’t remember any justice being attractive. They are all fucking ugly; that’s why they became judges.

      3. Why are the new women of the supreme court such dogs?

        ‘Cause all the pretty-smart-blond lawyers are on FOX News?

      4. Not to mention Antonin “thunder thighs” Scalia.

      5. Alito, Thomas and Roberts are not bad looking men…

        Are you fucking kidding me? They are old, fat, wrinkled and ugly! You sound like a Jezebelian making excuses for the fatties in lingerie. Let’s not go blind here.

  2. Nothing about her not being as wise as she thinks, though.

  3. Stupid racist bitch!

    1. Oh, the irony.

  4. Fascinating, isn’t it, that Foremost Constitutional Scholar Tribe treats the SCOTUS so . . . politically, both in terms of preferred outcomes and internal dynamics.

    No pretense, apparently, that SCOTUS should, or actually does, apply the Constitution as written.

    Quite the insight into the mindset of the Living Constitution crowd.

    1. But they didn’t have flashlights in teh 18th century!

      1. But they did have roads, although they were racist, sexist and handouts to the rich until the government took them over.

        1. Did I miss the roads meme or something? All I know is Joe Biden and “roads.” Someone please let me in on the secret.

          1. Shovel-Ready

          2. You wouldn’t even know enough to ask if it weren’t for ROADS!

          3. Kind of old, but the standard response to libertarian conversation is, “Don’t you like roads?” Or something to that effect. It mandates a “DRINK!”

            1. You know who else supported the building of roads….

              1. The Romans?

            2. My favorite is “Ecsternalitees!”

          4. If you oppose the latest bottomless money pit proposed by a statist, it means that you hate having ROADS!! and want to turn America into an Anarchist (tribalism is not anarchy) state like SOMALIA.

        2. Don’t listen to Polynikes, people of Thebes.

    2. Justice and the Democratic agenda are the same thing.

    3. Amen, brother, amen.

    4. Anyone in government, or who advises someone in government, who tells you they’re not political, is lying. No ifs, ands, or buts.

    5. Not really. It’s completely expected from that side. It would be more interesting if we saw private correspondence from Orin Kerr to Bush II that was so political, and even then I wouldn’t be that surprised.

    6. Did you read the actual letter? It gets even better. He talks about laying the groundwork to move the court in a “progressive” direction.

      1. My absolute favorite part:

        “…I continue to hope that I can before too long come to play a more direct role in helping you meet those challenges, perhaps in a newly created DOJ position dealing with the rule of law…”

        1. ain’t nothing wrong with creating jobs for your crony friends.

          I thought that’s what politics was abll about.

        2. Wait — what the hell is this “rule of law” stuff he mentions?

  5. I shoulda got that fuckin’ job!

  6. Not a great deal of news here:

    Stupid people generally fancy themselves smart, smart people generally underestimate/undersell themselves and, though they don’t refer to themselves as stupid, they generally make no claim on smarts.

    Case in point: Jim Rogers continually says he has horrible market timing and is not a good trader, but he continually makes money and shows amazing intellect in spotting long term trends. Robert Kiyosaki, when talking about his youth, mentions that he didn’t have the intelligence to go into a lucrative profession like M.D. but he has made tons of money as an investor and business owner.

    Meanwhile, ironclad intellects like Sotomayor claim “wisdom” (as though someone truly wise would ever consider himself or herself such).

    1. In my experience, the most educated people tend to be the less smart ones.

    2. Kiyosaki made a bunch of money selling horrible books to a cult.

      1. This is true, to an extent. Prior to making money with the books though, he did make himself a pretty handsome living with prudent leveraging. Granted, his books since then have inspired a cult-like following, mostly of people with limited knowledge or skills who try to replicate his “strategies” but he should be commended for his ability to pitch his products to that sect.

        1. Do you have any evidence that he made a fancy living before Amway? I’m not saying it’s impossible, but legit authors disclose their qualifications.

          1. I will not defend the MLM crap. Amway is a scam, plain and simple. But his general advise and worldview, that its best to be in the business/investor class as opposed to the employee/specialist class is fairly spot on. One way to do that is through income-generating property, although he makes it sound so much easier than it in fact is and most of his disciples probably fail at it.

            1. The motivational stuff is fine and dandy. And the financial stuff would be too if he merely made it sound too easy instead of outright lying.

        2. Also, he should be tarred and feathered for selling horrible financial advice to the gullible. Conmen shouldn’t be commended.

          1. Conmen shouldn’t be commended.

            Hey now!

    3. Doctor Lao to young boy: Young man, do you know what is wisdom?

      Young boy: No.

      Doctor Lao: Wise answer.

  7. Hey Daymond Root, can you spell?

    Laurence H. Tribe. You might be talking about another Tribe.

    1. Thanks Damon, you fixed it.

  8. This was patently obvious to all of us who followed the hearings. The woman can’t even speak English at an acceptable level for a college graduate for crying out loud.


    2. You, Sir, are an affront to wise, Latinista Vaginal-Americans everywhere.

  9. In many ways, it would be appropriate to refer to Sotomayor, in the future,
    as “a Bush appointee.”

    1. Well, I never!

      1. Sonia Sotomayor was nominated by George H.W. Bush on November 27, 1991, to serve as a federal judge. Bush was the wise white guy that chose the even-wiser Latina.

  10. really funny. remember when the “bully” and “intelligence” comments came out, and we were told that racist conservatives were the source?

    speaking of “not as smart as he thinks,” why in god’s name did Tribe feel he could put that in a letter and keep it secret? you are so dumb, for real.

    1. What makes you think that Tribe wanted to keep the letter secret. He knew this would get out eventually. Apparently he really doesn’t have much use for the Magic Latina.

  11. That is one hell of a run-on sentence Tribe’s got going on there.

    1. At least he put it bluntly.

    2. Good FSM man …. where’s your profanity.
      Is a reserved Xeones a sign of teh Apocalypse?

      1. Ok:

        “Yo, fuck that run-on sentence Tribe’s got going on there.”

        Not that i disagree — Sotomayor is not as smart as she thinks she is. How that’s supposed to make her different in any way from anyone else in the federal gubmint, i have no idea.

        1. Hey, there are some really smart people in the government. They are not in positions of power however.

  12. All politics and differences of opinion aside, I don’t believe Sotamayor is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court.

    1. I don’t think she’s qualified to sit in a driver’s seat.

      1. What are you saying?

        1. How many of you cute li’l cupcakes wanna come over and fix me a sandwich and give me a blowjob?

      2. She is however qualified to be one of 14 people packed into a three seat truck driving around 50 MPH on the 405.

        1. Step out of the vehicle and receive your beating!

  13. That is one hell of a run-on sentence Tribe’s got going on there.

    No, it’s not. It’s merely long.

    And he probably plagiarized it. Or Kagan wrote it for him.

    Regardless, he overestimated his audience. Obama has a one-comma mind.

  14. The most splendid paragraph was the last one. Tribe sounds like he was masturbating while writing that one.

    A “DOJ position dealing with the rule of law”? WTF Aren’t they ALL?


  16. Guess I have more in common with the wise latina than I thought.
    (you know, besides us both liking chicks)

    1. The visual created by your parenthetical has ruined my lunch, and dinner. Thanks.

      1. I may not even eat tomorrow’s breakfast.

      2. Nah, what we really need is SF to treat us to one of his truly horrific visions involving the Wise Latina and Kagan in an illicit tryst behind closed chamber doors. Only to be discovered in the act by Scalia, who joins in for the gruesome threesome.

  17. This letter is amusing, but what is even more amusing is the suggestion that Obama nominated Sotomayor based on her credentials in the first place.

  18. Sonia Sotomayor “Not Nearly As Smart As She Seems to Think She Is”

    There’s a little David Weigel in everyone.

  19. Bluntly put, she’s not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is, and her reputation for being something of a bully could well make her liberal impulses backfire and simply add to the fire power of the Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas wing of the Court[.]

    Obama: “She’s a bully, uh? Ok, memo to myself: nominate Sotomayor – she’s perfect for the job!”

    1. “The president’s inquiries into the way she interacts with others,” Professor Tribe said, “convinced him that she would be a positive force in the chemistry of the Supreme Court.”

      Obama: “I am convinced that she will be a positive force in the chemistry of the Supreme Court because she’s a goddamned bully and an oaf – my kind of person!”

  20. Not surprising that she’s not so smart given that she was an AA hire.

    1. Ouch.

  21. she’s not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is

    Hey Lawrence, it’s called the Peter Principle you stupid douchebag. A constittuional scholar is as substantive as an astrology scholar.

  22. At least she was smart enough to say she understands that some people believe the second amendment confers an individual right.

    1. Yeah and then she contravened that by dissenting in McDonald.

  23. So basically she is not smart because she might stoop go against the preconceived progressive stances on certain issues because of her feminine instability(er bullying). The letter reads like a defunct progressive ‘art of war’. Thanks Lawrence Tribe for making me like Sotomayor, thanks a crapload for making me hate myself.

  24. The President that nominated her to the SCOTUS is not nearly as smart as he thinks he is.

    1. Yeah, and I keep hearing people talk about how he was a Con law prof – well, you’d have to prove it to me that he’s any kind of constitutional law scholar, because so far, I have yet to see him demonstrate any kind of understanding of our Constitution. Maybe he’s a scholar in some other constitution I’m unfamiliar with, because he sure doesn’t seem to have even a passing acquaintance with the U.S. one.

      1. Make no mistake, he understands it just fine. It’s not really a complicated document. What he doesn’t do is respect it. To him, it’s just an inconvenience.

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