In it, but not of it. TPM DC

The Judicial Confirmation Network--a deeply conservative group which describes itself as "an organization of citizens joined together to support the confirmation of highly qualified individuals to the Supreme Court of the United States"--is out fast with harsh words for Sonia Sotomayor. "Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important than the law as written."

She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one's sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.

She reads racial preferences and quotas into the Constitution, even to the point of dishonoring those who preserve our public safety. On September 11, America saw firsthand the vital role of America's firefighters in protecting our citizens. They put their lives on the line for her and the other citizens of New York and the nation. But Judge Sotomayor would sacrifice their claims to fair treatment in employment promotions to racial preferences and quotas. The Supreme Court is now reviewing that decision.

She has an extremely high rate of her decisions being reversed, indicating that she is far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal activist Supreme Court.

Ah yes. The Roberts court: a bastion of liberal activism.

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Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), has released this statement on the Sotomayor nomination -- expressing some possible skepticism from the relatively conservative end of the Democratic caucus:

I would expect President Obama, a former constitutional law professor, to select a high-caliber nominee who shares a deep respect for our Constitution and the rule of law. Indeed, Judge Sotomayor has impeccable credentials and an extraordinary American story. It is also critically important that she possess the proper judicial temperament and the ability to be fair and impartial. I believe this criterion is essential; activist judges have no place on the highest court of the land. That's why I plan to carefully review Judge Sonia Sotomayor judicial record and philosophy as the Senate confirmation process advances.

U.S. Supreme Court nominees deserve a high threshold of review. I believe Judge Sotomayor's confirmation hearing should be rigorous, but fair. I am encouraged that her earlier nominations to the bench - by both a Democratic and Republican president -- have received strong, bipartisan support. It is my hope the Senate can carry out its constitutional duty in a similar fashion with good-faith and civility, and not allow rhetoric to cloud the confirmation process.

You've got to love Glenn Beck. The Fox News host put this Twitter post about the Sotomayor announcement:

Does the nominee still have Diabetes? Could the Messiah heal her, or does she just not want to ask? What is protocal (sic) on miracle healings?

(Via Media Matters)

Oops. The Republican National Committee prepared a detailed set of talking points for key Republicans to use regarding the Sotomayor nomination -- and then accidentally sent it to the media.

On the one hand, the talking points say to put up an initially fair-minded neutral approach: "Until we have a full view of the facts and comprehensive understanding of Judge Sotomayor's record, Republicans will avoid partisanship and knee-jerk judgments - which is in stark contrast to how the Democrats responded to the Judge Roberts and Alito nominations."

On the other hand, the talking points go on to lay out some clear lines of attack:

• Liberal ideology, not legal qualification, is likely to guide the president's choice of judicial nominees.


• Justice Souter's retirement could move the Court to the left and provide a critical fifth vote for:

• Further eroding the rights of the unborn and property owners;

• Imposing a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage;

• Stripping "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance and completely secularizing the public square;

• Abolishing the death penalty;

• Judicial micromanagement of the government's war powers.

Earlier today, Eric Kleefeld reported that several still-serving Republicans had cast votes more than 10 years ago on Sotomayor's nomination to the appellate court. In 1998, 23 Republicans voted for confirmation. Eight of them (including now-Democrat Arlen Specter) still serve in the Senate today. At the same time, 29 Republicans voted against her, 11 of whom are still in office.

Among those 11 are several who, in addition to opposing Sotomayor also are on record opposing the idea that judicial nominations should be filibustered.

"Since the founding of the Republic, we have understood that there was a two-thirds supermajority for ratification and advice and consent on treaties and a majority vote for judges," said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), in a floor speech on May 23, 2005. "That is what we have done. That is what we have always done. But there was a conscious decision on behalf of the leadership, unfortunately, of the Democratic Party in the last Congress to systematically filibuster some of the best nominees ever submitted to the Senate. It has been very painful." Sessions is now the Judiciary Committee's ranking member.

And there's more.

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Apparent Sen.-Elect Al Franken (D-MN) has released this statement on the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court:

"I want to congratulate Judge Sotomayor on her history-making nomination to the Supreme Court. Confirming a Supreme Court Justice is among the most important responsibilities the Senate has, and I take that responsibility very seriously. I look forward to joining my colleagues as we examine Judge Sotomayor's qualifications carefully before confirmation. However, it is already clear that President Obama has chosen a remarkable jurist with an impressive record of accomplishment and a life story with which working families can identify."

It seems like just a few weeks ago, we wouldn't have expected this sort of reaction to the Sotomayor news from Sen. Arlen Specter.

I applaud the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Her confirmation would add needed diversity in two ways: the first Hispanic and the third woman to serve on the high court. While her record suggests excellent educational and professional qualifications, now it is up to the Senate to discharge its constitutional duty for a full and fair confirmation process.

Just imagine if Specter was still the Republican ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, fending off attacks from his right! Now he's a Democrat, though, and crawling slowly to the left. So his support for Sotomayor isn't all that surprising.

If the Sotomayor confirmation process turns into a bruising fight, expect to hear a lot of this sort of framing, from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Sotomayor, he says, "is a moderate who was selected for the District Court by the first President Bush and was confirmed with Republican votes."

Unlike the last President Bush, who solely sought nominees from the extreme right for the High Court, President Obama has not reached to the far left end of the spectrum to fill this vacancy.

It's a fair point, but as a rhetorical weapon, it's also something of a double edged sword. If Sotomayor squeaks by with the help of Democrats insisting of the importance of her moderate record, it could make it difficult for Obama to appoint anybody to her left, in the event of another vacancy on the court down the line. Full Schumer statement below the fold.

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"I will work closely with Senator Sessions as the Judiciary Committee prepares for confirmation hearings," says Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy about the Sotomayor nomination. "We are committed to ensuring that the next Justice is seated before the Court's term begins in October. I hope all Senators will treat this nominee fairly and will respect the Committee's confirmation process."

That's the ultimate question, right. Fortunately for Leahy, Sessions, and several other Republicans have a long record of opposing obstruction of judicial nominees, and Supreme Court nominees in particular. Unfortunately for Leahy, those sorts of records tend not to matter at all. Full Leahy statement below the fold.

For what it's worth, Sessions voted against her confirmation to the appeals court in 1998, but the question for now is whether the Republicans will filibuster her nomination, and whether Sessions will participate.

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RNC Chairman Michael Steele has put out this rather cautious-sounding statement on the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court:

"Republicans look forward to learning more about federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor's thoughts on the importance of the Supreme Court's fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law. Supreme Court vacancies are rare, which makes Sonia Sotomayor's nomination a perfect opportunity for America to have a thoughtful discussion about the role of the Supreme Court in our daily lives. Republicans will reserve judgment on Sonia Sotomayor until there has been a thorough and thoughtful examination of her legal views."