In it, but not of it. TPM DC

The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor isn't even official yet, and already, conservatives are revving up their attack engines.

But the White House is prepared. And, interestingly, they're doubling down on the descriptions of Sotomayor's career and character that conservatives object to the most. "Sonia Sotomayor...brings not only brilliance in the law but a common sense understanding of how the law practically works."

According to the memo, "Judge Sotomayor is widely admired as a judge with a sophisticated grasp of legal doctrine and a keen awareness of the law's impact on everyday life."

The language is reminiscent of the speech Obama gave after the news of Justice David Souter's retirement broke, when he declared that he wanted an empathic nominee, with an understanding of how the law effects regular people. Almost immediately conservatives went on a politically questionable attack against 'empathy' as a proxy for their usual argument that judges should not be "activists."

The full memo appears below the fold.

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Going into the Sotomayor confirmation process, it's worth looking back at the last time she faced a Senate confirmation vote, as a judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in 1998. The following Republican Senators voted to confirm her at the time, and are also still around today:

Bennett (Utah)
Specter (has since switched to the Democrats)

The following Republicans voted against her, and are still in the Senate today:


No Democrats voted against her confirmation at the time. Also, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) missed the vote.

Obama To Nominate Sotomayor For SCOTUS President Obama will announce at 10:15 a.m. ET this morning that he is nominating Judge Sonia Sotomayor of New York for the Supreme Court. Sotomayor, age 54, has been one of the top names mentioned in the media since the news first broke of Justice David Souter's retirement. She would be the first Hispanic Justice, and the third woman to serve on the court.

Obama's Day Ahead: Raising Money For Harry Reid President Obama will be having his regular meetings with advisers today in the Oval Office. At 10:15 a.m. ET he will announce the Sotomayor nomination for the Supreme Court. Then in the afternoon he will depart from the White House for Las Vegas, Nevada. He will arrive in Las Vegas at 8:50 p.m. ET, and at 10:55 p.m. ET he will attend a fundraiser for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, at Caesar's Palace.

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Barack Obama will nominate Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court this morning at 10:15 a.m. according to numerous reports.

Sotomayor is 54 years old, and was appointed to her first federal judgeship by George Herbert Walker Bush in 1991. If confirmed, she will be the Court's first Hispanic Justice, and will bring the number of women serving to two.

Justice David Souter announced last month that he'd step down from the court after almost 19 years. Sotomayor will fill the vacancy created by his retirement.

Ads to run in Los Angeles and other California media markets starting Wednesday tie President Barack Obama to the recent decision by the state government to slash the wages of home health workers.

According to a source at the Service Employees International Union, the ad features Pauline Beck, an SEIU nurse who participated in a campaign event with Obama two years ago, and spoke at the Democratic National Convention, but who will now be affected by the cuts. Though the source had not seen a script of the ad (and therefore could not confirm whether, or to what extent, it implicates the administration for abandoning attempts to prevent the cuts) it's certainly meant to get Obama's attention as much as that of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and politicians in Sacramento.

Obama arrives in California for a fundraiser in L.A. on Wednesday--the same day the six-figure ad buy goes live. Earlier today, SEIU President Andy Stern announced the ads over Twitter. The organization is upset with Obama for withdrawing its threat to withhold health care-related stimulus funds from California if the state it goes through with its plans to cut home care workers' wages to $8 an hour.

A new CNN poll finds that Colin Powell has much higher national favorable ratings than his two main Republican antagonists, Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh -- but among Republican respondents only, it's a close one.

The numbers, among all Americans: Powell is viewed favorably by 70%, compared to only 37% for Cheney and 30% for Limbaugh.

But among Republicans only, it's 66% favorable for Cheney, 64% for Powell, and 62% for Limbaugh. So Powell still remains popular with Republicans. But so are Cheney and Limbaugh, too -- and it would make some intuitive sense that Powell's portion differs somewhat from Cheney's and Limbaugh's.

Said CNN analyst Bill Schneider: "Moderate Republicans fighting back against Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney. They're ready to rumble. And they've got a soldier to lead them."

The Obama administration's plans for Don't Ask, Don't Tell are pretty clear at this point. They will call on Congress to repeal the some some point in time. And not a day sooner.

Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he is working on an assessment of what -- if any -- impact overturning "don't ask, don't tell" policies would mean for the military and its culture. In the meantime, the Pentagon plans to follow the existing rules, which say gays and lesbians can serve in the military if they do not disclose their sexuality or engage in homosexual behavior.

"The president has made his strategic intent very clear, that it's his intent at some point in time to ask Congress to change this law," Mullen said. "I think it's important to also know that this is the law, this isn't a policy. And for the rules to change, a law has to be changed."
Got that?

Meanwhile, the Associated Press breathlessly headlines their article "Mullen: Military to comply if gay ban law changes". Good to know they're not considering mutiny.

Former U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin -- the former Bush campaign opposition researcher whose appointment was at the center of the U.S. Attorney controversy of 2007 -- is not running for Senate after all.

Griffin had been eyeing a possible Senate bid in his native Arkansas, against Democratic incumbent Blanche Lincoln. But as the Arkansas News reports, Griffin is choosing instead to focus on other priorities: He has a growing family, he's making his way up in the Army Reserve, and he's advising a bunch of political campaigns.

So that's one lingering piece of muck from the Bush years that we can probably lay to rest -- at least for the immediate future.

If you read this site fairly regularly, you might be thinking that President Obama is having some issues with the Senate. And you'd be correct. Here's an abbreviated list of hurdles: Dawn Johnsen can't be confirmed to head the Office of Legal Counsel; health care reform may have to do without a public option--if it happens at all; and Obama's goal of shuttering the Guantanamo Bay detention center by early 2010 is suddenly imperiled by the common cousins of conservative demagoguery and Democratic sheepishness.

The examples are manifold. And the voices of opposition are united.

"No way I can vote for her," says a senator of Dawn Johnsen.

Seeking to protect health insurance companies, which would be hard pressed to compete with a government provider, one senator called the idea of a publicly run insurance option a "deal breaker."

And on Guantanamo, the voice of the opposition in the Senate can be summed up thusly: "I think they need to be kept elsewhere, wherever that is. I don't want to see them come on American soil."

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The White House has been pretty clear for weeks now that they want Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) to sail smoothly to re-election in 2010. But now, apparently, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is getting in on the act.

Word out of Washington, D.C., is that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the political wiseguys from the Obama administration plan on "visiting with" Pennsylvania Democrat Rep. Joe Sestak.

Their objective is clear: Get him off the stage and out of a primary race against incumbent (and now Democrat) Sen. Arlen Specter.
Sestak seems to have scaled back his attacks on Specter in the last week or two, and he suggested he approves of Specter's efforts to reach a compromise on the Employee Free Choice Act with the bill's sponsor Sen. Tom Harkin (R-IA). But he's also said he'd likely get into the race unless Specter came into line with the Democrats on a whole host of issues. Does this change his calculus?