Times: Sotomayor ‘Temperament’ Raises Questions We Didn’t Ask About Other Justices

May 29, 2009 5:12 a.m.
EDITORS' NOTE: TPM is making our COVID-19 coverage free to all readers during this national health crisis. If you’d like to support TPM's reporters, editors and staff, the best way to do so is to become a member.

“To supporters, Judge Sotomayor’s vigorous questioning of the Bush administration’s position in the [torture case of Canadian Maher Arar], showcases some of her strengths,” write the New York Times‘ Adam Liptak and Jo Becker, “But to detractors, Judge Sotomayor’s sharp-tongued and occasionally combative manner — some lawyers have described her as “difficult” and “nasty” — raises questions about her judicial temperament and willingness to listen.”

Late last month, in a case which may ultimately result in the elimination of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (which requires certain, mostly southern jurisdictions to pre-clear changes in electoral policy with the Justice Department), Justices Roberts and Kennedy went on quite a tear.Here’s how the Los Angeles Times reported the exchange between the Justice’s and Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal.

“Are Southerners more likely to discriminate than Northerners?” asked a skeptical Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

Is the “sovereignty of Georgia” entitled to less respect than “the sovereign dignity of Ohio? . . . Does the United States take that position today?” asked Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, pressing a lawyer for the Justice Department who was defending the Voting Rights Act.

And, as we’ve noted several times before, the people who are raising these questions seem to have little to no representation in the actual Senate.

Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: