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

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May 29, 2009 5:12 a.m.
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“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.

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