The politics of the Sotomayor nomination


President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court was the latest and most powerful blow in the president’s relentless courtship of Hispanic Americans, whose flight to the Democratic Party was central to his election.

Hispanic leaders across the country, many of whom attended the White House announcement, praised the appointment swiftly and in the strongest terms, and Republican leaders signaled an awareness of the political sensitivities by avoiding any suggestion of disrespect for the first Latina nominee to the nation’s highest court.

“The picture of an African-American president standing next to a Hispanic woman as his first choice for the Supreme Court — that picture is the worst nightmare for the Republican Party,” said Fernand Amandi, a Florida pollster whose firm, Bendixen Associates, surveyed Hispanic voters for Obama’s presidential campaign.

Putting aside the atmospherics, the Republicans can still benefit from a principled opposition to Sotomayor that has nothing to do with the identity politics of the Democrats. One of the real strengths of the GOP is its support of a conservative judiciary and one of the things that voters consistently oppose is a liberal judiciary.

That suggest that the focus of the confirmation should be on Sotomayor's liberalism. The chances of stopping the nomination are remote, but the chances of reminding voters of what a mistake it was to elect Democrats is highly likely if handled properly. Reminding votes of the cost paid because of the evils of liberalism should be a plus in future elections.

Update: I was delighted to hear Brit Hume make a similar point in his commentary on Special Report this evening. Charles Krauthammer makes a similar point. That is some excellent company to be in.


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