Most Major Editorials Back Sotomayor for Court

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By: Joe Strupp

A quick review of the nation’s major newspaper editorial pages found mostly positive reviews for President Barack Obama’s choice of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. Conservative papers made their objections clear, but few had any outright opposition to the woman who would be the first Hispanic on the high court.

A sampling of opinions:

The Washington Post:

“There is much to admire in the achievements of Sonia Sotomayor, the New York judge tapped by President Obama to fill a Supreme Court vacancy created by the impending retirement of Justice David H. Souter.” The Post also added, “Senators are right to closely scrutinize Judge Sotomayor’s philosophy and qualifications. She has produced a rich record of opinions as an appeals court judge for the Judiciary Committee to discuss. Senators also should remember that Mr. Obama, like any president, is entitled to deference in choosing a justice.”

The New York Times:

“President Obama seems to have made an inspired choice in picking Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. She has an impressive judicial record, a stellar academic background and a compelling life story. Judge Sotomayor would also be a trailblazing figure in the mold of Thurgood Marshall, becoming the first member of the nation’s large and growing but still under-represented Hispanic population to serve on the court.”

The Times later stated: “In her rulings, Judge Sotomayor has repeatedly displayed the empathy Mr. Obama has said he is looking for in a justice. She has listened attentively to, and often ruled in favor of, people who have been discriminated against, defendants and other groups that are increasingly getting short shrift in the federal courts. She has shown little patience for the sort of procedural bars that conservative judges have been using to close the courthouse door on people whose rights have been violated.”

The Wall Street Journal:

“In making Sonia Sotomayor his first nominee for the Supreme Court yesterday, President Obama appears to have found the ideal match for his view that personal experience and cultural identity are the better part of judicial wisdom.”

The Journal editorial later stated, “As the first nominee of a popular President and with 59 Democrats in the Senate, Judge Sotomayor is likely to be confirmed barring some major blunder. But Republicans can use the process as a teaching moment, not to tear down Ms. Sotomayor on personal issues the way the left tried with Justices Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito, but to educate Americans about the proper role of the judiciary and to explore whether Judge Sotomayor’s Constitutional principles are as free-form as they seem from her record.”

Los Angeles Times:

“In presenting U.S. Circuit Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his first nominee to the Supreme Court, President Obama rightly observed that few presidential decisions are more consequential than choosing a justice. Obama has discharged that responsibility admirably, without ignoring considerations of gender and ethnic diversity. Although Sotomayor must withstand scrutiny from the Senate, barring some unlikely revelation of impropriety she should be confirmed expeditiously, in time to join the court for its fall term.”

Chicago Tribune:

“For many people, the mere picture of Sonia Sotomayor alongside President Barack Obama was a vindication of his decision to appoint her to the Supreme Court. A Hispanic woman, she looks nothing like the justices Americans grew up with. Few would deny the power of that image to reaffirm fundamental American principles of equality and opportunity — particularly coming from the nation’s first black president.

“But Sotomayor has to bring more than diversity to the court. As one of the people serving as the final arbiter of matters legal and constitutional, including some of the most vexing and divisive issues facing the country, she has to bring the qualities that make an excellent judge. The evidence so far suggests that she is up to the job.”

The Boston Globe:

“Short of any unexpected revelations about her record or her philosophy, though, the Senate should confirm Sonia Sotomayor. However intriguing her personal background, she also has the experience to make an excellent Supreme Court justice.”

The Washington Times:

“Judge Sotomayor seems to be the most radical person ever nominated for the high court. To continue to command public respect, the Senate will have to ask her some hard questions. The simplest one to ask will be the hardest one for her to answer: Given her statements against whites and males, can she be fair to all Americans?”

The Philadelphia Inquirer:

“President Obama’s first nominee for the Supreme Court has both an impressive professional resume and a compelling personal story.”

The Miami Herald:

“President Barack Obama has made a superb choice for nomination to the Supreme Court. Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor appears to have it all — impeccable educational credentials, first-rate professional experience and an up-by-the-bootstraps personal history that gives her selection strong personal appeal. Barring an unexpected discovery, she seems headed for confirmation as the court’s third female justice and its first acknowledged Hispanic.”

The Orange County Register, Santa Ana, Calif.:

In several respects it was a shrewd choice, although some of the factors that made it shrewd speak poorly of the current state of American politics.

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