Ah. No Iggy Pop nomination after all. President Obama picked the rumored top-of-the-shortlist pick, Sonia Sotomayor, for David Souter’s seat on the Supreme Court:


I am a bit disappointed, but I am never surprised at the predictability of high-level politics. Sotomayor fits a profile. A Latina born to a working-class family and someone who had to have had remarkable determination and intelligence to attend the Ivy League schools that would help her to carve out an impressive legal career, she would bring badly-needed diversity to the Court.



This is what I fear: that in Sonia Sotomayor, we have another shrewd career judge whose cases of note are not all that notable. She’s spent 30 years in law, and has some amazing appointments, but where is the remarkable proof of her merit to sit on the nation’s highest court? Being known for being bitchy in the courtroom is not a measure of intelligence; it’s a measure of a lack of civility. Making decisions based on personal views instead of law is worrisome as well. There is an incredibly-fine line between using your life experience to interpret law as best you are able, and using your viewpoints to effect the change you wish for, regardless of any law. It is difficult to extract from her 400+ written opinions enough to tell, and maybe that is another reason she was selected.

Sigh. Do I sound Republican here? I am not. On paper, Sotomayor seems like she would be a good choice for Obama – tremendous range of legal experience, woman + Hispanic, bipartisan support, young enough at 54 to sit on the Court for many years. But I am not seeing anything in the meat of what she has authored that tells me she is the best person for the job. This is always what I want: the best mind and heart and experience, no matter what your color or race or gender or background. But politics don’t work that way very often, do they? Those who scrap their way to the top, to be noticed, to get the Big Stuff, are really not that often the very, very best – they are damn good but also just incredibly ruthless in their drive to achieve. They do the Right Things, are seen by the Right People, and usually make some rather severe sacrifices in the process.

But maybe what I hope for from the Supreme Court is actually unrealistic and dated. It seems most decisions made in the nation’s higher level courts are on technical details of the law, where one simply has to have the tenacity and focus to sort through hundreds or thousands of pages of documents and precedents to find the correctly-cited and coded answers and then apply some sort of legal formula. The grand decisions, the cases heard that are familiar to most Americans like Roe v. Wade, Brown v. Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona, where are they? It’s not like there aren’t grand issues out there that need brave and bright people to examine them. But the law has grown so ungodly complex with such minutiae, I wonder who and what it serves anymore. Itself, maybe, not so much the people. I don't know.

I will watch Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings with great interest, and I very much hope she impresses me. Me, The People.