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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Sotomayor Confirmation Bodes Well

Some interesting conclusions can be goosed from the 68-31 Senate vote confirming Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
First, it’s a great day for our country. The nation’s high court will now look a little more like America. It’s also a moment for celebration in the Hispanic community, as well as for women, in that a Latina woman has risen to one of the highest decision-making posts in our government, and by a healthy majority. One significant step forward to making America a more just democracy.
By extension, it’s a big win for President Obama as well. It can be read as an affirmation of the President’s sound judgement that his nominee was well-qualified enough to win with such a solid majority.
I’m also grateful that no Democrats voted against her and that all of the opponents were Republicans, although 9 GOP senators voted for Sotomayor: Alexander; Bond; Collins; Graham; Gregg; Lugar; Martinez; Snowe; and Voinovich. That said, there should have been more Republicans joining the Democrats in confirming her. It should serve as a potent reminder that our party is the one that offers hope and opportunity to Hispanic Americans, one of the fastest-growing constituencies in the nation.
And it should also be a reminder that too many Democratic Senators have been overly-generous in excusing the ideological excess of Republican nominees to the high court. If ideological concerns trump experiential qualifications for most of the GOP — and Sotomayor arguably had the most impressive experience of any nominee in many decades — then they can’t credibly complain about it if Dems pull the plug on free passes for right-wing conservatives.
On the positive side for the GOP, it appears that there may be as many as 9 sane Republicans in the U.S. Senate. This is a good sign, given the GOP’s recent flirtations with nutty notions about the President’s birthplace and hysterical gibberish about Dems plotting euthanasia for senior citizens. Some of those 9 Senators might make a pretty good short list of Republican Senators who have aspirations to higher office — the ones who get it that the GOP must do better among Latinos to have a shot at winning the presidency. It’s not hard to imagine a Lugar-Graham ticket, for example, being formidable under certain economic conditions. But their relative level-headedness in the context of their Party would likely prevent such an occurrence, given the still-rising tide of the looney right.
President Obama will likely have at least one or two more opportunities, hopefully more, to nominate a Supreme Court justice. The Sotomayor nomination was a bold and brilliant stroke, both morally and politically. America will be a little more inclusive in the upper echelons of government when she is sworn in. I’m hoping that the President will nominate another woman at the next opportunity, and one who is strongly, not tepidly, pro-labor — an urgently-needed point of view on the high court of a nation in which the labor movement has lost considerable leverage. America’s workers need a vigorous champion among the Supremes.

One comment on “Sotomayor Confirmation Bodes Well

  1. Ron Edwards on

    A Lugar ticket? Seriously. I doubt Barack Obama would have any difficulty beating another GOP ticket headed by an old white guy.

    Reply

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