Sotomayor praised Obama's victory in speech

The conservative blogosphere is abuzz with news that Sonia Sotomayor appears to have announced her political support for Obama just weeks before David Souter announced his resignation.

Sotomayor delivered a speech to the Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Law Alumni Assocation on April 17, in which she spoke in glowing terms of Obama's victory.

Ed Whelan at Bench Memos picks out a few excerpts:
"The power of working together was, this past November, resoundingly proven." (p. 6)

"The wide coalition of groups that joined forces to elect America's first Afro-American President was awe inspiring in both the passion the members of the coalition exhibited in their efforts and the discipline they showed in the execution of their goals." (p. 7)

"On November 4, we saw past our ethnic, religious and gender differences." (p. 10)

"What is our challenge today: Our challenge as lawyers and court related professionals and staff, as citizens of the world is to keep the spirit of the common joy we shared on November 4 alive in our everyday existence." (p. 11)

"It is the message of service that President Obama is trying to trumpet and it is a clarion call we are obligated to heed." (p. 13)

Two questions to keep in mind: (1) Do these remarks simply celebrate the historic nature of Obama's election, or do they demonstrate ideological/political support? (2) Even if they do demonstrate political support, is that a big deal?

As for question one, I think the jury's out. All in all, one can probably surmise from these remarks that Sotomayor probably voted for Obama, but none of the passages display any partisan flare.

Whelan, for his part, thinks "Sotomayor's remarks provide further evidence that she doesn't practice the judicial obligation of impartiality."

I doubt Republican Senators would get much traction criticizing a Hispanic woman for appreciating the election of America's first African American president, but keep an eye on how the "Sotomayor is a partisan Democrat" meme develops in the next few days.