Bad few days for Sotomayor

If there's any merit in following the day-to-day speculation on who Obama's SCOTUS pick will be, then Sonia Sotomayor had a bad couple days.

First, conservative bloggers dug up this exchange from 2005, in which Sotomayor contends that "court of appeals is where policy is made." Sotomayor quickly backtracks, somewhat uncomfortably:
All of the legal defense funds out there, they're looking for people with court of appeals experience. Because, it is, court of appeals is where policy is made. And I know, I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don't make law, I know. Um, ok. I know. I'm not promoting it, I'm not advocating it. I'm, you know...

Republicans have already accused Obama of looking for a justice who will "legislate from the bench," and these statements from Sotomayor won't boost her reputation among moderate GOP senators.



Then, TNR's Jeffrey Rosen penned a pretty harsh indictment of Sotomayor's qualifications for the nation's highest court. Quoting (anonymously) several of Sotomayor's former clerks and colleagues, Rosen concludes that, well, Sotomayor isn't smart enough for the job.
But despite the praise from some of her former clerks, and warm words from some of her Second Circuit colleagues, there are also many reservations about Sotomayor. Over the past few weeks, I've been talking to a range of people who have worked with her, nearly all of them former law clerks for other judges on the Second Circuit or former federal prosecutors in New York. Most are Democrats and all of them want President Obama to appoint a judicial star of the highest intellectual caliber who has the potential to change the direction of the court. Nearly all of them acknowledged that Sotomayor is a presumptive front-runner, but nearly none of them raved about her. They expressed questions about her temperament, her judicial craftsmanship, and most of all, her ability to provide an intellectual counterweight to the conservative justices, as well as a clear liberal alternative.

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