Back on August 1, I wrote a blog post asking if Latinos would remember how Judge Sotomayor was treated in the confirmation hearings. I suggested that the Republican Senators, who at that time had decided not to support Sotomayor’s confirmation, were making a calculated risk that could backfire especially if Latinos stayed engaged in the political process and took note of their lack of support of this moderate judge.
Well fast forward to August 12, and columnist Ruben Navarrette suggests that Latinos won’t forget the GOP no votes on Sotomayor. Obviously, Navarrette wrote this piece after the final vote before the full senate, but he referenced Sen. Coburn’s “splaining” comment that I mentioned as well as the fact that Sotomayor is not a judicial activist, which is true relative to the current court’s expansion of executive powers that has been supported by the more conservative members of the court.
One issue that I would like to clear up that I keep seeing referenced in various blogs and on comment sections in traditional media papers is the notion that George W. Bush’s appointment of Miguel Estrada was for the Supreme Court. This was not the case. Miguel Estrada was appointed to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, as Navarrette pointed out. I also want to point out Estrada’s lack of judicial experience relative to Justice Sotomayor. If you read through Estrada’s biography on wikipedia and his law firm bio at Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher, you will note that he doesn’t have experience as a judge despite excellent academic credentials and experience as an Assistant US Attorney and corporate litigator. In my view, these comparisons of Estrada to Sotomayor are apples to oranges comparisons. Finally, I think that fewer Latinos would note an appointment to the Circuit Court of Appeals compared to a more visible appointment to the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court. Therefore, it is more likely that they will note how Sotomayor was treated and who voted against her.