By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
So the GOP is finally awakening to the fact that Judge Sonia Sotomayor is not as left wing as opponents might have hoped she would be. And that means she's not a particularly meaty target of attack during her upcoming confirmation hearings. Do I hear a sonorous "duh!" emanating from the audience?
Politico reported this week:
"She doesn't have the punch out there in terms of fundraising and recruiting, I think--at least so far," said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who most likely will be elected as the No. 4 Republican in Senate leadership this week. .... Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the opposition to Sotomayor doesn't have the same intensity he felt in 2005, when the GOP threatened the minority's right to filibuster judicial nominees.
I blogged right after President Obama announced her selection as his first Supreme Court nominee that her record was quite pro-business and that she had no record as a great defender of a woman's so-called right to choose. The Associated Press backs me up here on her record on corporate cases:
...Sotomayor has supported limiting damages in lawsuits against companies and will dismiss discrimination claims if she finds they aren't supported by the law. [Evan] Tager [a partner at the law firm Mayer Brown, who has reviewed her decisions as a judge on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals] said some of the positions she's taken in damage awards cases, in particular, should hearten the business community.
Sotomayor dissented in a 2000 case when the appeals court ruled that the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 off the coast of Long Island occurred within U.S. territorial waters. That ruling allowed victims' families to sue TWA, Boeing Co. and a parts manufacturer for damages that would have been barred if the crash had happened in international seas.
It's never been definitely proven where Judge Sotomayor stands on choice, but I reported earlier that she's convinced the head of one large women's rights group that she is pro-choice. Still, we won't know until she starts handing down rulings on the right to privacy. And the way most Senate confirmation hearings go, she will most likely be given plenty of room to dodge questions about exactly where she stands.
Republicans should be thanking the heavens for Obama's selection. But as Senator Thune notes above, she hasn't helped the GOP with fundraising efforts. I guess she's never been told that is part of her job.
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By Bonnie Erbe