In an earlier post, I disapproved of what I call the Obama Standard for voting on Supreme Court nominees. I named it after Barack Obama, who made clear that he believed Bush nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito were both accomplished jurists who were well qualified to sit on the Court and had no ethical problems that would prevent their serving–but he voted against both of them. See his reasons and quotes here.
Now the tables turn. John McCain, Mitch McConnell and other Repub Senators are about to apply the Obama Standard to Sonia Sotomayor. They know she’s qualified, know she’s ethical–but they don’t want her on the Court, so they’re voting against her. Again, I think this is an abuse of the Senate’s Constitutional role in the nomination process. She’s the president’s pick, not theirs. But he’s supposed to do the picking, not them.
One of the few Washington Repubs who seems to remember this is Lamar Alexander, who said this yesterday:
“Even though Judge Sotomayor’s political and judicial philosophy may be different than mine, especially regarding Second Amendments rights, I will vote to confirm her because she is well qualified by experience, temperament, character and intellect to serve as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
“In 2005, I said on this Senate floor that it was wrong for then-Senator Obama and half the Democratic Senators to vote against John Roberts – a superbly qualified nominee – solely because they disagreed with what Senator Obama described as Roberts’ “overarching political philosophy” and “his work in the White House and the Solicitor General’s office” that “consistently sided” with “the strong in opposition to the weak.” Today, it would be equally wrong for me to vote against Judge Sotomayor solely because she is not “on my side” on some issues.
Now there’s a rarity: consistency of principle. Alexander went on to note that “elections have consquences,” and of course they do: Obama won, and putting simpatico judges on the Court is one of the consequences of victory.
As I’ve made clear, I think Sotomayor has said some silly things that show her enthralled by 70’s-style identity politics, which I hope she’s outgrown now. She’s a lock to be confirmed, and because the Dems have a big margin of votes to confirm Sotomayor, we’ll be spared the hypocritical spectacle of Obama going around condemning her opponents, denouncing them for setting up some kind of “ideological litmus test,” which is precisely what he did for Roberts and Alito.