Even before President Obama announced Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court, former Bush adviser Karl Rove began attacking her credentials. Since then, Rove has claimed that she’s “not necessarily” smart and has acted “like sort of a schoolmarm” on the 2nd court of appeals. Today, in his Wall Street Journal column, he implies that her judicial decisions are led by “emotion“:
“Empathy” is the latest code word for liberal activism, for treating the Constitution as malleable clay to be kneaded and molded in whatever form justices want. It represents an expansive view of the judiciary in which courts create policy that couldn’t pass the legislative branch or, if it did, would generate voter backlash.
There is a certain irony in a president who routinely praises America’s commitment to “the rule of law” but who picks Supreme Court nominees for their readiness to discard the rule of law whenever emotion moves them.
Rove isn’t the first conservative to use the gender-loaded “emotion” attack against Sotomayor. In a blog post for the American Enterprise Institute, torture advocate John Yoo wrote that Republicans needed “to make sure that she will not be a results-oriented voter, voting her emotions and politics rather than the law.”