Revisiting the Judges of Yore With Republican Senators

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was disparaging Sonia Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” remarks and contrasted them with the words of Judge Miriam Cedarbaum who “believes that judges must transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices.” Sessions said “So I would just say to you, I believe in Judge Cedarbaum’s formulation.” Sotomayor herself said that she agrees with Cedarbaum and that Sessions is misinterpreting her. She also brought Judge Cedarbaum to the hearing. Leading to this great item by Jess Bravin:

I don’t believe for a minute that there are any differences in our approach to judging, and her personal predilections have no affect on her approach to judging,” she told Washington Wire. “We’d both like to see more women on the courts,” she added.

Burn. Bravin adds:

In 1986, Cedarbaum and Sessions were both nominated to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan, and were members of the same orientation class for future judges. Their paths then diverged, however. Cedarbaum was confirmed, but Sessions’s nomination floundered over a controversy surrounding comments he made involving the Ku Klux Klan and the NAACP.

The comments he made, to be clear, were about how the KKK, a violent white supremacist terrorist organization, was fine except for the fact that some of its members smoked pot. The NAACP, by contrast, was said to be a bad and Communistic organization.


Meanwhile, Kate Klonick notes the right’s strange habit of invoking Judge Richard Paez as a contrast to Sotomayor’s purported racism. It’s strange because Sessions and Richard Kyl, both of whom praised Paez to disparage Sotomayor, voted against Paez when they had the chance. Also:

Perhaps more amazing, Paez was no run of the mill nomination and confirmation. His nomination famously lasted a record 1,506 days when the confirmation was repeatedly delayed by Republicans who held the majority in Congress and cited his supposed “judicial activism.”

I still in an honest-to-God, no-joking way don’t understand why conservatives who want to vote “no” don’t just say something normal like “I thought Justice Souter voted the wrong way on a number of important cases, I think Judge Sotomayor is likely to vote in a similar way to Souter; I would prefer a judge who votes like Justice Roberts or Justice Scalia; therefore, I’ll vote no.” That’s not insane, it’s not offensive, it’s not foolish, it’s not bizarre — it’s something you’d have to respect.