Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
May 26, 2009

Just to get on record before the expected announcement at 10:15 this morning, I will be shocked if Obama does not pick Judge Diane Wood of the Seventh Circuit for the Supreme Court. Wood is a veteran federal appellate judge, she's female, she's a relatively low-key personality (usually an asset in confirmation hearings), she's reliably liberal, and he knows her personally from Chicago. Downsides? Well, Obama, like Bush, wants badly to name the first Hispanic Justice, but there are always multiple considerations in picking a Justice; Bush never got there either, and Obama may well have one or two more picks in the next few years. Otherwise, the main downside - if you consider it one - is that Judge Wood's record will put the abortion issue front and center even more than the usual SCOTUS battle.

UPDATE: No sooner had I written these words than the word came down that Obama has instead chosen Second Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

I'm going to need to be very cautious in writing about this nomination battle, for professional reasons. Let's just say that everyone with any interest in making a fight of this nomination is very happy with this pick.

SECOND UPDATE: Ruffini notes that Obama is making this announcement the same day the California Supreme Court is set to decide whether to throw out the verdict of the people of California in supporting Proposition 8, the anti-same-sex marriage proposition. Unclear whether Obama is hoping to preempt the issue, but the net result will likely be a sudden shift of focus to social issues.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:29 AM | Law 2009-14 • | Politics 2009 | Comments (23) | TrackBack (0)

If the Republican Party has any principles left, thw battle over this nomination battle will be a long one. This woman has no place on the Supreme Court. I know you can't say it Crank, but I can: This is affirmative action run amok!

Posted by: Jimmy at May 26, 2009 8:54 AM

Oh, please. She is highly qualified.

Posted by: Steve at May 26, 2009 10:01 AM

Yes she is a highly qualified wanto be super legislator with a well documented history of being a bully and lacking judicial temperment. Also regarded as an intellectual lightweight. What a joke! But hey she is a hispanic woman and I am sure she has a lot of empathy-whatever that means.

RNC needs to run around the clock ads of her telling everyone at some legal conference how federal appeals judges make policy.

Posted by: dch at May 26, 2009 11:01 AM

DCH certainly has the talking points down pat. Intellectual lightweight? Nothing can be further from the truth. Really, for those of us who have argued before her and have studied her opinions, that is a ridiculous charge.

Posted by: steve at May 26, 2009 11:18 AM

Maybe Diane Wood didn't pay her taxes...

Posted by: Kevin at May 26, 2009 11:40 AM

Actually I have been reading her opinions on certain issues, related to my various jobs, for over 10 years . I also have friends who have clerked at the 2nd Circuit and I know people who have argued before her. In addition, I have seen her "in action" at a couple of moot court competitions. So my suggestion to you is to not question where I got my opinion from.

Posted by: dch at May 26, 2009 11:50 AM

I am taking one from the Democrat's playbook on this one. I am against the nomination because Obama picked her because anyone Obama picks is too liberal for me! Since this logic was acceptable for the 8 years prior to the Obama coronation; then it must now be acceptable as well!

Posted by: Lee at May 26, 2009 12:35 PM

Elections have consequences and Sotomayor is one of the consequences of the mistake made last November.

Republicans should not act like some Dems (including Obama) did regarding Roberts and Alito. They should raise legitimate concerns during the hearings, but realize that, unless there is a major smoking gun problem, she is getting confirmed. Dems have somewhere between 59 and 62 votes so she is getting confirmed whether she has paid her taxes or not.

Posted by: largebill at May 26, 2009 1:34 PM

Elections do have consequences and she should be given the exact same level of scrutiny that the Dems/media gave Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork, John Roberts and Alito who were appointed by Republicans presidents who won there elections. She should be repeatedly raked over the coals for her "courts make policy" comment and her "wise latino women" comment.

Be honest people is she even in the top 20 of all federal judges or how about top 10 of liberal judges? She is an affirmative action appointee.

Posted by: dch at May 26, 2009 2:34 PM

And the best thing Obama could find to say about her work was she stopped the baseball strike. Impreeesssiiivvveee!

Posted by: maddirishman at May 26, 2009 4:51 PM

What a bunch of, . . ., now what is the word? Oh, yeah. CRANKS.

Posted by: Magrooder at May 26, 2009 5:16 PM

Cranks also means fans. :)

You know what though, Souter is one of those thin guys that is in pretty good shape, he hikes and bikes, and probably would live for another 20-25 years. Sotomayor on the other hand is pudgy and has diabetes -can anybody with actuarial experience weigh in? It might be a wash at the end of the day.

Posted by: dch at May 26, 2009 7:56 PM

Really...13 years on the court of appeals and the best acomplishment they can come up with is ending the baseball strike? And really, does anyone think that HELPED baseball?

Posted by: maddirishman at May 27, 2009 2:07 AM

I thought you conservatives were all about confirming "qualified" judges, that it was essentially the president's perogrative to choose the judge and barring some corruption scandal confirm? Oh yeah, that only applies when one of yours is president.

Intellectual lightweight my ass. Princeton, Yale, Appellate judge etc. I'm licking my chops at the further loss of female and hispanic votes that will soon follow GOP attacks on Sotomayor. It's like you can't help but screw yourselves electorally.

Posted by: robert at May 27, 2009 8:20 AM

Depending on the source-either 50% or 60% of the cases that she either authored the opinion or voted with the majority(its unclear) that subsequently were appealled to the Supreme Court were overturned there. Per the Almanac on the Federal Judiciary-you will read generally good comments about her but also comments about her lack of a judicial temperment, her writing skills and how she thinks she is a lot smarter than she is. In the last day, we have found out she was one of the judges that had no problem with New Haven, Conn. tossing out civil service test results because "too many" white people passed and "not enough" minorities did-whatever those terms mean. She apparently also authored or voted in an eminent domain case that mirrors the Kelo case. please note that everything I have just stated has a factual background that can be checked.

She is a mediocrity. She was appointed because she was Hispanic. Does anyone seriously believe otherwise? That said, she will be confirmed and the more I think about it, this might not be as bad as it could have been.

Posted by: dch at May 27, 2009 10:26 AM


It's not an appellate judge's fault when the Supreme Court reverses one of her decisions. The Supreme Court is unpredictable and they have more leeway to bypass or revise its earlier rulings. The Courts of Appeal have enough trouble predicting what the Supreme Court is going to do.

To say that Sotomayor is a mediocrity is preposterous. But here I am wasting my time arguing with a schmuck like you, assiming you are the same DCH who wrote the disgusting comment about Sotomayor's physical appearance and life expectancy. But this is the state of modern conservatism, I guess.

Posted by: steve at May 27, 2009 12:24 PM

What disgusting comment?-she is pudgy,she does have diabetes and we are talking about lifetime appointments. There is nothing wrtong with being pudgy or having diabetes. What was factually wrong or incorrect? Everytime, repeat everytime, a Supreme Court Justice is nominated their age and the projected time they will serve is a factor both pro and con. The Left said the same thing about Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia. Souter leaving at a relative young age and in good health and being replaced by a 55 year old woman with medical issues is probably a wash based on actuarial tables. If she was replacing Ginsburg or Stevens that is a different calculation. I am not wishing her ill, just being clinical.

And the fact remains before this seat became vacant, she was not on anybodys top 20 list of federal judges or top 20 list of even liberal jurists. Hell, she is probably not even in the top 5 of judges in her own appellate court. I can think of 2 or 3 names right off the top of my head. Again as i mentioned way before I have been reading some of her decisions for over 10 years now, i know people that have argued before her and worked in that court. She is not a bad judge, but she is definitely not a great or very good judge.

Posted by: dch at May 27, 2009 3:25 PM

"She is not a bad judge, but she is definitely not a great or very good judge."

That seems to be the consensus about her. I was hoping he wouldn't choose someone this controversial.

Posted by: MVH at May 27, 2009 3:32 PM

The only way to avoid 'identity politics' is to pick white men for every job.

Posted by: Berto at May 27, 2009 5:43 PM

Hola dch,
Just thought you should know about Sam Alito:
* In a well-known 1991 case, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, Alito wrote a sole dissent supporting a state requirement that women inform their husbands before being permitted to obtain an abortion; the Supreme Court later rejected his view.

* In 2000, Alito ruled that Congress could not penalize state governments for failing to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act; in 2003, the Supreme Court, by a 6-3 vote (including Chief Judge Rehnquist) rejected that conclusion, and ruled that states could be penalized.

* In a 2004 death penalty case which Alito decided -- Rompilla v. Horn --Alito rejected the defendant's argument that his attorney's had failed to do conduct an adequate investigation to prepare for his sentencing hearing. The Supreme Court reversed Alito's decision, ruling that the defense attorney's failure to even review evidence they knew the prosecution was going to introduce at sentencing violated the Sixth Amendment.
There are numerous other instances where Alito's rulings were repudiated either by the Supreme Court or even his own Circuit Court.
I'm sure you agree Alito is a hack.
Or maybe you're just a partisan hack yourself.

Posted by: Berto at May 27, 2009 5:47 PM


I think this is first post where you actually presented facts, instead of just spouting out nasty words! But you couldn’t resist ending the post with your typical venom. You almost succeeded.

Please try harder to post facts and stay away from the nasty words. Posting such tripe just doesn’t make anyone take you seriously.

Posted by: Lee at May 27, 2009 7:10 PM

Hey Berto as usual thanks for making my point. Alito was questioned about the few cases that were eventually overturned by the Supreme Court. So shouldn't a person who has had almost 60% of her cases that went to the Supreme Court??? Whoops! BTW-that extermeist Robert Bork never had a decision overturned by a far mor liberal Supreme Court and had a number of his dissents used as the basis for majority opinion in the Supreme Court. BTW berto which lefty site did you get your talking points from?

For fun why don't you compare comments about Alito and Roberts made in the Almamac of the Federal Judiciary versus the affirmative action/empathy pick.

Its very funny listening to people from the party that has savaged every and any conservative Supreme Court nominee for the last 40 years and corrupted the nomination process getting your feathers ruffled because of a little flak aimed at this nominee. Don't even try and argue that there has ever been anything close going the other way-there hasn't.

Posted by: dch at May 27, 2009 7:13 PM

Alito, the empathy judge...

Posted by: AstrosFan at May 27, 2009 8:09 PM
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