I am going to predict that Sonia Sotomayor will be Obama’s nominee to replace Souter. Conventional wisdom is that he “has” to pick a woman. He won the 2008 election on the strength of the Latino vote in the West, and no doubt feels that it will shore up his standing among Latinos to appoint the first Latina to the High Court. Sure, it would be a grander gesture closer to the next election . . . but who knows if he’ll get another chance?
With that in mind, savor this clip of Judge Sotomayor saying that “Court of Appeals is where policy is made” — followed by a quick “D’oh!” moment as she realizes she’s on tape, at which point she backtracks in a rather lame and insincere fashion:
Whoever it is will be liberal and will be confirmed. Still, I think it would be educational and enjoyable to watch a Senator confront her with this clip in televised nationwide hearings.
Until then, you can enjoy this: an article about her shortcomings, in which one of her supporters says: “She’s a fine Second Circuit judge–maybe not the smartest ever, but how often are Supreme Court nominees the smartest ever?”
UPDATE: Orin Kerr has a link to the entire video, which he says places the comment in context, as distinguishing the roles of district courts (which decide individual cases) and courts of appeals (which must consider the wider impact that their ruling will have on other cases). This explanation mitigates the damage slightly, but I think it’s a poorly phrased comment at best.