The Corner

Re: Jeffrey Rosen’s Damage Control

“Conservatives are already citing my initial piece on Sotomayor as a basis for opposing her.”

How outrageous!  I mean, why would anyone in his right mind think an article (in a journal of opinion) entitled, “The Case Against Sotomayor” (which the headline writer further thought merited the subtitle “Indictments [plural] of Obama’s frontrunner to replace Souter”) could possibly state a “basis for opposing her” nomination?  Of course, I suppose I could write “The Case Against Scalia” and not be understood to be “indicting” him . . . but that would be because, long before you got to the end of my article, you’d know I didn’t think much of the case others had made against Justice Scalia. I don’t think there’s any fair reading of Jeffrey Rosen’s piece that would construe it as a debunking of the case against Judge Sotomayor.

I would cut Jeffrey more slack than Ramesh does, probably because I worked for many years as a prosecutor and a supervisor in the courthouse where Judge Sotomayor heard cases. I never tried a case before her, and I think I may have argued a grand total of one appeal before her, but it was neither eventful nor memorable. I’ve seen her in action, though, and I’ve heard all the stories. The fact that Jeffrey didn’t name sources does not, to me, suggest that he was irresponsible to write what he wrote — I’m betting he had a lot of sources telling him the same things. All that said, though, it’s lame for him to accuse conservatives of “willfully misreading” what he wrote. It is what it is. It’s also not disqualifying and it’s about to be overtaken by events: the exacting study of every comma in everything she’s ever written or said, followed by her hearing. So it’s unfortunate that he’s become defensive about merely reporting what he heard.

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