The Sotomayor Dilemma

Here’s Michael Steele on Sonia Sotomayor,

The head of the Republican Party wants his forces to watch their steps when it comes to Supreme Court hopeful Sonia Sotomayor.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele told CNN Radio Tuesday the party that he hopes will include more Hispanics must be cautious in how it scrutinizes a groundbreaking Latina judge.

“You want to be careful,” he said when asked about juggling Hispanic outreach with potential opposition to Sotomayor, “You don’t want to be perceived as a bully.”

Indeed, Steele was mild in his initial jabs, calling Sotomayor an “interesting pick” with “overwhelming political overtones to it.” The RNC chairman listed classic conservative question marks. “We do have some reservations and concerns about her views on the second amendment, her views on abortion, her views on property rights,” he said.

On abortion, Steele said his is concern is that “we don’t know much about her,” since Sotomayor has had relatively few abortion rulings.

Here’s the problem that Steele and the other Republicans in the Senate are up against.

Theoretically, they could block Sotomayor. Realistically, given the attitudes of the Republicans in the Senate and the fact that they spent the last four years saying filibustering judges is unconstitutional, they can’t block her. Short of some stunning revelation, which seems unlikely at this point, she is going to make it to the Supreme Court. Moreover, even if that “stunning revelation” came out, her replacement would be someone just as bad.

In other words, we’re doomed to lose this fight before we start.

…..However, because this is an extremely important issue to the base, because Democrats were so brutal to Alito, and because the GOP has very little credibility with conservatives — as much as anything because the party is still doing things like endorsing Arlen Specter clones like Charlie Crist over solid conservatives like Marco Rubio — they feel enormous pressure to at least rough Sotomayor up a little bit. However, given that she is the first Hispanic nominee and female, they don’t want it to get too nasty in a fight they can’t win.

It is a real dilemma and although I’d like to see the GOP get her ridiculous statements out there as much as possible and vote against her en masse, to set a precedent for the next nominee, when hopefully we will have enough senators to potentially do the same thing to the Dems that they’ve done to us, I think the GOP should be cut some slack on this one.

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