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A+ for Sotomayor

7:25 PM, Jul 16, 2009 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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That's the grade Ed Whelan gives her for "brazen doublespeak":

She emphatically rejected the lawless "empathy" standard for judging that President Obama used to select her, but she denied the plain import of her many statements contesting the possibility and desirability of judicial impartiality. She hid behind a ridiculously simplistic caricature of judging that embarrassed and disgusted her most vociferous backers, but she never recognized any meaningful bounds on the role of a Supreme Court justice. She gave a series of confused statements about the use of foreign law that are inconsistent with each other and that contradict a speech that she gave just three months ago.

The primary question that Judge Sotomayor's testimony raises is whether her thinking is really so muddled or whether she was being savvily deceptive-or both.

I wonder, too, whether Sotomayor was feigning stupidity or being genuinely ignorant when she said that it would depend on state law whether or not an abortion of a 38-week human fetus with spina bifida would be legal. The enormous health loophole carved out by Doe v. Bolton clearly makes abortions legal up until birth: "medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors - physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age - relevant to the wellbeing of the patient. All these factors may relate to health."

Still, as a TWS legal friend pointed out earlier today, one might take heart in the amazing fact that--as the first Hispanic Supreme Court nominee, with a filibuster-proof Senate, and a popular president--Sotomayor felt the need to pretend to be John Roberts. At what cost to judicial liberalism? Won't it now be much more difficult for Obama to defend a more demonstrably activist nominee in the future?