Home / General / The logical contortions required to encourage Sotomayor to risk being replaced with a Republican

The logical contortions required to encourage Sotomayor to risk being replaced with a Republican

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Sonia Sotomayor has been a titan, one of the five greatest Supreme Court justices ever. And the reason she’s on the Court in the first place is…because a fine liberal justice of roughly her age retired as soon as a president who was ideologically congenial was elected! Which ones again goes to show the obvious…it is both wrong and dangerous for justices, no matter how accomplished to consider themselves indispensable. Sotomayor is a great legal mind with a very reliable voting record. You know who are also great liberal legal minds? Ketanji Brown Jackson and Elizabeth Prelogar. Sotomayor resigning is a loss, but it is also an opportunity to reward another eminently worthy choice while eliminating a downside risk of immense importance.

All this is obvious, which is why argument against Sotomayor retiring are almost always specious. Claims that they are sexist and racist run into the problem of having been dispositively dispriven last year:

Nor was anybody saying it would be a tragedy for a 70-year-old Souter to resign, even though he was a very fine justice and definitely a white man. It is true that Sotomayor was subjected to some truly vile sexist and racist attacks by Republican public officials and pundits when she was nominated — but her staying in with the prospects of Democrats holding the Senate over the next decade at least being dismal rewards these critics rather than punishing them.

I also generally like Nicholas Grossman’s work, but this scenario involves defending Sotomayor by acting like she’s an idiot:

To state the obvious, Sotomayor would make her resignation contingent on a replacement being confirmed. To find an example of this, you only have to go back to…the last time a Supreme Court justice resigned! If a nominee to replace Sotomayor is defeated the result will be the status quo, not a 6-2 or 7-2 Court.

So, if Sotomayor resigns, either you get a younger replacement confirmed, or you have Republicans spending the summer (with the collaboration of two centirst dipshits too unpopular to run for re-election in their own states) trying to maximize the chances that, among other things, their massively unpopular ruling nullifying a deeply entrenched right is not overruled. (This is one reason why this rather strange article arguing that Democrats just need to win, baby is so misguided — among other things, a confirmation hearing that increases the salience of Dobbs is the best political gift both Biden and downballot Dems could ask for.) If you win, you win, if you lose, you still win.

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