From the Bronx to the Court
By Al Giordano
The White House announced at 8:32 a.m. ET:
Washington, D.C. – The President will make an announcement regarding his nomination for the Supreme Court at 10:15AM EDT in the East Room.
The event will be open press.
The media speculation is rampant that the President will announce US Court of Appeals Justice Sonia Sotomayor, 54, for the bench. Daughter of a single mother from the Bronx, graduate of Cardinal Spellman High School, Sotomayor has suffered diabetes since childhood.
The early launch is consistent with administration statements that they want to steer her nomination through for Senate approval before the August 8 summer recess. Republicans - and their interest groups, for whom a Supreme Court nomination battle can be lucrative in direct mail and other fundraising - will try to slow down the process, even as they don't have the votes in hand to stop it.
Sotomayor was nominated to the US District Court, at the age of 35, in 1991 by then-president George H.W. Bush, Sr. and to the US Court of Appeals (Second District) by then-president Bill Clinton in 1997.
This is the first of what will likely be at least three high court appointments by President Obama.
Thus begins what Michael Tomasky calls "the Summer of Shove."
Update: Glenn Thrush at Politico has some interesting stats from Sotomayor's 1997 confirmation vote in the Senate:
Seven current Senate Republicans — plus Arlen Specter — voted for Sonia Sotomayor during her highly contested federal appeals appointment in Oct. 1998...
Sens. Robert Bennett (R-Utah), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) joined a unanimous slate of Dems in pushing Sotomayor through by a vote of 68-28.
Among the 29 Republican nays were current Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kent.), Minority Whip John Kyl (R-Ariz.), ranking Judiciary Committee member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.)...
she's the first Hispanic to be nominated for the high court — and every GOP leader with a pulse knows that opposing her could accelerate the stampede of Latinos out of the GOP in the southwest, west and Texas.
McCain, who has been extraordinarily sensitive to those trends (if unable to fight them) might be the real bellwether here: He's been a pretty reliable GOP soldier on SCOTUS, so if he breaks from his party early — or had really nice things to say about Sotomayor — it could be a sign that Sotomayor will have an easy time.
Also look out for what associates of Daddy Bush (Jim Baker, etc.), who first appointed her to the federal bench, have to say.
Update II: Here's a photo of the Bronxdale housing projects where Sotomayor grew up: 28 seven-story buildings constructed in 1955 along Bruckner Boulevard...
While the media talks endlessly about her roots as a Hispanic American of Puerto Rican descent, the unspoken fault line surrounding this nomination will be the related one of economic class. The debate over the President's call for a Supreme Court justice with "empathy" will be code for the class war waged by some Republicans against her nomination to a court that has long been the domain of the children of the elites. A word to the wise is sufficient: Louisville Sluggers have long been used in Yankee Stadium, too.
Update III: Pigs fly! Greenwald likes the President's call!