Justice Sonia Sotomayor Sworn In

From SCOTUS Blog, which has a nice photo in addition to a full write up:

With President Obama and Vice President Biden and some 450 other witnesses looking on silently, Justice Sonia Sotomayor took her seat for the first time on the Supreme Court bench Tuesday afternoon, the 111th member of the Court in its history.  Among those attending was her predecessor, retired Justice David H. Souter.  The event was so well attended that the Court opened the velvet curtains at the rear of the chamber, to allow for some spectators to stand.  (The transcript of the proceedings is here.)

Tomorrow Justice Sonia Sotomayor will hear her first argument as a member of the Supreme Court, the Citizens United case (.pdf) involving a challenge to the decades old ban on corporate expenditures in federal elections. As the folks at First Read not, it will be awfully difficult for conservatives to rail against judicial activism should conservatives on the Court push a radical rewriting of the law to bar Congress from placing reasonable limits on the expenditure of unlimited corporate funds in elections.

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Justice Sonia Sotomayor

The Senate has confirmed Sonia Sotomayor to serve as the next Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court. The vote was 68-31. More as we hear it...

Update [2009-8-6 15:23:45 by Jonathan Singer]: Sotomayor earned the support of 59 of the 60 members of the Democratic caucus (with the ailing Ted Kennedy not voting), as well as nine of 40 Republican Senators.

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Beltway Finally Realizing McCain Isn't Bipartisan

Earlier this week I noted that John McCain was failing to live up to his image (however false it is) of bipartisanship by waffling over the Sonia Sotomayor, the most experienced nominee for the Supreme Court in nearly a century. With McCain no longer waffling, and actually outright opposing her nomination, it looks like the Beltway media is finally beginning to catch on.

McCain's no votes on Sebelius and Sotomayor appear to be head-scratchers to many in Washington, since he preaches bipartisanship and the idea of giving deference to a president.

More from First Read:

Speaking of, here's a line from a speech McCain delivered last year, per NBC's Chris Donovan: "When President Bill Clinton nominated Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsberg to serve on the high court, I voted for their confirmation, as did all but a few of my fellow Republicans. Why? For the simple reason that the nominees were qualified, and it would have been petty, and partisan, and disingenuous to insist otherwise. Those nominees represented the considered judgment of the president of the United States. And under our Constitution, it is the president's call to make... It is part of the discipline of democracy to respect the roles and responsibilities of each branch of government, and, above all, to respect the verdicts of elections and judgment of the people. Had we forgotten this in the Senate, we would have been guilty of the very thing that many federal judges do when they overreach, and usurp power, and betray their trust."

With even the ultra-conservative Pat Toomey supporting the Sotomayor nomination, the extremism and outright partisanship inherent in McCain's positioning is readily apparent.

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Does McCain Know the Meaning of Bipartisanship?

Over the weekend, John McCain -- who shockingly appeared on a Sunday show yesterday -- opined that Barack Obama has failed in his efforts at bipartisanship. But looking at the real piece of news that the Arizona Senator made during the same interview yesterday, it became yet more clear that McCain does not know the meaning of "bipartisanship."

McCain, appearing on CNN's State of the Union today, says he still is examining Sotomayor's record after the Senate Judiciary Committee sent her to the full Senate on a 13-6 vote - with one of Obama's closest friends in the Senate, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, supporting the president's pick.

Sonia Sotomayor has the longest judicial resume of any Supreme Court nominee in nearly a century, is less liberal than other potential picks by the President, and by and large shares the same judicial philosophy as David Souter, the man she is to replace on the Supreme Court. Sotomayor also has a record of having been nominated and supported in the past not only by Democrats but also by Republicans. Yet McCain, who professes to be the arbiter of what is and what is not bipartisan, can't figure out how he is going to vote on her nomination? If McCain doesn't know whether he can support a supremely qualified and able nominee who is in many ways an exemplar of bipartisanship, it's not totally clear that McCain understands the meaning of the term.

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McConnell Got NRA to Whip Sotomayor Vote

This report from NPR's Nina Totenberg contains a fairly remarkable piece of news: So determined to block Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina ever nominated to the Supreme Court, McConnell took the unprecedented step of getting the NRA to do his dirty work.

One top aide to GOP leader McConnell confirmed that McConnell, at a meeting of conservative groups, asked the NRA about scoring the Sotomayor vote as a key vote hostile to gun rights. The aide conceded that in asking the question, McConnell was promoting an unusual step that the NRA then took.

You have to wonder how it is going to play in the Hispanic community around the country that the Republicans were so diametrically opposed to the nomination of Sotomayor, the Supreme Court nominee with the longest resume in nearly a century, that they called upon the NRA to twist Senators' arms -- even though they knew they didn't have the votes to stop her nomination.

Why the Republicans are so knee-jerkedly opposed to Sotomayor, who is apparently more moderate than other potential choices by the President and whose overall judicial perspective appears to be largely consistent with that of David Souter, whom she was nominated to replace (very much unlike Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, both of whom are more conservative than the Justices they replaced), doesn't make a whole lot of sense outside of being a raw political gamble -- and it's not one that I'm convinced is going to pay any dividends whatsoever.

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