Posts Tagged ‘Sotomayor’

1st July
2009
written by Sean Noble

Al Franken speaks to reporters outside home in Minnesota

Al Franken has officially won the Minnesota U.S. Senate seat, prevailing over Norm Coleman in what has been one of the most expensive post-election legal battles for a Senate seat in U.S. history.

This gives Obama and the Democrats the 60 seats that, if they all hung together, would enable them to push through legislation without worrying about a filibuster.  However, with the national environment shifting toward Republicans, there are a number of Democrat Senators up for re-election in 2010 that for anything even slightly controversial, it will be tough for the Democrats to get to 60 votes on cloture.

Franken will be assigned to the Judiciary Committee, which will immediately throw him into the national spotlight with the Sotomayor hearings starting in a couple weeks.

While he is an unabashed liberal, watch for Franken to carve a unique position on a variety of issues.  He will be underestimated because of his comedian (although that implies he has ever been funny) background, but he is as smart as the typical Senator, so he will undoubtedly get a glowing profile write up in a major publication shortly after the Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

If I was advising Franken (and I’m among the last of those he’d ever call) I would suggest that he keep a fairly low profile and build a reputation of taking the job very seriously.  I would advise that he only speak on the floor when he can speak with genuine substance on an issue.  It will be easy to dismiss him if he does some of his screeching, so for his own political future, he’d be wise to try to be a work horse rather than a show horse.

We’ll see if he can keep his ego in check enough to do so.  I have my doubts.

27th May
2009
written by Sean Noble

You knew it would happen.  Despite Obama picking a Latina for the Supreme Court, there are some in the Latino community that just aren’t as happy as they wanted to be.  Why?  She’s the wrong kind of Latina – that is, she’s Puerto Rican, not Mexican.

Many Latinos are elated that Obama has nominated a Hispanic, and they relate to her story of success from humble beginnings.

But some would have preferred to see Obama nominate a Mexican-American considering that they make up 70 percent of the nation’s 47 million Latinos.

“The argument could be made for (a Mexican-American nominee),” said Raul Yzaguirre, former head of the National Council of La Raza, one of the nation’s largest Hispanic civil-rights organization. He is now presidential professor of community development and civil rights at Arizona State University. “I want unity, so I am more inclined to overlook those things and say, ‘Let’s work together.’ “

Though Puerto Ricans and Mexicans share a common language, Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and are not considered immigrants like Mexicans, said Louis DeSipio, a political-science and Chicano/Latino studies professor at the University of California-Irvine.

As a result, Sotomayor could be less sensitive to immigration issues she may face as a Supreme Court justice than if she were Mexican-American, DeSipio said.

Luz Sarmina, president and CEO of Valle del Sol, a non-profit community-based Latino organization in Phoenix, said that she was thrilled with the choice of a Hispanic but admits that she would have liked to have seen Obama nominate a Mexican-American.

“I’m thrilled having a Latina, but I also think there are many Mexican-Americans well-qualified for that role. I don’t want to pit one group against the other, but I think I would have been thrilled to see a Mexican-American.”

In the name of unity, Yzaguirre will “overlook” the snub. DeSipio thinks Sotomayor will be “less sensitive to immigration issues” because she isn’t of Mexican descent.

Watch for this issue to get some more legs as Sotomayor’s record starts getting exposed.  What Mexican-Americans will learn is that she really isn’t much like them.

26th May
2009
written by Sean Noble

scotus

President Obama officially nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy being created by Justice Souter’s retirement this summer.

This was not unexpected.  We knew it was going to be a woman, and the historical appeal of appointing the first Hispanic to the bench was too good to pass up.  And Sotomayor has a VERY compelling personal story – so compelling, it was probably impossible for Obama to NOT tap her.

Sotomayor is not getting a free pass from some on the left.  My guess is that her confirmation process is going to be a little rocky.  She has been a bit of a judicial activist, and that will be a strong line of questioning by Republicans and they will be less interested in her personal story.  One thing for sure, it’s going to be an interesting summer.