WHAT'S JEFFREY ROSEN'S BEEF WITH SONIA SOTOMAYOR?

Jeffrey Rosen admits that he hasn't "read enough of Sonia Sotomayor’s opinions to have a confident sense of them," and he adds that he hasn't "talked to enough of Sonia Sotomayor’s detractors and supporters to get a fully balanced picture of her strengths." Still, he's comfortable putting into print anonymous evaluations of her character and intelligence, concluding that she's possibly "not that smart." Matthew Yglesias notes that "you don’t see a lot of dumb kids growing up in the South Bronx and winding up at Princeton." What Matt doesn't understand is that Sotomayor's journey from BX to Princeton proves that she's not that smart, because everyone knows that minorities only get to the Ivy League by not being white.

Rosen's opinions on the subject are particularly suspicious because, back in January, when asked by The New York Times to offer a confirmation question to Eric Holder, Rosen asked:

Do you agree with Mr. Obama’s implication that the Supreme Court needs someone who will side with the powerless rather than the powerful? What if the best nominee happens to be a white male?

As attorney general, Holder has no official role in naming people to the Supreme Court. Rosen simply chose this moment to get on his soapbox and let the world know how hard white guys have it getting named to the Supreme Court, given that white guys only get named 96 percent of the time. Months later, Rosen pens an anonymously sourced hit piece on a Latino woman who is a likely candidate, charging that she's not that smart, based on anonymous gossip and his not having looked closely at her opinions. Rosen's real problem with Sotomayor may be that she's not that white, and not that male, and therefore not that qualified. By his own admission, it's not based on anything substantive.

-- A. Serwer

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