The XX Factor

Defending Judge Sotomayor

Jeff Rosen’s bashing this week of Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the Second Circuit-who is on all the Supreme Court short lists-is making the rounds. Glenn Greenwald calls Rosen’s attack a “smear” and points out his problematic reliance on anonymous sources. I’m just starting to gather string on the judges on the short list, so I called Jamal Greene, a Columbia law professor who clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi, one of Sotomayor’s colleagues. Here’s his rebuttal of Rosen’s unnamed critics:

I was always impressed with her memos. I thought that they always said exactly what was on my mind. One particular opinion that stands out: Hayden v. Pataki . Not sure that’s the opinion she’d want to talk about most, because what she wrote was quite short, but I thought it was also quite brilliant. The case was about whether felon disenfranchisement”-taking away the vote from prisoners-“fell under section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as a form of vote dilution or vote denial. Her short dissent said: This is a really easy case, and only becomes difficult if you try to make it that way. There were all these long opinions flying back and forth-Judge Cabranes in the majority, and Judge Parker in dissent, and Guido too. She had a short one that got it right.