The XX Factor

Sotomayor Sisterhood

Rebecca Traister has already expertly parsed Jeff Rosen’s hasty, uncareful slamming of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for what it shows about how we-actually, white male legal pundits-talk about women who are up for huge jobs like the Supreme Court. Dahlia and Hanna dissect the put-down and the code words, too. At the National Journal , Stuart Taylor Jr., who also jumped on the anti-Sotomayor bandwagon, has had the grace to jump off , writing in an editor’s note that he regrets being “unfair” to the Second Circuit judge, in particular by ” citing anonymous claims that she has been ‘masquerading as a moderate,’ which I do not know to be true.”

But it’s too late to sheathe the claws. They’ve already produced this dreadful, not funny David Letterman parody of Sotomayor as a screechy gavel-banger. Is that Spanish she’s speaking? But of course. The Washington Post Wednesday quoted “a lawyer who has been consulted on the Obama selection process” saying that Sotomayor may have to overcome a perception that she “doesn’t play well with others.” Today, a news story in the paper makes nice . Let’s just hope that anonymous supposedly-consulted lawyer is wrong and the Obama administration doesn’t care about the swirl of perceptions and is doing it’s own reporting. There is an abundance of excellent women candidates, as Dahlia and Chris Wilson and I have been discovering as we begin to read up and write about them. Picking one of them isn’t affirmative action, no matter what the white guys writing the columns say. (And no, Ben Wittes, I’m not crying for the excellent white men who aren’t at the top of the list this time, and it’s not just Democrats who take identity politics into account when they make Supreme Court selections-hello, Clarence Thomas, not to mention Harriet Miers.)