Obama’s long-time legal mentor warned him in writing Justice Sotomayor was not that smart

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Even far-left Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe saw the writing on the wall when Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was nominated for her post.

Tribe is a radical who’s dismissed the Constitution as partly “stupid” and described top-rated Fox News host Tucker Carlson as “a dangerous anti-democracy demagogue,”

Flashback to 2010, a year after Sotomayor was confirmed. Shocking reports emerged at the time that then-President Barack Obama’s longtime legal mentor had in the previous year urged him to nominate Elena Kagen, not Sotomayor, to the high court.

That longtime mentor was none other than Tribe.

“In May 2009, after Justice David Souter announced his retirement from the Supreme Court, Laurence H. Tribe, the prominent Harvard Law professor, wrote a two-page letter to President Obama that bluntly laid out his views about several justices and potential nominees,” The New York Times reported on Oct. 28th, 2010.

“The letter was leaked to Ed Whelan, a former Bush administration lawyer who is the president of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center, and he posted it on the center’s Web site on Thursday.”

The full letter is still available for review on Whelan’s website.

Tribe began the letter by stressing the importance of Obama’s pick, noting that Justice Souter’s resignation was “an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a series of appointments that will gradually move the Court in a pragmatically progressive direction.”

Immediately in the next paragraph, he went to work bashing Sotomayor, who at the time was seated on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

If you were to appoint someone like Sonia Sotomayor, whose personal history and demographic appeal you don’t need me to underscore, I am concerned that the impact within the Court would be negative in these respects,” he wrote.

Bluntly put, she’s not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is, and her reputation for being something of a bully could well make her liberal impulses backfire and simply add to the fire power of the Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas wing of the Court.”

That she’s “not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is” was demonstrated last week, when she issued a stunning series of factually inaccurate statements during a hearing about President Joe Biden’s business vaccinate mandate.

In the third paragraph, Tribe turned his attention to Kagan, who at the time served as the Department of Justice Solicitor General.

“For the Souter seat, I can’t think of anyone nearly as strong as Elena Kagen, whose combination of intellectual brilliance and political skill would make her a ten-strike, if you’ll forgive my reference to bowling,” he wrote.

“I’ve known and worked with her ever since she was my student and research assistant in the 1980s, have watched her become a scholar of the first rank and a star as a teacher, and have marveled at how skillfully she transformed a school that had long been considerably less than the sum of its parts into a vibrant and wonderful place for students to learn and for faculty to teach, write, and collaborate.”

A couple more paragraphs down, he briefly returned to trashing Sotomayor again.

“I think it’s clear that a Justice Kagan would be a much more formidable match for Justice Scalia than Justice Breyer has been — and certainly than a Justice Sotomayor or a Justice Wood could be — in the kinds of public settings in which it has been all too easy for Scalia to make his rigid and unrealistic formalism seem synonymous with the rule of law and to make Breyer’s pragmatism seem mushy and unconstrained by comparison,” he wrote.

His feelings were very clear — he viewed Sotomayor as an unreliable, incompetent and intellectually lacking bully not deserving a seat on the high court.

Tribe was, however, drowned out at the time by 1,181 liberal law professors who submitted their own letter — this one publicly and not in private — declaring their support for Sotomayor,  as reported at the time by Columbia Law School.

Obama ultimately chose Sotomayor and saved Kagen for his next nomination, which came following former Justice John Paul Stevens’ retirement.

Years later, some now staunchly believe the former president should have listened to Tribe. But Tribe isn’t among them. He’s since become one of Sotomayor’s adoring sycophants, going so far as to describe her the “the Conscience of the Court” after she complained last month about the “stench” in the high court.

The stench remark had been made during hearings on the Mississippi abortion law.

“She said many abortion opponents, including the sponsors of the Mississippi abortion law at issue, hoped her three new colleagues would allow for the reversal or reduction of Roe v. Wade,” according to legal scholar Jonathan Turley.

“With Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett listening, she asked, ‘Will this institution survive the stench’ created from such political machinations — and then answered: ‘I don’t see how it is possible.'”

At the time, Turley responded by noting that though her complaint was that the potential reversal of Roe v. Wade would be a violation of precedent, she’d never once complained when the court had “sought to overturn” precedents that favored conservatives.

So it appears that in addition to being “not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is,” Sotomayor is also a hypocrite …

Vivek Saxena


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