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Defining Sonia Sotomayor, Day 2

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, May 28 2009

Just about 24 hours have passed since President Barack Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve as the next justice on the Supreme Court. What's the web making of the pick? Somewhat surprisingly, the Internet hasn't exactly been a celebration of instantaneous reaction to Sotomayor's selection. All things considered, all has been relatively quiet on the web front. Are folks laying in wait for more opportune moments? Or is this nomination fight all but over before it began, pending any unforeseen revelations? Who knows. But let's do a grab bag review of Day 2 of the Sotomayor nomination.

Not Up for a Fight? Elected Republicans and their close circle of aides and allies are telling Politico that absent any significant new news about Sotomayor, they're not eager to do battle over her nomination. "The sentiment is overwhelming that the Senate should do due diligence but should not make a mountain out of a molehill...If there's no 'there' there, we shouldn't try to create one." Meanwhile, the conservative Heritage Foundation posted on their Foundry blog under the title "‘Advice and Consent’ Takes Time" that they're not prepared to rush the process: "The President hopes to have his nominee confirmed by Congress’s August recess -- an aggressive timetable. But that may not comport with the Senate’s constitutional role and responsibility." The conservative group Judicial Watch, so aggressive in pursuing the alleged wrongdoings of the Clinton Administration, put out a tepid press release saying that "If Judge Sotomayor shares Obama's activist judicial philosophy, U.S. Senators who want to protect the Constitution will have no choice but to oppose her nomination." Judicial Watch also posted Sotomayor's financial disclosure forms from 2003 to 2007.

Off-Message Retweeting. The Washington Post's Greg Sargent reports that the RNC's new media director Todd Herman retweeted a Twitter note from Newt Gingrich in which Gingrich made the arguement: "Imagine SCOTUS nominee 'my experience as a white make makes me better than a latina woman' new racism = no better than old" -- a reference to a speech made by Sotomayor in which she said that the diversity of her life experience shapes her judicial approach. Sargent reports that while RNC chair Michael Steele has urged the party to avoid "knee jerk reactions," the GOP is now refusing to say whether it agrees with Gingrich's characterization.

Ad Wars. Not much is happening on the Google Ad front, as of yet. The sole Google Ad now running for "Sonia Sotomayor" is from the pro-immigrant group America's Voice. Even there, the tangential case they're making is that Sotomayor's nomination doesn't reflect all that much on the prospects for comprehensive immigration reform under the Obama Administration. Google searches for "Supreme Court Justice" don't return any ads of yet. The Washington Post reported that the Heritage Foundation was ready yesterday with an imminent Google ad buy, but they have yet to pop up.

The Video. One copy of a video clip of Sotomayor saying that "court of appeals is where policy is made, and I know this is on tape and I should never say that," has been viewed on YouTube 184,000 times since it was posted at the beginning of the month.

Doing a Deep Dive. Over on the conservative blog Hot Air, Ed Morrissey is picking over Sotomayor's record from her many decades on the court and examining the Republican pushback against her nomination to the Court of Appeals back in 1998. The New York Times has posted copies of some of her more notable court opinions, as well as the full transcript from her "A Latina Judge's Voice" lecture which has led to Gingrich's criticisms. Meanwhile, Sotomayor's Wikipedia entry is unlocked, lengthy, and largely positive.

Driving the Nomination from the White House. The Above the Law blog's David Lat has the back story on "a conference call between a senior Administration official and several reporters, to discuss the Sotomayor nomination." The White House pushed a talking point for allied groups to use in responding to critique's of Sotomayor's decision in the New Haven firefighter case: "They can't criticize her as a judicial activist on the one hand and then attack her for applying Second Circuit law on the other."

Infrastructure Building. People for the American Way has a mild-mannered press release calling on senators to conduct "a smooth, fair confirmation process." The new Coalition for Constitutional Values, which includes progressive groups like the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, have launched ConstitutionalValues.org; the site is centered around a new web ad that calls attention to Obama's call for a justice whose work is informed by his or her life experience. The Washington Post reports that the Latino blogosphere is gearing up for a fight, and the National Organization of Women has announced it will launch as "Confirm Her" campaign.

The New York Times Kate Phillips has more. And you can follow along the confirmation process -- and compare it with Supreme Court vacancies gone by -- with CQ's nomination tracker.