Cross-Examining the Case Against Sonia Sotomayor

May 6, 2009 at 10:38 am | Posted in Supreme Court | 1 Comment
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A former colleague of Sonia Sotomayor has taken on Jeffrey Rosen’s piece: The Case Against Sotomayor.  Loyola Prof. Robin Kar says he wants to “set the record straight”.  Blogging on the website today, Kar attested to his former boss’s brilliance as both a judge and person.  Rosen’s piece in the New Republic included a slew of anonymous quotes from Sotomayor’s Second Circuit colleagues, like this one:

“[Sotomayor is] not that smart and kind of a bully on the bench…She has an inflated opinion of herself, and is domineering during oral arguments, but her questions aren’t penetrating and don’t get to the heart of the issue.” (During one argument, an elderly judicial colleague is said to have leaned over and said, “Will you please stop talking and let them talk?”)

Kar responded with a defense of Sotomayor that verged on an outright gush-fest. Below is an excerpt, read the whole thing on

The ultimate secret of the judge’s success lay not in the quantity, however, but rather in the quality of the work she inspired. The judge made it positively enjoyable to struggle to reach better legal resolutions together, due to another rare and surprising dimension to her brilliance.  Although we had come to the clerkship with very different backgrounds, strengths, and temperaments, the judge seemed to identify them almost immediately, to cultivate them and to create an atmosphere in which we each felt respected and as though we had something positive to contribute, coming from our own particular angle…We discussed each and every case with genuine vigor and concern that year, and the judge’s confidence gave us the confidence to push and develop one another’s thoughts to their limits.  Have no doubt: the judge knew when to take the lead and when to rein us in.  But she also helped us to see that we could have important ideas that, with the appropriate development, would help to push the envelope of the law and help clarify or harmonize legal doctrines in beneficial ways.  The judge thereby taught us the brilliance that goes with creating an environment in which deliberation is free from insecurity, and reasoning is vibrant and sincere.”

I can’t help but read this and think…wow a little over the top.  The gushing actually serves to undermine Kar’s defense of Sotomayor.  As for Rosen’s piece, the jury is still out, wishing he hadn’t packed the piece with anonymous quotes.


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  1. […] Correction! May 27, 2009 at 5:48 am | In Uncategorized | No Comments Tags: Robin Kar, Sotomayor I had posted earlier in the month about a former law clerk of Sotomayor who defended his former mentor in a blog post on  His name is Robin Kar and I mistakenly assumed he was a she.  So apologies!  Post has been corrected. […]

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