Jeff Rosen makes "The Case Against Sotomayor." in The New Republic. The article, subtitled "Indictments of Obama's front-runner to replace Souter," presents a highly unflattering picture of the Second Circuit judge. Here's a taste:
despite the praise from some of her former clerks, and warm words from some of her Second Circuit colleagues, there are also many reservations about Sotomayor. Over the past few weeks, I've been talking to a range of people who have worked with her, nearly all of them former law clerks for other judges on the Second Circuit or former federal prosecutors in New York. Most are Democrats and all of them want President Obama to appoint a judicial star of the highest intellectual caliber who has the potential to change the direction of the court. Nearly all of them acknowledged that Sotomayor is a presumptive front-runner, but nearly none of them raved about her. They expressed questions about her temperament, her judicial craftsmanship, and most of all, her ability to provide an intellectual counterweight to the conservative justices, as well as a clear liberal alternative.
This essay is the first in a series of profiles on potential Supreme Court nominees. If Rosen's this blunt about Sotomayor, it will be interesting what he has to say about the other short-listers.
UPDATE: Gerard Magliocca responds to Rosen on Concurring Opinions. His bottom line: "Rosen's negative characterization of the Judge, which is based on conversations with various unnamed lawyers, is inaccurate."
UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias thinks this is the money quote from Rosen's article:
I haven't read enough of Sotomayor's opinions to have a confident sense of them, nor have I talked to enough of Sotomayor's detractors and supporters, to get a fully balanced picture of her strengths.