It's official: President Obama has nominated federal circuit court judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill the seat on the U.S. Supreme Court currently held by Justice David Souter.
Judge Sotomayor hasn't exactly been dinner table discussion material in most (er, normal) American homes, so most of us don't know much about her or her qualifications. I'm confident that in the coming weeks we'll learn a lot about her philosophy, prior judicial opinions, temperment, background and, like it or not, personal life.
The appointment of federal judges has become a rather sordid process, and for that you can thank the Democrats. In 1987 the Democrats, led by Sen. Ted Kennedy, then Sen. (and now VP) Joe Biden and the horde of liberal special interest groups that comprise the modern Democratic party, engaged in reprehensible acts of misrepresentation and outright dishonesty to torpedo the nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. Their despicable tactics continued, albeit unsuccessfully, with the appointment of Justice Clarence Thomas. President Obama has demonstrated that he is not above such tactics, as evidenced by his opposition to the eminently qualified Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.
The appointment of federal judges is a prerogative of the executive branch, and to the victor belong the spoils. That being said, Republicans must be vigilent in their opposition to judicial activism and cannot simply be a rubber stamp for President Obama's nominees.
So, Judge Sotomayer, what exactly did you mean in February 2005 when you said that "court of appeals is where policy is made"?