For 20 years, Steamboat resident Rob Douglas was a Washington, D.C. private detective specializing in homicide, political corruption and terrorism. Since 1998, Douglas has been a commentator on local, state and national politics in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Colorado. To reach Rob Douglas, email rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.

For 20 years, Steamboat resident Rob Douglas was a Washington, D.C. private detective specializing in homicide, political corruption and terrorism. Since 1998, Douglas has been a commentator on local, state and national politics in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Colorado. To reach Rob Douglas, email rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.

Rob Douglas: Supreme consequences

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Rob Douglas

Rob Douglas' column appears Fridays in the Steamboat Today. He can be reached at rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by Douglas here.

— Throughout the run-up to last year's presidential election, there was little attention paid outside of legal circles to whom candidate Barack Obama might select to sit on the Supreme Court if given the opportunity.

All that changed Tuesday, when President Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, based in New York City, to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter.

For the next several months, until her confirmation by the Senate, Sotomayor will draw the ire of a segment of diehard Republicans who are as blinded by all things Obama as a segment of dyed-in-the-wool Democrats were - and still are - by all things Bush.

But, contrary to the protests of some of my friends who tilt right, Sotomayor indeed is eminently qualified to sit on this nation's highest court and should be confirmed and sworn in, absent the unearthing of an earth-shattering revelation.

Sotomayor, a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School, first was nominated as a judge for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush in 1992. She was elevated to the Court of Appeals by President Bill Clinton in 1998. Prior to becoming a judge, she served as an assistant district attorney prosecuting criminal cases and in private practice.

For naysayers of the president to attempt to put a chink in his armor by challenging the quality of Sotomayor's mind, or the depth of her legal and judicial experience, is ridiculously foolhardy.

But, truth be told, it's not Sotomayor's intellect, education or legal experience that most bothers some of the hardcore on the conservative side of the political divide. Instead, it's a six-sentence appeals court opinion striking down a reverse discrimination lawsuit brought by white firefighters and an out-of-context public statement purportedly trumpeting the superiority of her sex and ethnicity over that of white men that has set off bells and whistles.

Those bells and whistles amount to nothing more than a false alarm.

The firefighter case alleging reverse discrimination on the part of New Haven, Conn., officials - where Sotomayor and two of her colleagues ruled in favor of discarding a promotion exam when the results proved unfavorable to African-American and Hispanic firefighters who took the exam - was, arguably, wrongly decided. Many legal experts predict Sotomayor's suspiciously brief appellate ruling will be overturned by the Supreme Court next month.

Still, what Sotomayor's detractors fail to point out either because of ignorance, intentional misleading or both, is that based on current precedents underlying employment discrimination law - and until the Supreme Court overturns those precedents - the ruling is not nearly so radical as to disqualify Sotomayor.

The now oft-quoted statement by Sotomayor - "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life" - has been taken so far out of the context in which it was made as to completely distort the meaning of the 2001 speech from which it was clipped.

As numerous commentators have demonstrated this week by providing the complete speech from which that truncated quote was snapped, Sotomayor was delivering a refreshingly honest assessment of how all judges - as much as they may claim otherwise and truly aspire for it to not be the case - are affected by the reality of their heritage and experiences.

And significantly, that school of thought - that the Constitution is a living document and that the justices who interpret it should look outside the walls of the courthouse when deciding cases - has been hotly debated for years by lawyers, judges and politicians without resolution. Sotomayor is not far apart from those who ascribe to that school of thought, including some already on the Supreme Court.

So, what should those who are unhappy with the selection of Sotomayor do instead of deliberately taking her statements out of context and using race and ethnicity as a transparent dull partisan political ax that will only split the party wielding it?

It's quite simple.

Those of us unhappy with the election of Obama and the dangerous policies he and a Congress controlled by Democrats are visiting upon the nation and the world would be wise to work harder at attracting votes through the power of constructive ideas instead of through false representations and character assassination.

In short, those opposed to the Obamas and Sotomayors of the world need to win at the ballot box - not in the gutter.

After all, elections have consequences. In this case, supreme consequences.

Comments

seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

duke-buts, Your personal attacks are gettin old, we may need to deal with this on a personal level.

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MrTaiChi 5 years, 4 months ago

As a conservative I am in total agreement with this opinion.

Vice President Biden claims as his proudest legacy that as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee he injected political philosophy as a criterion for review of presidential nominations for SCJUS. Up until the Democrat Party embraced this as a constitutional concept, our republic survived with a view of 'advise and consent' that it was the president's prerogative to appoint a justice who qualified according to the president's subjective views. This was regarded as one of the checks and balances in our system of government. I guess we can forget those times and reconcile ourselves to a future in which the appoinment process is a free for all of group identity politics and the hypersensitivity of fringe groups who count for block voting.

The Supreme Court has always been political, and always made political consequences for our country. To assert the contrary is to ignore the political effect of the earliest decisions under Chief Justice Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, for example, or the New Deal decisions pro and con. I think that anyone with extensive experience with the judiciary would cncede in total candor that they believe judges make up their minds somewhere in their viscera and tell their law clerks to find the law that supports that decision. That they do as well as they do in most cases is a tribute more to our cultural values than a law school education.

Neither is it persuasive to disqualify a judge because of perceived bias, or an association in times past that was ill-considered. The sum of a judge's life's work should be the test, otherwise, Hugo Black, a champion of civil liberties, and a former member of the Ku Klux Klan never would have been appointed. It seems as though the left, in particular, but many now on the right too, will want an ideologue of their world view on the court. That unfortunately results in a pretty stupid person, politics of winner takes all, and no compromise or civility.

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seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

We hope that the SC Justices just interpret the Constitution as written and not apply touchy feely empathy as they see fit so that Judgements, such as the one soon to be heard by the SC, ( http://www.adversity.net/newhavenfd/default.htm ) won't be commonplace. Just a dream.

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seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

As far as finding middle ground and leaving the so called far right extremist ideology aside, that is what went wrong during Bush's second term. He pandered to the Democrats in Congress in the name of reaching out as screamed for by the left wing media and signed in to law many spending bills that were laden with pork only to then be attacked by the same media and Dems for overspending. For that reason Candidates like Bob Barr are becoming quite attractive for these times as these types won't go for that nonsense and we may actually have an Administration that spends what we have not borrow it from the Chinese.

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Matthew Stoddard 5 years, 4 months ago

Seeuski- get over the liberal spending. Look at the National Debt Graph here: http://zfacts.com/p/318.html

This shows that about halfway thru Bush's terms, about 2004-2005-ish, spending started to level off and did so thru the rest of his term. If I recall correct, Republican's held Congress til 2006. Granted, Obama is spending like a drunken Republican right now...but remember: he's got 2 wars going on. (Wasn't that the Far-Right mantra when they got accused of spending?) At least now, we're also spending money on OUR country.

As for the pork...we've all (most of us) have seen the latest Pig Book, where Republicans account for about 40% of the pork in the last stimulus bill...about the same percentage of Congress they control. This is why the Far-Right keeps losing members of it's party- they mislead people with this type of misinformation.

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seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

Stoddard, We don't need to waist each others time rearguing the same ol same ol. Guess the last paragraph of my post means nothing. Hope you sold your GM stock before your man Obama stole it and gave it to the UAW. P.S. You might want to start learning Mandarin, it may come in handy soon the way Obama is secretly spending our money and sending envoys Pelosi and Clinton to China on bended knee begging for more money.

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 4 months ago

At this time there is little that conservatives can do, I think that the situation is out of their hands. Many suggest moving to the left, but that is not an option for a conservative. O and Co. will have their way with this experiment, and if they fail the pendelum will swing. Maybe we will like socialism and the corruption that follows power. Fiscally, I think the problem is far larger than party, and we may be in for problems that we are not daring to imagine.

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seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

"Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in March that China was "worried" about its $767.9 billion investment and was looking for government assurances that the value of its holdings would be protected.

The nation bought $5.6 billion in bills and sold $964 million in U.S. notes and bonds in February, according to Treasury data released April 15. It was the first time since November that China purchased more securities due in a year or less than longer-maturity debt. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who will travel to Beijing next week, will encourage China to boost domestic demand and maintain flexible markets, a Treasury spokesman said yesterday.

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said the president is confident that his budget and economic plans will cut the deficit and bring down the nation's debt. "

More begging!

LMAO. This Presidential campaigning must stop eventually and Americans realize that they are being abused by this President.

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Matthew Stoddard 5 years, 4 months ago

Seeuski- nope! Your last paragraph meant nothing since it's based on pure opinion, and not any facts. Looking at that graph I mentioned again, you'll note that under Clinton, Debt was being paid off. I can't say what it will do under Obama. 2 1/2 decades of history show that Republicans run up the debt more overall.

And I would never in my life invest in the US auto market. The quality and mileage has never measured up to Japanese vehicles, which sucks. Odd thing is, I do prefer my Ford vehicles, but wouldn't hesitate to purchase a Honda or Toyota next go-around.

I also note you didn't offer up where Bush pandered to any Democrats in Congress. I'm Googling it and not finding anything except partisans such as yourself saying he did without examples. Definitely a..."waist", but I always say Waist Not, Thigh Not.

For what Fred says, maybe a conservative can't move any to the left, but why expect the Left to move to the right if the other side isn't willing? Both parties need to find center ground on issues otherwise nothing will actually get done- good or bad- until one side owns Congress.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 4 months ago

The republicans just need to stop alienating independents and wait until waste and fraud in the stimulus package starts bothering people.

And while some may not like what Obama is doing, he is not nearly as far left as he could be. Chrysler and GM declaring bankruptcy and shedding thousands of dealers and tens of thousands of jobs hardly sounds like outrageous socialism. That is not how socialist government run companies act, they keep all of the jobs.

I think Sotomayor is not likely to be a strong liberal voice and is more likely (and possibly intended) to form a center in the court and vote often with justice Kennedy. Her decisions appear to be pretty cautious and when overruled it has been 5-4 votes on the Supreme Court. And Obama, as a constitutional scholar would probably like to see more 6-3 decisions than 5-4 because 5-4 results in shaky law that could easily be reversed and is not good for the legal system.

And if he appoints someone more of the center then it makes it easier for a conservative justice in a second Obama term whom might like to retire to retire if he think Obama would replace him with a centrist.

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Matthew Stoddard 5 years, 4 months ago

Very good points, Scott. Even the non-Hannity people at FOX are saying that most of the outrage comes from 1 idiotic statement she made, whether someone believes it's racist or not. Most of her time on the bench has been one that a Conservative would be accepting of. The Fireman one is shaky, but it would have been shaky had it gone the other way. There was no true winner in that case.

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seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

Mat, This argument is just going to head right back to what has already been rehashed and refried numerous times, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is where Bush's spending was. But ofcourse lets not mention the spending after Huricane Katrina or the Gov't spending under Bush on school vouchers, which are proven to have been a success, Obama is ending those programs at the behest of the Teachers unions. I, along with many Americans, am looking forward to voting for fiscally sound candidates in the coming elections. You can keep looking back and make your generalizations about Bush and Republicans always spending, but that just ignores reality. Clinton was a centrist but also operated under a Republican Congress which kept spending in check. But I do find this graph more detailed than yours:

"Republican Spending v. Democrat Spending? The Republicans took control of Congress on 1/3/95 (103rd Congress) and lost control of Congress on 1/2/07 (last effective day of the 109th Congress). That's 12 years roughly, for an estimated 4,382 days (at work, don't feel like doing exact math). In that time frame, national debt increased by $3,880,112,378,872.02 USD.

The Democrats took control of Congress on 1/3/07 (110th Congress), and retain control today (5/25/09 during the 111th Congress). 2 1/3 years, for an estimated 872 days. In that time frame, national debt increased by $2,628,459,242,721.11 USD.

Between the 103rd and 109th Congress, the Republican-controlled Congress spent roughly $885,466,083.72 a day.

Between the 110th and 111th Congress, the Democrat-controlled Congress spent roughly $3,014,288,122.39 a day.

Which party do you believe is more fiscally responsible?"

(numbers collected from http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogi... using 1/3/95 to 1/2/07 for 103rd to 109th data, and 1/3/07 to 5/25/09 for 110th to 111th data)

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seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

And as far as Sotomayor, I am witholding judgement until the Senate confirmation hearings to see what she has to say.

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Matthew Stoddard 5 years, 4 months ago

Seeuski- Remember this: You really need to READ the links you provide.

1st- CNN link is No Page Found and your Treasury link doesn't show up, either.

The others do not show Bush reaching out for anyone; it shows Bush not offering even a courtesy reach-around while slippin' it to the Dems. Nowhere do any of the posts you provided show Bush working WITH Dems; only threats of veto if he didn't get his way. Yes- you didn't invent the struggle, but if you actually paid attention to the struggle, that might help your memory.

And had you read the actual link I provided, you see it was based on National Debt vs. % GDP, not actual monetary amounts. That means under Clinton and with a non-Republican controlled Congress, we spent less a percentage of our Gross Domestic Product.

Any one with a $1 million can spend $50,000 and say they spent less than someone with $2 million and spent $55,000. Thing is, person 2 spent less a percentage of the whole.

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seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

The problem is, I have spent too much time paying attention and am tired of constantly looking back with you in these forums. The present is what was being discussed and what to do about this crazy spending spree that the Dems are on. National takeovers and huge social programs are going to bring about some serious "change". As for the 2 links that are blank, Copied it from the pages address bar and can't explain it. But I did figure you would spin the Dems spending in comparison to the Repubs to your benefit. I get the impression you never lose an argument that way. Smooooth.

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Matthew Stoddard 5 years, 4 months ago

Gee, Seeuski- your first paragraph sounds like a liberal.

1) Tuition- how many private schools actually do offer the extracurricular activities such as sports, theater programs, etc?

How many private schools offer a school lunch program for a minimal charge to students? How many private schools offer to bus their student to and from school? How many private schools offer to bus students for those extracurricular activities? How many private schools have over a 1000 students on campus to provide for?

Now- can you still afford to send your kids to Whiteman or SSHS?

2- Where did you say public schools should fail? By espousing vouchers, which takes the per child money from the public school to put forth to the private school in an equivalent voucher. When did taking money from a school help it? Name at least one specific case.

So your saying when private school class sizes reach over 30 a class, it'll still be as good? I don't think so. Again- that's the problem: overstuffing a classroom.

Also, private schools don't have just accept anyone with money for tuition. They screen "applicants." Public schools accept everyone until a student is suspended for any reason.

Private schools also rarely have students with special needs to deal with. Again- the application process. There are usually special schools for those with special needs. Public schools must offer special needs programs.

Here's where this comes from:

http://www.publicschoolreview.com/articles/5

Read it and educate thyself.

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seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

What a sorry state of mind you are in. Ironically the front page of todays pilot has another example of students succeeding in a private program paid for with a grant. I would appreciate you try not to put words in your posts that I have not said. I am not advocating the elimination of public schools. I don't agree with you that the small amount of fed dollars spent on vouchers would otherwise make their way to the ailing, failing public schools. If you believe that then I have the proverbial beachfront property for you in Nevada. Ha, Ha. So you can keep on relying on government and I think private run institutions are more efficient. The unions, the unions,the unions. They are a political giant that just syphons off dough for nothing other than political payola. As I posted a couple back,

"The White House didn't specify how the president would like to see poor-performing teachers removed from the classroom. "

Because it is all hot air. He is beholden to the unions,period!

Have a nice day.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 4 months ago

Sotomayor and two fellow judges appear to have attempted to duck and hide in that New Haven firefighter case by giving a minimal statement upholding the district court. They were hardly radical. They were also not brave enough to try to resolve the issue or explain the important legal principles at stake and how they should be balanced.

A case of facts that suggest something is wrong with current interpretation of law because both sides appear to have the law on their side.

The case for the white firefighters is pretty obvious. A written test was created and because few Blacks and Hispanics scored among the top then the test was ignored. And the guy that brought the suit is dyslexic so if the written test was unfair to anyone then it was to him and yet he did well.

But if the test had been used then the Black and Hispanic firefighters could have sued and also expected to win.

from http://www.slate.com/id/2219037/

In other situations like this, minority candidates have successfully sued based on the long-recognized legal theory that a test that has a disparate impact-it affects one racial group more than others-must truly be job-related in order to be legal. You can see why New Haven's black firefighters might have done just that. Why promote firefighters based on a written test rather than their performance in the field? Why favor multiple-choice questions over evaluations of leadership and execution? It's like granting a driver's license based solely on the written test, only with much higher stakes.

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Matthew Stoddard 5 years, 4 months ago

How did I spin what? The graph shows a FACT. (I didn't make it up- obviously, you were able to see my link, if not actually read it.) Plus, Conservatives are all about looking back just as much as anyone. You proved that by bringing up Bush pandered to Dems as the cause of all ills before I came onto the thread and still couldn't back that up. Plus, I'm sure you subscribe to that to ensure the future, we must not forget the past, correct? Or is doing that a form of "profiling?"

And back to the point about Bush having to spend on 2 wars...guess what? We're still in 2 wars, right? Only now, we're spending money on ourselves along with it. And voucher working? Explain how, please. It takes money from public education, allowing for more possibility of failure for public education. And your memory must really be failing you since the US is not tops in scores and hasn't been in God knows how long. We are consistently beat by Japan, Hong Kong, and even China. If you mean it's working in that aspect, then you are correct. Instead of providing vouchers, wouldn't that money work putting them into the public education system to allow them to compete better with private schools? I guess some people just want government to fail at everything except war, right Rush?

As for never losing an argument- that's a subjective term. In the Pres Debates, whoever won the debate depended on which news channel you were watching as they dissected it. Thing is, you (just like some other mass repeater) just provided link after link and never bothered to read them thoroughly. It's how those links are used to disprove what you think they told you.

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seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

Reads further, "If Sotomayor and her colleagues were trying to shield the case from Supreme Court review, her punt had the opposite effect. It drew Cabranes' ire, and he hung a big red flag on the case, which the Supreme Court grabbed. The court heard argument in Ricci in April. New Haven didn't fare well. The high court's decision in the case will come in June, before Sotomayor's confirmation hearings. The problem for her will not be why she sided with New Haven over Frank Ricci. The four liberal-moderate justices currently on the court are likely to agree with her, in the name of preserving Title VII as a tool for fair hiring. There's even an outside chance that Justice Anthony Kennedy will follow along. The problem for Sotomayor, instead, is why she didn't grapple with the difficult constitutional issues, the ones Cabranes pointed to. Did she really have nothing to add to the district court opinion? In a case of this magnitude and intricacy, why would that be?"

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seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

Matt, Your opinions are so wrong! I chose the Washington Post so not to offend you.

"EDUCATION SECRETARY Arne Duncan has decided not to admit any new students to the D.C. voucher program, which allows low-income children to attend private schools. The abrupt decision -- made a week after 200 families had been told that their children were being awarded scholarships for the coming fall -- comes despite a new study showing some initial good results for students in the program and before the Senate has had a chance to hold promised hearings. For all the talk about putting children first, it's clear that the special interests that have long opposed vouchers are getting their way."

The whole article. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/10/AR2009041003073.html

The other source. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/mar/11/senate-kills-gops-dc-vouchers-bid/

I saw a mother and her daughters from DC on the news who are affected and it is heartbreaking to say the least. Unfortunately the Unions and Government do a lousy job with public schools. But go ahead and blame Bush and the Republicans as that is par for you.

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seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

As far as your comment about public education being a failure, I guess the Government will do a stand up job with nationalized healthcare right? Great track record as in Fannie/Freddie, oldies but goodies. Still wonder why the new CEO of Freddie hung himself at home. Something rotten there. Memories of Vince Foster.

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trump_suit 5 years, 4 months ago

One thing to be considered as you argue whether Bush or Obama ran the largest deficeit is this: The Bush administration took the costs of the Iraq war out of the budget and did not account for those costs during the budget process. Those costs skew the figures tremendously.

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seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

This is a post from the blog on this article which I think tells it all.

dcresident, "The Washington Post reports that when these voucher's are distributed in a lottery, the parents that don't recieve them weep openly, knowing they have no choice but return their babies to a failed and dangerous public education system. Congressional Democrats are so scared that this choice program, so wildly popular among the least of us, will expose the raw failure of public schools. The teacher's union has nothing to do with educating children and everything to do with protecting failed "educators." Thank everyone voting for this bill for selling a real chance at education for teacher's union votes and $$$. Sad."

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Matthew Stoddard 5 years, 4 months ago

Oh for crying out loud- See? You did it again. I asked for you to show in what way are vouchers working. You just provided a link to an OP-ED piece saying families were denied vouchers after they were initially told they would get one. You don't explain in what way vouchers are working. "Gee, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of this hat!"

And I'm sure you "empathized" with that mother and daughter about their vouchers, though. Wonder if an empathetic judge on the Supreme Court would side with them if they decided to sue someone about it?

(And that's how it comes full circle back to Sotomayor! Thank you! Thank you! Just shows you can lead a horse not only to water in a toilet bowl and still make them drink! LOL!)

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seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

trump_ How do you even begin to defend the quadrupling of the existing deficit in the first 100 days? Where is the money going? We have been told we won't know until the end of the year if at all. So much for the transparent Government that Obama promissed you and those that voted for him. But no mind, don't question it as it is Obama and he is the annointed one.

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seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

Stoddard, Were you on the first OJ jury? Here is the video so to speak. There was a DOE study done.

"Now it emerges that Obama's Department of Education possessed peer-reviewed, congressionally mandated, federally financed research proving this program's success," Murdock writes.

"Though it demonstrates 'what works for the kids,' DOE hid this study until Congress squelched these children's dreams." http://docstalk.blogspot.com/2009/04/obamas-doe-hid-news-of-school-voucher.html

Here is the video. The info you asked for is in there. It costs $7,500 a year for a voucher and $14,000 a year per kid in the public school system. Gee, which one is better? Duh!!

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Matthew Stoddard 5 years, 4 months ago

Okay- I didn't read the whole IES link, but got to the heart of it, which you didn't bother to even address. It shows that Reading went up a bit (about 3.1 months equivalent) for those offered vouchers, but math didn't really change. It also applied it to 10 groups and 5 showed this type of improvement, while the other 5 were flat.

Shooting 1 for 2. Not bad, but what it doesn't address is what would happen to those schools had they been given money to be competitive instead of giving money to shun them. I guess giving money to the private sector in this fashion is okay, but not to try and save people's jobs?? I'm all for better education, but it should be offered to everyone equally thru high school. When you turn 18, you then have the choice to continue your education for your benefit thru colleges.

So 50% did better and 50% stayed the same. So should we just abandon all public schools and just issue vouchers to private schools? Eventually, the same teachers applying to public schools will end up teaching at private schools, since we'd need more to take up the slack of closing public schools. It all goes 'round.

Go ahead and keep giving misinformative posts and I'll keep shooting them down.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 4 months ago

I included a paragraph of the legal analysis. I did not include that other paragraph because it is all speculation. The first word is "If"

Maybe they weren't trying to shield it. Maybe they realized it was a difficult case that was probably going to the Supreme Court regardless, that they were going to have problems reaching a consensus detailed decision and so issued the most bland of decisions.

It makes little sense to argue that they were trying to shield it. It was already a high profile case at the court of appeals because of the exceptional fact of a dyslexic arguing a written test was fair. That argues the disparate outcomes test needs to be revised if not absolutely tossed.

But I don't see how that suggests she is anything other than cautious. Other judges would have written a long detailed opinion basically arguing their point of view to the Supreme Court. By saying nothing they basically punted it up to the Supreme Court.

When she is on the Supreme Court then she'll have to make decisions, but it suggests that she might look for smallest change.

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JLM 5 years, 4 months ago

Sotomayor is replacing Souter who was appointed by GHWB with the anticipation that the weird Vermont yogurt and apple bachelor guy would be a a solid conservative voice though he had only been on the Fed App bench for 5 months. He had been New Hampshire AG and a District Judge. Ya never know!

I suspect the wild card in Sonia's background is her Catholicism. It is very, very difficult for a woman practicing Catholic (not saying she is practicing, mind you) to be pro-abortion.

There have been no abortion related cases in front of the 2nd District during her tenure, so she is a bit of a blank slate.

She is about what one would expect from an Obama appointment. Ivy league education, affirmative action beneficiary, disadvantaged family life, strong mother, "acceptable" to the far far far left and not too many skeletons in her closet.

She will be the Justice with the closest life experience to.............Clarence Thomas. She and Ruth Bader Ginsburg will not have a thing in common -- well other than the obvious.

I make a wild prediction --- she will turn out to be a fairly conservative Justice (the anti-Souter perhaps) in the end because she will be informed by her faith and the Church's teachings on abortion.

From another perspective --- who really cares --- Sotomayor for Souter is not a game changer as Souter was a weird lib.

Obama is looking at Presidential politics more than he is looking at SC politics or abortion politics. He doesn't want to give back any Hispanic support as this is the most fertile area for the Republicans to mine.

Hispanics are hard working, religious, strong families, education oriented and very entrepreneurial. The Republicans should be after this low hanging fruit. Plus Hispanics rub up against the African Americans who think they have a monopoly on victimhood.

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JLM 5 years, 4 months ago

The DC voucher charade is just terrible. $7500 vouchers for $14,000 average cost --- the District is making money on the exchange. Parents crying and vying and a damn lottery to get them. All they want is the Sascha and Malia deal that an affirmative action educated couple --- that would be Barack and Michelle --- has been able to provide.

Such a sad situation and a wholesale betrayal of real people for the NEA. Sad, sad, sad!

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seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

Stoddard, Not just did the students have "statistically significant positive impact on reading skills" but a better quality of education. These kids felt safer and were more motivated. The real problem with the public school system is the Teachers Unions are taking a substantial slice of the pie. And we know where that money goes right? Why else does one side vote against these programs? So once again, you have won another argument in your imaginative world where we spend double for something that is inferior and you want to throw more money at the problem. Why not address the problem by seeing what the private schools do differently than the public schools. Or would that alienate the Dems from the Teachers unions and all the campaign contributions they have enjoyed over the years at the expense of quality education?

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Matthew Stoddard 5 years, 4 months ago

Seeuski- okay:

1- What do private schools do differently, regardless of Unions? How do they teach better? I'll save the answer for below. Also- for a Democrat, Obama has endorsed Merit Pay for teachers, which goes against Union thinking.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/19824.html

2- Show me where the money goes. Don't talk about it- prove it to everyone. Don't cite OP-ED pieces- cite actual research.

3- Are you a public school graduate? How did it harm your education?

4- Are you "middle class?" If your child is in a failing school, would you then qualify for vouchers? If not, as middle class, could you afford to send your child(ren) to private school and then still afford college?

I'm no fan of Unions of any sort. I believe the world around us has changed enough to where they are less necessary than people believe them to be. Still, learning also has to come from involved parents. In districts with bad schools, how many of the kids parents work 1 or 2 jobs each, without much time to go over homework with their kids? For those who send their kids to private schools, how much you want to bet they can afford to stay home or hire a nanny to help with their kids, whether for schooling or not? You think that has anything to do with it?

I can somewhat compare the two: in my early schooling, my father sent me to Catholic schools. When he was getting ready to retire, I started public school. I still became a graduate. How about you? Can you say you've first hand witnessed how it goes in both types of schools?

So, I stand by my earlier statement and pose the question: if we allow public schools to fail and allow private schools to flourish instead, where will the voucher money come from if not from government anyway? Maybe we can lower taxes enough for the average person to save enough to then send 1 kid or more to a private school when they average in the thousands of dollars per year, not including any money needed for the extracurricular activities? Good chance you have to pay for school uniforms, too.

The main reason for private schools having better scoring is...wait for it...money to keep class sizes smaller. More attention to less amount of students. My opinion, but it's even been brought up here in Steamboat in the last decade or so.

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seeuski 5 years, 4 months ago

All those words and no discernable point. You have given zero reasons for the Obama administration to end a minescule program that has done so much good for a few inner city poor. I believe that had the Dems put forth this program you would have a different opinion. So again you are on both sides here, anti union and pro union. The only difference between public and private schools is who is behind the scenes. Why does it cost $14,000 per kid in public schools and only $7,500 in private? Unions and Government waste.PERIOD! Party on Matt. I actually would like to see you in front of some of the former recipients Moms talkin this junk. OUCH!

Yea I went to a private school and graduated from public also so I have seen the differences. And there are defferences. Where did I say public schools should fail? Just that we should see what is working so well with the private sector and use it. That may mean the unions should pound salt but not that the schools should fail.

And you want me to be moved by an article in Politico? After Obama has said so many things and done the complete opposite. Yea right.

"The White House didn't specify how the president would like to see poor-performing teachers removed from the classroom. "

Because it is all hot air. He is beholden to the unions,period!

Goodnight.

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Duke_bets 5 years, 4 months ago

seeuski - Why are you defending private schools and bashing public schools? Why are you speaking on education? You don't have the capacity to complete a proper sentence. That truly waters down your debate on this subject. However, you are correct by supporting the removal of poor performing teachers. Let's start by removing your English teacher and everyone that signed your diploma.

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trump_suit 5 years, 4 months ago

seeuski,

No, I really do not support the large budget deficeits that started under Bush and have been expanded with the Obama administration. I would like to see our governments at all levels learn to live within their means. As each of us know in our private finances, it is not possbile to spend more than you make for very long.

The problem I have is how the Republican Conservatives have slammed the new Obama administration for running such high deficeits when the Bush administration handed them such a bad plate full of problems to begin with and had artificially run up the overall Gov't deficeits without ever fully admitting the size and scope of the problem that was created with the Iraq war.

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Matthew Stoddard 5 years, 4 months ago

Seeuski- Where do you think grant money usually comes from? Tax dollars. Where do you think the voucher money comes from? Tax dollars. And we can go back to your assertions that low income families sometimes don't even pay taxes, yet we're giving them vouchers from YOUR tax money at times, and it still won't pay for all their tuition.

Did you know that it was noted in 2006 that in Arizona, 76% of vouchers went to children already enrolled in private schools? Look it up for your self. I can't imagine that schools will enroll a student based on a voucher they hadn't qualified for yet, without some other form of payment. I might be wrong, but I doubt it.

Small amount of fed dollars taken...If you say it costs $14,000 per child for public and $7500 for private, that takes the $7500 from the public school for each child. Just over 55% of the per child funding. You cool with losing 55% of either you or your spouse's income? Now, multiply that by more children taking advantage of it. It adds up.

Again, you seem to dodge the actual facts involved and it's showing you to not be very much the Conservative you present yourself as.

As for the SSHS students, we have also voted in a tax locally for years to help our kids, which helps keep our schools from becoming failing schools. It shows what MORE money can do for our public schools can do instead of taking money away. Thanks for bringing that up to help me. Much appreciated.

So it seems- you and I both had similar styles of schooling, yet when it comes to actually reading what we post or reading links of things that we think is directly in opposition. I wasn't even a great student. I never did homework back then and I'm not even college educated. I wonder why you have more of a problem actually researching thoroughly compared to me...and I barely do even that! LOL! Maybe it's more the student and not the schools or teachers that prompt failure. Maybe.

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JLM 5 years, 4 months ago

At the end of the day, school vouchers at the grammar, middle and high school level are roughly equivalent to the financial aid --- affirmative action at work --- that Michelle Obama and Barack Obama received to obtain Ivy League educations. Worked out well for them. Good investment for America? You decide.

School vouchers allow parents to place their child in a school which will provide a superior education when compared to the public schools. Is that a good thing or a bad thing for society? You decide.

When the local public schools are spending twice per capita than private schools --- private schools producing a superior product for whatever reason --- there is absolutely no reason why the government should stand in the way of "experimenting" with vouchers.

The base case looks like this:

1000 public school students @ $14,000 per student = $14,000,000 total cost

or alternatively

900 public school students @ $14,000 per student = $12,600,000

plus

100 private school students @ $7,000 per student voucher = $700,000

total cost = $13,300,000

savings = $1,700,000 or 5%

A well designed program should break even at worst and save a smidgen at best.

The more important issue is what does it imply for the betterment of our society --- better educated citizens with a higher earnings potential, a more productive citizenry and ultimately a potentially greater tax revenue based upon higher personal income levels.

A fair minded person with a long term view might suggest that the entire program would be self funding when all costs and taxes are considered.

Who is really against this? Entrenched educators of questionable competence who do not want to compete in the marketplace of either ideas or results.

This is exactly why the Japanese and Chinese are outstripping our children in the pursuit and mastery of math and science.

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JLM 5 years, 4 months ago

How about a merit pay program whereby the test results of the students of their teachers are used to measure compensation?

This would be harnessing capitalism to personal achievement --- a way powerful force but a bit too obvious for educators? You decide.

Private schools are producing a superior product with the same raw material at the top 50 percentile. Not everybody is going to do well, that's just life. Not every horse CAN win the Kentucky Derby but they damn sure can get into the race.

Our young folks deserve a chance to get into the race. The challenge is the funding of the opportunity.

When politicians stand in the way of voucher programs and charter schools, they are guilty of a crime against humanity and have literally stolen the potential of young folks who only need a chance.

It was good enough for Michelle and Barack Obama and it should be good enough for those kids in DC.

BTW, which public school do Sasha and Malia attend?

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ybul 5 years, 4 months ago

So a question on the supreme court nomination. What is anyones take on her opinion on gun control? Her opinion in a case about to be heard by the supreme court tends to make me think she does not believe that the second amendment amounts to anything.

For all you people who think guns are bad go take a history lesson and read up on the Battle of Athens, TN in the 1940's. Seems that the local govt took on the sheriff of nottingham approach to elections and returning GIs exchanged fire with the additional 200 deputies. They wanted open elections, too bad we have went the way of the computer to tabulate the elections, especially since those computers have been shown to be very prone to rigging.

Peace

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ybul 5 years, 4 months ago

The issue she issued on, allowing the restriction of the right to bear arms, is scheduled to come before the supreme court sometime soon from what I have read. Her thought on gun control are important as it serves as a check and balance on a government gone wild. Which we appear to have as it seems to think we can print/borrow enough money to make things right. Too bad the federal reserve which owns most US debt is essentially a private company.

Read up on the events in Germany in the late 20's early thirties and you will see parallels to the United States today. Seek out information on the Battle of Athens, TN (a history lesson not in most peoples education) and see why the right to own guns is in the constitution and those who think that gun control is needed are ignorant to the reason as to why the 2nd amendment exists.

peace

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