Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a long list of “performance pitfalls,” according to the newest batch of Clinton papers. There was another list of questions to avoid during Supreme Court Justice Breyer’s vetting process. Even Sonia Sotomayor was being predicted as a future Justice, even though her past cases and decisions were a problem with Senate Republicans.
The Clinton papers reveal the inner nomination process for the two Supreme Court Justices to join bench during his presidency: Justice Ginsburg and Breyer. They also show concerns about the future of Sonia Sotomayor whose nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit was being delayed at the time.
Ginsburg and Clinton were apparently “at odds” with each other. According to the papers, Ginsburg believed Clinton wanted to present her as a moderate that would get along well with the Senate. Ginsburg, on the other hand, wanted to maintain her own dignity and the ability to be herself.
“She has an instinct for defending some rather extreme liberal views,” the Clinton papers say with regards to her defending the ACLU.
Ginsburg’s stalwart defense of the ACLU on issues like prostitution, the death penalty and legalized marijuana, was one potential danger highlighted by the Clinton team. Some of those liberal views have made Ginsburg an Internet hit. Coverage of her Internet breaking 35 page dissent to the Hobby Lobby case can be found here.
They also cited Ginsburg’s “failure to make eye contact,” “halting speech,” and “laconic nature” as problems with getting her nominated.
The President also wanted to avoid Stephen Breyer’s liberal views during the nomination process.
The list of questions not to ask Breyer included:
“What is your view on the constitutionality of the death penalty?” and “Do you agree with Roe v. Wade?”
The Papers advised Clinton to avoid specific cases and specific legal issues as a general rule.
In the mean time, Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination process to the U.S. Court of Appeals was being delayed by Senate Republicans because of several controversial rulings.
According to the Clinton Papers, “Although she has an engaging personality and is very intelligent, her nomination has posed more problems than any of the other Hispanic judges sitting on the federal bench… nomination has been stalled on the floor for almost a year. Senate resistance to her confirmation is rooted in the fear that she will be elevated to fill the next Supreme Court “
Amazing how some predictions come true in the end.
The full texts of the recently released Clinton papers can be found here.
Specific Clinton paper materials for materials related to Justice Ginsburg and Breyer can be found here.