Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Sonia Sotomayor's retirement is a political IQ test

Sonia Sotomayor, one of the three remaining liberal Supreme Court justices, will turn 70 years old in June, is diabetic and had one parent who died at a young age. There are some offsetting factors at work — women live longer than men, and Sotomayor undoubtedly has access to world-class health care. So I’m not going to pull out an actuarial table or pretend to precisely estimate her lifespan. However, there is clearly a chance that Sotomayor will die or become unable to carry out her duties before Democrats again control both the presidency and the Senate.

I am not the only person to bring up this touchy subject. Josh Barro has been advocating for Sotomayor to retire. And the issue has reached the mainstream: Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal and Sheldon Whitehouse have also not-so-subtly encouraged her to find the exit door.

However, I’m going to be more blunt than any of them. If you’re someone who even vaguely cares about progressive political outcomes — someone who would rather not see a 7-2 conservative majority on the Supreme Court even if you don’t agree with liberals on every issue— you should want Sotomayor to retire and be replaced by a younger liberal justice. And — here’s the mean part — if you don’t want that, you deserve what you get.


Isn't there a case for her not retiring, from the Democrat point of view? They would be under tremendous pressure to nominate a man or woman who is both of the left and of color, thus teeing up affirmative action as a major issue, right before the election as well. Not sure they'd be eager to do that.

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