As I noted here, Justice Sotomayor dissented from the Supreme Court’s decision upholding what should be a truism: the Constitution permits a state to prohibit race discrimination by public institutions. Sotomayor was joined by the ultra-leftist Justice Ginsburg. However, she failed to persuade the only moderately leftist Justice Breyer, who joined the 6-2 majority.
Attorney General Holder calls Sotomayor’s dissent “courageous.” Her dissent is lots of things — verbose and nonsensical, for example. But it’s difficult to identify a sense in which it is courageous.
Will the dissent bring disapproval from those whose approval Sotomayor values — the mainstream media, academia, and the folks with whom she hangs out in New York and Washington? Of course not; it will be applauded in these precincts.
Will it bring disapproval from Sotomayor’s friends in the Obama administration? Of course not; it will be applauded there too, as Holder’s statement shows.
Will Sotomayor’s dissent cause her to be criticized in her presence by President Obama before a crowd of rowdy politicians and a national television audience? No. Obama reserves that treatment for conservative and center-right Justices.
Will Sotomayor’s dissent cause her taxes to be audited by the IRS? I don’t think so.
To view Sotomayor’s dissent as remotely courageous one must pretend to be living in the America of the 1950s. It’s no coincidence that one must adopt roughly the same pretense to discern any sense in her dissent.