Given her record as a judge and her mainstream constitutional views, Sotomayor is entitled to a similarly lopsided "yes"vote. If she falls short of overwhelming confirmation, it will be because of the extreme politicization of judicial selection, in which both parties are complicit. Some Democrats, including Barack Obama, opposed the confirmation of Roberts, a conservative but no radical. Some Republicans, in the spirit of tit-for-tat, have subjected Sotomayor to the same treatment.
The most egregious Republican overreaction involved a decision by Sotomayor's appeals court, recently overturned by the Supreme Court, that permitted the city of New Haven, Conn., to discard the results of a test on which no black firefighter earned a promotion. Not content to harp endlessly on the ruling in their questions, Republican senators invited one of the white firefighters to testify before the committee in an attempt to show that Sotomayor lacked empathy for them -- never mind the Republicans' criticism of Obama for listing empathy among the qualifications to serve on the court.