Reporting from Washington — When a Supreme Court seat first came open last year, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe offered some candid advice to one of his former students — President Obama.
Tribe was enthusiastic about Elena Kagan, but not the other front-runner, then- Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Her impact within the court "would be negative," Tribe told Obama in a letter on May 4, 2009.
"Bluntly put, she's not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is, and her reputation for being something of a bully could well make her liberal impulses backfire and simply add to the Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas wing of the court," Tribe wrote, referring to four conservative justices.
The candid comments from the prominent Supreme Court advocate — now on loan from Harvard Law School to the Justice Department — raised eyebrows Thursday when the letter was posted by conservative legal analyst Edward Whelan on National Review's website.