Last night, Politico posted a story with the headline “Right divided over court fight.” Here’s how it begins:
Conservative groups know they want to oppose Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor — but exactly how that campaign will be conducted is a major unanswered question that is splitting the Republican right.
The early fissure among opponents to Sotomayor, the New York federal appeals judge nominated by President Barack Obama on Tuesday, is over whether to push for a filibuster.
“The Republicans have got to take a stand on this one,” said Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition and a proponent of a filibuster. “If they don’t, they can kiss their chances of ever getting back into power away,” he added.
Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, an anti-abortion rights activist, is urging members to block a Senate vote on Sotomayor.
“Do GOP leaders have the courage and integrity to filibuster an activist, pro-Roe[v. Wade] judge?” asked Terry, who argued that Democrats — including then-Sen. Obama — opened the door to such action after threatening to filibuster Justice Samuel Alito’s nomination in 2005.
In addition to pressuring Republicans, Terry is urging supporters to send e-mails to Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.), both of whom oppose abortion rights.
Meanwhile, the Judicial Confirmation Network, an umbrella group representing more than 60 organizations, is trying to build a more traditional case against Sotomayor by culling through her prior statements and cases and questioning her qualifications.
“We’ve always said a filibuster is not appropriate for judicial nominees,” said Wendy Long, counsel to the network. “A filibuster is a legislative tool designed to extract compromises. A judicial nominee is a person. You can’t take the arm or leg of a nominee.
I mean no disrespect by this, but is it really proof of a “great divide” that Pat Robertson and Randall Terry are saying one thing and a coalition of sixty groups is saying another? It seems to me that the first two, the media’s desire to cover them notwithstanding, are not considered great generals of the conservative movement (though Rev. Robertson was in his heyday), whereas Ms. Long’s group is an acknowledged leader on this issue. Relatedly, is it really news that Messrs. Robertson and Terry are saying something relatively radical? Haven’t we seen this movie before? How come it is always considered newsworthy?
I think one could fairly argue that Politico has its blinders on here.