Barack Obama will nominate Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court today. She has been targeted since 1997 by conservatives as a "liberal activist" who might one day wind up on the Court, so they've got her dossier ready, and the cable networks are readying their graphics packages as we speak.
To give an indication of how this is going to go, the New York Times' Jeff Zeleny, in his breaking-news dispatch on the nomination, gives the first quote to the Judicial Confirmation Network, a right-wing group: "She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one's sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench."
For a sense of just how long the JCN, a group that thinks it can save the Republican party by attacking Obama's nominee as a godless hellspawmn, was working on that quote, here's the May 17 Times report on their campaign.
"It's an immense opportunity to build the conservative movement and identify the troops out there," said Richard A. Viguerie, a conservative fund-raiser. "It's a massive teaching moment for America. We've got the packages written. We're waiting right now to put a name in."
So, without really knowing what they're fighting about, the political media class in Washington is fired up because nothing beats a confirmation battle, especially during the dog-days of summer. Maybe Republicans will call Jeff Rosen to testify about how stupid and dumb and lame she is.
The truly puzzling thing about this choice is that Sotomayor is 54 years old and has diabetes. She is, frankly, a poor risk when it comes to longevity. Diabetes reduces lifespan, especially in older patients. Chief Justice John Roberts was 50 when Bush nominated him. Obama should have learned a lesson from that.