Presumptive Supreme Court front-runner Sonia Sotomayor has lived an impressive life, ranging from the South Bronx to Princeton to the US Court of Appeals, but she has detractors in her field, Jeffrey Rosen writes in The New Republic. Some ex-law clerks and judges call her bullying, egotistical, nitpicky, and not the brainiest on the bench. Mostly fellow Democrats, these critics want President Obama to pick a liberal justice—just not her.
In an explosive affirmative action case, a panel including Sotomayor was accused of ignoring constitutional issues. In another case, a conservative colleague took the unusual step of accusing Sotomayor of misstating the law. But other colleagues paint her as a bold pragmatist out to help the little guy. "She grew up in a situation of disadvantage" and succeeded, one former clerk said. "I think she sees the law as an instrument that can accomplish the same thing for other people."