Sure Sotomayor Is Tough—as She Should Be

Arguing a case before her isn't fun, but that's not a bad thing
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2009 9:13 AM CDT
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor awaits her first senatorial meeting of the day, Tuesday, June 23, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
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(Newser) – Sonia Sotomayor may be a self-proclaimed “bear on the bench,” but the critics saying she's too harsh are way off base, writes constitutional lawyer Floyd Abrams in the Wall Street Journal. Abrams has argued multiple cases before Sotomayor. “Her questions are tough and fair, demanding and acute. One could say worse things about a judge.”

In two First Amendment cases that went before her court, Abrams admits that Sodomayor's questions homed in relentlessly on the weaknesses in his argument. He found himself admitting, to himself, in one case, that his argument might be "too extreme," and to the court, in another, that his client didn't actually need the injunction it was seeking. “Hardball questioning of both sides,” Abrams argues, is “precisely what good judges do.”