We know this sounds cynical, but we're sure leads like this make the White House smile. The Washington Post: "The White House scrambled yesterday to assuage worries from liberal groups about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's scant record on abortion rights, delivering strong but vague assurances that the Supreme Court nominee agrees with President Obama's belief in constitutional protections for a woman's right to the procedure. Facing concerns about the issue from supporters rather than detractors, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama did not ask Sotomayor specifically about abortion rights during their interview. But Gibbs indicated that the White House is nonetheless sure she agrees with the constitutional underpinnings of Roe v. Wade."
"'In their discussions, they talked about the theory of constitutional interpretation, generally, including her views on unenumerated rights in the Constitution and the theory of settled law,' Gibbs said. 'He left very comfortable with her interpretation of the Constitution being similar to that of his.'"
CBN's David Brody translates: "[Gibbs] pretty much said that the President and Sotomayor see eye to eye on judicial philosophy and how they view the Constitution. Umm, 'nuff said right? If you're a liberal, you have to be feeling more confident after that answer. If you're a pro-life conservative, you're more worried."
"Sotomayor on Wednesday began her outreach to the Senate, speaking by phone with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and that panel's ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)," Roll Call says. "White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs noted that Sotomayor would do much of the preconfirmation Senate outreach herself. Gibbs also said the White House would not establish a 'war room' for the nomination, saying, 'I think to have a war room denotes that we think there's some coming war, and we don't believe that.'"
In his latest National Journal column, Charlie Cook writes, "Watching conservatives work themselves into a lather on cable TV over Sonia Sotomayor is amusing. Supreme Court nominees are almost always confirmed, particularly if the president's party has a decisive majority in the Senate. Plus, Sotomayor is a liberal who would replace a liberal, David Souter. This seems to make little difference to the noisemakers. Although Sotomayor might well end up somewhat more liberal than Souter on certain issues, we are talking about gradations, not any significant shift in the Court's balance. All of this is a ritualistic Kabuki dance, a rehearsal for the no-holds-barred brawl we can expect if one of the four conservatives on the Court retires while Barack Obama is president."
The AP on the risks for both sides when framing the debate about Sonia Sotomayor: "Discussions about Sotomayor and her ethnicity, gender and tax bracket carry risks for supporters and detractors. Inartful criticism by Republicans risks offending voters they'd like to win. Democrats, likewise, need to be cautious about how they conduct the debate in a nation uncomfortable talking about matters of race and gender."
Charles Krauthammer and Peggy Noonan aren't the only conservatives urging Republicans to stop the personal attacks on Sotomayor. Writes Michael Gerson: "Some traps should be avoided completely -- and there is a case for avoiding this one. The Constitution gives the president a decisive role in the nomination process. He deserves broad deference to his judicial choices. Sotomayor's story is inspiring; she is experienced and qualified. She has demonstrated a capacity to fairly apply the law -- for example, in upholding the rights of abortion protesters. And, for goodness' sake, she ended the baseball strike in 1995. Barring unforeseen ethical revelations, opposition to Sotomayor seems both politically risky and ultimately futile. Yet Republicans must still enter the trap -- with open eyes and no expectation of gain -- not to defeat a nominee but to maintain a principle."
But some are still trying to push the idea that Sotomayor has temperament issues. "Lawyers who have argued cases before Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor call her 'nasty,' 'angry' and a 'terror on the bench,' according to the current Almanac of the Federal Judiciary -- a kind of Zagat's guide to federal judges." More: "Judge Sotomayor's demeanor on the bench will be one of the issues the Senate Judiciary Committee tackles when she appears for her confirmation hearing. A lack of a good temperament has been used as a line of attack against nominees in the past - most notably conservative Judge Robert H. Bork, whose nomination to the Supreme Court was defeated. But several lawyers and legal scholars on a call organized by the White House said the criticism is misplaced and that Judge Sotomayor's legal acumen is overwhelming. "
"Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), the second-ranking Senate Republican and a member of the Judiciary Committee, predicts that the Senate will not hold a final vote on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor until early September," The Hill reports. "The prediction is a shot across the bow to President Obama and Senate Democrats who hoped to confirm Sotomayor before the August recess, which is to begin the second week of that month."
RealClearPolitics Mike Memoli reports that the White House won't have a traditional "sherpa" for Sotomayor. "But the decision by the White House not to call on an such a 'gray beard' has added yet another ripple to President Obama's historic nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor. It has tasked Stephanie Cutter, who spearheaded Democratic opposition to President Bush's nominees, with a lead role in the effort. But the traditional sherpa duties have now been divided among other White House aides, including Ron Klain, chief of staff to the Vice President and a former Judiciary Committee aide. The administration is also having Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) serve as the chief escort for the 'courtesy calls' Sotomayor will soon hold with other members of the Senate."
Mitt Romney talked about Sotomayor yesterday in DC, per NBC's Abby Livingston. "I think some of the things that [Sotomayor] has said in the past are troubling, but I think she deserves a full and fair and thorough hearing before a final decision is made. I think our process should be a civil one. And we should show respect to her and this process by carrying out that kind of an evaluation. And we'll see what proceeds as time goes on."