In a shocking twist on CNN This Morning, journalist and podcast host Josh Barro expressed astonishment that Justice Sonia Sotomayor has yet to retire. Barro, clearly perplexed by Sotomayor’s concerns about the balance of the Supreme Court, suggested that maybe it’s time for her to contemplate stepping down.
Barro raised the valid point that the Democrats could lose control of the Senate in the next election, which makes the timing of Sotomayor’s retirement critical. He cited the example of the late Justice Scalia, who missed the opportunity for a Democratic appointment in 2017 because he remained on the court until his death. It’s a classic case of “you snooze, you lose” or in Scalia’s case, “you snooze and let the liberals win.”
With the current political landscape, Barro argued that if Sotomayor genuinely cares about the political balance of the court, she should seize the opportunity to retire now. This would allow for the appointment of a younger successor who could potentially tilt the balance in favor of conservatives.
CNN hosts were shocked by Barro’s perspective, because let’s face it, conservative opinions are about as rare on CNN as honest politicians. Host Poppy Harlow’s astonishment was palpable, and Phil Mattingly couldn’t believe such discussions even had a place on the network.
In a recent speech at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, Sotomayor addressed the challenge of coping with consistently conservative rulings from the Supreme Court. She acknowledged that every loss affects her, but emphasized her resilience by saying, “I get up the next morning.” Well, good for you, Justice Sotomayor.
Sotomayor also criticized her “originalist colleagues,” accusing them of “devising new ways to interpret the Constitution.” It’s comical that someone would criticize justices for actually following the Constitution as it was intended. Maybe Justice Sotomayor would prefer a Constitution that changes with the wind, where justices can just make up laws to fit their personal opinions. It’s a good thing we have conservative justices like Scalia and others who believe in the original intent of our founding document.
Barro defended his stance on Sotomayor’s retirement, emphasizing the importance of taking a long-term perspective on Supreme Court appointments. He even brought up Sotomayor’s age and health condition, including her diabetes, as factors to consider. It’s not ageism, it’s reality. We need justices who can serve for decades, not ones who might need to take a nap halfway through oral arguments.
Barro also pointed out the structural disadvantage Democrats face in the Senate and cautioned against assuming there will be another occasion with a Democratic president and Senate in the near future. It’s a wise warning that liberals would do well to heed. They can’t just rely on “hope and change” to magically give them control of the Senate and White House. Conservatives have learned that lesson the hard way, and it’s time for liberals to face the same reality.