October 29th, 2010

Tribe, Sotomayor, and Obama

Oops! A letter to Obama from Harvard Law professor Larry Tribe, written while the president was mulling over Justice Souter’s replacement, has surfaced. In it, he urged the president to nominate Kagan, and wrote the following about Sotomayor:

Bluntly put, she’s not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is…

Bluntly put, it occurs to me that much the same could be said of Obama.

But I’m not sure that anyone could be as smart as Obama seems to think he is.

34 Responses to “Tribe, Sotomayor, and Obama”

  1. Deeka Says:

    Outside of themselves, no one is as smart as the lefties think they are.

  2. camojack Says:

    “…I’m not sure that anyone could be as smart as Obama seems to think he is.”

    Yes, I can! 😉

  3. Mike Mc. Says:

    Obama can speak in complete sentences.

    That is the full extent of his so-called brilliance.

    He never actually says ‘smart’ things.

    America needs to revisit what it thinks is intelligent. Bush had more intelligence in his little finger than Obama has in his whole life – but he was stupid they said.


  4. SteveH Says:

    An idiot can screw up their own lives and have an understanding that they made poor life decisions. But it takes a special kind of idiocy for someone to screw up the lives of millions of others and think themselves brilliant while doing it.

  5. CV Says:

    Neo, neo, neo. Sigh.

    The problem is that we just aren’t able to grasp the magnitude of Obama’s intellect. It’s just too vast for our small brains to handle. He’s actually a “philosopher president.”

    No, really! A Harvard historian has just said so in the New York Times:

    “…In New York City last week to give a standing-room-only lecture about his forthcoming intellectual biography, “Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes, and the American Political Tradition,” Mr. Kloppenberg explained that he sees Mr. Obama as a kind of philosopher president, a rare breed that can be found only a handful of times in American history.

    “There’s John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John Quincy Adams, then Abraham Lincoln and in the 20th century just Woodrow Wilson,” he said….”


  6. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Follow the thought through. Obama has someone whose opinion he trusts tell him that a nominee is ot-nay oo-tay ight-bray and Barack says “What the hell. I’ll nominate her anyway.”

  7. Scottie Says:

    “Mike Mc. Says:
    October 29th, 2010 at 4:55 am

    Obama can speak in complete sentences.”

    This is an incorrect assertion Mike – here, let me fix it for you.

    “Obama can READ in complete sentences FROM A TELEPROMPTER.”

    (capitalized cause I haven’t figured out how to do the fancy strike through’s or italicized stuff…lol)

  8. Jack Says:

    To be a useful idiot, one must first be an idiot.

  9. Anonna Says:

    I knew that Sotomayor was not as smart as she thinks she is the moment that I saw her and heard her speak. Funny how one can get insight from a few moments of observation. She is a canny race-alike — using her race and gender to monkey her way to the top. And, no, I am not saying that she is a monkey. I am saying that some people instinctively know how to game the system and climb very high, very fast, with nothing but game-playing agility as talent.

  10. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    I wonder if Laurence Tribe is quite as smart as he thinks he is. If you were writing a letter to the President on an issue like this, no matter how well you knew him, would you let a run-on sentence like this one stand?

    “Bluntly put, she’s not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is, and her reputation for being something of a bully could well make her liberal impulses backfire and simply add to the fire power of the Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas wing of the Court on issues like those involved in the voting rights case argued last week and the Title VII case of the New Haven firefighters argued earlier, issues on which Kennedy will probably vote with Roberts despite Souter’s influence but on which I don’t regard Kennedy as a lost cause for the decade or so that he is likely to remain on the Court

  11. Dennis Says:

    Not to put to fine a point on it, but none of us are as smart as we think we are nor as dumb as others think we are.

  12. CV Says:

    NRO suggested here that The Wise Latina might be in over her head:

    “Here’s what happens when you pick Supreme Court Justices based on “empathy.”

    “Facts: An HIV-positive prisoner (Anthony Pitre) is transferred to a prison where all inmates are required to do hard labor. He doesn’t like hard labor and so, in protest, he refuses to take his HIV meds. As a result, he’s less fit for hard labor. But prison officials say: “Too bad, you still have to do hard labor like everyone else.” Pitre then sues the prison for “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of the Constitution.

    “The magistrate judge dismisses the claim as “patently frivolous.” The federal district court agrees. The Fifth Circuit agrees. Eight Supreme Court justices refuse to hear the case — with Justice Sotomayor dissenting. In a four-page dissent (highly unusual for a routine denial of certiorari), Sotomayor argues that Pitre had demonstrated that prison officials acted with “deliberate indifference” in violation of the Eighth Amendment (h/t Orin Kerr at Volokh).

    “Poor Sonia Sotomayor, she seems to be in over her head. Perhaps I’ll send her an empathy card…”


  13. Scottie Says:

    On a positive note, if she is in fact not all that and a bag of chips, then her influence on the court may end up being entirely limited to her casting a predictable liberal vote with the rest of the liberal justices.

    She will have no influence with the conservative side of the court, and may have precious little influence on Kennedy as the supposed ideological center of the court.

    The political reality of the past two years is that we had to suck it up and take a liberal being elevated to the court during the last justice selection process.

    This may actually be a fortuitous pick for us in the long run as it appears the left may have emplaced a very ineffectual person in that position.

    It also sounds like Scalia may be attempting a bit of influence himself upon Sotomayer from what I’m reading elsewhere….

    Anyway, none of this is to say I’m happy she’s on the court – but I may feel a bit of relief that they don’t have someone on the court who could start swinging votes their way by force of intellect or personality.

    On a less positive note, she’ll be there for decades – proving once more that elections matter.

    We really need to start thinking ahead to the next supreme court justice fight.

    If I’m not mistaken, the next justice to be replaced is either Kennedy or one of the liberal justices.

    If that’s the case, then expect a knock-down drag-out fight over the nomination process as the left tries to maintain at least the status quo in the case of a liberal leaving the court – or slip in a liberal to replace Kennedy if he leaves.

    If a liberal or Kennedy leaves, the right needs to pull out all of the stops to get a conservative justice on that court.

    If that can happen, a LOT can change in future decades as to how the court rules.

    Things like the Kelo case may become dusty and irrelevant history if enough decisions can be made in the right direction by future courts.

  14. Adrian Day Says:

    I’m with Mrs Whatsit. This guy is a Law Professor? Forget Law, how did he pass Englsih. Seems like two idiots confering over how stupid someone else is.

  15. Curtis Says:

    Our Constitution is a gift from God. Powerline had a superb video yesterday titled “Uncommon knowledge with Daniel Harran.” It’s not that long; Harran is a Brit who voted for Obama but has “seen the light.” His summation: Americans take their Constitution for granted. They shouldn’t.


  16. Nolanimrod Says:

    Ah, Neo, you’re forgetting Charles Van Doren. And Alcibiades.

  17. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Hey, hey, watch it with the “idiot” comments here. Please make a distinction between formal, representative idiocy such as village idiocy, and amateurs who think they can just say dumb stuff. Ours is a proud profession of pointing out the obvious to others who are too clever by half.

    Plus we have great conventions. Not as good as the Association of Town Drunks, but much better than the Village Atheists Guild.

  18. Occam's Beard Says:

    “…I’m not sure that anyone could be as smart as Obama seems to think he is.”

    Experience suggests that the dull often think that they’re clever because they do not grasp how badly outgunned they actually are.

    Personal anecdote: For my sins, on moving to industry, I was tasked with trying to rehabilitate a difficult Ph.D. scientist who was dull and within spitting distance of getting fired. At his performance appraisal I was obliged by HR to ask him the formulaic question of what he considered his strength to be. He replied, his great intellect.

    I kept a straight face while scouring his expression to see if he were kidding. He wasn’t. Man and boy, I’ve known literally dozens of Nobel Laureates (many sadly dying off now), and many score of strong candidates for the Nobel Prize, and never heard one ever even distantly imply anything of the kind. (Not that the Nobel Prize necessarily goes to the brightest, but rather that a Laureate at least has an objective basis for having a big head.) But this guy was so far out of touch that he thought he was leading the pack, when in fact he’d been lapped.

    This is pretty much my perspective on Barry.

  19. Occam's Beard Says:

    I wonder if Laurence Tribe is quite as smart as he thinks he is. If you were writing a letter to the President on an issue like this, no matter how well you knew him, would you let a run-on sentence like this one stand?

    Never mind the run-on sentence. What kind of idiot puts something like that in writing?

  20. Sergey Says:

    “Americans take their Constitution for granted. They shouldn’t.”
    Nobody should ever take his freedoms for granted, but people always do the same mistake. They forget or deny how fragile all the gifts of civilization are.

  21. Alex Bensky Says:

    Anyone remember when the first Bush nominated Clarence Thomas? He said that Thomas was the best qualified candidate out there; this was widely pooh poohed and in fact it may have been that Thomas wasn’t the finest available. But it could not be denied that he had something of an intellectual record, had published articles and noteworthy opinions, and such.

    Anyone notice no one even tried suggesting that Sotomayor was supremely qualified, as it were? It was plain that she was a competent judge nominated because she was a Latina woman. Somehow this didn’t get mentioned.

  22. Instapundit » Blog Archive » TRIBE, SOTOMAYOR, and Obama…. Says:

    […] TRIBE, SOTOMAYOR, and Obama. […]

  23. AKB Says:

    It is my considerable belief that the Democrats will hold on to both the House (224+) and Senate (54+). I conduct polling regularly and I consult candidates. You will be surprised on Tuesday:

    Reid will win NV.
    Boxer will win CA
    Alexi will win IL
    Feingold will win WI
    and so on.

    Re: SCOTUS, the appointments of Sotomayor and Kagan are the best in the last two-three decades. The best.

  24. Occam's Beard Says:

    A sense of humor dry to the point of desiccation…

    I salute you, sir.

  25. Blacque Jacques Shellacque Says:

    Bluntly put, she’s not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is…

    I wonder where that mark’s going to be…

  26. Doug Wright Says:

    Well now, if it weren’t for the pleasing melodious deep sound of Obama’s voice and his extensive use of TOTUS, Obama could present a very laughable image. However, Obama does have that sweet melodious sound quality to his voice, so when he’s reading off of TOTUS, my oh my, he appears to be ever so intelligent.

    However, get him off TOTUS and speaking off the cuff, his thoughts are disjointed and strangely not on point.

    Obama’s got his ideology, his stage presence when TOTUS is working, and his support staff, plus his captive media drones, so what’s not to like if you like being enslaved by his version of a social elite.

    If you’re a Conservative, not so much.


  27. Angry Pelican Says:

    As our country has lost its way and so many would seemingly welcome a make believe class of royalty, the governing class is more than happy to misrepresent themselves as better than the rest of us. I imagine they think we should just sit idly by as they argue who should be in their club and who should be grateful to be led wherever they would have us go. I can’t imagine where this will end.

  28. tom swift Says:

    Sotomayor’s a hammerhead, for sure. No challenge spotting that. The unexpected development has been the drop in my opinion of Tribe over the past few years. He’s been a leftie since the Mesozoic, of course, and so by definition not a deep thinker, but I thought he at least had the intellectual horsepower to consider a tautology and chew gum at the same time. Nowadays, I wonder about even that.

  29. Bob Says:

    Neo: Your comment about BHO not being as bright as he thinks he is shows you’re just another victim of Obama Underappreciation Syndrome, an epidemic that has been infecting our country for the past 22 months. Only about 37% of the populace has successfully resisted this contagion. The results of the epidemic are expected to peak on Tuesday.

  30. anna Says:

    Mike Mc, Obama can BARELY speak in complete sentences. Have you listened to his grammar lately? It is a train wreck.

  31. Obama’s smarts | Stuart Austin Says:

    […] love this piece from the always reliable Neo-neocon: Oops! A letter to Obama from Harvard Law professor Larry Tribe, written while the president was […]

  32. Occam's Beard Says:

    Bush mangled syntax (and even words, e.g., “misunderestimated”), but then no one ever held him out as a modern Cicero, and it was clear what he meant, however inarticulately he put it.

    Obama, however, not only mangles syntax and at least the pronounciation of words (“corpsman” will live in infamy), but off the tele-binky also babbles such that his meaning is not apparent, and/or is risible. (Address oil prices by inflating tires? Seriously? Austrians speak Austrian? This guy should do standup.)

    It surpasseth all understanding how anyone would consider him of above average intelligence, never mind brilliant.

  33. chuck Says:

    An idiot telling another idiot how much of an idiot the third idiot is.

  34. bandit Says:

    Why did Tribe think sotomayor’s intelligence or lack thereof would be any factor in her her nomination? And he’s implying other people are stupid?

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