May 27, 2009
My neighbor James Kalb went to school with America’s Wise Latina Lady, Sonia Sotomayor, and sent me this report on her via email:
I knew Sotomayor slightly in law school. She’s not clever. Not stupid either, of course, but in spite of all complaints there’s a very high standard of intelligence on the Supreme Court and she’s below average in that league.
She struck me as indeed highly focused. To some extent she achieves that through lack of imagination and for that matter imaginative sympathy. Very likely that’s why she made that bizarre comment about wise Latinas and the superiority of their decisions. She’s slow, steady, focused, unflappable, determined, and she always stays on her own ground and relates all new arguments and information to what she already understands as she understands it. That’s a highly effective approach to things.
She’s no theorist, though. She makes good use of what she has but doesn’t have an exact, subtle, or powerful mind. My guess is that she’ll provide a generally reliable liberal vote but not lead. On that score lack of imaginative grasp of the possibilities will be a problem for her.
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