President Obama’s Argument for Bipartisan Support for the Confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor
May 30, 2009 3 Comments
A few days ago, President Obama announced his first nominee for Supreme Court Justice. Among the various tools the President has used to get his message out is his website, where a 4-minute video announcement is posted here. I encourage you to view this video. I also encourage you to think carefully about what the President says at each stage in his announcement.
Here’s a specific question to consider:
- Can you identify President Obama’s argument that Sonia Sotomayor should be a bipartisan slam dunk for confirmation by the Congress?
He makes an argument toward the end of his speech. He doesn’t say, “Let me give you a good argument for this.” But he does make an argument. If we’re paying attention, we’ll recognize the argument. And if we’re critically engaged, we’ll make a sober judgment about the plausibility of his argument.
So the second question I have for you is:
- Does the President make a good argument that Sonia Sotomayor should be a bipartisan slam dunk for confirmation by the Congress?
These questions are rooted in my goal to encourage greater understanding of media messages—whether from the President, or anyone else.
By greater understanding I mean deeper awareness of what the message is and whether that message is reasonable. The President’s speech, because it is addressed to ordinary citizens and because it can be viewed very conveniently online, presents us with a great opportunity to hone the skills needed to be responsible citizens of a fragile democracy.
- For an excellent general reference guide to the Supreme Court, I recommend The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, edited by Kermit Hall. (Hall is also editor of The Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions.)
- There are numerous guides to critical thinking. I especially recommend Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking, by D. Q. McInerny, and, for the more ambitious reader, Critical Thinking: A Concise Guide, by Tracy Bowell and Gary Kemp.
If you have any questions about these recommendations, please use the comment box below.
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