Mean – Or Just Tough and Smart? Nina Totenberg Offers the Final Word on Sotomayor’s “Temperament”

Listen here:


This should be the final word on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s supposed "temperament" troubles.

NPR’s Nina Totenberg set out to answer the question — is Sotomayor "tough" on lawyers who appear before her, or is she "mean, unduly snotty, or abusive?"  Totenberg listened to two recent oral arguments in high-stakes cases, finding that Sotomayor asked questions and interrupted attorneys no more often than her colleagues on the bench did.  And Totenberg points out that other members of the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia, are not strangers to posing direct questions to lawyers, as they did in a recent case about the Voting Rights Act.

Totenberg also helpfully quotes Sotomayor’s mentor, former Yale Law School dean Judge Guido Calabresi, who says:

…when Sotomayor first joined the Court of Appeals, he began
hearing rumors that she was overly aggressive, and he started keeping
track, comparing the substance and tone of her questions with those of
his male colleagues and his own questions.

"And I must say I
found no difference at all. So I concluded that all that was going on
was that there were some male lawyers who couldn’t stand being
questioned toughly by a woman," Calabresi says. "It was sexism in its
most obvious form."

Consider the myth definitively dispelled.

National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Day Conference Call

To honor National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Day
(May 6th), Rewire hosted an audio press conference with
four experts and advocates on teen pregnancy prevention and comprehensive sex
education programs. 


to the audio media conference here:

After more than a decade of decline, both teen
pregnancy rates and the overall number of teen births in the United States have
started rising again throughout the country, erasing hard-won gains.  As the National Campaign for the Prevention
of Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy notes, the rise in teen pregnancy rates is the
result of, among other things:


  • More sex and less contraception;
  • Declining concerns among teens about HIV
    and AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections;
  • Changing demographics in the populations
    at risk;
  • Lack of funding for effective programs.


To examine these and other issues, the following
experts joined Rewire for their audio conference call:


  • Bill Albert, Chief Program Officer of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy,
    a private, non-profit initiative organized in 1996 that focuses on preventing
    both teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy among single, young adults.
  • Lori Casillas, Executive Director of the
    Colorado Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Parenting, and Prevention
    (COAPPP), a statewide organization that works with communities and individuals
    in Colorado to promote the healthy sexual and reproductive development of all
    teens and advance the well-being of parenting teens.
  • Forrest Alton, Executive Director of the
    South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, which reaches over 1,000
    people in each of South Carolina’s 46 counties on an annual basis with
    education, technical assistance, public awareness campaigns, advocacy, and
  • Shelby Knox who grew up as a conservative
    Southern Baptist in Texas and turned toward activism in response to what she
    saw as the danger of abstinence-only-until marriage programs. Shelby, who recently graduated from the
    University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Political Science, has traveled
    across the nation to speak to young people about the importance of
    comprehensive sex education and the power of youth activism, using the film
    that carries her name, The Education of
    Shelby Knox
    , as a vehicle for discussion. She currently lives in New York City
    and is a full time speaker and organizer working with progressive organizations
    to promote sex education, women’s rights, and youth empowerment.


Weren’t able to make the call?
Interested in being a part of these audio conferences featuring leading experts
discussing cutting edge issues in the field of reproductive and sexual health
and rights? Join our media and blogger email list and don’t miss out!

LISTEN: Rewire Writers Cristina Page and Jodi Jacobson on WBAI Radio

Today at 11 AM, on Joy of Resistance, Multicultural Feminist Radio at New York’s WBAI radio (99.5 FM),
Rewire writers Jodi Jacobson and Cristina page participated in an in-depth discussion about how and why Family Planning was removed from
President Obama’s economic stimulus package and what the implications
of this are for the future.

Click the play button below to listen to the show. The conversation involving Cristina, Jodi, Loretta and Sunsara begins at 19:18.



The full panel included: Rewire writer/editor Jodi Jacobson, author of "Change in Reproductive Health Policy? A Farce in Four Acts", Rewire writer Cristina Page, economist and author of "Sexonomics" and How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America, Loretta Ross, Founder and Director of SisterSong: A Woman of Color Reproductive Health Collective and Sunsara Taylor, writer for Revolution newspaper and a speaker on the Christian Right and Women.

Anti-Abortion Ads Target Al Franken

anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, the religious right’s answer to
the abortion rights group Emily’s List, has bought up time on Minnesota
Christian radio stations to run ads attacking Al Franken.
Interestingly, pro-life DFLer Rep. James Oberstar sits on the group’s advisory committee.

Listen to the ad:

The ads say, in part:

In Minnesota, 39 innocent children are lost every day,
39 children every day. And what does comedian Al Franken want to do
about it? Nothing. Franken says he supports abortion on demand. It’s no
wonder radical pro-abortion groups have embraced Al Franken. They want
to overturn the ban on gruesome partial birth abortions, force you to
pay for abortions with your tax dollars, and allow young girls to get
abortions without their parents consent. Al Franken and his allies are
wrong. Call Al Franken right now at 612-344-2008 and tell him MN
deserves leaders we can trust to protect life. tell him every life
counts and this is no laughing matter.

“While Senate candidates like Al Franken in Minnesota and Kay Hagan
in North Carolina hide their extreme support for abortion on-demand
from the voters, we are there to expose it,” SBA List president
Marjorie Dannenfelser told the religious right website “American voters deserve to know the truth about who really is – and isn’t – on the side of unborn children.”

The group opposes any and all abortion, including those resulting from rape or incest. Like the name suggests, SBA List’s original focus
was on progressive pro-life candidates who opposed abortion, but
promoted social welfare policies that reduce the need for abortion.

In the late-1990s and early-2000s, the group underwent a
transformation as Republican insiders took over the group, aligning its
activities close to those of the religious right.

The group is also focusing three other states: Colorado, New Hampshire and New Mexico.

Interview with Thomas Frank

Download the full interview with Thomas Frank, the author of The Wrecking Crew.