It's easy to be seduced by Sotomayor's rags-to-riches story. But the most trenchant (and alas distressing) reporting on her competence comes from The New Republic. To its credit, despite being a liberal publication, it pulls no punches in, for example, reporting her fellow judges' opinion of her--essentially that she's an intellectual lightweight and a "bully" on the bench who is too full of herself.
It could not have been difficult to find a nominee better than that. Indeed, even if President Obama wanted to appoint a woman who is a hard liberal, no such accusations could have been leveled at such fine jurists as Judge Diane Wood or Solicitor General Elena Kagan.
The nomination of Sotomoyor is emblematic of the problems that come from trying to create a workplace "that looks like America." It's too easy to let merit take a back seat. Here's the link to the article.