06/26/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sotomayor Pick Will Drive GOP Crazy: Saved Baseball, Ended Nude Photo Show

In picking Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama looked past her immaculate bio and the diversity she represents. In so doing, he also picked a Judge who did a couple things that will make it hard to peg her as liberal activist judge.

She has been well vetted. She was on the short list of candidates who were projected to be likely Kerry picks for the Supreme Court were he to become president in 2004.

Moreover, Sotomayor "saved baseball" and she ended a controversial nude photo shoot of 100 people in New York, helping then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani get out of a major political conundrum.

Obama referred to the baseball case in his speech: some say Judge Sotomayor saved baseball. That somebody was Murray Chass, writing for the Sunday New York Times.

On February 20, 2005, Chass wrote this:

Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who has probably not received enough credit for saving baseball -- though that was not what she set out to do -- ordered owners to restore the work rules that were in the expired agreement, and the players ended their strike.

The season was December 1994, when baseball owners were in a stalemate with the baseball players union. Remember this one? The union went at the National Labor Relations Board, which agreed with the union's position that the owners should not be allowed to impose new work rules. The board sought an injunction in federal court. The union representing the players would end the strike if the board got the injunction, which they did, and the players returned to work.

Now conservatives may not like the unions, but no one in their right mind will go against keeping baseball in play.

More on the nude photo dispute: this one should definitely tie some folks up. New York Times July 18, 1999. The 2nd circuit issued a temporary stay of the federal district court judge decision that would have allowed the session by the artist Spencer Tunick to photograph 100 nude people in public for a staged public photo session in lower Manhattan. In this one, you can see how she bailed former Mayor Rudy Giuliani out:

The Giuliani administration won a round yesterday in its legal fight to keep a Brooklyn artist from assembling 100 naked people in lower Manhattan for a photograph.

This from the New York Times:

The stay, issued by a three-judge panel convened for an unusual Saturday session, effectively put Mr. Tunick's plan to photograph the 100 nude people on hold until August or September, when lawyers for both sides will present their arguments.

Mr. Tunick, 30, had planned to take the photograph at 5:30 A.M. today on Madison Street between Catherine and Market Streets in lower Manhattan. The city had argued that Mr. Tunick's plan should be stopped because he would be attracting a large number of nude models to a residential area. The ruling superseded Friday's decision by Judge Harold Baer Jr. of United States District Court in Manhattan, who ruled in favor of Mr. Tunick, finding that artistic nude photography is a form of expression protected by the First Amendment as well by state law.

Lawyers for the city, however, said the presence of 100 nude people would infringe on neighborhood residents' right to privacy. "It's not the content, it's the issue of privacy, of people not to be intruded upon," Sherrill Kurland, a lawyer representing the city, had argued before Judge Baer on Wednesday.

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani applauded yesterday's ruling, and his Corporation Counsel, Michael D. Hess, who argued the appeal in person, said: "The city's position has been vindicated."

Still, 28 Senators, led by Ashcroft, opposed her appointment to the 2nd circuit under President Clinton. Not enough to block her. Seems this time it won't be worth the fight, unless Republicans want a fight they can't win. Which is possible.