Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Sonia Sotomayor Hearings

The confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor began on Monday.  The first day was taken up with opening statements from everyone, and was pretty much what you would expect - the Dems extolled Sotomayor's 'compelling life story' and her rags-to-riches American success story, and the Reps expressed grave concerns about Sotomayor's explicit desires to legislate from the bench and to rule according to empathy rather than the law itself.  No big news there.

Today, however, is the first day of actual questioning, and things have started to get interesting.  Here are a few highlights, starting with the big one:

Wise Latina

Sen. Leahy asked Judge Sotomayor about several of her controversial statements, including this one:

Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases…. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.

Sotomayor's explanation today of what she was clearly attempting to convey: "What the words that I used, I was agreeing with the sentiment that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was trying to convey."



Judge Sotomayor says she was telling an audience that she was trying to inspire a group to be "anything they wanted to become" through her own experiences.

"I do not believe that any ethnic, racial or gender group has an advantage in sound judging," Sotomayor explained. "I do believe that every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge regardless of their background or life experiences," she concluded.

And more:

Soto re-explains her wise Latina comments: It was a "bad play on words" that "fell flat."

So bad she repeatedly used it a half-dozen times before friendly audiences.

Spin, lady, spin.

If you're confused on what she actually meant, you're not alone, and that's precisely the problem here.  I'd say Occam's Razor applies here, and the simplest explanation is the best one: she meant exactly what she said at the time she said it, and she's now lying about it because it's politically inconvenient.  We can plainly see her tendency to rule based on her feelings rather than the law through the recently overturned Ricci case.  If you're not familiar with that case, go here.  It's as bald an example of judicial malpractice as it gets, and it's all in the name of empathy (aka her feelings).  The current Supreme Court overturned her ruling, and all nine of the current justices agreed that her actions on that case were a complete failure.

But it's not just that particular statement that prompt concern.  Here are some others you should know about, too:

2nd Amendment

Everyone knows about the 32 words Judge Sotomayor uttered about the "wise Latina woman," but what about the 11 words? That's how many she dedicated to determining whether a state law prohibiting weapons possession involved a fundamental right. She held that the Second Amendment doesn't apply to the states -- a ruling that would permit local governments to completely ban gun possession if they so desire.

Settled law

The business of saying something is "settled law" is, with every Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing, revealed as little more than a game. Judge Sotomayor tells America that Roe v. Wade is "settled" law.…that mystical ironclad thing called precedent. What Senator will now ask why Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 decision that approved racial segregation, was not "settled law" by 1954 when it was overturned by Brown v. Board of EducationBrown dismantled the Supreme Court's Plessy decision, the latter a classic of Sotomayor-style judicial activism run amok with jurists who considered themselves wise white men simply ignoring the 14th Amendment.

Sonia Sotomayor is being deliberately dishonest and spinning madly to explain herself.  She is a Left-wing radical who genuinely believes that her feelings should guide her rulings rather than the law, and it is not a stretch to think that she would rule in favor of her preferred side in any legal battle without any regard for the Constitution whatsoever.

Here's the bottom line: is Sotomayor qualified as an experienced judge?  Yes.  Does she possess the appropriate track record, temperament, and judicial philosophy to serve on the highest court in the land?  Unquestionably no.  Heritage points out the best example of the most fundamental disqualification on that score (emphasis mine):

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.

- The Judicial Oath, USC Title 28, Section 453.

Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences … our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. … I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.

- Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, Spring 2002 issue of Berkeley La Raza Law Journal.

She'll have to outright lie in order to simply take her oath of office.  This woman should not be allowed near any courtroom, let alone the highest courtroom in the land.

Republicans don't have the votes to prevent her nomination, so if it's going to be stopped, they'll have to hold the line and get help from at least a few Dems.  That's not likely to happen under any circumstances, but without massive voter influence it is a virtual certainty.  If nothing else, it is vital that the GOP call out Sotomayor's statements and philosophy to illustrate what happens when far Left radicals run things.  By calling attention to her words, actions, and beliefs, they will also call attention to Obama's words, actions, and beliefs, and that is the long-term battle that needs to be fought right alongside this particular nomination.  Call your Senators and tell them your thoughts on Sotomayor.  If they're a Dem, express your concerns about the things mentioned above; if they're a Rep, demand that they stand on their principles and call out Sotomayor's destructive and anti-American radical beliefs.

I'll have more updates as they come out.

There's my two cents.

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