Friday, June 5, 2009
Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor faces new questions about her views on group and identity politics... after it became clear she has a long history of making race-and-gender based remarks. We’ll have a special report. Sotomayor’s views on our Second Amendment rights are the
subject of our face off debate tonight.
From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:Sotomayor Evasive, Disingenuous During Confirmation Hearings
The eagerly anticipated confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor got underway this week. And how did she do?
Let’s start with Sotomayor’s rambling and constantly shifting explanation for one of her most controversial statements – that she “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.” This racist remark was made during a speech Sotomayor delivered to students at Cal Berkeley in 2001. The reason it is getting so much attention is that it calls into question Judge Sotomayor’s impartiality – and she made the remark repeatedly through the years. (Judicial Watch addressed this comment and many other troublesome statements and activities by Sotomayor in a letter to Senators Patrick Leahy, D-VT, and Jeff Sessions, R-AL, last week. You can read it by clicking here.)
During the hearing, at first, Sotomayor dismissed the statement as a “rhetorical flourish” that “fell flat.” However, under subsequent questioning Sotomayor attempted to defend her remarks, indicating that it was an attempt to “inspire” her audience. Of course Sotomayor quickly added that the comment has nothing to do with her attitude towards dispensing justice, which she claims is firmly rooted in the rule of law. (Action by the Supreme Court might argue this point, given that the High Court just overturned the decision she helped make in the Ricci racial discrimination matter. Click here for more.)
Sotomayor also tried to justify the comment by comparing it to allegedly similar ones made by Justice Alito and former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. And in another explanation she said her words shouldn’t be taken literally.
“I think she just made it more muddled,” said Senator Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. In sum, Judge Sotomayor tried to deny the plain meaning of her “wise Latina” statements. This disingenuous approach may pass muster in Washington, but most people would be troubled by her lawyerly evasions.
Can you recall a Supreme Court nominee in recent years that has had to spend so much time defending their impartiality as a judge? I can’t.
On the issue of abortion Sotomayor said that she feels Roe v Wade is “settled law.” According to The Associated Press: “Supreme Court aspirant Sonia Sotomayor said Tuesday that she considers the question of abortion rights is settled precedent and says there is a constitutional right to privacy...Answering a question later from Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Sotomayor said that “all precedents of the Supreme Court I consider settled law…” This doesn’t mean much, as the Supreme Court regularly overturns its precedents.
Judge Sotomayor said she had no idea why one of her former colleagues at the New York law firm Pavia & Harcourt would say, "I can guarantee she'll be for abortion rights." Maybe he knew of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund’s radical pro-abortion agenda when she helped run the organization? But Judge Sotomayor professed to have no clue about the legal positions of her former group, despite the fact that she set the group’s litigation agenda.
Senator Lindsey Graham also initiated a tough, dramatic line of questioning with respect to Sotomayor’s temperament. In fact, Senator Graham flat out asked her: “Do you have a temperament problem?” (Sotomayor has been described as a “bully” on the bench.) Sotomayor attempted to defend herself against the charge but the issue was still left hanging in the hearing room.
Sotomayor’s problem for this hearing was a big one. She has had to defend the indefensible. She did this by reversing course, professing fidelity to the law, disavowing her radical judicial philosophy as described in her many speeches and writings, and by misleading the committee on one some of her more controversial decisions.
The judge went so far as to disavow President Obama’s lawless “empathy” standard for picking judges. Judge Sotomayor said that she would apply the law to the facts. She said, “Judges can’t rely on what is in their heart.”
In the end, she sounded like the most conservative nominee to the Supreme Court by a Democratic president in thirty years. (It is interesting that, even in the age of Obama, liberal jurists must pretend to be conservatives to gain Senate approval. It confirms the victory of conservatives in framing the public policy debate over liberal judicial activism. Even Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court must pretend to reject judicial activism.)
There is no question, given all of her “wise Latina” and other radical statements and her long-term connection to groups such as the far-left Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, that Judge Sotomayor is the wrong judge for a seat on the Supreme Court. I don’t believe her confirmation conversion to “fidelity to the law.”
Unfortunately, Republicans seem resigned to the fact that Judge Sotomayor will be confirmed with little debate, but it’s not too late to change the situation. You must make your voices heard! Even liberal Senator Feinstein (D-CA) admitted this week that she had received calls of concern on the Sotomayor nomination. These calls matter. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard today at 202-224-3121, and let your senators know your thoughts.
Some in the press have characterized the Sotomayor hearings as “grueling.” I attended them for a bit and I found them interesting – in how a nominee can evade questions, deny her record, and largely control the room in the face of questioning by hapless senators. A well-prepared lawyer like Judge Sotomayor can do these types of hearings in their sleep.
There have been some tough questions for sure, but without an underlying commitment to carefully making the case against this nomination too many of the questions amounted to nothing more than “rhetorical flourishes” that “fall flat.” As a result, Americans may end up with a biased, activist justice on the Supreme Court.
Interesting, she says a state cannot force employers to check if employees they are hiring are illegal. Thankfully the court ruled 5-3 supporting law. But now we know for sure just how extreme far left Obama's choice was. We cannot afford Obama to get another term, or you can bet this country will be overrun by illegals. I don't want this country to be poor and corrupt like Mexico, which it will if illegals overrun the country.
Sotomayor’s record: A judicial pragmatist and defender of corporate interests
17 July 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
And Harvard economics professor JEFFREY MIRON will weigh in on the state of the U.S. economy—and why the only plausible argument for bailing out banks crumbles on close examination.
June 2, 2009
I made a pilgrimage to Compton last week in search of wisdom, to a little storefront with bars over the windows and a liquor-grocer next door.
Sonia Sotomayor, the Supreme Court nominee, set me off on this quest with her oft-repeated observation that "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male . . . "
Southern California is home, arguably, to more wise Latinas than any other place in the United States. The only Latina in Obama's cabinet (Labor Secretary Hilda Solis) is from here. And I personally know dozens more, starting with my mother, my wife, my mother-in-law and assorted professors, activists and sharp-minded stay-at-home moms.
But Judge Sotomayor was referring, specifically, to the law. So I thought I should go find a smart Latina attorney and ask her if she thought that was true. Does American jurisprudence look different from a Latina woman's eyes, and if so, what does she see in the United States that a wise "white male" does not?
Until recently, Luz Herrera, 36, ran a solo law practice in Compton. She was born in Tijuana to Mexican parents and raised in heavily Latino neighborhoods of unincorporated West Whittier. But she'll be the first to tell you that her background alone didn't make her wise. Neither, she says, did Harvard Law School, from which she graduated in 1999.
"I learned to think like a lawyer there," she said of Harvard. "I learned how to be a lawyer here. That's what Compton gave me."
What Sotomayor can bring to American justice, Herrera told me, is something that Herrera longs for every day: the understanding that the Latino experience is already "a part of the fabric of U.S. society" and that this truth should be reflected in our legal system. PART OF THE FABRIC WE NEED TO RID OURSELVES OF!!!!
Speeches reveal more about Sotomayor's thoughts on race
June 5, 2009
Reporting from Washington — Judge Sonia Sotomayor, already facing controversy for a 2001 speech on the virtue of having "a wise Latina" as a judge, made similar comments in a series of speeches released Thursday.
She said the nation is "deeply confused" about the proper role of race and ethnic identity, and she maintained that her identity as a Latina shaped her life and her work in court. She hoped "a wise Latina" would reach a "better conclusion" than a white male, she said on several occasions.
Since her nomination, conservative activists have cited the comment as evidence that she would rule based on her ethnic identity.
President Obama sought to defuse the criticism last week. "I'm sure she would have restated it," he said, adding that she was "simply saying that her life experience will give her information about the struggles and hardships that people are going through."
The speeches were among a thick file, including court opinions and financial documents, that the White House sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. They cover 35 years of Sotomayor's life, from her days as a Princeton student through her time as a prosecutor, corporate lawyer, trial judge and appeals court judge.
She reported a net worth of $740,000, consisting mostly of her $1.1-million condominium in New York City. She has a $381,000 mortgage and about $31,000 in the bank. She reported owning no stocks, bonds or mutual funds.
She said that White House Counsel Gregory Craig first contacted her about the Supreme Court vacancy on April 27 -- five days before Justice David H. Souter publicly announced he was retiring.
In a speech at Princeton in 1996, she said: "I began a lifelong commitment to identifying myself as a Latina" while at Princeton, "taking pride in being Hispanic, and in recognizing my obligation to help my community reach its fullest potential in this society."
She added: "I underscore that in saying this I am not promoting ethnic segregation. I am promoting just the opposite: an ethnic identity and pride which impels us to work with others in the larger society to achieve advancement for the people of our cultures."
"America has a deeply confused image of itself that is a perpetual source of tension," she said at a 2006 gathering of Latino students at Yale Law School. "We are a nation that takes pride in our ethnic diversity, recognizing its importance in shaping our society and in adding richness to its existence. Yet we simultaneously insist that we can and must function and live in a race- and colorblind way that ignores those very differences that in other contexts we laud."
She said that the Supreme Court was "just as fractured" as society over the role of race in public decisions, such as college affirmative action.
"This tension leads many of us to struggle with maintaining and promoting our cultural and ethnic identities in a society that is often ambivalent about to how to deal with its differences," she said.
Sotomayor repeated that she disagreed with a comment attributed to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor that "a wise old man and a wise old woman reach the same conclusion" in deciding cases. "I'm not so sure that I agree with the statement," she said at Seton Hall Law in 2003. "I would hope a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion."
Two years earlier, at the UC Berkeley law school, she said she hoped the "wise Latina" would reach "a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
* Obama soft on illegals enforcement
The figures show that Mr. Obama has made good on his pledge to shift enforcement away from going after illegal immigrant workers themselves - but at the expense of Americans' jobs, said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the Republican who compiled the numbers from the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). Mr. Smith, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said a period of economic turmoil is the wrong time to be cutting enforcement and letting illegal immigrants take jobs that Americans otherwise would hold.