CP Opinions

Friday, Nov 28, 2014

Sotomayor: A Policy Maker or a Jurist?

May 26, 2009|2:35 pm

Washington, D.C. – President Obama has chosen a nominee with a compelling personal story over judicial pick with a solid constitutional judicial philosophy. A compelling personal story is no substitute for allegiance to the Constitution and its sound application to public life.

Judge Sotomayor's failure to premise her decisions on the text of the Constitution has resulted in an extremely high rate of reversal before the high court to which she has been nominated.

With that fact in mind Judge Sotomayor appears to subscribe to a very liberal judicial philosophy that considers it appropriate for judges to impose their personal views from the bench. President Obama promised us a jurist committed to the 'rule of law,' but, instead, he appears to have nominated a legislator to the Supreme Court.

For example, in 2001 when delivering the Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture at the University of California-Berkeley Law School, Sotomayor stated: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Needless to say, that statement is troubling - if not offensive - on many levels. As the distinguished legal reporter Stuart Taylor of the National Journal observed about that speech and of Sotomayor, "her thinking is representative of the Democratic Party's powerful identity-politics wing."

In a 2005 panel discussion at the Duke University Law School that can be seen on YouTube and cable news channels, the judge stated that the U.S. Court of Appeals is "where policy is made."

With all due respect to Judge Sotomayor, our constitution states otherwise and public surveys indicate that the American public understands this constitutional principle and want judges who interpret the law and do not act as life-tenured judicially empowered social workers.

The Family Research Council expects the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the entire Senate to fully examine and publicly present an accurate picture of Judge Sotomayor's judicial philosophy to the American public before they vote on her nomination.

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Tony Perkins is president of Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council.
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