ERLC Urges Conservatives to Oppose Sotomayor's Confirmation

The public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention is urging conservatives to contact their senators to oppose the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who is on the verge of replacing Supreme Court Justice David Souter.

"After carefully examining her record as a lower court judge, we believe that Sotomayor should not be confirmed to serve on the nation's highest court," the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission stated Monday as the U.S. Senate opened hearings on Sotomayor's nomination.

"Sonia Sotomayor's record reveals that she is perfectly willing to lift the blindfold of justice to achieve her desired result. She is a judge with a terribly flawed view of the judicial system at best or a judge who simply doesn't care what the law says at worst," the SBC entity added.

Furthermore, the ERLC continued, Sotomayor "has constantly shown her lack of deference to the Constitution."

"She is the type of justice who instead of applying the law neutrally will redefine the law to conform to her policy preferences," the group stated. "The bottom line is that Sonia Sotomayor is an unpredictable wildcard."

Since President Obama announced Sotomayor as his first high court nominee late May, there have been a number of concerns that have come out, including a 2001 speech in which she said she hoped the rulings of a "wise Latina" would be better than those of a white male without similar experiences.

Sotomayor has also received criticism for her more recent rejection of claims filed by mostly white fire fighters who said they were not promoted because the city council feared being sued for racial discrimination.

Republicans point to Sotomayor's 2008 decision on the Second Circuit appeals court panel as evidence she might let her personal and political views - particularly a belief in racial preferences for minorities - influence her decisions.

Notably, the Supreme Court ruled late last month 5-4 in favor of the 17 white and one Hispanic firefighters in New Haven, Conn., who said city officials violated their rights when it threw out the results of a promotions test on which few minorities scored well.

Aside from that case, the ERLC said Sotomayor's record – across the issues – were "either far too thin or hidden behind non-published orders and per curium opinions."

"Simply put, placing Sonia Sotomayor on the highest court in the land jeopardizes our nation's commitment to equal treatment under the law," the group stated.

Other groups that have questioned Sotomayor's ability to be impartial include the Women's Coalition for Justice, which includes some of the top ranking female leaders in the Susan B. Anthony List, the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, and Americans United for Life.

"It's important for the American people to understand that the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court will dramatically shift the dynamics of the Court," commented Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life. "Her record of activism in support of a radical pro-abortion agenda is clear and documented."

Conservative groups that have expressed their support, meanwhile, include the two largest networks of Hispanic and Latino evangelicals in America, which often are at odds with one another.

Last month, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) rejected the "far left" and "radical pro-choice" label that some critics have slapped on the "strong" Puerto Rican Catholic.

The National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC), meanwhile, said it is "confident that she has a restrained approach to the law."

CONLAMIC said they had carefully reviewed Sotomayor's numerous decisions and statements and found that the judge "follows well-established precedent in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court."

"In strictly adhering to precedent, regardless of result, Judge Sotomayor demonstrated that she is not a judicial activist who seeks to impose a particular outcome based on her beliefs, but rather a judicious jurist who applies established law to the cases before her," the group argued.

On Monday, Sotomayor pledged to serve the "larger interest of impartial justice" rather than any narrow cause if she becomes the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court.

"My personal and professional experiences help me listen and understand, with the law always commanding the result in every case," Sotomayor told senators at the nationally televised confirmation hearing.

The 55-year-old appeals court judge, who spoke for only about five minutes Monday, will return on Tuesday to begin hours of questioning from committee members who will cast the first votes on her appointment.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Monday told Sotomayor, "Unless you have a complete meltdown, you're going to get confirmed."

"And I don't think you will" have a meltdown, he added.

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