Sotomayor nomination: No smoking gun

 

  Some commentary has a longer shelf life than others.  An earlier posting lasted minutes before President Barack Obama announced the appointment of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill the David Souter vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

 She’ll attract considerable debate, largely because of a speech she made in 2001 where she seemed to express the opinion that a Latina woman and a white man would reach different conclusions when ruling on the law.  Said she:  

   “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”  She was speaking at a University of California diversity lecture.

She will also draw fire because of a statement she made in 2005 that the U.S. Court of Appeals, where she served, “is where policy is made.”  Those are the words of an activist judge.

A fuller reading of her diversity remarks leaves her thoughts open to interpretation.  I don’t think there’s a smoking gun there.  It’s not enough to evoke a filibuster.  

Initial reaction here is that, barring something else, she’ll be confirmed without filibuster. 

119 comments Add your comment

RetLTC

May 26th, 2009
4:00 pm

By the way @@. Sotomayor has more experience as a judge right now than did any of the present sitting Justices when they were nominated. But I am sure you are highly qualified when it comes to the qualifications of one judge over another. Maybe your judgement of Sotomayor is based on politics or political ideology. Could that be the case?

RetLTC

May 26th, 2009
4:04 pm

They do have a messenger Jim Right. Rush Limbaugh. LMAO!

Shooting Fish in a Barrel

May 26th, 2009
4:10 pm

…”she is NOT the sharpest knife in the drawer…”

Sotomayor has been overturned by the Supreme Court four times. Three of those times she wrote the majority opinion.

Next.

Dan

May 26th, 2009
4:12 pm

Haven’t had the opportunity to do much research, but if the quote from 2005 stating a court is a place where policy is made is accurate it is troubling, though not surprising. And while many debate what ruling may or may not be considered setting policy from the bench, I have rarely heard, the obviously inane argument, that setting policy from the bench is a good thing. Such a statement whether coming from a conservative or liberal is troubling.

williebkind

May 26th, 2009
4:16 pm

Why is it now that she is OK because she was selected by Bush earlier for an appellate court? I thought the liberals hated everything about Bush and because he was stupid.

Well, stupid is as stupid does! I heard that from another intellectural.

williebkind

May 26th, 2009
4:22 pm

Ok I misspelled intellectual but will Sotomayor be a supreme court intepreter or become “a make law” court justice? So, I can do as I want right? I do not have to follow the law of the land.

Anarchy! Is that what it is or just plain communism?

RetLTC

May 26th, 2009
4:27 pm

Uh, williebkind, are you refering to GHWB or GWB? Huge difference when it comes to the hate factor. But speaking of hate, I would say republicans and democrats are running neck and neck when it comes to hating Bill Clinton and George Walker Bush. Does that fall under the “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” principle? Or would “turn about is fair play” be more appropriate?

kcohen

May 26th, 2009
4:34 pm

I haven’t had an opportunity to look up her judicial record, but I probably won’t need to do it myself. I’m sure that the various camps will dive in and analyze, in great detail, each decision that “proves” their position. In fact, it has already started. How many times have we seen the statement that she’s had a number of decisions overturned? As if that that statistic has any relevance! EVERY federal judge has had cases go before the Supreme Court. The relevance should be on the cases themselves, don’t you think? And while you’re at it, how about looking at her entire caseload, not a selected few.

RetLTC

May 26th, 2009
4:39 pm

Maybe the republican party should accept the fact that republicans like Tom Ridge represent the viewpoint of the majority of republicans..or former republicans. Will they? No. The 20%ers will keep trying to resurrect Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond.

Jackie

May 26th, 2009
4:39 pm

Have you noticed the national Repubs invective machine has thrown a rod?
They have not used these words as talking points, therefore, the supporters have not found their “voices.”

DawgBite

May 26th, 2009
4:44 pm

To the right wing of the Republican party the nomination of that Latina judge Sotomayor must be like the proverbial sharp stick in the eye. It is going to be so much fun watching them squirm. The gall of that Obama guy, huh cons. How dare he put a Hispanic woman on the Supreme Court. And to think that he could get to put 2 more on the court before his 8 years are up. Damn. You angry azz white guys are in a heap of trouble.

Mac

May 26th, 2009
4:46 pm

The Dalton snoozepaper has a story about Kyle Wingfield taking over the Thinking Right ranch on Thursday. Rumour has it time for the awful and spittle spraying truth may make an introductory appearance.

Dan

May 26th, 2009
4:50 pm

Dawgbite, W put more minorities in postions of government power than any other president. So Her ethnicity clearly isn’t the issue, the issue is Her stated desire to set policy from the bench, which is clearly unconstitutional, regardless of which side of the aisle you land on.

Mac

May 26th, 2009
4:50 pm

Sorry, should have been Kyle “Right” Wingfield.

DawgBite

May 26th, 2009
4:51 pm

More like the Thinking Right plantation, I’d say.

DebbieDoRight

May 26th, 2009
4:58 pm

Willie: She was nominated by GHW not Dubya — stupid really IS as stupid does……..

Dan: Everyone has differing views on “legislating from the bench”; but if you look at all the major decisions made by the Supremes in the past 40 years; (Bush vs. Gore; Brown vs. Board of Ed; Loving vs. Virginia; etc); you’ll see that a decision is always going to be considered “legislating” if the other half doesn’t like the outcome.

Shooting: Four out of five of HOW MANY decisions that are made yearly by the Federal Courts? Let’s just say yearly the court Sotomayer sat on made 25 decisions. Now multiply that by 16 years on the bench and you’ll get 400 (16*25); so out of 400 decisions made, FOUR of them were overturned by the Supremes. Not a bad batting average if you ask me.

Glenn

May 26th, 2009
4:58 pm

Richard Jewell owns your asses posthumously, you cheapjack so-called “journalists”!

Glenn

May 26th, 2009
5:03 pm

To the community:

Allow me to say, in bidding my final adieu, that the preceding remark was directed at the AJC editors who’d excised fully three of my earlier remarks.

Long live a free press, elsewhere.

Bye, y’all…

Mac

May 26th, 2009
5:12 pm

Bye Glenn, you was a good’un.

Dan

May 26th, 2009
5:29 pm

Debbie do right, as I stated the perceptions of what is and isn’t legislating from the bench will always differ, so on that point we agree. Additionally simply acknowledging that point, suggests an agreement to the fact that legislating from the bench is inappropriate if not specifically unconstitutional. This candidate wasn’t arguing whether or not a decision was or wasn’t legislating has specifically stated she desires to be on a bench where policy is made. Again regardless of which side of the aisle, this should be a concern
or maybe she is just mor honest ;o)

Munch

May 26th, 2009
5:45 pm

Aw, Glenn got his feelings hurt. Wah.

To topic. Best qotd on Soto:

Sotomayor’s resume doesn’t just look good compared to Harriet Miers. Sotomayor has more than 10 years on the appeals court–by contrast, the current chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, had two years as a judge on the D.C. Circuit before being nominated. As a white man, however, his credentials and intelligence are beyond reproach.

AwfulWaffle

May 26th, 2009
5:48 pm

Her comment that the judicial system “is where policy is made” is pretty scary. That’s not what the US Constitution says.

Munch

May 26th, 2009
5:49 pm

btw, wingnuts, the stats have been compiled for Soto on the Circuit Court.

360 decisions.

3 reversals.

That’s a .0083 reversal rate.

Suck on it.

Jackie

May 26th, 2009
5:54 pm

@ Glenn

Hope that your goodbye is temporary.
Enjoy the sane debate that brought.

Jackie

May 26th, 2009
5:55 pm

@ Glenn

Enjoyed the sane debate that you brought.

Glenn

May 26th, 2009
5:57 pm

Bye, Jackie. Hang tough.

Glenn

May 26th, 2009
6:00 pm

Jackie,

This is one put-up deal, this website.

Jackie

May 26th, 2009
6:33 pm

@ Glenn,

I hope that I will present the sanity and levity you exhibited.

Just Nasty & Mean

May 26th, 2009
7:14 pm

Who wants to bet her entire staff and clerks are black, female, Hispanic, homosexual, transexual or some variations of each—and not a white Anglo in the bunch.

She’s openly stated an Hispanic woman can make better decisions than a white male.

It’s called RACIST people, plain and simple. She’s clearly a Racist.

Peter

May 26th, 2009
7:55 pm

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA………….. REPUBLICAN’S coming UN-Glued……..

Rush calling the President a Racists, and Just Nasty & Mean climbing out of his Perverse Hole………

HA HA HA HA HA ……… Funniest stuff going…… Of course you will never get a Republican to ever clean up a Mess……. Just make one…… Economy and (2) WARS are the example…….

Gosh The President is doing a Wonderful Job ! Poor Republican’s watch as the world turns……

Munch

May 26th, 2009
7:58 pm

Takes one to know one, Nasty.

Now, since the wingnuts got nuthin (and I mean bupkis) that will derail Soto (good call Wooten), let’s turn to another comment that is sure to get the lizard brains all worked up. Take it away, General Petraeus:

__________

In an appearance on Radio Free Europe on Sunday, the man hailed by conservatives as the preeminent military figure of his generation left little room for doubt about where he stands on some of Obama’s most contentious policies.

“I think, on balance, that those moves help [us],” said the chief of U.S. Central Command. “In fact, I have long been on record as having testified and also in helping write doctrine for interrogation techniques that are completely in line with the Geneva Convention. And as a division commander in Iraq in the early days, we put out guidance very early on to make sure that our soldiers, in fact, knew that we needed to stay within those guidelines.

“With respect to Guantanamo,” Petraeus added, “I think that the closure in a responsible manner, obviously one that is certainly being worked out now by the Department of Justice — I talked to the Attorney General the other day [and] they have a very intensive effort ongoing to determine, indeed, what to do with the detainees who are left, how to deal with them in a legal way, and if continued incarceration is necessary — again, how to take that forward. But doing that in a responsible manner, I think, sends an important message to the world, as does the commitment of the United States to observe the Geneva Convention when it comes to the treatment of detainees.”

________

Hmmm. Positive comments about Obama, and approving the closing of Gitmo. What a Dirty Fu6|+ing Hippie that Petraeus turned out to be.

catlady

May 26th, 2009
8:35 pm

Two points from the stem: ANY two jurists can have differing views based on the law. That is why we have opinions from the majority, minority (dissenting), and others.

And, anyone with the sense God gave a turnip will tell you that the law means what it is judicially interpreted to mean. It does not mean what the writers intended, but what case law says afterward, up through the appellate to the S.C. (no, not South Carolina). And subject to change upon review or additional cases decided.

I hope she will not be the idiot Gonzales was.

@@

May 26th, 2009
9:17 pm

Copyleft and RetLTC:

I would argue that we weren’t shown on the knives, only the political “steaks”.

Obama’s pick was the safest for him. Among his far left supporters, she’s dull by comparison.

At this point I’m neither impressed or unimpressed by Sotomayor.

Regardless of what he said during the campaign, my impression of Obama is that he’s the typical self-serving politician.

@@

May 26th, 2009
9:29 pm

Note to the AJC. It should not have taken 5 hours to get my 9:17 to post.

Are you sure you wanna put all your eggs in an online basket?

Dr.R

May 26th, 2009
9:56 pm

A GOP president nominates a conservative judge and the other side (Chuck Schumur, head of the pack) reacts with shocked astonishment. A Democratic president nominates a more liberal judge and the other side does the same. Amazing. Apparently, the chattering class in Washington will react with shock if a duck quacks. Whatever you think of Obama or Judge Sotomayor, he won the dang election and he gets to pick. Everyone deal with it. You want more conservative judges? Run a candidate for president who can win. Otherwise shut up and take your medicine.

don pardo

May 26th, 2009
10:16 pm

Jim:

What a tool you are! You either used the quote below out of context, or more likely you just pasted it from the Rush handbook. Either way it’s pretty poor journalism, and provides further proof of complete a total bias on your part. If you can be bothered to look up the full context of a quote you site, isn’t really time to retire and go away once and for all.

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” She was speaking at a University of California diversity lecture, about ABORTION!

Mid-South Philosopher

May 27th, 2009
4:54 am

Well, inasmuch as it seems to be the lot of “white men” to become extinct in this society or, at the very least, to be relegated to a position of no consequence, I guess, Justice (to be) Sotomayor’s remark is not out of place. I just wonder who in the “h*ll” is going to provide all the money to support all these wonderful programs after we stupid old white “b*st*rds” are put in our place!?!

midroadreader

May 27th, 2009
6:50 am

Looks like many of you did not read Jim’s column to the end, or just focus on what you want to. His last Para said full reading of her comments left them open to interpretation and that unless there was more he felt she would be confirmed without filibuster. So get a grip on both sides. There will always be those who oppose anything the “other side” does. And yes, Obama, once again, makes a decision based on politics. Day after day he shows he is still a south side Chicago politician. Both sides have that type.

Rush Leader of the GOP

May 27th, 2009
7:08 am

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh blasted President Barack Obama on Tuesday for picking a “reverse racist” and “hack” in Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

“Here you have a racist — you might want to soften that, and you might want to say a reverse racist,” Limbaugh said of Sotomayor on his show, alluding to the New York federal appeals court judge’s past statement that a “wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

Liberals, “of course, say that minorities cannot be racists because they don’t have the power to implement their racism,” Limbaugh said according to a transcript on his website. “Well, those days are gone, because reverse racists certainly do have the power. … Obama is the greatest living example of a reverse racist, and now he’s appointed one.”

Asked about Sotomayor’s remark Tuesday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that “if you look at the context of the longer speech that she makes, I think what she says is very much common sense in terms of different experiences, different people.”

Limbaugh used the line to accuse Sotomayor of being a “party hack,” though the radio host conceded that she will likely be confirmed.

“The odds that she could be stopped are long,” Limbaugh said, before turning fire on moderate Republicans who he thinks will be “completely useless” in opposing Obama’s pick.

“When the rubber hits the road, such as in this nomination, where are these moderate Republican groups on the nomination? Where are the moderate senators? Where is Colin Powell? Where is Tom Ridge?” Limbaugh asked.

“I’m the one doing the heavy lifting. Colin Powell panders to moderate Republicans,” he said. “If the moderates in the Republican Party offer no way to address this danger, then they are useless.”

2D

May 27th, 2009
8:10 am

Try Again… Are you sure that Ms. Sotomayor has 95% of her decisions upheld at the Supreme Court? Where did you get that information??? I think you may want to recheck your facts.

In fact, she as only had a single decision upheld at the Supreme Court out of a possible six or seven (I’ve heard different accoutns some I’m stating both). Not real good considering for much of that time, the court leaned liberal.

She is a good story, but a good story does not a Suproeme Court Justice make? Those nine individuals need to be the top of the legal class, need to make rulings based on law versus ideology and need to understand their role in our governmental “Three Ring Circus” (to borrow from Schoolhouse Rock). Since FDR attempted to pack the court, the Supreme Court has neglected the latter two. Hopefully, Justice Souter’s replacement, whoever he/she may be, will not.

Copyleft

May 27th, 2009
8:30 am

@@: So, you admit that your claim about Sotomayor not being “the sharpest knife in the drawer” is pure partisan speculation, with no basis in actual fact.

Thank you. Keep up the good work! We like the right wing having zero credibility.

Californication

May 27th, 2009
8:40 am

The problem I have is that a judge is there to interpret law, not to make policy.

williebkind

May 27th, 2009
8:50 am

Sotomayor made comments that the court makes policy! Do you remember Supreme Court nominee Borg who stated he believed in a strict interpretation of the constitution? The liberals went crazy! Judge Borg was not nominated because the liberals wanted to make policy from the bench.
Liberals expect the American people to accept someone who will make policy from the bench and not interpret constitutional law.

I watched the communist news network (CNN)and “my god” she is the most qualified person in the whole world. It does not matter she is a racist against white males. Do not challenge me with the point that Bush 1 appointed her to some court. Remember Bushes are stupid! It is true the liberals said so.

@@

May 27th, 2009
9:02 am

Copyleft:

I admit nothing of the sort.

Have you read Sotomayor’s dissenting opinions? There’s no flourish….no passion. They’re shallow in content.

Any Appeals Court judge, worth their salt, does not casually dismiss the lives of 20 firefighters with a one paragraph summary order that doesn’t even address the exceptional import as to why it was filed.

You vote democrat, Copyleft.

I fully expect you to accept mediocre while calling it exceptional. I am perfectly happy to sit back and let you do that. The most valuable lessons are often the hardest learned.

RetLTC

May 27th, 2009
9:10 am

Whether that fat POS Rush likes it or not, moderates are the new Republican party. If the part ever makes a comeback it will be because of moderates not in spite of them. The radical right is done. Stick a fork in em.

And by the way. What makes Sotomayor a “leftist” judge. You wouldn’t think a Republican President would appoint a “leftist” judge to the federal bench. Furthermore, what makes her an “activist” judge? The key word is interpret. Just because one judge interprets the constitution differently than another means what? That if their educated interpretation doesn’t agree with your uneducated one that they are wrong? That they are “activist”…”leftist/rightest”? Interpret means just that. The constitution is open to interpretation and just because every judge doesn’t rule like your right wing favorite son Judge Antonin Scalia, doesn’t mean their interpretation is less valid. In every ruling both sides can be absolutely correct in their interpretation or vice versa.

sane jane

May 27th, 2009
9:18 am

Sotomayor graduated Summa from Princeton and then went to Yale Law. (didn’t need legacy help or monied connections to get in, either)

And yet people like @@ casually dismiss her as the “not the sharpest knife in the drawer.”

We should all be so stupid.

sane jane

May 27th, 2009
9:21 am

@@, if SC slots are reserved for only the sharpest knives, please make the case for Clarence Thomas. Has he ever shown independent thought? Has he ever dissented from Scalia on ANYTHING?

Even if Sotomayor winds up being “far left”, all she’s doing is balancing out the composition of the court, which is currently far-right. I’m ok with “fair and balanced” – are you? Or do YOU get to be the only arbiter of what is fair & balanced.

Munch

May 27th, 2009
9:21 am

2D

Sotomayer has a record of 360 decisions, of which only 6 were accepted for appeal to the Supreme Court. Of those 6, 3 were reversed. So while you can claim a 50% reversal rate at the SC, it is important to recognize that the large majority of cases accepted by the SC are ultimately reversed. This has to do with the nature of the SC granting cert; they pick and choose the cases they find “interesting”, whether because of policy questions or issues of clear legal error.

The more important point is that .0083% of her decisions stand as issued.

Californication

May 27th, 2009
9:29 am

See how arrogant this idiot is….She believes it is up to her to be judge jury and policy maker, NO interpret the law you idiot that is YOUR job.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfC99LrrM2Q

sane jane

May 27th, 2009
9:42 am

Brown vs. Board of Education falls under Californication’s definition of “legislating from the bench” and “setting policy” because it found “separate but equal” Jim Crow laws to be unconstitutional.

It overturned Plessy vs. Ferguson and gobs of other rulings. Judicial activism at its finest.

Cali, are you saying Brown v. Board was a bad ruling? How do you feel about blacks being 3/5 of a person – that’s a strict interpretation of the Constitution (with apologies to the 14th amendment), you know…