[StBernard] Judge Sonia Sotomayor Has History Of Flawed LegalThinking

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Fri May 29 13:32:52 EDT 2009

Leave it to Obama to drop a big klunker on his first try at nominating a
Supreme Court justice. What a joke!


-----Original Message-----
Judge Sonia Sotomayor Has History Of Flawed Legal Thinking By TVC Executive
Director Andrea Lafferty

May 28, 2009 - President Barack Hussein Obama's pick to replace retiring
Justice David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court has a history of liberal
judicial activism and poorly reasoned decisions.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor is a Yale Law School graduate and currently serves on
the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. She has been a federal judge,
a district attorney and worked in private practice. She has authored or
participated in thousands of court cases over the course of her legal
career. For this very reason, there needs to be a proper vetting of her
extensive record, which will take some time.

Much is being made of her being the first Hispanic woman being nominated to
the Supreme Court, but what many in the media are not talking about is the
nomination of Miguel Estrada who was picked by President Bush to be
nominated to the D.C. Circuit.

Where were all these "let's put a Hispanic on the court" cheerleaders back

Democrats stalled confirmation for more than two years. In fact, Democrat
memos leaked by the Wall Street Journal in 2003, showed that their strategy
was to smear him as "especially dangerous."

One of the memos described Miguel Estrada (D.C. Circuit) "as especially
dangerous, because he has a minimal paper trail, he is Latino, and the White
House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment. They want to
hold Estrada off as long as possible."

Hispanic legislators like New York Democrat Nydia Velazquez who heads the
Congressional Hispanic Caucus, opposed Estrada because of his judicial
philosophy. Now, Democrats are pushing Sotomayor simply because she is

Estrada was well-qualified to serve on the Supreme Court - and his
rags-to-riches story was as compelling as Sotomayor's. He would have been
the first Hispanic on the Court, but Democrats delayed his confirmation
hearing for so long, he finally withdrew his name from the running.
Apparently, he wasn't the "right kind" of Hispanic.

Who Is Sotomayor?

Sotomayor has admitted that she views the role of a judge as an activist who
makes policy decisions - a role that should be limited to the executive or
legislative branches of government. On a panel at Duke University Law School
in 2005, she said:
All of the Legal Defense Funds out there-they're looking for people with
Court of Appeals experience. Because it is-Court of Appeals is where policy
is made. And I know, and I know, that this is on tape, and I should never
say that because we don't "make law," I know. [Audience laughter] Okay, I
know. I know. I'm not promoting it, and I'm not advocating it. . . .
[Audience laughter]
Curt Levey with the Committee for Justice has said of Sotomayor's taped
In other words, Sotomayor believes that unelected judges like herself should
be the nation's policy-makers rather than sticking to interpretation of the
Wendy Long, Chief Counsel, Judicial Confirmation Network has expressed
concern about Sotomayor's legal views:
Comments yesterday by the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, and
today by Senator Chuck Schumer, that statements made at Duke University by
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor in which she said appellate courts
should 'make policy' were taken out of context are purposely misleading and
outright misinformation designed to walk back an obvious vetting problem
this White House has become known for. If Mr. Gibbs or Senator Schumer were
to read other law review articles written by Judge Sotomayor, her own
published word, it is clear and unequivocal that Judge Sotomayor has a long
track record of advocating for using courts to make policy and laws. It is
obvious that the reason the White House has churned up its spin machine on
this is because countless polls consistently show that the American people
to do not support judges making policy or law from the bench. The American
people have spoken loudly and often on this subject, they want judges who
interpret law as made through the people and their elected representatives,
not through judges imposing their personal political views from the bench as
Judge Sotomayor has consistently advocated.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) recommended Sonia Sotomayor to President Obama.
He says she's a moderate and has the most extensive record of anyone
nominated to the Supreme Court in a long time. He also agrees that
Republicans have every right to scrutinize her voluminous record of cases
during the confirmation process.

Her legal decisions are frequently overturned by the Supreme Court.

Jeffrey Rosen, writing for the liberal New Republic has said this about
Over the past few weeks, I've been talking to a range of people who have
worked with [Sotomayor], nearly all of them former law clerks for other
judges on the Second Circuit or former federal prosecutors in New York. Most
are Democrats ... but nearly none of them raved about her. They expressed
questions about her temperament, her judicial craftsmanship, and most of
all, her ability to provide an intellectual counterweight to the
conservative justices."
Jonathan Turley, an equally liberal professor of law at George Washington
University, reviewed Sotomayor's opinions and concluded:
[Her opinions] are notable in one thing, in that it's a lack of depth.
There's nothing particularly profound in her past decisions. ... You can't
say she's a natural choice for the Supreme Court. (MSNBC, May 26, 2009)
Badly-Reasoned Court Decisions

One of her decisions that is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme
Court is Ricci v. DeStefano, which involves a reverse discrimination case
involving firefighters in New Haven, Connecticut. The firefighters were
denied promotion because they were not African American. One of them was
Hispanic, the rest were white. Sotomayor and two other judges on the 2nd
Circuit ruled in favor of the city.

In this firefighter case, Frank Ricci had scored well on a 2003 firefighters
test for promotion to lieutenant and captain. He had studied eight to 13
hours a day to prepare for test and had spent more than $1,000 buying books
for his homework. He paid an acquaintance to read them onto audiotapes
because he is dyslexic. Ricci got one of the highest scores, but did not get
promoted. Why? Because it was determined that not enough blacks had done
well enough to be promoted. New Haven discarded the test results and did not
promote anyone.

Ricci and 17 other firefighters - including an Hispanic - filed a lawsuit
against the city for wrongful discrimination. He and his fellow firefighters
were denied the American dream because of Sonia Sotomayor.

As National Journal reporter and lawyer Stuart Taylor reports:
. in a process so peculiar as to fan suspicions that some or all of the
judges were embarrassed by the ugliness of the actions that they were
blessing and were trying to sweep the case quietly under the rug, perhaps to
avoid Supreme Court review or public criticism, or both. ... The three-judge
panel initially deep-sixed the firefighters' appeal in a cursory,
unpublished order that disclosed virtually nothing about the nature of the
ideologically explosive case.
Interesting, during her confirmation battle this summer, the current Supreme
Court is likely to overturn this decision this July as it has done in past
cases involving Sotomayor's decisions.

Among those cases the Supreme Court has rejected from Sotomayor are: N.Y.
Times Co., v.Tasini; Correctional Services Corp. v. Malesko; Granholm v.
Heald; Merrill Lynch v. Dabit; Entery Corp. v. Riverkeeper, Inc. and others.

Anti-Gun Nominee

Judge Sotomayor could face serious problems from Second Amendment groups. As
Curt Levey has explained:
Obama's choice of one of the few federal judges with a bad record on gun
rights is particularly perplexing. Earlier this year, Sotomayor and two of
her Second Circuit colleagues ruled that Americans have no individual Second
Amendment rights in the face of state or local regulation of firearms --
that is, unless they happen to live in the District of Columbia. Even the
liberal Ninth Circuit ruled the other way. Now every red and purple state
Democratic senator who considers voting for Sotomayor will be forced to
explain to his constituents why he's supporting a nominee who thinks those
constituents don't have Second Amendment rights. Because they can send red
state Democrats running for cover, gun owners are the one interest group
that could completely change the political equation on judicial nominations
if they're drawn into the debate. Obama's selection of Sotomayor makes that
virtually certain.
As Ken Blackwell said yesterday:
"President Obama has nominated a radically anti-Second Amendment judge to be
our newest Supreme Court justice. There are a number of pro-Second Amendment
Democratic senators from deeply red states, including Mark Begich from
Alaska, Jon Tester and Max Baucus from Montana, Ben Nelson from Nebraska,
Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad from North Dakota, and Tim Johnson from South
Dakota. These senators will jeopardize their seats if they vote to support
an anti-gun radical for the Supreme Court. ... [N]ever underestimate the
political power of American gun owners."

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