What’s Wrong with Sotomayor?
- 7 June 2009 by Author 0 Comments
What’s Wrong with Sotomayor?
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 06/07/2009
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor affirmed the important of a Supreme Court Justice being free from bias and committed to equal justice by declaring that “a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases.” Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has taken exception to this multiple times over the past fifteen years with this unambiguous statement: “I 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.” If Samuel Alito or John Roberts had made such a statement before their Supreme Court appointment hearings, you can be sure that they would never have been confirmed. And rightly so.
Even if we give Ms. Sotomayor the benefit of the doubt and allow her premise legitimacy, we might well consider whether life experience is the determinant of wise constitutional interpretation. If anything, it seems her predisposition would preclude the proper execution of her role on the Supreme Court. As one enters the Supreme Court Building in D.C., the words “Equal Justice Under Law,” emblazoned above the door, reaffirm the 14th Amendment to the Constitution which promises equal protection for all citizens under the law. Enacted on the heels of the Civil War during Reconstruction, this amendment was designed to ensure that all citizens, regardless of race or gender, would receive equal protection under the law, in ensuring constitutional rights of “life, liberty, and property.”
Consequently, when a Supreme Court nominee presupposes that her judgment would be superior to a “white man” without her life experiences, the logical conclusion is that she has no intention of upholding the Constitution and especially the 14th Amendment since they require equal treatment. She maintains that her decisions would be better. What, then, is her definition of better? More predisposed toward someone of her race? More predisposed toward someone of her sex? However her definition of “better” is construed, it becomes incongruous with the role of any judge applying equal treatment under law.
And just in case you had lingering questions about her disposition regarding race, perhaps this one will dispel them. “Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.” Have a white male judge say anything remotely similar, and he’ll be removed from the Bench quicker than Trent Lott lost his Senate Majority Leader role for a much less objectionable statement.
Based on her statements, she would unlikely be able to survive the Voir Dire process to even become a juror because of her obvious biases. She has proven that she is desperately incapable of serving as a jurist, as her decisions have been overruled 60% of the time on appeal. And yet for some reason we suppose that she is somehow able to divest herself of her prejudices and serve as a judge in the highest court in the land? I think she was nominated by Obama because of her biases and the identity politics associated with her nomination, not in spite of them.
Consider this quote from CBS news last week. “The White House scrambled yesterday to assuage worries from liberal groups about Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s scant record on abortion rights, delivering strong but vague assurances that the Supreme Court nominee agrees with President Obama’s belief in constitutional protections for a woman’s right to the procedure.” In all honesty, what would have happened to Alito or Roberts if President Bush had acted that way to assure pro-life groups that they agree with the President on the abortion issue? Bush would have been excoriated, and their nominations would have been thrown out quicker than you could say “Harriet Miers.” Apparently it’s okay to have some biases, just as long as they aren’t based on strict constitutional constructionism, or pro life principles.
Just one final consideration. The role of a Supreme Court jurist is to interpret the law fairly and equitably. Laws and policy are made by the legislative branch, while the judicial ascertains constitutional and legal legitimacy. What are we to feel about a judge who says, “The Court of Appeals is where policy is made.”
Not only is Sotomayor unsuitable to be a Supreme Court justice, I don’t think she’s qualified to be a judge. Her biases and her commitment to judicial activism and creating “policy” from the bench are wholly unacceptable for a Supreme Court justice.
Richard Larsen is a stock broker in Pocatello, ID with Larsen Financial, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.