When Supreme Court Justice David Souter
announced his retirement earlier this month,
the guessing game began as to whom
President Barack Obama would pick to fill the seat.
Tuesday, he answered that question with the non-surprise pick of appellate judge Sonia Sotomayor from the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Democrats and the media (but we repeat ourselves) immediately ran with their talking points about her "empathy" and her "compelling life story." Indeed, blogger Michelle Malkin quipped, "Drinking game: If you take a shot every time you hear the phrase 'compelling life story' today, you should be out by lunch."
It is Sotomayor's judicial philosophy, however, that is compelling us to oppose her nomination. In 2005, Sotomayor was caught on tape articulating leftist judicial activism in a nutshell: "[A] court of appeals is where policy is made." Knowing she had given away the game, though, she immediately clarified: "I know this is on tape, and I should never say that because we don't make law. I know."
In a 2001 speech at the University of California, Berkeley, later published by the Berkeley La Raza ("The Race") Law Journal, Sotomayor opined, "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."
National Journal legal analyst Stuart Taylor got it right when he responded, "Any prominent white male would be instantly and properly banished from polite society as a racist and a sexist for making an analogous claim of ethnic and gender superiority or inferiority. Imagine the reaction if someone had unearthed in 2005 a speech in which then-Judge Samuel Alito had asserted, for example: 'I would hope that a white male with the richness of his traditional American values would reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman who hasn't lived that life' -- and had proceeded to speak of 'inherent physiological or cultural differences.'"
More to the point, Sotomayor's statement reveals a judicial philosophy wrapped in identity politics. How can a judge possibly be committed to the impartial rule of law when that judge is compromised by such racist sentiment?
Sotomayor's record during her 17 years on the federal bench offers little encouragement. For example, her decision in Ricci v. DeStefano is pending an appeal before the Supreme Court and will most likely be overturned. The case involved a promotion denied to several white firefighters and one Hispanic in New Haven, Connecticut, simply because no blacks scored high enough on the promotion test. In the unanimous ruling for the city, Sotomayor showed no empathy for the white firefighters who were discriminated against. In fact, the three-judge panel from the Second Circuit didn't even bother to elaborate on the district court's opinion. That, combined with the failure of the plaintiffs to win a hearing before the entire court, drew sharp criticism from fellow Clinton-appointed Second Circuit Judge Jose Cabranes, who wrote, "[T]his Court has failed to grapple with the questions of exceptional importance raised in this appeal."
Sotomayor is also opposed to gun rights, writing in a 2004 criminal case, U.S. v. Sanchez-Villar, "[T]he right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right." She also ruled in Maloney v. Cuomo that the Second Amendment does not apply to the states, and that a city or state has the right to disarm its citizens. The Ninth Circuit ruled recently that the Second Amendment does apply to the states through what is known as "incorporation" via the 14th Amendment. Maloney was appealed to the Supreme Court, which will hold hearings on 26 June.
With only 40 Senate seats, Republicans have little recourse in blocking or even slowing the nomination, and Sotomayor's confirmation seems all but guaranteed -- at least if she is paid up on her taxes. Yet, despite Obama's attempts to highjack conservative language about the rule of law, Republicans should use the opportunity to frame the debate as a contrast between the rule of law (properly understood) and the rule of men.
For more on the correct interpretation of the Constitution, see Mark Alexander's essay, "A 'Living Constitution' for a Dying Republic."
"Why make this complicated? President Obama prefers Supreme Court justices who will violate their oath of office. And he hopes Sonia Sotomayor is the right Hispanic woman for the job. Here's the oath Supreme Court justices must take: 'I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as (title) under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.' Contrast that with Obama's insistence that the 'quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles' is the key qualification for a Supreme Court justice. ... [But] who says conservatives are against judicial empathy? I, for one, am all for it. I'm for empathy for the party most deserving of justice before the Supreme Court, within the bounds of the law and Constitution. If that means siding with a poor black man, great. If that means siding with a rich white one, that's great too. The same holds for gays and gun owners, single mothers and media conglomerates. We should all rejoice when justices fulfill their oaths and give everyone a fair hearing, even if that's now out of fashion in the age of Obama." --National Review editor Jonah Goldberg
This Week's 'Alpha Jackass' Award:
"This woman is brilliant! She is qualified! I want her confirmed! I want her walking up those marble steps and starting to provide some justice!" --Barack Obama
In angry street talk, the community organizer in the White House admits that he thinks justice hasn't been done in the Supreme Court. But now a Latina woman will make the "right" decisions.
NEWS FROM THE SWAMP
OBAMA PICKS SOTOMAYOR
by Mark Alexander
29 May 09
Sonia Sotomayor has a classic American story. So does Frank Ricci.
Ricci is a New Haven firefighter stationed seven blocks from where Sotomayor went to law school (Yale). Raised in blue-collar Wallingford, Conn., Ricci struggled as a C and D student in public schools ill-prepared to address his serious learning disabilities. Nonetheless he persevered, becoming a junior firefighter and Connecticut's youngest certified EMT.
After studying fire science at a community college, he became a New Haven "truckie," the guy who puts up ladders and breaks holes in burning buildings. When his department announced exams for promotions, he spent $1,000 on books, quit his second job so he could study eight to 13 hours a day, and, because of his dyslexia, hired someone to read him the material.
He placed sixth on the lieutenant's exam, which qualified him for promotion. Except that the exams were thrown out by the city, and all promotions denied, because no blacks had scored high enough to be promoted.
Ricci (with 19 others) sued.
That's where these two American stories intersect. Sotomayor was a member of the three-member circuit court panel that upheld the dismissal of his case, thus denying Ricci his promotion.
This summary ruling deeply disturbed fellow members of Sotomayor's court, including Judge Jose Cabranes (a fellow Clinton appointee) who, writing for five others, criticized the unusual, initially unpublished, single-paragraph dismissal for ignoring the serious constitutional issues at stake.
Two things are sure to happen this summer: The Supreme Court will overturn Sotomayor's panel's ruling. And, barring some huge hidden scandal, Sotomayor will be elevated to that same Supreme Court.
What should a principled conservative do? Use the upcoming hearings not to deny her the seat, but to illuminate her views. No magazine gossip from anonymous court clerks. No "temperament" insinuations. Nothing ad hominem. The argument should be elevated, respectful and entirely about judicial philosophy.
On the Ricci case. And on her statements about the inherent differences between groups, and the superior wisdom she believes her Latina physiology, culture and background grant her over a white male judge. They perfectly reflect the Democrats' enthrallment with identity politics, which assigns free citizens to ethnic and racial groups possessing a hierarchy of wisdom and entitled to a hierarchy of claims upon society.
Sotomayor shares President Obama's vision of empathy as lying at the heart of judicial decision-making -- sympathetic concern for litigants' background and current circumstances, and for how any judicial decision would affect their lives.
Since the 2008 election, people have been asking what conservatism stands for. Well, if nothing else, it stands unequivocally against justice as empathy -- and unequivocally for the principle of blind justice.
Empathy is a vital virtue to be exercised in private life -- through charity, respect and lovingkindness -- and in the legislative life of a society where the consequences of any law matter greatly, which is why income taxes are progressive and safety nets built for the poor and disadvantaged.
But all that stops at the courthouse door. Figuratively and literally, justice wears a blindfold. It cannot be a respecter of persons. Everyone must stand equally before the law, black or white, rich or poor, advantaged or not.
Obama and Sotomayor draw on the "richness of her experiences" and concern for judicial results to favor one American story, one disadvantaged background, over another. The refutation lies in the very oath Sotomayor must take when she ascends to the Supreme Court: "I do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich. ... So help me God."
When the hearings begin, Republicans should call Frank Ricci as their first witness. Democrats want justice rooted in empathy? Let Ricci tell his story and let the American people judge whether his promotion should have been denied because of his skin color in a procedure Sotomayor joined in calling "facially race-neutral."
Make the case for individual vs. group rights, for justice vs. empathy. Then vote to confirm Sotomayor solely on the grounds -- consistently violated by the Democrats, including Sen. Obama -- that a president is entitled to deference on his Supreme Court nominees, particularly one who so thoroughly reflects the mainstream views of the winning party. Elections have consequences.
Vote Democratic and you get mainstream liberalism: A judicially mandated racial spoils system and a jurisprudence of empathy that hinges on which litigant is less "advantaged."
A teaching moment, as liberals like to say. Clarifying and politically potent. Seize it.
SOTOMAYOR - CRITICIZE AND THEN CONFIRM
by Charles Krauthammer
29 May 09
Barry Soetoro aka Barack Hussein Obama
because he is not eligible to be President of the United States
because he is not a Natural Born Citizen
as required by Article Two, Section One, Clause Five
of the United States Constitution.
This is a fact regardless of
where he was born (Mombassa, Hawaii, Chicago, Mecca or Mars).
He is not a Natural Born Citizen
because he was not born of
BOTH OF WHOM WERE UNITED STATES CITIZENS
at the time of his birth.
His father was a subject/ciitizen
of Kenya/Great Britain at the time of his birth and afterwards.
His mother was too young to pass on her US citizenship
according to the law in effect when he was born.
Check it out:
His usurpation cannot be corrected by Congress,
it can only be corrected by his resignation, his removal
by an amendment to the Constitution
which will never happen.
- Leo Rugiens
WASHINGTON D.C., April 1, 2009: In a move certain to fuel the debate over Obama's qualifications for the presidency, the group "Americans for Freedom of Information" has released copies of President Obama's college transcripts from Occidental College. Released today, the transcript indicates that Obama, under the name Barry Soetoro, received financial aid as a foreign student from Indonesia as an undergraduate at the school. The transcript was released by Occidental College in compliance with a court order in a suit brought by the group in the Superior Court of California. The transcript shows that Obama (Soetoro) applied for financial aid and was awarded a fellowship for foreign students from the Fulbright Foundation Scholarship program. To qualify, for the scholarship, a student must claim foreign citizenship. This document would seem to provide the smoking gun that many of Obama's detractors have been seeking.
The news has created a firestorm at the White House as the release casts increasing doubt about Obama's legitimacy and qualification to serve as president. When reached for comment in London, where he has been in meetings with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Obama smiled but refused comment on the issue. Meanwhile, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs scoffed at the report stating that this was obviously another attempt by a right-wing conservative group to discredit the president and undermine the administration's efforts to move the country in a new direction.
Britain's Daily Mail has also carried the story in a front-page article titled, "Obama Eligibility Questioned", leading some to speculate that the story may overshadow economic issues on Obama's first official visit to the U.K.
In a related matter, under growing pressure from several groups, Justice Antonin Scalia announced that the Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to hear arguments concerning Obama's legal eligibility to serve as President in a case brought by Leo Donofrio of New Jersey. This lawsuit claims Obama's dual citizenship disqualified him from serving as president. Donofrio's case is just one of 18 suits brought by citizens demanding proof of Obama's citizenship or qualification to serve as president.
Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation has released the results of their investigation of Obama's campaign spending. This study estimates that Obama has spent upwards of $950,000 in campaign funds in the past year with eleven law firms in 12 states for legal resources to block disclosure of any of his personal records. Mr. Kreep indicated that the investigation is still ongoing but that the final report will be provided to the U.S. attorney general, Eric Holder. Mr. Holder has refused to comment on the matter.
According to Associated Press story shown below, Obama's tramscripts from Occidential College show that he was an undergradraduate at the school under the name Barry Soetoro, and received financial aid as a foreign student from Indonesia. I did a search using "Smoking gun finally found."
Here are a few of the websites that came up. None said it was false.