FIDELITY TO THE LAW. As you read through Sonia Sotomayor’s brief remarks delivered at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, consider first that Sotomayor swore “fidelity” to the law, not to the Constitution. Second, her alleged loyalty to the law should not assuage you, since this statement begs the question; it assumes that post-Constitution America holds an immutable notion of what the law is. Not so. (The law to Obama liberals, for example, must entail an admixture of empathy and life experience.)
But how unlike Sotomoayor is this writer. I’ve opened this post with a comment on logic and the law. Sotomayor began and continued her statement by extending the love, the gratitude, the humility to … blah blah… “who made this day possible.” Sonia gave a shout out to mom, bro, barack.
Her initial greetings and props are uncanny in their mundane, anti-intellectual, Oprah-worthy nature. I can just hear the mentors of Sotomayor—the people responsible for the bumper crops of mindless monolithic graduates emerging from US institutions—instructing her throughout the years: “be sure to emphasize your community service, the strong black or Hispanic women in your life, the diversity of your complexion and your career.”
The law according to our Latina: “my judicial philosophy … is simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make the law — it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress’ intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents established by the Supreme Court and my Circuit Court.”
Much is made of hewing to precedent. George Bush “thought” that a judicial activist was someone who disobeys the President. Left-liberals believe a judicial activist is someone who reverses precedent, unless the precedent was established by an originalist Court.
Right thinking individuals know that striking down unconstitutional laws is not judicial activism. Judicial activism means 1) minting new rights not in the Constitution 2) striking down laws to comport with these freshly minted unconstitutional rights.
Update I (July 14): PULLING A JOE THE PLUMBER ON FRANK RICCI. The firefighter from New Haven, whose Constitutional case Sotomayor dismissed in a hastily scribbled paragraph, is being smeared by the likes of Dahlia Lithwick of Slate magazine. Watch and listen as Fox News’ Megyn Kelly interviews Ricci’s attorney, and asks: “Does this remind you at all of what happened to Joe the Plumber?” Ricci will be witness for the Minority at the hearings.
Update II: Sen. Grassley grills the woman—who is manifestly working with half the brainpower of a Justice Roberts—about property rights and unlawful “takings.” Her responses are poor.
The Volokh Conspiracy: “During the confirmation hearings today, Judge Sotomayor considerably misstated of the holding of Kelo v. City of New London, making the decision seem more limited than it actually was. In response to questioning by Democratic Senator Herb Kohl, Sotomayor refused to reveal her view of Kelo, a standard tactic used by previous Supreme Court nominees, but also incorrectly claimed that Kelo upheld a taking in an ‘economically blighted area.'”
I’m disgusted at the absence of a transcript to refer to. What impoverished reporting from the mainstream media. Can’t they get a court stenographer to offer a contemporaneous transcript?
During the tremendously important session on Kelo, an anti-abortion dunderhead began screaming. Here I am straining to hear how the woman excused her troubling ruling in Didden v. Village of Port Chester, when one of those abortion idiots disrupts a most crucial moment in the hearing: a discussion of government’s violation of property rights. But then what would a zealot like that know about property rights!? This sort of “Christian” is forever demonstrating for the glory of aborting full-terms people abroad and protecting fetuses not HIS stateside.
Update III: SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER is showcasing the wonders of his nominee by walking her through decisions that prove her fidelity to the rule of law and not to feelings. At one point Sotomayor says she’s entrusted with doing what’s in the common good, which she equates with following the law. I thought that following the law was supposed to provide justice and a remedy for individuals or other entities wronged. The common good?
Update IV: So Republican Lindsey Graham of the interminable war on terror, amnesty for illegals and many other Republican initiatives, can be bright when he chooses to. He has been asking poignant questions on judicial philosophy: originalism vs. living-document doctrine; is there a right in the Constitution that provides for abortion, etc. In the last probe, Sotomayour was permitted to fudge the question. Naturally, the Constitution provides for no right to abortion. If abortion is to be regulated, it must be at the state level.
I spoke to soon; Graham has gone back to his area of moral comfort: the amorphous, ever-morphing war on terror.
So far, Sen. Charles Grassley gets my vote for canniest politician. He asked good questions on property rights.
Update V: Let’s get back to that part of the hearings. If I understood Sotomayor’s testimony on the Didden Case, “where her Second Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that it was constitutionally permissible for a state to condemn property because the owners had refused developer Greg Wasser’s demand to pay him $800,000 or give him a 50% stake in their business, threatening to have the property condemned if they did not comply (via The Volokh Conspiracy)—then her decision against private property rights turned on a technicality.
Update VI (July 15): Judge Sotomayor and two other 2nd Circuit judges tried to bury their hastily written summary orders, “which represent the unanimous judgment of three appellate judges,” in the “discrimination suit by a group of [white] firefighters against New Haven, Conn.” As Stuart Taylor Jr. of National Journal tells it, this sneaky act might have prevented the case from coming before the SCOTUS. Fortunately, Judge Cabranes, “a Clinton appointee of Puerto Rican heritage — and once a mentor to [Sotomayor] — … published a blistering June 12, 2008, dissent,” thus bringing “the case forcefully to the attention of the Supreme Court.”