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SCOTUS pick: Sonia Sotomayor

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 26, 2009 09:55 AM

So, it’s Sonia Sotomayor. Identity politics triumphs. Here’s the bio/record info I shared at the beginning of the month:

“Judge Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court would be very concerning given her hard-left record on the Court of Appeals, where she is recognized by practitioners as one of the more liberal judges.

-Judge Sotomayor’s personal views may cloud her jurisprudence. As Judge Sotomayor explained in a 2002 speech at Berkeley, she believes it is appropriate for a judge to consider their “experiences as women and people of color” in their decisionmaking, which she believes should “affect our decisions.”

-Only just recently, in Ricci v. DeStefano, Judge Sotomayor was chastised by fellow Clinton-appointee Jose Cabranes for going to extraordinary lengths to dispense with claims of unfair treatment raised by firefighters. Judge Sotomayor’s panel heard a case raising important questions under Title VII and equal protection law, but attempted to dispose of the firefighter’s arguments in a summary order, until called out by Judge Cabranes. The Supreme Court has agreed to review the case.

-Substantial questions also persist regarding Judge Sotomayor’s temperament and disposition to be a Supreme Court justice. Lawyers who have appeared before her have described her as a “bully” who “does not have a very good temperament,” and who “abuses lawyers” with “inappropriate outbursts.”

And here’s the rundown on Obama’s SCOTUS choice from Wendy Long at the Judicial Confirmation Network:

Memorandum

TO: JCN Members and Interested Parties
FROM: Wendy Long, Counsel to JCN
DATE: May 26, 2009
RE: Obama Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor

• President Obama has threatened to nominate liberal judicial activists who will indulge their left-wing policy preferences instead of neutrally applying the law. In selecting Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his
Supreme Court nominee, President Obama has carried out his threat.

• Judge Sotomayor will allow her feelings and personal politics to stand in the way of basic fairness. In a recent case, Ricci v. DeStefano, Sotomayor sided with a city that used racially discriminatory practices to deny promotions to firefighters. The per curiam opinion Sotomayor joined went so far out of its way to bury the firefighters’ important claims of unfair treatment that her colleague, Judge Jose Cabranes, a Clinton appointee, chastised her.

o According to Judge Cabranes, Sotomayor’s opinion “contains no reference whatsoever to the constitutional claims at he core of this case” and its “perfunctory disposition rests uneasily with the weighty issues presented by this appeal.” Even the liberal Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen expressed disappointment with the case, stating, “Ricci is not just a legal case but a man who has been
deprived of the pursuit of happiness on account of race.”

o Sotomayor’s terrible decision in Ricci is under review by the Supreme Court and an opinion is expected by the end of June.

• Sotomayor readily admits that she applies her feelings and personal politics when deciding cases. In a 2002 speech at Berkeley, she stated that she believes it is appropriate for a judge to consider
their “experiences as women and people of color,” which she believes should “affect our decisions.” She went on to say in that same speech “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 reiterated her commitment to that lawless judicial philosophy at Duke Law School in 2005 when she stated that the “Court of Appeals is where policy is made.”

• The poor quality of Sotomayor’s decisions is reflected in her terrible record of reversals by the Supreme Court.

• Sotomayor is a favorite of far left special interest groups. In addition to her record as a hard left judicial activist, Sotomayor has been recommended for the Supreme Court by Nan Aron of the very liberal Alliance for Justice, who stated in a 2004 memo to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Sotomayor had “been through an initial vetting and fit into the criteria that we believe should be the
standard for any Supreme Court justice.”

• The White House is sure to argue that Sotomayor is a “bipartisan pick” because Bush 41 appointed her to the district court: President George H.W. Bush nominated Sotomayor in 1991 only because the New York senators had forced on the White House a deal that enabled Senator Moynihan to name one of every four district court nominees in New York. In 1998, 29 Republican senators voted against President Clinton’s nomination of Sotomayor to the Second Circuit.

Legal analyst Stuart Taylor sums up this p.c. pick:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” — Judge Sonia Sotomayor, in her Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture at the University of California (Berkeley) School of Law in 2001

The above assertion and the rest of a remarkable speech to a Hispanic group by Sotomayor — widely touted as a possible Obama nominee to the Supreme Court — has drawn very little attention in the mainstream media since it was quoted deep inside The New York Times on May 15.

It deserves more scrutiny, because apart from Sotomayor’s Supreme Court prospects, her thinking is representative of the Democratic Party’s powerful identity-politics wing.

Sotomayor also referred to the cardinal duty of judges to be impartial as a mere “aspiration because it denies the fact that we are by our experiences making different choices than others.” And she suggested that “inherent physiological or cultural differences” may help explain why “our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”

So accustomed have we become to identity politics that it barely causes a ripple when a highly touted Supreme Court candidate, who sits on the federal Appeals Court in New York, has seriously suggested that Latina women like her make better judges than white males.

***

Update: Obama praised Sotomayor in his announcement for having “saved baseball” and read Nancy Drew as a young child. The White House is pushing the “compelling personal story” angle hard.

There are murmurs of filibuster threats by the GOP.

Alas, those are idle threats, as all the GOP’s past filibuster threats have been over the past year.

Mark my words.

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