27 May 2009

On Sonia Sotomayor (UPDATED)

After Obama announced Sotomayor as his Supreme Court nominee, my dad, brother, and I emailed our initial thoughts back and forth. I suggested that,
[good judges] respect the rule of law & [believe] that its enforcement should be blind, rather than actively promoting a person's personal policy preferences.
Matt made a particularly good point, generally, about the divide between liberals & conservatives regarding the role of the judiciary:
I hate that applying the law impartially, without respect for outcomes, is seen as ultraconservative. Shouldn't that actually be considered a moderate approach?
This is something where I don't believe there will ever be reconciliation between conservatives and libs--judicial interpretation.
To which I responded:
Liberals see the courts as a way to advance their agenda--as a great ex post facto leveler & righter of (perceived) wrongs. They view the court as a way of equalizing everyone rather than as everyone being equal before the court.
Judge Sonia Sotomayor ticks all the liberal judicial philosophy boxes:
The leading piece of evidence against her is a statement made at a conference at Duke University Law School in 2005, in which she said, "The court of appeals is where policy is made."
She is a doctrinaire liberal judicial activist. I'm not going to suggest that Republican Senators or anyone else engage in ad hominem attacks the way liberal Democrats do all the time. But that does not mean she shouldn't answer tough questions about her judicial philosophy.

The American people need to know exactly what kind of judge Obama has nominated and what her activism and wide eyed preferentialism mean for the rule of law on the highest court in the land.

UPDATE 28 May 12:32pm BST: A few of you wrote to say that you thought I was going to easy on Judge Sotomayor. Maybe so. Matt B., specifically, said,
Way too soft on Sotomayor. Regardless of [her] political views or decisions from the bench, she is incredibly incompetent and unqualified.
The criterion used by the Obama administration (indeed, liberals generally) has never had anything whatsoever to do with competence or qualification.
  1. Is the judge a liberal activist?
  2. Does the judge fit our racialist view of America? (how many boxes can we tick by nominating him or (preferably) her?)
It's patently obvious that the answer to both of those questions is a resounding "Yes." All that remains is to ensure that the nominee doesn't have any (or too many) skeletons in the closet (like tax evasion).

Like Matt B., I view the Supreme Court the same way I view application of the law generally: Who is the most competent, qualified, Constitution-respecting judge available? Nominate that person. The person's race/gender/religion/other-ridiculous-immaterial-superficiality matters to me not one iota.

If you have tips, questions, comments, or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.