Barry, you call it ‘ideological bloviation’ – I call it raising serious questions about Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy.
There are valid issues that need to be addressed: It’s my hope that the Senate Judiciary Committee thoroughly examines Judge Sotomayor’s commitment to impartiality and the rule of law; her ability to separate her personal experiences from her role as a judge; her understanding of the role of a judge as compared to that of a legislating body; her views on foreign law; her views on important constitutional protections, and whether or not she agrees with President Obama’s “empathy standard.”
Judge Sotomayor provided just a glimpse of where she might stand on these issues.
In her opening statement she declared that her judicial philosophy was “fidelity to the law.” She also explained that she structures her opinions “by setting out what the law requires and then by explaining why a contrary position, sympathetic or not, is accepted or rejected.” I look forward to Judge Sotomayor explaining when and why she would reject “what the law requires.”
And, Barry, it won’t take questions from the gallery to illustrate key areas of the law – including legalized abortion. In questioning today before the Committee, Sotomayor said she considers the question of abortion rights to be ‘settled law’ and says there’s a constitutional right to privacy. Sotomayor told the Senators that “there is a right of privacy. The court has found it in various places in the Constitution.” She said this right is stated in the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure and in the 14th Amendment guaranteeing equal protection of the law.
I believe Judge Sotomayor will be treated with respect during these hearings. At the same time, though, she will have to address troubling statements and comments she has made. And, there will be – and should be – serious questions about judicial activism – and what she considers to be the proper role of a judge.
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