Saturday, August 01, 2009

Nine Reasons to Reject Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court

Fundamental error: She said that fidelity to the law should be the guiding principle in making judgements. The correct principle is fidelity to the Constitution. Otherwise, how would you judge whether a law was right or wrong? The argument would be circular.

Bias: Substituting empathy and Latina ethnicity for reason and objective judgement, she has displayed unquestioned bias and the risk that her decisions would be biased. She has disqualified herself by repeatedly making these obviously biased statements.

Dishonesty: Inspite of abundant evidence that she said and, prior to the hearing, believed that,
"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," at the hearing she said that she really didn’t mean that. Yet this was clearly not an off-handed remark that can be so easily dismissed. She said it several times over the past many years and on camera. Note that she didn’t apologize for making the biased comment.

In an editorial, the Washington Post said, "Judge Sotomayor's attempts to explain away and distance herself from that statement were unconvincing and at times uncomfortably close to disingenuous, especially when she argued that her reason for raising questions about gender or race was to warn against injecting personal biases into the judicial process. Her repeated and lengthy speeches on the matter do not support that interpretation."

Interstate Commerce: She agreed with a ruling in, Swedenburg v. Kelly, that New York State had the right to restrict the sales of wine from other states to buyers in New York. The law and the ruling were in violation of the Interstate Commerce clause of the U. S. Constitution. The Supreme Court eventually ruled the New York statute unconstitutional.

Evasion: Not unique to her hearing, nonetheless, she evaded numerous questions saying that she couldn’t comment on cases that might come before her.

Diversity: Supporters of Sotomayor and by implication, she herself believes that diversity on the bench is a good thing. To say that is to imply that race and ethnicity is the or a criteria by which people and in this case Supreme Court justices should be judged. Choosing someone solely or evenly partly, because he or she is black, Puerto Rican, American Indian, Irish, Scotch, Namibian, white, etc. is blatant racism. It is so obviously contrary to the essence of the American system.

Diversity on the bench tells you nothing about the intellectual capacity and the ability of any justice or the justices as a whole to make objective judgements. It is judicial merit, not diversity that should be the standard.

Property Rights: Sotomayor sat on a panel that banned nun chucks, saying that they could not only cause "serious, but fatal damage." Just how many other objects could cause "serious, but fatal damage?" Should silverware be banned and people forced to return to eating with their fingers? Or perhaps she doesn’t know that there are techniques of using your hands to kill. Should the use of hands and fingers be banned?

This case illustrates a complete misunderstanding of property and the right to property implied in the 2nd Amendment. You might say, nun chucks don’t kill people; people kill people.

Second Amendment and Federalism: In the nun chucks ruling, Sotomayor reveals a profound misunderstanding of the 2nd Amendment and of Federalism. She is not alone in this, but she has ruled on it. She has alleged that the 2nd Amendment doesn’t apply to the individual states, by which she means that states can pass their own laws that might be in conflict with Federal law and that Federal law cannot supersede those state laws. This is so absurd that it is almost beyond belief that anyone would even say it, much less rule so in court. Sotomayor’s position is completely the opposite of Federalism, under which the Federal Government is the superior, overriding body in a system of government. For example, no state can regulate or interfere with interstate commerce as was ruled in the Swedenburg case mentioned earlier.

Federal law is superior to state law and in any conflict between the two, Federal law reigns supreme. I hasten to say that this is not always the case in practice, but it should be based on the intent of the Founding Fathers who, after all, invented the system.

Individual Rights and the Purpose of Government: I listened to all of the Senate Judicial Committee hearings, but didn’t hear once any substantial discussion about the sanctity of individual rights or the purpose of government in protecting those rights. I would like to have heard from Sotomayor, that she believes in the principles and the individual rights defined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I would like to have heard her assert an allegiance to the rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness and that she would rule against any act of an individual or a government that violates those rights.

Yet, I heard nothing remotely similar to such thoughts. Instead I heard evasions and vague answers to questions, bold denials of previous statements and claims that we just don’t understand her. I heard the ramblings of someone who is devoid of principle and someone who lacks reason and the ability to make objective judgements in a court of law.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor should be rejected as Justice on the Supreme Court.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

In a constitutional republic, your arguments might have force. In a democracy, it's quite unlikely.

Harold said...

God, what a disaster.