More on Sotomayor: She implies that political and personal biases color her opinions

From the Hill newspaper:

Senate Republicans investigating Sonia Sotomayor’s record are zeroing in on a speech she delivered in 2001 in which she stated her hope that a “wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences,” including appreciation for Latin-American cuisine, “would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

They are also taking a close look at the Supreme Court nominee's skepticism, expressed in the same speech, about whether it is possible for judges to “transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices.”

Sotomayor delivered the Judge Mario G. Olmos Memorial Lecture in 2001 at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. The Berkeley La Raza Law Journal published the lecture the following year.

Conservative critics have latched onto the speech as evidence that Sotomayor is an “activist judge,” who will rule on the basis of her personal beliefs instead of facts and law.

“Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see,” Sotomayor said. “My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.”

Sotomayor also claimed: “For me, a very special part of my being Latina is the mucho platos de arroz, gandoles y pernir — rice, beans and pork — that I have eaten at countless family holidays and special events.”

This has prompted some Republicans to muse privately about whether Sotomayor is suggesting that distinctive Puerto Rican cuisine such as patitas de cerdo con garbanzo — pigs’ tongue and ears — would somehow, in some small way influence her verdicts from the bench.

Curt Levey, the executive director of the Committee for Justice, a conservative-leaning advocacy group, said he wasn’t certain whether Sotomayor had claimed her palate would color her view of legal facts but he said that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee clearly touts her subjective approach to the law.

“It’s pretty disturbing,” said Levey. “It’s one thing to say that occasionally a judge will despite his or her best efforts to be impartial ... allow occasional biases to cloud impartiality.

"But it’s almost like she’s proud that her biases and personal experiences will cloud her impartiality.” . . . .

John Fund notes for the WSJ's Political Diary that:

While they probably cannot block her confirmation, Republicans can give valuable exposure to their point of view that judges like Ms. Sotomayor, who see the bench as a way to impose their ideological beliefs on the law, are why we have such a highly politicized judicial climate in America today.

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Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

Herein lies the problem with SCOTUS nominees; There are many whom wish to push forward a politcal agenda without regard to the law.

They seek not equality, but simply votes, which will keep them, and their ilk in office.

On more than one occasion I have pointed out that past SCOTUS decisions had nothing to do with the Constitution, but only with politics. This appointment is simply that. Politics, and done with absolute zero regard as to the the promise of equality that the Constitution guarantees us.

I humbly submit that equality has not always existed, but I have already explained why that has not occured.

If, in fact, the Constitution had been rigidly adhered to in the first place, the idea of those making law from the bench, may not have ever occured...

I have served on a jury, I have testified on felony cases, and I was instructed to follow the rules. I, and my fellow jurors did this, and we had differences of opinion, but only because of our personal beliefs, and not the rules.

Did I like this, did I believe that the defendant was innocent?

NO! Neither did my fellow jurors. As foreman of the jury, I felt it was needed to point out that we had rules that we were instructed to follow, which we did, but what had occured was that there was a distinct feeling that we were being lied to by the defendant. Problem was, the defendant provided documents which 'proved' his innocence. They were not challenged by the prosecution, and they were admitted as evidence. All of us believed that they were false, but under the rules of evidence, and the rules laid out by the judge, we had to accept it as fact, unless evidence as presented by the prosecution proved otherwise.

No such thing occured, so we ruled in favor of the defendant.

If we, as American Citizens can make an determination of what is proper, and what is not, in a court of law, why should we allow someone who wishes to change the law without regard of the consequences to the people?

After all, do not we the people follow the rule of law, while those whom are supposed to protect it, and us, fail to do so in order to promote their own agendas?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Many a time have I produced the above quote here at this blog. No one here has mentioned it, so I shall translate it now. Not out of ire, or of despite, but of a need to teach, and to inspire.

Here it is, and yes this is a quote from Wikipedia, but I find this to be much better than what I can provide from my own mind.

"Who will guard the guards themselves?", and is variously translated in colloquial English as "Who watches the watchmen?", "Who watches the watchers?", "Who will guard the guards?", "Who shall watch the watchers?", "Who polices the police?" or other similar translations."

The above covers it quite well, and in a fashion that many can understand.

Last, but not least, I leave you all here with one other Latin phrase, and no, I will not explain it for you.

Mundus Vult Decipi!

5/27/2009 9:22 PM  
Blogger Harry Schell said...

I find it highly offensive that Ms. Sotomayor is lauded for being female, Hispanic and "a wise Latina" who can outthink "a white male" when an issue of justice under law is presented for consideration.

Her comments, in timing, rival those of that paragon of inclusiveness Ms. Nancy Pelosi regarding the relative ethics of male and female elected officials.

Self-esteem, when controlled by a grounding in reality, is an important virtue. It helps tell you when to flee or fight, and why, what for.

I have known some "wise Latinas" (and I rate them wise for life lessons they showed me) and none of them rated themselves against white males, or anybody else. They spoke for themselves, take the wisdom or leave it.

Evidently Ms. Sotomayor's self-esteem is of a different type. None of the "wise Latinas" I know would tolerate a stupid person...of any color.

If Ms,. Sotomayor still has to refer to a "white male" to agitate her audience and gain support for her appointment to SCOTUS, then she is. as Limbaugh proposed, a racist and sexist.

And a good "liberal"...

I don't see another conclusion. Be more than happy to hear one.

5/27/2009 11:15 PM  
Blogger Pundit said...

It's interesting that so many are so concerned about personal bias and experience and object to the influence it has over a "liberal" nominee, but seem to be fine with personal bias and experience when it is a nominee they find ideologically acceptable.

Do you think maybe having a panel of nine judges with different experiences and backgrounds might have a balancing effect one any one individual's "personal sympathies and prejudices"?

Besides, anyone claiming not to have personal prejudices would either be lying or so self-deluded that their judgements would be comepletely untrustworthy.

If she's such a flaming racist as so many of the nattering knuckleheads in the media claim, wouldn't there be evidence of it all over her opinions?

Dude, if you want to agrue about her qualifications or ability, fine. But this disingenuous "concern" about her biases -- for which you don't seem to have found any evidence of in her opinions or rulings yet -- is just silly.

5/28/2009 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She will help destroy the Constitution, and therefore this republic.

5/28/2009 12:18 PM  
Blogger Chas said...

If Sonia gets on the Supreme Court, white males can expect to be Sotomized.

5/29/2009 9:34 AM  

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