Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sotomayor Pledges Fidelity to the Law

Of course she does. Because she's not now addressing a group of female lawyers, or a group of urban rights activists, or a group of ethnic victimization merchants--or any other group who feels for some reason that the law is insufficient to protect their rights and that empathic judges of diverse and varied "experiences" are best suited to issue justice. She's addressing the Senate committee examining her fitness to serve on the Supreme Court, made up at least in part by people who believe the law is sufficient, and where insufficient, the actions to be taken are those by the political branch.

My thinking has evolved quite a bit on this nomination. I remain convinced that elections have consequences, and in this case, the consequence is that Barack Obama gets to nominate someone he feels thinks about the law like he does. I think it is also essential that an up or down vote be taken on the nominee.

But Republicans must oppose this nomination, and oppose it with direct attacks on judicial philosophy. It is not enough to say that she is fit to serve on the Supreme Court because she has been confirmed twice already by the Senate in inferior courts. That is irrelevant. This is the court of last resort; the framers placed the confirmation power in the political branch, thereby making the "advise and consent" function a wholly political one. While law school records, private practice and time on the bench all serve to give individual Senators a better sense of the overall state of qualification for service, it is in the political process that one's ultimate fitness to serve becomes apparent. The political process has played out to a point in which Judge Sotomayor's elevation to Justice Sotomayor is virtually assured; but the process has not played out to the point where those whose ideology and politics require them to oppose the nomination should sit quietly by and defer to the Executive.

Ideology seems to have become a bad word when it comes to judicial nominees. I believe that the Framers displayed great wisdom in placing judicial confirmations in the political branch, knowing all along that fitness to serve was not simply a function of with whom one had read the law.


Greg "The Hammer" Dail said...

Feinstein said a judge should not be just an "umpire" calling balls and strikes. That is exactly what a judge should be, and that is exactly what Sotomayor is not! This woman is mired in identity politics and unqualified for the job. But, she's in. We're in so much trouble.

Anonymous said...

It is ironic that a case of hers was struck by the court right before she takes her seat. Odd historical footnote.

Anonymous said...

When our politicians sold their souls for party power, they shot dead forever the notion of separate branches of government.

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