Friday, May 29, 2009


Ten Cheers for Sonia

Several right-wing bloggers have discovered my e-mail address and send me daily updates or briefings by e-mail. One of them sent a message detailing ten reasons that Sonia Sotomayor will not be confirmed as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. After reading these ten, I am forced to admit that I am utterly and completely un-right-wing. Every reason was to me a reason for confirming her. At least, they would cause me to vote for her if I were a member of the Senate. Here they are, along with both the right-wing comment and my comment:

I generally support the idea of nominating a woman or a Hispanic to the U.S. Supreme Court, but not this one, not Judge Sonia Sotomayor. And she's so biased, that I'll go out on a limb to predict she won't be confirmed, for ten reasons:

In a 2005 panel discussion at Duke University, Sotomayor told students that the federal Court of Appeals is where "policy is made." She said the "Court of Appeals is where policy is made. And I know, and I know, that this is on tape, and I should never say that. Because we don't 'make law,' I know. [audience laughter] Okay, I know. I know. I'm not promoting it, and I'm not advocating it. I'm, you know. [audience laughter] Having said that, the Court of Appeals is where, before the Supreme Court makes the final decision, the law is percolating. Its interpretation, its application." As a judicial activist, she jokingly admits "making policy" from the bench, based on feelings or empathy or judicial precedent, not laws passed by Congress, and so she assumes the power of legislature, to make policy, legislating from the bench.

She has a sense of humor and can make a joke. Actually, what she said (jokingly) is often true. For example, our present policy of having all representative districts in State Legislatures of equal population, or as close as possible, is the result of a court decision, not a vote of a legislature or a plebiscite. Before this decision became "policy" Los Angeles County had one representative in the California State Senate (out of 40 Senators) even though it has about one-third of the State's population. She speaks truth and I support her.

Although she ruled to uphold the longstanding "Mexico City Policy" which had limited funds for abortions performed overseas (until President Obama struck down that policy, now fully funding abortions overseas with our taxes), Sotomayor stands squarely in the camp of supporting and upholding the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized child killing across America and cost 50,000,000 children their lives.Furthermore, Rev. Rob Schenck of The National Clergy Council now reports that Sotomayor was or is an active board member of a group called the "Childbirth Connection" that advocates for "reproductive rights of women," which is generally a code word for abortion on demand, including partial birth abortion, which Sotomayor has never publicly opposed. Since I was born to a single mom who courageously gave me up for adoption, and I was adopted at age three by a Christian family, I'm passionately pro-life.

It's not certain that she is not "pro-life." She does support the Roe v. Wade decision, not on the basis of a pro-life argument but a privacy right argument. Another reason for me to support her.

In her ruling to allow government to ban privately owned weapons belonging to New York citizens, Sonia Sotomayor wrote in Maloney v. Cuomo: "The Second Amendment applies only to limitations the federal government seeks to impose on this right . . . not upon that of the state." Since her crazy reading of the 2nd Amendment only forbids Congress from seizing your guns, the New York State Assembly was fully authorized to ban nunchuks, or seize ANY AND ALL of your weapons, according to Sotomayor's anti-liberty reasoning. But as a former military distinguished marksman and former captain of my rifle team at a New York State high school, I care about protecting our right to bear arms.

The current interpretation of the Second Amendment is that it grants an absolute right to individuals to bear arms and not simply a right to States to maintain armed militias, in spite of the language of the amendment. I think the present court made a mistake in its ruling. Whether or not all individuals should have a right to own and carry loaded firearms, I think it is bad policy not to restrict that right to individuals who have a good reason for using firearms and who can be trusted not to use them for illegal purposes. Again, the argument convinces me.

ACLJ Attorney Jay Sekulow said of Sotomayor: "She is left in judicial philosophy, ranges much further left than Justice Ginsburg or Justice Souter . . . I just had a case where the Court was unanimous, it was involving the 10 commandments issue, and the court was unanimous 9 to 0, but I would not expect that if Judge Sotomayor was confirmed, that it would probably have been 8 to 1. She has a very, very strict view of church-state separation, and she was aggressive on this idea of a 'living constitution.'" Meanwhile she ruled one Muslim prisoner had a right to receive the Eid ul Fitr feast (a Muslim holiday meal) in his prison cell, and another Muslim prisoner had a right to access a Muslim chaplain, which is fine if she treats other faiths equally. But I personally suspect Sotomayor would rule to disallow public prayers offered "in Jesus name" but allow prayers to Allah, just like Obama's other judicial nominee David Hamilton.

This is silly nonsense. The only argument about the 10 commandments or the Lord's Prayer is whether it should be specified by a government agency and performed in public by everyone, even Muslims and Jews and Buddhists. The attempt to make an analogy with allowing prisoners to practice their religious faith fails. There is no evidence that Sotomayor would treat public Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu prayers any differently than Christian prayers. I favor her.

NOW President Kim Gandy quickly endorsed Sotomayor, saying: "This morning we will celebrate, and this afternoon NOW will launch our 'Confirm Her' campaign to ensure the swift confirmation of the next Supreme Court Justice." There's no way this liberal group would endorse Sotomayor unless she were pro-lesbian and pro-abortion, as Gandy openly advocates on the NOW web-site.

So now the National Organization of Women is pro-lesbian? That's a stretch. The conservative objection to Sotomayor is that she is not anti-lesbian or anti-gay and does not advocate stoning them, as commanded in the Bible. I'm for equal treatment of lesbians and gays and I oppose stoning them, along with Sonia Sotomayor.

Sotomayor has had 5 decisions reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court, 3 of which have been reversed. One of these was her aggressive pro-environmental anti-energy decision, another was her aggressive pro-litigation anti-business decision, which was overturned unanimously. She has carried only 11 of 44 possible votes during those cases. Chief Justice Roberts once stated that her method of reading the statute in question "flies in the face of the statutory language." Dean Mat Staver of Liberty Law School cites these reasons to oppose Sotomayor, saying, "No one ever expected President Barack Obama to nominate someone who respects the original intent of the Constitution."

Sometimes you have to judge a person by the enemies she makes. If she's been overruled and reversed by the present Supreme Court, she must be a pretty good judge. We have an ultra-conservative Court these days, thanks to Republican administration appointments. It's time for a change. Go, Sonia!

Sotomayor told the Berkeley Law School: "Our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging . . .I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." It is no surprise, therefore, she ruled against white Firefighters of New Haven, throwing out the results of a promotion exam because almost no minorities qualified. She denied promotion for the white firefighters who performed well on the exam, and gave minorities who failed the exam favorable consideration toward promotion. Sotomayor promotes aggressive affirmative action, promoting race or gender, not merit. The U.S. Supreme Court reviewed this case in April 2009, and is expected to overturn her again.

These promotion exams that seem to show that the winners are mostly white men are themselves subject to suspicion. I strongly suspect that the exams are strongly if subtly biased in favor of a white man outcome. I am glad that Judge Sotomayor shares my suspicion.

Opposing a U.S. Congressional bill that would forbid activist judges from citing international law (instead of applying American law) in their decisions, Sotomayor wrote the controversial introduction for The International Judge, a book that promotes, in her words, "developing an international rule of law and institution-building" and idealizes the "pioneers who work tirelessly to bring these institutions from their incipience to their maturity." No doubt she will vote with Justice Ginsberg, who believes American judges should sometimes look toward international law rather than the U.S. Constitution.

International law has the same force as Constitutional law. That's why treaties have to be ratified by a 2/3 vote in the Senate. Judge Sotomayor is simply stating a truth. Go Sonia!

Her own former clerk, liberal Jeffrey Rosen, now legal affairs editor for The New Republic, said she has "has an inflated opinion of herself" and is "kind of a bully on the bench." Another clerk who worked on the 2nd Circuit said she's: "not that smart and kind of a bully on the bench . . .She has an inflated opinion of herself, and is domineering during oral arguments, but her questions aren't penetrating and don't get to the heart of the issue."

So it's all right for conservative justice Scalia to be a bully but not for a liberal judge. What's fair about that? Give 'em hell, Sonia!

1) SOTOMAYOR: BASEBALL BIAS FOR NEW YORK YANKEES!As a native of South Bronx, Sotomayor's hidden home-town bias became manifest in her love for the New York Yankees, judicially favoring her "Bronx Bombers" over teams from all other cities. No kidding! When ruling to end the 1995 baseball strike, she sided with the player's union against team owners (who sought parity among all teams with an talent-sharing salary cap). Instead Sotomayor created bias in favor of rich teams who can afford to buy up all the good free agents. So when the New York Yankees hogged 4 titles and 6 pennants in the 8 years after her ruling, with payrolls averaging three times most other team salaries, you can blame Sotomayor for creating that competitive imbalance. I understand why Yankees fans might celebrate her promotion to the Supreme Court, but baseball fans from all other cities should complain loudly against her confirmation!

Well, OK. I don't like the Yankees, either. However, chacun a son gout as the French say.


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