Should courts make policy?

"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."

-- U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor

It's not just Kim Jong Il who's testing missiles.

Barack Obama just launched a big one in Sonia Sotomayor.

A member of the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Sotomayor is now a U.S. Supreme Court nominee who once said "the court of appeals is where policy is made."

Sotomayor seemed to laugh off potential criticism of her statement, adding with a kind of wink and a nod, "I know this is on tape, and I should never say that because we don't make law. I know. OK. I know. I'm not promoting it. I'm not advocating it ..."

Well, maybe not -- but she was admitting it, and certainly appeared to dismiss opposition to courts "making law" as a troublesome myth.

And, as the first quote above indicates, Sotomayor has views about race and gender that may make Lady Justice throw up a little in her mouth. Then again, Barack Obama seems to want the good lady to peek from under her blindfold: He said he wants a Supreme Court justice who judges cases with "empathy."

Forgive many of us for wanting a court that rules according to the law, rather than prejudice or "empathy" -- and a court that seeks only to interpret law, not make "policy."

Imagine a Supreme Court nominee who postulated that white males make better court rulings because of the "richness" of their life experiences.

It would be called racist, and his name would be withdrawn from nomination so quickly that we'd have trouble remembering it.

We had truly hoped that Barack Obama meant all of his calls for bipartisanship and common ground -- despite a record to the contrary. But it's clear he doesn't want a judge; he wants an activist on the court.

Sonia Sotomayor might just as well have a degree in social engineering. That's how she sees her job on the court of appeals.

Moreover, does it not trouble the president that Sotomayor's rulings have been overturned by the Supreme Court four times -- three times because she misinterpreted the law?

She may ultimately be confirmed. Democrats are in control, and there's considerable pressure to confirm the first Hispanic female justice.

It will be interesting to see how she explains herself in her hearings -- and how she votes on the bench if confirmed.

More

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 22:00

Sense and sensibilities