Should courts make policy?

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It would be called racist, and his name would be withdrawn from nomination so quickly that we'd have trouble remembering it.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

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GGpap
528
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GGpap 05/27/09 - 01:14 am
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The ACES cites the following

The ACES cites the following quote from Sonia Sotomayor, "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 ..." Use Sotomayor's ENTIRE comment ACES, as you well know, when complete, it makes an entirely different story. And apparently not one you'd care to share with your "loyal" readers. What tripe you offer as journalism. GGpap

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 05/27/09 - 02:20 am
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GGap, I'm sure that MR has to

GGap, I'm sure that MR has to place a clothespin upon his nose when he pens or approves editorials Mr. Morris and his close associates direct him to place upon the AC editorial pages. MR's much too smart to believe much of this stuff.

Eyore
0
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Eyore 05/27/09 - 03:48 am
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And while you are at it, how

And while you are at it, how about you print how she upheld the Fire Departments decision to refuse to promote a fine man simply because he was white. Nothing like a Justice who promotes institutionalized racial discrimination.

willistontownsc
55
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willistontownsc 05/27/09 - 05:18 am
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Once again, the Chronicle

Once again, the Chronicle shows its true biased colors. They didn't even get the whole transcript from this woman before maligning her. This is why many people in the US are angry at the right -- all they do is smear, smear, smear.

southernguy08
532
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southernguy08 05/27/09 - 05:25 am
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WILLISTON, is this more of
Unpublished

WILLISTON, is this more of the "non-minority media?" Sotomayor has proven that she's anything but an impartial judge. Just ask the New Haven, CT Fire Department. My guess is this congress will confirm her and say the hell with her obvious lack of impartiality. What a sad testament to this administration's selection prowess.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 05/27/09 - 05:59 am
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Once again our POTUS uses the

Once again our POTUS uses the "ignore the person behind the curtain" method of choosing an appointee. Sotomayor has an extended record of her leftist views and the perspective of the liberal toward the rule of law. Unfortunately, as GGpap makes so clear in his first post, the left wing myrmidons still feel that the skin color of our POTUS trumps the rule of law. The racist comments about white men and blatant comments about the courts establishing policy really means that Sotomayor is empathetic (prejudiced). This is who Obama had in mind from the beginning. One step closer to the "brown shirts of freedom" as defined by Obama.

HotFoot
17
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HotFoot 05/27/09 - 05:59 am
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Unless you're an attorney

Unless you're an attorney with 30 years of experience, I don't think you are really qualified to find her ruling in the New Haven case impartial. She cited precedents from case law and felt bound to rule as she did. You folks can't have it both ways: You don't want "activist" judges, but when they rule based on clear precedents, you find them "impartial". The bottom line is, you just don't agree on a gut level with the outcome...but that's not what a judge is supposed to go by, and she didn't.

HotFoot
17
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HotFoot 05/27/09 - 06:01 am
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Sorry--I didn't mean to write

Sorry--I didn't mean to write "impartial", I meant its opposite. You find them to be NOT impartial....i.e., biasd. OK, now let everyone pile on and attack because of a momentary lapse.

HotFoot
17
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HotFoot 05/27/09 - 06:05 am
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PT, the ABA judged her a

PT, the ABA judged her a "moderate", not liberal. Not "leftist". But I suppose from where you sit, the center is pretty much way, way to your left.

2tired2argueanymore
1
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2tired2argueanymore 05/27/09 - 06:25 am
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She's a woman with an agenda

She's a woman with an agenda and she will carry that to the court. Several of her judgements have been overturned in the past for her lack of good judgement or ignoring the facts. What she said she meant the part the Chronicle left out was the part where she suddenly realized she shouldn't have said what she did so she was back pedaling to cover it up. A true Obama nominee.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 05/27/09 - 06:30 am
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HotFoot, the ABA is so

HotFoot, the ABA is so liberal in it's perspective that it hasn't been consulted for over a decade until Obama came to power. From their perspective, Sotomayor may be labeled a "moderate", but she's offended by anything that insinuates she's anything but hard core leftist. Her agenda is obvious from her history of rulings and opinions.....all stated from an extreme, leftist perspective.

shaglorious
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shaglorious 05/27/09 - 06:35 am
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Lady Justice is supposed to

Lady Justice is supposed to be blind. Sotomayor will NOT be able to follow the rule of law without injecting her emotions. This is exactly what Obama said he was looking for in a judge. We should not be surprised.

TechLover
15
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TechLover 05/27/09 - 06:42 am
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Maybe she should just ban the

Maybe she should just ban the media from recording her speeches (or confiscate the tapes) to "promote accurate reporting" like Scalia.

HotFoot
17
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HotFoot 05/27/09 - 06:48 am
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I said this yesterday and

I said this yesterday and I'll say it again. She was admitting the truth--that her gender and ethnicity will have an effect on the way she interprets the law, EVEN as being white and male has an effect, if only it were admitted. The problem is that some people see any departure from that white male "norm" as an aberration. The law is not white and male. The law is the law. SHe was merely pointing out what anyone who is honest and sel-aware would admit.

HotFoot
17
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HotFoot 05/27/09 - 06:49 am
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Self-aware. I can't type this

Self-aware. I can't type this morning.

shaglorious
0
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shaglorious 05/27/09 - 06:59 am
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I hear what you are saying

I hear what you are saying Hotfoot and I understand. Her life story is a remarkable one. She is a posterchild for what America is all about. But again, emotions and life experiences aside, Lady Justice is BLIND. It is only about the law. Do some research on her, she has had MANY cases overturned and and has had her hand spanked for NOT following the law. I just think we can do better than this.

Riverman1
90617
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Riverman1 05/27/09 - 07:02 am
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Realize the Sotomayor quote

Realize the Sotomayor quote about the wise Latina woman v. the wise white man was given in a formal speech with prepared remarks at U of CA Berkeley. This quote was not unprepared as was the famous "policy" one at Duke. Ask the white fire fighters she ruled against if you don't think she is racist. Before her decisions could be overturned, but not anymore. If the socialists gain another justice, the country is going to change dramatically.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 05/27/09 - 07:07 am
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Sotomayor's racist comments

Sotomayor's racist comments make it clear that if she uses racism to make a legal decision, it's okay. Self-aware? or self-centered? Being Latino doesn't mean her decisions can't follow the rule of law, or, at least, it shouldn't. Sotomayor's record should be an indication of what she will bring to the supreme court. She'll be good for Obama's leftist efforts, but that doesn't mean she'll be good for America.

1941
4
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1941 05/27/09 - 07:20 am
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What are you people so upset

What are you people so upset about? So what, she made a remark about white males, and it was the truth.Look at what the White Males, have done to this country!!In the history of this country, there has never been a minority, in charge, so how can you say the president is making an unfair choice, in his nomination of this judge?You are only judgeing him, by the way white males, has done things for the past two hundred years. Well get ready, a new day is here, and a black man is going to show you racist people how it should be done!!!!!

TheShep
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TheShep 05/27/09 - 07:27 am
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Every decision President

Every decision President Obama makes is not the end of the world, conservatives. As it was not the end of the world for liberals when President Bush made 2 conservative appointments for the Supreme Court. I don't agree with most of his policies but yall would find fault with him of he forgot to wash his hands after he went to the bathroom.

TheShep
0
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TheShep 05/27/09 - 07:29 am
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And on another note, who

And on another note, who cares if she is latino or if the President is black. I certainly don't. And anyone that brings it up will be the people that are truly keeping us in the racial bonds of our past. That goes for both sides.

bdittle
78
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bdittle 05/27/09 - 07:29 am
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Its such a funny process...

Its such a funny process... everyone here knows she will sail through conformations because there is not much the GOP can call her out on as far as her lengthy judicial record is concerned. However, they will focus in on comments and phrases out of context so the GOP "looks" like they are not rubber-stamping.

jack234
841
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jack234 05/27/09 - 07:46 am
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Republicans appoint

Republicans appoint conservative judges. America loving Democrats appoint liberal judges. "To the victor belongs the spoils". Get over it. Its the way we do things here in our America. Republicans need to work with Michael Steele to try and remake the republican party so you might have a chance after Mr. Obama's two terms. With that said, HELLO! HELLO! HELLO!

colcamp1
10
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colcamp1 05/27/09 - 07:54 am
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I knew you all would wear

I knew you all would wear that CONN. ruling out. You got you marching orders from Rush and Ann Coulter and woke up early this morning to carry them out. Good little goose stepping soldiers you are.

shaglorious
0
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shaglorious 05/27/09 - 08:00 am
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So, those of you that believe

So, those of you that believe Sotomayor is a good idea must also believe that judges should not follow the law but follow their heart? [filtered word]???

shaglorious
0
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shaglorious 05/27/09 - 08:10 am
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Maybe she will be treated as

Maybe she will be treated as kindly as Geoge Bush's judicial picks. That sounds nice, doesnt it?

colcamp1
10
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colcamp1 05/27/09 - 08:11 am
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Why should she be any

Why should she be any different than the rest of them? If you believe that Judges always follow the laws of this country, then I have tickets to sell you for a Live performance by James Brown and Elvis?

bdittle
78
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bdittle 05/27/09 - 08:17 am
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shag, my understanding is

shag, my understanding is that her judicial record reflects that she does follow the letter of the law. Her "policy" comments were in context of explaining to law students the difference between court clerkship and appellate. So when you make decisions on whether or not a school can strip-search a teen suspected of having Advil on her person, you are deciding on something where the "letter of the law" needs interpretation. So your decision will set precedence for future interpretations. She was not advocating setting national policy for Americans.

Riverman1
90617
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Riverman1 05/27/09 - 08:21 am
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The question is whether

The question is whether Sotomayor should be confirmed after thorough questioning. She is the one who invoked race into things with her comments and her rulings about the white firefighters. Can she interpret the law and overcome her personal quirks? ColCapmp1, I don't want to sound like Katie Couric talking to Sarah Palin, but what SC decisions do you feel went against the rule of law?

shaglorious
0
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shaglorious 05/27/09 - 08:23 am
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bdittle, what is your source

bdittle, what is your source for her judicial record?

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