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May 26th, 2009
09:09 AM ET

Toobin: Sotomayor will be voice for moderate liberalism

Sonia Sotomayor speaks as President Barack Obama listens after announcing her as his Supreme Court nominee May 26, 2009.

Sonia Sotomayor speaks as President Barack Obama listens after announcing her as his Supreme Court nominee May 26, 2009.

President Obama announced today he has chosen federal judge Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. If confirmed, Obama's nominee will replace retiring Justice David Souter, who announced this month he would step down when the court's current session ends this summer.

CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin spoke to T.J. Holmes about the pick on CNN’s “American Morning” Tuesday.

T.J. Holmes: Jeffrey, any surprises here to you? It seems like she has been the front-runner since David Souter said he was going to step down.

Jeffrey Toobin: Well, if the president was going to pick a judge, it seemed very likely that Sotomayor was going to be the one. She is a very eminent judge. She would be the first Hispanic judge. She brings a certain bipartisan aura because she was originally appointed to the federal district court by the first President Bush. But President Obama has often spoke of the fact that he thinks people who are not judges should be appointed to the Supreme Court; people who are governors, who are politicians. And certainty he gave that possibility serious consideration. But in the end, he decided to pick one more federal appeals court judge to complete the all nine lineup on the court of all appellate court judges... Yes, it is possible he will have more appointments, but you never know. And he's had one so far. And this looks like a very solid pick, someone who will probably have very little trouble getting confirmed. And who will be a voice like David Souter for moderate liberalism.

Holmes: Moderate liberalism. That's what Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz told us earlier. He described her as moderate and to the left. Is that about right?

Toobin: I would say that's right. You never know for sure, because circuit court judges are bound by Supreme Court precedent. Supreme Court justices are less bound by Supreme Court precedent, so they have a little more running room. They get to expose their own inclinations to a greater degree than circuit court judges. So certainly she will be to the left on the court, with the three other liberals on the court - John Paul Stevens, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We'll see how liberal she is. I don't think anyone can know for sure. She probably doesn't even know at this point.

Holmes: You don't perceive her having any problem getting confirmed as you said here. So this one could go fairly smoothly for the president. You don't perceive having any issues getting in place on the bench when their new season starts up in the fall?

Toobin: Certainly based on what's known about Judge Sotomayor currently, I can't imagine any problems with confirmation. She has been a very distinguished judge for now pushing 20 years. Certainly there may be decisions that people disagree with, but there have been no ethical controversies involving her, no scandals. As John McCain liked to say, elections have consequences. And President Obama has picked someone who more or less reflects his own political views. He will likely have 60 votes in the Senate in the Democratic Party by summer. It just seems based on what's known now that this would be inconceivable as a defeated nomination.

Editor's note: Jeffrey Toobin is a CNN senior analyst and a staff writer at The New Yorker. A former assistant U.S. attorney, Toobin is the author of several critically acclaimed bestsellers, including "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court" and "Too Close to Call: The 36-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election."


Filed under: Supreme Court
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. Art

    I Read these comments and I have to wonder what is wrong with you liberals. Why do you think that having a different opinion than yours amounts to hate? I have read many comments on many different subjects and what I see over and over again is the liberals think they can say what ever they want about the conservatives, but the first time someone expresses an opinion about Obama or a DEM. We are haters or raciest. Why don’t you try stating your opinion without insulting other people? Yes the Dems. Won the election but that does not mean all of us agree with you. You call the GOP the party of no, what do you sound like. I did not vote for Obama and I think he was the wrong choice. He came from Chicago Politics one of the most corrupt systems in this nation. However I am willing to wait and see how he does in the term he was elected to, maybe he will change my mind, not so far but he has a lot of time left. I don’t know enough about this judge to have an opinion about her, but if I did I should be able to state it without being called names by what is fast becoming the party of hate of anyone who does not share their opinion.

    May 26, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  2. Elaine

    This is a very savvy choice. Hispanic and Catholic are two big voting blocks the GOP is trying to court. How do you oppose what are, essentially, Catholic values without looking anti-Catholic? How do you oppose a Hispanic choice, of which Hispanics will likely be very proud, without looking a bit racist. This is going to be fun to watch.

    May 26, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  3. Mark

    Chris,

    God is a liberal! I understand your a liberal and therfore, are clueless.
    But do actually believe God would be pro abortion? Don't be so stupid.

    May 26, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  4. D Owolabi

    This will not be the first Hispanic Judge on the Supreme Court. Justice Benjamin Cardozo, a Portuguese American, was the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court Bench. Get the facts straight.

    May 26, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  5. lm

    Based on her current decisions, there is no way to know if she is pro-life or pro-choice. The only case that I can find that she had, that was related to this, was the one where she upheld the government's right to only give funds to countries that did not allow discussin of or use funds for abortions. Based on this decision it is possible that she is pro-life. However, as an appelate judge she really had to follow the Supreme Court's lead in decisions, so even though she ruled this way, there is no way to know if p-l or p-c.

    As for the criticism that she ruled against the city on the promotional test for firefighters, I would suggest that there is precedent for that. There has been a lot of "noise" around tests skewed for or against particular ethnic groups. i.e. the poll tests prior to the '60's that were purposely used to exclude blacks from voting. Without actually seeing the test, no one would probably know if it was skewed or not.

    I suspect looking at the prior decisions she has made that she is not as liberal as I would like, but I believe that we will never know how liberal or moderate she is until she serves. All we can realy do is make sure that, in the majority of cases, she conformed to the letter of the law in her decisions. All judges make mistakes (after all they're human), but has she consistently enforced the law. So far in the examples of the hundreds of rulings she has made, I have not seen anything that leads me to believe she did not consistently follow the law. THAT IS WHAT THE DECISION SHOULD BE BASED ON. DID SHE CONSISTENTLY RULE ACCORDING TO THE LAW?

    May 26, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  6. CHris

    @KLB, in the meantime, just shut up, you lost!

    Alternatively, you could read her resume or a few of her opinions, then refer to facts when posting. Oh, and btw, you lost the last election. Don't forget that ok? You lost. Oh, and one more thing, you lost by a lot.

    Read more. Talk less.

    May 26, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  7. Nick

    Is she pro-life? Probably not, though she has upheld some Pro-Life-ish rulings in the past.

    All in all, about what I expected. A liberal leaning judge with a lot of experience and hailing from one or more 'minority' groups ('women' are not a minority, but they do fall under this category politically). That she was appointed by H.W.Bush is a nice extra, lending some weight to the 'moderate' label that several of her decisions seem to fit.

    Yes, she's come out with several liberal judgments, but she's also come out with some conservative ones. Hence the 'moderate' label. If she didn't have any liberal judgments, she'd be called 'conservative', and if liberal and conservative judgments were in equal measure then she'd just be called moderate. I'm confused why some here are pointing out a couple liberal judgments, ignoring the rest of her history, and claiming that that makes her an 'extremist'.

    No, I'm not entirely comfortable with her, but she seems to be more or less exactly what I expected, and a darn sight better then some of W's appointees. I'm confused how anyone here is surprised or upset by this nomination. Pleased or displeased, sure, but still.

    May 26, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  8. GOPHater

    So many sour grapes exhibited here by right-wing loonies. When will they ever come to terms with the fact that they lost, and will probably never be in power again in their pitiful little lifetimes?

    May 26, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  9. Alex

    What a great pick. I'm proud of our president and the great work he and his staff is doing.

    May 26, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  10. Marc M

    Moderate liberalism? Does that mean they only want to take away 70% of my freedom?

    May 26, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  11. Linda Thomas

    She is described as being a very liberal, adamantly pro-choice judge and as a “realist.”

    May 26, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  12. Dave

    All I need to know is that the gasbag Limbaugh opposes her. As the leader of the Party of NO that for 8 years sought to destroy the Constitution, our economy, put us into an illegal war that has resulted in a million dead Iraqis and over 5000 dead Americans, and the party whose President IGNORED the August 6 briefing about terrorists using airplanes, giving them free reign to fly planes into the WTC and the Pentagon, Limbaugh's opposition and the neocon opposition tells me she will be GREAT for America.

    Limbaugh, Cheney, and the other neocons are the perfect litmus test. When the Party of No turns shrill (when haven't they been shrill since January 20?) we know that we are on the right course.

    I expect that they will call for an "up or down vote" just as they did when they were trying to get their boys through the Senate. But, being the Party of No, I don't expect either consistency or the interests of America to be advanced by them.

    Great pick, Barack! Let's hope there will be about 5 more in your eight years as President!

    May 26, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  13. Chris Cole

    What precisely is "moderate liberalism"? I don't recall similar comments about Alito or Roberts being "moderate conservatives". Either you are liberal or you're not. Either you are moderate or you're not. Either you are pregnant or you're not.

    May 26, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  14. Roger

    I love all the people on here up in arms because Obama nominated a liberal judge. Guess what? Bush nominated conservative judges. Where were you guys then? I guess it's okay if a Republican nominates conservative judges, but not okay if a Democrat nominates a centrist or liberal? Your hypocrisy is astounding!

    Obama could have nominated Jesus Christ himself, and you right-wingers would be upset. Of course, Jesus is a perfect example of a liebral, but that's another ball of wax...

    May 26, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  15. Linda Thomas

    Reslugs will fight this because they are the proven party of intolerance, racists, hatemonguering and don't forget the party of just say "NO".

    May 26, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  16. LR

    The "real" Republican Party as led by Limbaugh/Cheney has no choice but to fervently attack President Obama's pick because they are the party of extreme right wing views. What's good for the country and the people of this nation means nothing to them. They ruled by the ideology of "we" know whats right, and the unwashed masses don't know better and we can always scare them into believing we know better. As long as Limbaugh/Cheney continue to speak for the 'real" Republicans their party will continue to lose. Unfortunately, I know enough about politics and government to realize the real losers are all of us (America), for without a smart reasoned oposition the left wing will tend to be more poliarizing in their governance. I am a Democrat, but first I am an American. I voted for Reagan the second time and Bush 41, the first time he ran, other than that I have voted for Democrats. Because in all other elections they were the better smarter candidates and better for our country!

    May 26, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  17. Tom I.

    As a progressive liberal, I'm a bit disappointed in the selection. The time is ripe to appoint a true liberal. This is the best chance we've had to confirm a true liberal in 30 years. I wish Obama was not quite as conflict-averse as he is from time to time.

    That said, there is much admirable about Sotomayor. I respect her career and accomplishments. And I hope that once confirmed and operating within the unfettered confines of the Supreme Court, that she moves further to the left over time. There are some elements of her background that suggest that this could happen.

    May 26, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  18. Dave

    I don't know why conservatives are so upset about activist justices. They are the only reason that George W. Bush was ever elected. The Supreme Court had no constitutional authority to interfere in the electoral process in 2000. The ruling majority revealed themselves as political activists and sullied the Supreme Court reputation along with their own.

    Oh, wait – conservatives only object to activist justices who believe in social justice and social responsibility.

    May 26, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  19. Todd

    no she's not pro life. She believes like obama. It's ok to murder these children! WOW, what has our country come to? If you liberals want the gov't to run your life, move to Sweden or another socialist run country. Leave America the way it's suppose to be, full of christian men and women who should be joined in marriage(not 2 men or 2 women) gun carrying(we should have the right to bear arms)Pro life(why would you ever think with a sane mind that it's ok to kill an innocent life?)makes me sick, the way people think

    May 26, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  20. bk753

    Bush (the dumb one) selected Roberts and Alito because they were easily confirmable with his crony majority, and had limited writings to suggest the position they might have on their one issue (abortion). Of course Bush (the dumb one) knew where they stood, and knew he could forcefeed them to the Senate Dems because they were QUALIFIED. So, we got Roberts and Alito.

    Likewise, Sotomayor is wholly QUALIFIED, and will skate through the process now that the "other team" gets to decide who sails. My suggestion to those who are here whining is to remember the last two appointments (and the failed appointment of Bush lackey Harriet Miers)... and realize that the public spoke by bouncing out "your" team... and the popularly elected leader is making what is certain to be a popular pick. Shut up and deal with it.

    May 26, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  21. James

    Does anybody here even understand the role of the supreme court? Their role is to enforce the consitution.. nothing else. Somebody said they should be "blind" and that is correct. You do not want judges there to push and agenda or show empathy towards people. They are there to make sure the president and other law makers are not bending/breaking the groundwork set forth by the constitution.

    May 26, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  22. Robin, nyc

    An impressive choice. Sotomayor is a serious, real-life,
    everyday super-achiever. How refreshing. Scalia + the
    ultraconservative boys better move over!

    I am not overly troubled by the pro-Bush, antichoice decision
    in 2002 regarding Mexico City. She seems to have decided that
    one strictly on the legal merits.

    Congrats Nuyoricans!!

    May 26, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  23. Brad

    I see the Republican Party repeatedly referred to as the "No Party." Is that as opposed to the "Blank Check Party," which the Democrats seem to have become? Also, the Republican Party is apparently a one-issue party? What would that one issue be? Iraq? Pro-life? Capitalism? Seems like many different Democrats peg Republicans with being solely concerned with many different issues. Hardly a one-issue party. Regarding Sotomayor, she apparently said the following at a previous Senate Confirmation hearing: “I don't believe we should bend the constitution under any circumstance. It says what it says. We should do honour to it.” If she holds true to this position, she should make a good justice. Otherwise, she will dishonor the Constitution and further facilitate the destruction of this nation's founding charter, which is already under way.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  24. Ricardo

    Back in the 90's I met Justice Ginsberg one time. She espoused the impartiality of the Supreme Court as being divorced from political Idealology, subject to only "strict interpretation of the constitution" etc. etc. You know, the crap they list in high school textbooks....

    I actually believed her at the time, but the more experiece I have, the more it becomes apparent that the only thing the Supreme Court is "divorced" from are idealogical SHIFTS in the populace. Justices themselves interpret the law as they see fit to match their subjective views on very POLITICAL issues.

    So, for those who are critisizing others of making this nomination a political and not a leagal issue, wake up and look at the current example of the obvious main criteria for choice of this empty slot: SEX, RACE, and POLITICAL VIEWS.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  25. chris

    MR T.

    I know who the Republicans would thing was a good choice.....RUSH LIMBAUGH, of course.

    For Todd and Shane, I feel sad that you are so misinformed. You REALLY believe that democrats are a bunch of welfare abusers who aren't interested in being productive. Allow me to set you straight:

    The amount of Corporate Welfare that goes to Republicans in big business in the form of tax cuts and other benefits (as provided by our government) and is then abused and wasted by the wealthy in business FAR out-strips the miniscule amount of money that is wasted at the bottom by those relative few who abuse social welfare.

    You conservatives are such hypocrites when you say garbage like that.

    This nominee will do more to right the wrongs of this country than anybody your side would suggest. VIVA SOTOMAYOR!

    May 26, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  26. Roberto

    Thank you Mr. President. Keep up the good work!

    May 26, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  27. Shalin

    I feel this idea of "emphathy" really needs elaboration and additional justification as a quality for a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Also, whoever get on the court will have to deal with the "empathy vote/judgement" label...

    May 26, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  28. AP in Illinois

    If Obama is for it, the Republicans are against it. He could nominate Jesus for the Supreme Court and they would manufacture some sort of opposition to it. Too Liberal...

    May 26, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  29. talis

    I would not expect republicans to support anyone that was not white, male and a "born again" christian. The thinly veiled racism of the conservative movement is at the core of the republican party.

    By the way, republicans purport to oppose activist judges. They do, unless an activist decision is needed to stop a vote re-count, and steal an election. It is only then that "states rights" take a back seat.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  30. Scorpio

    Here's a thought for everyone...nothing any of us say in this forum will make any difference whether she is confirmed or not...it's all politics folks.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  31. videodrome

    Is she pro-life? Does anyone know?
    ___________________
    SC, does that really matter??
    This country is becoming more ethnically diverse. If you are "pro-life" all you are doing is fighting for the lives of those that will be voting Democrat/Independent/Liberal when the time comes.
    So keep fighting that abortion, we need all the diversity and votes we (moderate liberals) can get.
    Amen!!!! HAHAHAHA

    May 26, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  32. terpmaniac

    Listen, Obama won. He is the President. He gets to pick. Sotomayor seems confident and capable. I have no issues with her. But lets get real people. If Clarence Thomas, Scalia and a true lightweight Altio can pass confirmation muster, then she can. All this talk about "what ever happend to choosing the right person for the job" is code for "pick the white guy."

    May 26, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  33. legacyABQ

    Sam Crunchie says:

    It is absurd to lump all people of Latino heritage under the generic term “hispanic”.

    Dude what are you talking about? Hispanic means that their ancestors are from spain. Thats what latino IS. Whats absurd about being Spanish? There are distinctions largely self-imposed (giving ytourself an 'identity' is how one gets entitlements) but the basic, essential fact of distant spanish origins is the ONE THING that latinos, hispanics etc. have in COMMON!

    History isnt that hard to read is it?

    For example, your family might be irish, scottish, or english, but to the modern world you are WHITE. Nothing wrong with that is there? You think I should get special treatment and special labels and special rights just because my family happens to be scottish and not english?? Logic please!

    May 26, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  34. berta dieguez

    MS. SOTOMAYOR, WILL BE A LIGHT TO THE SUPREME COURT,
    MR. OBAMA KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED FOR THIS COUNTRY. REPUBLICANS, DON'T COMPLAIN. MS. SOTOMAYOR, IS PERFECT. CONGRATULATIONS, MS. SOTOMAYOR AND HURRAY MR. PRESIDENT.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  35. Jeffg From Stratford

    Hunh...

    I find the possibility of "moderate liberal" to be exactly as possible as "moderate conservative"

    And anyone who thinks any single judge on the Supreme Court can just throw out laws they dont like or ignore long established precedent has utterly no idea how the Supreme Court works or even a clue what the court does outside of laugable Rush Limbauaghesqe fear-mongering talking points...
    Step one: Get a clue, read the Consitituton...
    Step two: Understand it...
    - Take a class on it, if you need to. (Hey, that's what Obama taught, right? in freakin COLLEGE, rght? I guess then that there may be a slight possibility that he may just possibly understand the Constitution a little better than ol Rush, ya think?)
    Step three: go to step 1

    May 26, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  36. foyelady

    If the Constitution was to be considered the ultimate word ,exactly as written, then we wouldn't need anyone to interpret it, therefore no Supreme Court. The framers knew that it was a document that would have to be interpreted as time & circumstances changed. The founding fathers knew that in order for the Constitution to endure and live, flexibility was necessary.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  37. Michael Bindner

    SC, I imagine she is personally pro-life. She certainly ruled against the abortion lobby on the Mexico City Policy, which means she is either NOT an activist judge by upholding the law or IS a PRO-LIFE ACTIVIST. Roberts, Alito and Kennedy, who are also Catholic, are probably also personally pro-life.

    Of course, this depends on what being pro-life means. If it means desiring a return of the bad old days before Roe where the states could rule unfettered, then she is probably not pro-life, and neither are Kennedy, Alito or Roberts. I would guess she would side with these on Gonzalez v. Carhart. She is likely not like Brennan, who wanted abortion no matter what, or else she would overturned the Mexico City Policy when she had the chance. I suspect that sometime in the near future, when Obama advocates an abortion compromise bill that recognizes the congressional role in interpreting the 14th Amendment includes recognizing life in the third trimester and it becomes law, she will vote to uphold it as a valid exercise of congressional power under the 14th Amendment. Ginsberg, Bryer and Stevens will vote no and the rest will vote yes. Does that make her pro-life? Moderately so.

    George Will will like her for ending the Baseball Strike.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  38. chuck

    I just hope she will treat the constitution as a living, malleable document that can be shaped to allow tax-paying, law-abiding, highly-educated, red-blooded gay and lesbian Americans to participate in this great place that we call America the beautiful. This country does not live up to its creed if every consenting ADULT is not allowed to participate fully. Sounds like this lady had a challenging childhood. These are the people we want as judges- they understand compassion – not people who were born with silver spoons in their mouths who think the masses should eat cake. Those people would be compassionate conservatives, and after the last 8 years, we know for a fact that compassionate conservatism is a fake campaign slogan designed to garner votes beyond the Republican right-wing base. The masses ate that term up, but quickly found out that compassionate conservatism was not very filling. It was like eating air....

    May 26, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  39. Even-handed

    Sonia Sotomayor is well-qualified and experienced, just as Justice Alioto and Justice Roberts were. Her record suggests, obviously, opinions more consistent with the current president; again, obviously, as one would suggest. That she is a Hispanic woman initially appointed by Bush is politically deft decision by Obama, for sure, but that doesn't diminish her qualifications. Instead it simply shows that it achieving diversity and excellence are not mutually exclusive.
    Many Republicans will oppose her for their own political purposes, perhaps citing the opinions that werer reversed by votes other than 5-4 and highlighting those reversals in which the more liberal justices voted against her. Fair enough, but she is likely to be approved fairly easily, jsut as Roberts and Alioto were, and for the same reasons: she is well-ualified.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  40. Mike

    Obama just over-reached – he's now doomed for 2012 re-election.
    He obviously picked her only because she's a latina and a woman, completely disregarding what he previously said about not legislating from the bench. As with his other decisions, Obama says one thing and does another. He says let's find common ground, then goes the most far left he can.
    Sotomayor's record shows she's tried repeatedly to legislate from the bench, she even bragged about it, but many of her decisions were later over-turned.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  41. Craig

    The Republicans would try and block Jesus if he had been selected as the nominee "He's to empathetic with middle eastern ties!!". If the Republicans know what's good for them they'll let this nominee slide or face losing the largest growing demographic in this country 🙂 Well played Mr. Obama, well played 🙂

    May 26, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  42. Tim Kelly

    As one who has argued in the Supreme Court, I can say with some confidence that the two intellectual giants on the Court are Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Antonin Scalia.

    You may agree or disagree with the way they decide a case, but if you want to contribute to the conversation about confirmation, talk about the facts and issues and outcomes of cases, and talk about Judge Sotomayor's reasoning.

    The labels (liberal, moderate, conservative, democrat, republican) are unhelpful.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  43. videodrome

    HAHAHAHAHAHA
    Eat it up conservatives.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  44. Craig

    She is a socialist just like our President (although he seems genuinely offended when anyone asks him this), I'm sure he asked Europe to approve before announcing this, what an absolute joke this guy is, Im moving to France, oh wait I'm already there!

    May 26, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  45. legacyABQ

    If this is a moderate selection I am one who does not know left from right. –bernard wewinski

    Exactly! Now you're getting it! You dont!

    May 26, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  46. Bob

    If history has taught us anything about Supreme Court is that new justices often do not act as was expected when they were appointed. It is impossible to judge a court appointee based on their past rulings. The court changes those who become judges. The concept of left and right disappears. The only thing that is constant is the justices love of the constitution and our country. Enough of this crap from the right and the left. A President's choices should be respected because even they don't know how a judge will vote when they are on the court.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  47. Joshua

    The only thing that anyone should be paying attention to is how she interprets the Constitution. You can have all of the qualifications on paper and still not be fit for a job.

    The Constitution is the foundation. How does she interpret the rights guaranteed and protected by the constitution?

    May 26, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  48. DB

    I don't have a dog in this fight, but common sense dictates that qualifications rather than ethnicity or gender should rule. If Obama predetermined that his candidate must be a woman or a Hispanic, he's done a disservice to the country. Same if GWB predetermined a white male.

    The SCOTUS is far too important and far too powerful to be ruled by any kind of quotaism.

    Am I wrong here?

    May 26, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  49. CHeeKZ_Money

    "However, she is not a Mexican American judge so we Americans of Mexican heritage are still not represented on the Supreme Court."

    Homey.. You ODed. Be serious, Latino is Latino. I'm Haitian you don't see me complaining that Thomas and Marshall are not from the Islands. Its great to have ethnic pride, but the President has one pick, he can't be that specific. EVER

    May 26, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  50. Brad

    What did Bush mean when he said he was compassionate?
    Oh yea, he just lied.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  51. Kevin Denver Colorado

    Funny, all the right wingers I know are useless unemployed whiners, it's the dems who are college educated, informed and productive infdividuals.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  52. Abner Jones

    The opinion Judge Sotomayor wrote supporting the New Haven city government's decision to throw out the results of the firefighters' promotion exam because it didn't allow for a greater number of minority candidates reveals this candidate's propensity to legislate from the bench.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  53. Brad Sydow

    I would reserve judgment on Sotomayer. However, I can only smile at the hysterical reaction of Dems that the Republicans are opposing her only because of politics, not qualifications. Isn't that the circus that we saw when Roberts and Alioto were nominated, when the Dems displayed ridiculous opposition. Now Repubs are supposed to lay down and accept a liberal nominee? Remember that Mr. Obama opposed Roberts, one of the most qualified judges we have, ONLY on political stance. All said, I think she might make a fine appointee.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  54. Lynn

    Change has come! She will likely be on the bench for the next 25 years. Ranting will not change that.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  55. CHeeKZ_Money

    Who did you Conservatives expect him to pick? Sean Hannity?!

    The only question should be is she qualified, not if she is iiberal or not. She is HIS pick. You act like Bush 43 was killed and we snuck Obama into office. He won the campaign, he is allowed to pick a damn liberal.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  56. telly

    Maybe one more win for main street people ......
    Good luck on your confirmation "New Yorican"

    May 26, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  57. Marv

    Funny how conservatives always froth at 'activist' judges.... unless the judge happens to be in favor of some primitive, backward and luddite policy the conservatives would love to ram down our throats. GOP = Hypocrites, liars and cheats.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  58. Jedidiah Sorokin-Altmann, Esq.

    Empathy is not a dirty word. It's not indicative of bias. One would hope that ALL judges were capable of empathy, although that sadly isn't the case. Despite Chief Justice Roberts's talk at his confirmation hearings of judging as umpiring balls and strikes, it's really not that simple-not at the Supreme Court OR the lower court levels.

    Every day, judges are confronted by questions that have huge impact on people's lives, and the answers are not necessarily found in the Constitution or statute. Not because of judicial activism, but because we ask judges to determine what is an appropriate sentence for a first-time X offender. What is in the best interest of child Y. Or child Z. Or child B. Or the other kids going through the system, with every case being different. What is the appropriate balance to strike between protecting a defendant's right to a fair trial and a victim's family's right to free speech when it comes to them wearing buttons with the victim's picture in the gallery during a trial? A defendant is trying to use a seldom-used doctrine of lenity to allow his late appeal to be heard, because the trial judge gave him a filing deadline that was a few days later than it should have been and neither his lawyer nor the prosecutors picked up on it-can he appeal or is he screwed?

    Those examples are but a few of the issues that judges face where judgment and empathy matter. Where laws aren't being rewritten regardless of the ruling. Where statutes provide guidance but the judge must provide an answer.

    Moving on to Judge Sotomayor, I have no doubt that conservatives won't view her as a moderate. On the other hand, they were up in arms about President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, slinging mud at the non-existent nominee, since Justice Souter announced his resignation. As far as judges go, however, Judge Sotomayor is relatively moderate. Liberal? Yes. And for that matter, no duh. Was anyone expecting a member of the Federalist Society? As far as liberal picks go, however, she is no radical. She hasn't advocated any extreme positions, and has no pet issues where she's tried changing the law.

    The Democrats weren't thrilled with Justices Roberts or Alito. Nobody calls Justice Alito a moderate. But they were confirmed. If the Democrats didn't block Justice Alito, I fail to see what would justify the Republicans blocking Judge Sotomayor.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  59. New York Jewish Right Wing Liberal

    If Abraham Lincoln, George Washington or Thomas Jefferson were alive today to be nominated, there are those who would have a lot of the same complaints I see here and want to toss them out.

    I think everyone should just take a deep breath, watch the various grillings she'll get in the nomination process in front of congress and /or read ALL her judgments from the bench before passing judgment of their own...

    May 26, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  60. Mark Baker

    A lot of these posts make me wonder... Is this not a time for all Americans to be proud? Here we have a very solid judicial appointee – first appointed by Bush 41, then again by Clinton, and confirmed twice by the Senate – that is both a woman (only the 3rd on the Supreme Court if confirmed) and our very first Latino Justice (if confirmed). That should speak volumes about finding someone that might actually have both the legal expertise and the life experience to be a very fair and impartial Justice. Please people, get off your political high horses, and think about what might be most important for ALL Americans! I salute this nominee and am very proud of our President's choice!

    May 26, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  61. Bob N.

    Norm Deplume, Esq,

    Great screen name, but where did you get your dictionary? To quote:

    “compassionate”, meaning that she would nullify laws she did not agree with.

    You wing-nuts just make this stuff up. So now compassion is a dirty word?

    May 26, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  62. Kevin Denver Colorado

    BRENDA: She sided with the New Haven CT government that threw out promotion test results because the white firefighters passed and no hispanics/blacks did….

    I'M GUESSING YOUR 12 RIGHT?

    May 26, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  63. Kentucky

    Brenda has a good point. Most liberals are wrong on affirmitive action. Why should affirmitive action favor the minority child of a middle income minority family over a white child that was raised in foster care and orphan's homes????? Justice William O. Douglas, in his autobiography, denounced affirmitive action, and he was as liberal as they get. This is a killer issue for the Democrats with working class and poor whites. There are a lot of children, of all races, in the USA that grow up in terrible conditions. We should help them all. Should a young white girl who was abandoned by her parents at a young age, and then grew up in an orphanage be disadvantaged when competing for a job against a minority girl from a stable middle class family?????? I know the young white girl mentioned above, and today she has a college degree. I do not believe that she should be disadvantaged anymore than she already has been!!!! By the way Conservatives, the young white girl recieved free lunches at school, and a medicaid card, and so did the other 200 children in the Children's Home. She was helped by liberal programs. Programs Conservatives fought against. Neither Conservatives or Liberals are always on the right side of history.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  64. Prophet

    This is a sad day for America. We will now become a nation that legalizes both gay marriage, and the murder of the unborn, and our country will no longer be a safe place to raise children. People who resist, and speak out against these immoral laws will be persecuted.

    Read Isaiah 1:21-31 to understand the judgment that is to befall us.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  65. Kevin Denver Colorado

    Activist???? ALL people who act in the world are ACTIVISTS What the hell do you think the Roberts' of the world are doing if not being activist.
    We have one of the most eminently qualified presidents picking a most eminently qualified judge.

    I COULD NOT BE HAPPIER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 26, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  66. conserve 56

    Mr. Petrosino,

    Read my earlier post of 10:47 a.m. and tell me if the left considers competency in hiring and promotion practices.

    By your post, it appears you only care about ethnic diversity.

    This ethnic diversity mantra has run amuck and defies logic and reason.

    May 26, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  67. Henry

    I can't wait to see Sotomayor take down the twin bottomless gas bags Thomas and Alito in SCOTUS opinions!

    May 26, 2009 at 11:17 am |
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