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Guns, Intellect & Judgment are Key Sotomayor Issues
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Author:  PrinciplesMatter [ Wed May 27, 2009 8:35 am ]
Post subject:  Guns, Intellect & Judgment are Key Sotomayor Issues ... e-key.html

Guns, Intellect & Judgment are Key Sotomayor Issues
The Committee for Justice has received a lot of queries about President Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Here are the most frequent questions, along with the answers of CFJ Executive Director Curt Levey.

Q: What is your reaction to the President’s choice?

Having told colleagues that I thought President Obama was too smart to pick someone with as much baggage as Sonia Sotomayor, I was surprised to learn of her nomination. Many other people were surprised as well, given both the widespread expectation that Obama would choose an intellectual heavyweight and Obama’s own recent statement that he would not make gender or race the major factors in his selection. Liberal law professor Jonathan Turley summed it up well on MSNBC yesterday, expressing bewilderment that Obama chose Sotomayor when heavyweights like “[Seventh Circuit Judge] Diane Wood would have met all his criteria.”

The only plausible explanation for Sotomayor’s selection is that the President was boxed in by demands from Hispanic and women’s groups that he pick one of their own. What else could explain his choice of a nominee who presents such a big target for conservatives and so clearly forces red state Democratic senators to choose between the values of their constituents and those of the nominee? Among the more obvious sore points for moderate Democrats are Sotomayor’s controversial rulings on Second Amendment rights (Maloney v. Cuomo), property rights (Didden v. Village of Port Chester), and racial preferences (Ricci v. DeStefano) – all issues that President Obama would love to avoid. With gay marriage sure to be a big issue no matter who he nominated, it is hard to believe that Obama would have chosen to focus attention on three more issues that cut the GOP’s way unless he felt backed into a corner.

Obama’s choice of one of the few federal judges with a bad record on gun rights is particularly perplexing. Earlier this year, Sotomayor and two of her Second Circuit colleagues ruled that Americans have no individual Second Amendment rights in the face of state or local regulation of firearms – that is, unless they happen to live in the District of Columbia. Even the liberal Ninth Circuit ruled the other way. Now every red and purple state Democratic senator who considers voting for Sotomayor will be forced to explain to his constituents why he’s supporting a nominee who thinks those constituents don’t have Second Amendment rights. Because they can send red state Democrats running for cover, gun owners are the one interest group that could completely change the political equation on judicial nominations if they’re drawn into the debate. Obama’s selection of Sotomayor makes that virtually certain.

As Ken Blackwell said yesterday,

“President Obama has nominated a radically anti-Second Amendment judge to be our newest Supreme Court justice. There are a number of pro-Second Amendment Democratic senators from deeply red states, including Mark Begich from Alaska, Jon Tester and Max Baucus from Montana, Ben Nelson from Nebraska, Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad from North Dakota, and Tim Johnson from South Dakota. These senators will jeopardize their seats if they vote to support an anti-gun radical for the Supreme Court. … [N]ever underestimate the political power of American gun owners.”

Until yesterday, I held out hope that President Obama would nominate a moderate liberal to the Supreme Court. Perhaps it was naive to think that Obama would deviate from his pattern of speaking from the center but governing from the left. The bright side of his choice is that ensures a high-profile Supreme Court confirmation battle – the first over a Democratic nominee in many decades – thus providing Americans with the long-awaited opportunity for a national debate on the wisdom of judicial activism.

Q: Will Republican senators be afraid to oppose Sotomayor for fear of alienating Hispanics?

I don’t think so. Should Democratic senators or their allies on the Left accuse Sotomayor’s critics of being anti-Hispanic, the accusers can be made to look foolish simply by reminding them that they vigorously opposed and successfully filibustered George W. Bush’s nomination of Miguel Estrada to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Democratic Judiciary Committee memos revealed that opposition to Estrada was based on concern that he would eventually become the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. And keep in mind that Estrada’s personal story is at least as compelling as Sotomayor’s. As a teenager, he came to the United States from Honduras speaking very little English.

Q: Is there a chance of stopping the confirmation of Sotomayor?

In assessing the widely mentioned potential nominees over the last few weeks, I concluded that there were only two whose confirmation would be in doubt should they be nominated. One was Sonia Sotomayor. She clearly fails Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson’s “will they be an activist or not" test, but that’s not why I reached my conclusion. Sadly, even being a wild-eyed judicial activist is probably not enough, by itself, to stop a Supreme Court nominee given the large Democratic majority in the Senate. But as I learned during the Bush years, the best predictor of whether a controversial nominee can be stopped is whether the case against her is based on more than just her legal analysis. In Sotomayor’s case, there is quite a bit more.

First, there are the questions about Sotomayor’s temperament and intellect. Liberal law professor, author and Supreme Court expert Jeffrey Rosen wrote earlier this month in the New Republic that

“Over the past few weeks, I've been talking to a range of people who have worked with [Sotomayor], nearly all of them former law clerks for other judges on the Second Circuit or former federal prosecutors in New York. Most are Democrats … but nearly none of them raved about her. They expressed questions about her temperament, her judicial craftsmanship, and most of all, her ability to provide an intellectual counterweight to the conservative justices.”

Jonathan Turley, an equally liberal professor of law at George Washington University, reviewed Sotomayor’s opinions and concluded

“[Her opinions] are notable in one thing, in that it’s a lack of depth. There’s nothing particularly profound in her past decisions. … You can’t say she’s a natural choice for the Supreme Court.” (MSNBC, May 26, 2009)

In 2005, the last time a Supreme Court nominee was viewed as having less than a superstar intellect, the result was a withdrawal of her nomination before Judiciary Committee hearings could get under way. The fact that the President’s party had 55 seats in the Senate at the time was of no help to Harriet Miers.

Second, there are the intemperate statements Sotomayor has made. In 2005, Sotomayor made it clear that she wants judges to be policy makers rather than neutral interpreters of the law, despite knowing that it’s wrong. Speaking at Duke University, she said

“[The] Court of appeals is where policy is made. I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don’t make law I know. [Sotomayor and the audience laugh]”

Speaking at the University of California at Berkeley in 2001, Judge Sotomayor made it equally clear that she believes white males judges leave something to be desired:

"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Imagine if Supreme Court nominees John Roberts or Samuel Alito had said the reverse. In any case, Sotomayor’s opinion of white males should surprise no one given her later ruling in Ricci v. DeStefano that the results of promotion exams for New Haven firefighters – expertly designed to eliminate the possibility of racial bias – could be thrown out because white males did too well.

Third, the contempt for the rule of law revealed by Sotomayor’s remarks at Duke University were on display again in the Ricci case, this time calling her judicial ethics into question. An excellent piece by National Journal columnist and former New York Times Supreme Court reporter Stuart Taylor tells you all you need to know. Taylor explains that Sotomayor and her two 2nd Circuit colleagues engaged

“in a process so peculiar as to fan suspicions that some or all of the judges were embarrassed by the ugliness of the actions that they were blessing and were trying to sweep the case quietly under the rug, perhaps to avoid Supreme Court review or public criticism, or both. … The three-judge panel initially deep-sixed the firefighters’ appeal in a cursory, unpublished order that disclosed virtually nothing about the nature of the ideologically explosive case.”

That the Supreme Court will issue its decision in Ricci next month – in the middle of her confirmation battle – is bad news for Sotomayor, because it will serve to increase the focus of senators and the media on the case. Worse yet for Sotomayor, the Court will almost surely reverse her ruling in the case, while perhaps scolding her and her two colleagues.

In sum, Sotomayor’s questionable intellect, temperament, ethics, and judgment mean that much more than just her legal analysis is in doubt. Based on past experience, that ensures that the confirmation process will be a bumpy one for the President’s nominee.

Author:  dmacdaddy30 [ Wed May 27, 2009 12:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guns, Intellect & Judgment are Key Sotomayor Issues

After reading more about Sotomayor and trying to figure out what Obama and his political machine is doing, I have a feeling that this is a planned sabatoge of a nominee. If she is confirmed he looks like a hero to the Hispanics. If she is not, he blames the Republicans and most important those Reagan Dems. He will then nominate is true candidate probably Diane Wood. It seems that this administration is full of games or playing magic tricks. I believe this is one here (as I am sure there are many others out there that feel the same way). Just a way to gain more votes for the next election and knowing that his numbers are slipping slightly, this will increase the possiblity of keeping states in his corner like PA, OH, IN, NM, NC and FL with rising or high Hispanic population. It will also put the Reagan Democrats on the hot seat and force them to show their hand. If you are with me and want money for the next election, you need to vote yes, or face the possibility of losing your seat in 2010.

Eventhough the President has the right to pick anyone he wants for a Supreme Court Justice, he also has the responsiblity to pick a justice that will actually understand the oath that person takes "I, XXX XXX, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as XXX under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God." Currently, it seems that our President has not read the oath and Judge Sotomayor does not believe in it based on rulings and past comments. Let's hope that our President can find a judge that truly understands why Lady Justice is suppose to be blindfolded.

Author:  Brently Keen [ Fri May 29, 2009 4:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Guns, Intellect & Judgment are Key Sotomayor Issues

I agree with most of the above made points. However, I think most of the media including the so called conservative media, are saying that Sotomayor will not change the balance of the court. But I beg to differ - I think she's much more radical than Souter. She will come down further to the left than him on guns, abortion, euthanasia, illegal immigration, and arguably a host of other issues. I think she's very dangerous for America.

The Obama administration chose her intentionally as a win-win nominee. They are clearly angling for the hispanic vote. Republicans who think we need to moderate in order to win elections don't want to oppose her for fear of alienating hispanic voters. But I think that if conservatives want to win elections we need to be conservative. Here are some reasons why I think that:

We cannot make strategic decisions out of fear - that only plays into the hands of the left. As the minority party we're in a difficult position here, and what Republicans need now more than ever, is some real courageous leadership. I think that this is what average Americans, especially Republicans want to see, we want leaders that will speak truth to power, who will not be intimidated by Obama's political power moves.

Obama is not used to opposition, he's not used to being told "no", it clearly makes him uncomfortable. If we want to save this great Republic, then Republicans have got to start making him feel more uncomfortable, we cannot continue to tip toe around, we cannot continue to play defense, waiting for our fortunes to change in 2010. We have to put him on the defensive now, make him fear our response, make him fear the people's outrage for every radical, irresponsible move he wants to make. We have to begin to undermine the Democrats confidence now.

Conservatives rightly chastise Obama for being weak around the world, apologizing and appeasing our enemies, even encouraging them, giving them more and more confidence, but listen, we Republicans have been doing the same thing with the administration and the Democrat Party in general here at home. We're encouraging the radical left, giving it more, and more confidence, every time some Republicans call for 'moderation' or compromise, or concede defeat on any issue because we do not have the numbers to stop their agenda. The democrats want to divide us and hello, they are succeeding in many ways. We have got to make a more courageous stand and oppose them much more firmly - as firmly as we would like to oppose Al Quaida, Iran or North Korea. We must make it increasingly uncomfortable and costly politically for the Democrats, every step of the way, or we will lose not only this Supreme Court battle, but also the battle for health care reform, cap and trade, card check, free speech, and everything else that will follow.

Now, if conservatives want to win the votes of Hispanics then we need to appeal to the conservative values of Hispanics - WE DO NOT NEED TO PATRONIZE THEM BY PLAYING IDENTITY POLITICS. Sonya Sotomayor does not represent Hispanics because she does not represent traditional Hispanic values, nor does she represent traditional American values.

First we must use our principled opposition to Judge Sotomayor as an opportunity to illustrate the difference between conservative and progressive values. Appeal to the values that we share with Hispanics, the values that brought them to America in the first place.

Second this is a teaching moment for the nation. Justice, like freedom is a universal value. It's not about left or right wing policies, or racial or gender identities, justice is supposed to be fair and blind, it's not supposed to show empathy. Everyone should be treated equally under the law, we don't want judges who will arbitrarily tip the scales based on their subjective personal experiences and feelings. The Supreme Court is to interpret the Constitution and the Law, it is not supposed to legislate from the bench.

Conservatives need to explain these things and call the leftists out. Republicans need to DO THE RIGHT THING, and trust Hispanic voters to understand that we oppose judge Sotomayor, not because she's a Puerto Rican woman, but because she's not qualified for the highest court in the land and because she holds such extremely radical views she cannot be trusted to judge fairly and justly in accordance with the Constitution. Given both her extreme views and her rather poor judicial record (60% of her decisions overturned) she simply is not qualified to judge on matters of utmost importance to all Americans including Hispanic Americans. Republicans must oppose her nomination vigorously on these grounds and not allow the Democrats to label us as anti-Hispanic, because Obama and the Democrats are the ones who are making this a race/gender issue. It's has nothing to do with race or gender or even her stance on a particular issue(s) - it has everything to do with her overall judicial philosophy which lacks any objective, guiding standard or principle. IOW she doesn't meet the requirements of the job.

Even if we do not have the votes to prevent her confirmation, we can score a moral victory if we stick to our principles, and use our opposition as an opportunity to spell out the differences between conservatives and liberals, and really teach the nation something about the American Values spelled out in the Constitution. We have to start doing a better job of teaching all Americans what it means to be an American, what makes the American experiment so great, and what 'liberty and justice for all' is supposed to look like. We have to contrast the genius of our founders' life and liberty affirming ideals, and the uplifting, hope of the American Dream, with the hope-less, god-less, narcissistic culture promoted by a progressive socialist, nanny state that regulates and governs every aspect of our lives.

Reagan trusted the intelligence of the American people. He believed in the universal principles of freedom and the greatness of the human spirit - and that confidence and faith he had was so inspiring, his leadership was so courageous and influential that it moved all kinds of people. He loved America and America loved him. But it's not about the man himself so much as the unwavering faith and confidence he had in America. Therefore, the Republican party and the especially it's leadership must demonstrate the same kind of unwavering confidence and trust in the intelligence of the American people, including those Hispanic voters. Like Reagan we must appeal to our common aspirations, hopes and dreams. We must appeal to the higher moral conscience and responsibility of the individual, and not pander to ever decreasing standards and lower expectations. We must appeal to the perseverance and charity of our families, churches and institutions to work together to make our communities and our nation a better place for future generations. We must work to raise expectations of individuals and groups - we must as Gov Huckabee teaches, lead vertically. We must see ourselves as called specifically for these times, as doing the Lord's work, the lives of countless unborn children are at stake, the future of our country and indeed of the world is at stake.

What will the ramifications be if we continue to enable the radical agenda of this administration? We could literally face another holocaust in the middle East, in Asia, or even here in the United States. If terrorists continue to be appeased or worse released from Guantanomo, and our enemies see us weak economically, morally and spiritually they will be increasingly emboldened. Now is not the time to be passive, gentle and accomodating about anything this administration want's to do, the times we're living in call for bold, decisive, confident action, we have to put Obama on the defensive, make him feel less confident, make him slow down and hesitate for once. Now is the time we have got to grow some serious cajones, and do exactly what the Obama administration fears - stand up and call their bluff. Enough is enough! We must be resolute, even if we lose some battles, we can win the greater war.

If we go on offense, if we do the right thing we don't need to fear losing votes. People will be inspired in even greater numbers and more ways, when they see bold, principled leadership. When they see real character in motion, they will be drawn to join us. But if we remain on defense, the progressive strategists will continue to out-maneuver us, continue to push the rate of radical change, and continue to wear us down and marginalize us until it;s too late. No one will be inspired to join our movement to renew America, and much, much more will be lost than simply the replacement of one Supreme Court Justice.

Author:  Brently Keen [ Fri May 29, 2009 8:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guns, Intellect & Judgment are Key Sotomayor Issues

For Obama it's all about power - even more than ideology.

The only way to win the overall cultural and political war is to start putting him in an uncomfortable position. We have to start making it extremely costly for him to make these radical appointments and decisions. We have to put him and the Democrats under much more extreme duress. The more that moderate, spineless, whimpy, Republicans aquiesce and go along with all the nonsense, the more we play into and enable their agenda and increase their confidence.

We mustn't lose the momentum of the TEA PARTIES, we have to leverage it to put more pressure on them, otherwise they will continue to grow in confidence, power and influence and they will succeed with their fascist agenda, and we will become increasingly marginalized. We have to begin to stand up, speak up and lead - we cannot continue to allow them to shock and awe us into submission with all this radical, leftist, socialist, 3rd world dictator style CHANGE.

Conservatives must stand up - the people will follow those leaders who demonstrate the most courage and the most passion. The masses naturally follow powerful leaders, and right now the liberals are acting a lot more confident and powerful - as if history is on their side. Don't we believe that God is on our side? Where is the action to support our convictions?

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits one-self, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now."
— J.W. von Goethe

"Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself." James 2:17 (NASB)

The absolute key issue here IMHO, actually isn't Judge Sotomayor's nutty views, or even her questionable qualifications, but rather HOW our Republican leaders in Washington DC ought to be leading, and by extension how we the people, as voters, as everyday Americans at the grassroots level ought to be encouraging and challenging them, to DO THE RIGHT THING. It's not about choosing battles that we think we can win, it's about fighting for principles we believe in, with everything we've got, win or lose we must have the courage, the integrity, and the moral character to stand and not cave in to fear. We will not go idly, or calmly into that dark night. Will we be bold enough to say, enough is enough, and believe that we can turn this tide before it overcomes us?

Author:  Brently Keen [ Fri May 29, 2009 8:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guns, Intellect & Judgment are Key Sotomayor Issues

The Sotomayor Rules:

President Barack Obama has laid down his ground rules for the debate over Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. The big question now is whether Republicans agree to play by rules that neither Mr. Obama nor his party have themselves followed.

Ground Rule No. 1, as decreed by the president, is that this is to be a discussion primarily about Judge Sotomayor's biography, not her qualifications.

Ground Rule No. 2, which is that Republicans are not allowed to criticize Judge Sotomayor, for the reason that she is the first Hispanic nominee to the High Court.

Read the whole article here including why we must break those rules:

Author:  miracleshappen [ Sat May 30, 2009 12:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Guns, Intellect & Judgment are Key Sotomayor Issues

I agree that the GOP should fight her based upon her record & writings. But if she is rammed through anyway - could that turn out to be a good thing? (Somewhat.) It could weaken dem seats for those who supported her in pro-gun states. As she has been overturned 60% of the time by the SC, she would continue to fall on the losing side. With reports of her shortcomings intellectually & her bullying behavior towards colleagues, she wouldn't be likely to serve as a leader & convince others to agree with her opinions. She wouldn't be likely to sway a moderate jurist to see things her way.

So, could it be a blessing in disguise? Obama is not going to pick a moderate. All of his picks will be liberal. But with Sotomayor, Obama wouldn't get the superior intellect or consensus builder that would do even more damage than simply replacing one liberal with another.

Author:  QuoVadisAnima [ Sat May 30, 2009 2:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Guns, Intellect & Judgment are Key Sotomayor Issues


From what I have read about her high number of reversals & less than impressive judicial writings, I am inclined to agree with you. O is going to keep putting liberals up there - it's not like he is going to give us a judge that follows the classical model. I'd rather have a less competent one who is an ineffectual embarrassment to O than a highly impressive, well spoken person who's a philosophical twin to Ruth Bader Ginsberg!

Author:  Brently Keen [ Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guns, Intellect & Judgment are Key Sotomayor Issues

Where is the GOP leadership?!?


Author:  VertiCon [ Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guns, Intellect & Judgment are Key Sotomayor Issues

Commentary Magazine

Sotomayor’s Excuse Collapses
Posted By Jennifer Rubin On June 5, 2009 @ 9:53 AM In Contentions

Sotomayor and her supporters have been explaining away her 32 words as some sort of slip of the tongue. That isn’t going to fly now that the questionnaire with all her past speeches has been released. Turns out that she said the same phrase and similar versions of it again and again and again.

So the president and lots of other people, including the nominee perhaps, were being less than accurate in portraying this as a “poor choice of words.” In fact, it makes you wonder if the administration spinners, like Harry Reid, had avoided reading the speeches. If so, how could they have sent out the president, the nominee and the senators to spin the “Whoops, slip of the tongue!” explanation?

Now we have two issues: what she meant in these speeches and whether Sotomayor herself was misleading Senators in her visits on Capitol Hill. Well, her helpful supporters might argue that she didn’t say, “it was a poor choice of words that I only said once.” But the implication was clear. She was attempting to pass it off as a singular goof. Plainly, however, this was a sentiment very close to her heart. And one which is now very problematic. Really, what a bafflingly maladroit move. It is bad enough she doesn’t believe in impartiality. Doesn’t she believe in the part about telling the truth, the whole truth?

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