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Power User
Posts: 42527

« on: May 27, 2009, 09:01:50 AM »

OK, lets give her her own thread:

From John Perazzo's article today:

The common thread in Sotomayor’s decisions is her view that discrimination remains pervasive in the United States, and that the role of a judge is to “level the playing field,” even if it means rewarding the less-qualified and punishing the deserving, while ignoring the law in the process.
In May 2009 a video surfaced of Sotomayor speaking at a 2005 panel discussion for law students. In that video, she said that a “court of appeals is where policy is made”—a candid rejection of the notion that a judge’s proper role is to interpret the law rather than to create it. Then, remembering that the event was being recorded, Sotomayor added immediately: “And I know — I know this is on tape, and I should never say that because we don’t make law. I know. O.K. I know. I’m not promoting it. I’m not advocating it. I’m — you know.” Her tone was unmistakably that of a person uttering, with a wink and a nod, words that she did not, even for a moment, believe.
Such judicial activism, founded on the twin premises that the Constitution is a “living document” subject to constant reinterpretation, and that the legal system should give certain compensatory advantages to people who are allegedly victimized by society’s inherent inequities, is “the critical ingredient” that Barack Obama identified, even during the 2008 presidential campaign, as the chief “criterion” by which he would select the next Supreme Court justice. He has proven to be true to his word.


I also gather she is quite bad on property rights and has written a decision that goes further than Kelo.
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2009, 10:02:27 AM »

May 27, 2009
Sotomayor overturned 60% of the time by Supremes

Rick Moran
If senators vote on Sonia Sotomayor's track record, they might want to look at the 60% reversal rate when her decisions reach the Supreme Court.

Writing at The New Republic, Jeffrey Rosen offers a reason:

Her opinions, although competent, are viewed by former prosecutors as not especially clean or tight, and sometimes miss the forest for the trees. It's customary, for example, for Second Circuit judges to circulate their draft opinions to invite a robust exchange of views. Sotomayor, several former clerks complained, rankled her colleagues by sending long memos that didn't distinguish between substantive and trivial points, with petty editing suggestions--fixing typos and the like--rather than focusing on the core analytical issues.

Some former clerks and prosecutors expressed concerns about her command of technical legal details: In 2001, for example, a conservative colleague, Ralph Winter, included an unusual footnote in a case suggesting that an earlier opinion by Sotomayor might have inadvertently misstated the law in a way that misled litigants. The most controversial case in which Sotomayor participated is Ricci v. DeStefano, the explosive case involving affirmative action in the New Haven fire department, which is now being reviewed by the Supreme Court. A panel including Sotomayor ruled against the firefighters in a perfunctory unpublished opinion. This provoked Judge Cabranes, a fellow Clinton appointee, to object to the panel's opinion that contained "no reference whatsoever to the constitutional issues at the core of this case." (The extent of Sotomayor's involvement in the opinion itself is not publicly known.)

The Ricci case is likely to increase that percentage of reversals as most court watchers expect the Supreme Court to right the terrible wrong Sotomayor did the firefighters. The case is just one more indication that Sotomayor is not fit to sit on the court where many of her opinions have been tossed aside.

Stephen Dinan, writing in the Washington Times , thinks that the reversal rate may be a potent line of attack for the opposition:

With Judge Sonia Sotomayor already facing questions over her 60 percent reversal rate, the Supreme Court could dump another problem into her lap next month if, as many legal analysts predict, the court overturns one of her rulings upholding a race-based employment decision.

Three of the five majority opinions written by Judge Sotomayor for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals and reviewed by the Supreme Court were reversed, providing a potent line of attack raised by opponents Tuesday after President Obama announced he will nominate the 54-year-old Hispanic woman to the high court.

"Her high reversal rate alone should be enough for us to pause and take a good look at her record. Frankly, it is the Senates duty to do so," said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America.

There is no chance Obama will withdraw her name (unless some personal trouble emerges) nor is it likely that she will be defeated on the floor of the senate.

But the American people should be shown just what our president thinks of the Supreme Court to nominate such a candidate to sit in judgment on our most vital cases involving our principles and rights.

Page Printed from: at May 27, 2009 - 09:54:23 AM EDT
Power User
Posts: 42527

« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2009, 10:17:52 AM »

Cases that get to the Supreme Court are USUALLY difficult ones-- although sometimes they get there simply to smackdown some really bad decision, so I would be careful with reversal rate arguments.

"[J]udges, therefore, should be always men of learning and experience in the laws, of exemplary morals, great patience, calmness, coolness, and attention. Their minds should not be distracted with jarring interests; they should not be dependent upon any man, or body of men." --John Adams

"We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force." --author Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

"The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded." --French political philosopher C. L. De Montesquieu (1689-1755)

"The soundest argument will produce no more conviction in an empty head than the most superficial declamation; as a feather and a guinea fall with equal velocity in a vacuum." --English cleric and writer Charles Colton (1780-1832)

Judge Sotomayor descends from on high to bestow "empathy" upon us
"In making Sonia Sotomayor his first nominee for the Supreme Court yesterday, President Obama appears to have found the ideal match for his view that personal experience and cultural identity are the better part of judicial wisdom. This isn't a jurisprudence that the Founders would recognize, but it is the creative view that has dominated the law schools since the 1970s and from which both the President and Judge Sotomayor emerged. In the President's now-famous word, judging should be shaped by 'empathy' as much or more than by reason. In this sense, Judge Sotomayor would be a thoroughly modern Justice, one for whom the law is a voyage of personal identity. 'Experience being tested by obstacles and barriers, by hardship and misfortune; experience insisting, persisting, and ultimately overcoming those barriers,' Mr. Obama said yesterday in introducing Ms. Sotomayor. 'It is experience that can give a person a common touch of compassion; an understanding of how the world works and how ordinary people live. And that is why it is a necessary ingredient in the kind of Justice we need on the Supreme Court.' ...[Sotomayor] is a judge steeped in the legal school of identity politics. This is not the same as taking justifiable pride in being the first Puerto Rican-American nominated to the Court, as both she and the President did yesterday. ... Judge Sotomayor's belief is that a 'Latina woman' is by definition a superior judge to a 'white male' because she has had more 'richness' in her struggle. The danger inherent in this judicial view is that the law isn't what the Constitution says but whatever the judge in the 'richness' of her experience comes to believe it should be. ... As the first nominee of a popular President and with 59 Democrats in the Senate, Judge Sotomayor is likely to be confirmed barring some major blunder. But Republicans can use the process as a teaching moment, not to tear down Ms. Sotomayor on personal issues the way the left tried with Justices Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito, but to educate Americans about the proper role of the judiciary and to explore whether Judge Sotomayor's Constitutional principles are as free-form as they seem from her record." --The Wall Street Journal

"[L]ike conventional liberals, [Sonia Sotomayor] embraces identity politics, including the idea of categorical representation: A person is what his or her race, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference is, and members of a particular category can be represented -- understood, empathized with -- only by persons of the same identity." --columnist George Will

"Why make this complicated? President Obama prefers Supreme Court justices who will violate their oath of office. And he hopes Sonia Sotomayor is the right Hispanic woman for the job." --columnist Jonah Goldberg

"Since when did securing a Supreme Court seat become a high hurdles contest? The White House and Democrats have turned Second Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination into a personal Olympic event. Pay no attention to her jurisprudence. She grew up in a Bronx public housing project. She was diagnosed with childhood diabetes at 8. Her father died a year later. And, oh, by the way, did you hear that she was poor? It's a 'compelling personal story,' as we heard 20,956 times on Tuesday." --columnist Michelle Malkin

"If you were going to have open heart surgery, would you want to be operated on by a surgeon who was chosen because he had to struggle to get where he is or by the best surgeon you could find-- even if he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and had every advantage that money and social position could offer?" --economist Thomas Sowell

"Sotomayor believes that law, like beauty, is entirely in the eye of the beholder. It is therefore of vital importance which beholders are sitting on the Supreme Court. Judicial philosophy is irrelevant, in this view; the only true judicial philosophy is personal philosophy." --columnist Ben Shapiro

"Senate Republicans must take a stand and vocally oppose this nomination, not on the basis of partisan politics, but in defense of the rule of law and the proper role of the judiciary, principles the president is only pretending to honor." --columnist David Limbaugh

« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2009, 12:47:29 PM »

Questions for Sotomayor
The confirmation process shouldn't be a rubber stamp.

Yesterday President Barack Obama announced his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter. She is federal circuit court judge Sonia Sotomayor. What sorts of questions should senators and the American people ask a nominee to the Supreme Court?

Let's assume Ms. Sotomayor will refuse to answer questions about any of the hot-button issues that the confirmation battle will focus on: constitutional questions about abortion, gay marriage, the rights of terrorist detainees, and the like. No recent nominee to the court has directly answered questions about particular issues that are likely to come before the court. While this may be frustrating to their interlocutors, nominees are prudent not to prejudge in the abstract issues they will likely have to decide in the context of specific cases.

But the nominee should answer questions about her judicial philosophy. Mr. Obama has the prerogative of nomination, but the confirmation process serves as an important check on whether a nominee's philosophy is acceptable to the American people. Even with a strongly Democratic Senate, the process should be more than a rubber stamp. The stakes are high when we give a person life tenure to decide some of the most important issues facing our country. Here are some questions for Ms. Sotomayor:

- Do you believe that judges should use "empathy" to decide cases? If so, what's the difference between empathy and judicial activism? The president has emphasized empathy as a paramount judicial quality. Polls show, however, that Americans want moderate judges who follow the law, not their hearts. Chief Justice John Roberts said in his confirmation hearings that judges should act like umpires -- calling the plays, not making them. Mr. Obama has suggested he wants a home-run hitter.

- Do you believe that interpretations of the Constitution should evolve to keep up with the times? If so, how would you decide when the Constitution needs updating? The president has said he believes that the Constitution has to change to keep up with the times, and in Ms. Sotomayor he has probably not chosen a candidate who believes in following the original meaning of the text. Nonetheless, constitutional text and original meaning should provide some constraint on the scope of interpretation. The nominee should be able to state some guidelines and limits for interpretation, including whether and how she would consider international law or the constitutional law of other nations.

- Should Supreme Court justices be bound by precedent? All justices sometimes overrule previous decisions. So when is it appropriate to do so? Of course, this is the question that senators use to probe nominees of Republican presidents to see whether they would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. For Ms. Sotomayor the question is whether she perceives any limits on the ability of the Supreme Court to read new rights into the Constitution.

- What is the court's role when interpreting ambiguous laws? The confirmation process often focuses on constitutional questions that never get directly answered, but a great deal of law is made (and unmade) when the court interprets statutes. Statutes, not the Constitution, regulate financial markets, the environment, our workplaces, and many forms of private discrimination. So it matters how they are interpreted.

Statutes are enacted through a difficult constitutional process. They require passage by the House and Senate and the president's signature. Justice Antonin Scalia argues that this finely wrought procedure requires judges to stick to the text of statutes and follow their plain meaning. Justice Stephen Breyer has argued, to the contrary, that judges should interpret statutes pragmatically to promote good consequences. Ms. Sotomayor needs to identify where she lies on this spectrum.

- What matters most, the law or the result? Or put another way, when the law requires a result that you don't like, what do you do? This might seem like an easy question. Judges interpret the law, they don't make it. That was the view of President George W. Bush and his nominees to the high court. Mr. Obama has made it clear, however, that he thinks the law should often be about results -- that the Constitution evolves to reflect modern times and statutes may be twisted to achieve justice. Any judge worth the name recognizes that the law will sometimes lead to a result of which she personally disapproves. When this happens, the judge must implement the law, not her personal preferences.

The president and Congress are elected to focus on results, to get things done, to bring about change. They can choose to implement empathetic policies that favor the weak and pull up the disadvantaged. In our constitutional system, however, the judiciary does not simply duplicate this political process. The Senate and the American people should make sure that a nominee to the Supreme Court understands the difference.

Ms. Rao, an assistant professor at George Mason School of Law, was associate counsel and special assistant to President George W. Bush and nominations counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Power User
Posts: 2004

« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2009, 08:53:33 AM »

Ed Rollins, a senior political contributor for CNN, is Senior Presidential Fellow at the Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency at Hofstra University. He was White House political director for President Reagan and chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Let me state that I am sure Sotomayor and I don't agree on very much. And I am sure some of her liberal rulings will drive me nuts. But President Obama won, is a liberal and gets to put liberals on the court. That's the way it works. Ideology aside, is she qualified?

There can be no debate over her qualifications. Her lifetime achievements in the academic world, in the legal world and the judicial world are unchallengeable. If that was the only measure, she would be confirmed unanimously.

That isn't going to happen! We are into full-bore political battle within the Republican Party, with conservatives and pragmatists arguing over what are the best tactics to stop the direction that this young president and his congressional allies are taking us.

But I just offer a word of caution. The confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor is not the battle to be waged and it won't be won. No one should be brutalized like Judge Robert Bork was in the 1980s. And no one should be rubber-stamped either.

Sotomayor is not deserving to be on the Supreme Court because she is Puerto Rican or a woman. She has been appointed by the president because she is extremely well-qualified. Judge those qualifications fairly and without malice. To do less will antagonize Hispanic and female voters, two voter groups Republicans must do better with to have any chance of electoral success.

In 1981 when Sandra Day O'Connor was nominated by President Reagan to be the first woman on the court, she was confirmed unanimously. When Antonin Scalia was nominated, also by President Reagan, he was confirmed 98-0. He was the first American of Italian descent appointed to the court.

Sotomayor, if confirmed, will be the 111th judge to sit on the court. One-hundred-six white men, two African-American men and two white women have gone before her. The appointment of a Hispanic-American is long overdue. Appointing another woman is critical also. But she's there because of her own accomplishments, not her gender or her heritage.

Republicans are in a position where we are the underdogs. Unfortunately, no one is cheering for us to win. These nationally televised hearings may be an opportunity for Republican senators to take a step in the right direction. Don't treat her like a lady. Treat her like an extremely qualified American who the president chose to elevate to the nation's highest court.
Power User
Posts: 9482

« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2009, 01:29:56 PM »

"But President Obama won, is a liberal and gets to put liberals on the court. That's the way it works. Ideology aside, is she qualified?"

No.  They are subject to confirmation (that's the way it works) and we require them to take the oath of office to uphold the constitution which involves upholding the right to bear arms and uphold equal protection under the law.  If she is honest, she will decline the oath and the search for a good liberal justice will start anew. 

Seriously, this process should become a conversation between the party competing for power and trust and the American people about the meaning of the constitution and it should become a challenge to the leftist machine's views and methods BEFORE they win another lifetime appointment. Why do they think it is okay to change (AMEND) the constitution WITHOUT going through the rigorous amendment process spelled out in the CONSTITUTION.

For example, should free health care or ANY kind of FEDERALLY subsidized health care be a right for anyone? If yes, then great, start working on getting support from 2/3 of the house, 2/3 of the senate and 3/4th of the state legislatures and make it a constitutional right. 

How about an amendment to abolish private property rights, that your right to stay put in your home depends on the whim of your city council and 5 justices supporting Kelo!  Let's get that issue on the agenda in 50 states as we consider another forced quota and distributionist for a lifetime of mockery 'upholding' the limits on government.
Frequent Poster
Posts: 74

« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2009, 01:43:01 PM »

Amen DougMacG!!!! grin You are preaching to the choir here.She isn't qualified. McCain said that he didn't feel that she was qualified to be a ciruit judge .How ever when asked about her being a supreme court judge he turned all milktoast. undecided God I hate progressives libs and repubs alike.

Frequent Poster
Posts: 74

« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2009, 01:51:26 PM »

Here is another Sotomayor ruking overturned:

Sonia Sotomayor: Environmental extremist?
May 26, 2009
Obama Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor represents a potential threat to U.S. consumers and to the economy in terms of energy and the environment.

In her 2007 Second Circuit decision in Riverkeeper, Inc. v. EPA 475 F. 3d 83, Judge Sotomayor sided with extreme green groups who had sued the U.S. EPA because the agency permitted cost-benefit analysis to be used in the determination of environmental protection technology for power plant cooling water intake structures.

Fortunately, Judge Sotomayor’s decision was recently overturned by the Supreme Court, fittingly on April 1, 2009 (Entergy v. Riverkeeper, No. 07-588).

Had the EPA been required to abide by Judge Sotomayor’s decision, American consumers would have been forced to pay billions of dollars more in energy costs every year as power plants producing more than one-half of the nation’s electricity would have had to undertake expensive retrofits.

President Obama said this weekend in an interview that,

“What I want is not just ivory tower learning. I want somebody who has the intellectual firepower but also a little bit of a common touch and a practical sense of how the world works.”

But Sotomayor didn’t have too much of a “common touch” and “practical sense” when it came to the cost-benefit analysis.

Senators should probe whether Judge Sotomayor lacks the common-sense realization that the benefits of environmental regulation ought to outweigh its costs — a worldview with ominous implications given the nation’s present rush toward cap-and-tax global warming regulation and other green mindlessness.

« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2009, 07:24:45 PM »

The Case Against Sotomayor
Indictments of Obama's front-runner to replace Souter.

Jeffrey Rosen,  The New Republic  Published: Monday, May 04, 2009

This is the first in a series of reports by TNR legal affairs editor Jeffrey Rosen about the strengths and weaknesses of the leading candidates on Barack Obama's Supreme Court shortlist.

A judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Sonia Sotomayor's biography is so compelling that many view her as the presumptive front-runner for Obama's first Supreme Court appointment. She grew up in the South Bronx, the daughter of Puerto Rican parents. Her father, a manual laborer who never attended high school, died a year after she was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of eight. She was raised by her mother, a nurse, and went to Princeton and then Yale Law School. She worked as a New York assistant district attorney and commercial litigator before Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan recommended her as a district court nominee to the first President Bush. She would be the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, if you don't count Benjamin Cardozo. (She went to Catholic schools and would also be the sixth Catholic justice on the current Supreme Court if she is, in fact, Catholic, which isn't clear from her official biography.) And she has powerful supporters: Last month, the two senators from New York wrote to President Obama in a burst of demographic enthusiasm, urging him to appoint Sotomayor or Ken Salazar.

Sotomayor's former clerks sing her praises as a demanding but thoughtful boss whose personal experiences have given her a commitment to legal fairness. "She is a rule-bound pragmatist--very geared toward determining what the right answer is and what the law dictates, but her general approach is, unsurprisingly, influenced by her unique background," says one former clerk. "She grew up in a situation of disadvantage, and was able, by virtue of the system operating in such a fair way, to accomplish what she did. I think she sees the law as an instrument that can accomplish the same thing for other people, a system that, if administered fairly, can give everyone the fair break they deserve, regardless of who they are."

Her former clerks report that because Sotomayor is divorced and has no children, her clerks become like her extended family--working late with her, visiting her apartment once a month for card games (where she remembers their favorite drinks), and taking a field trip together to the premier of a Harry Potter movie.

But despite the praise from some of her former clerks, and warm words from some of her Second Circuit colleagues, there are also many reservations about Sotomayor. Over the past few weeks, I've been talking to a range of people who have worked with her, nearly all of them former law clerks for other judges on the Second Circuit or former federal prosecutors in New York. Most are Democrats and all of them want President Obama to appoint a judicial star of the highest intellectual caliber who has the potential to change the direction of the court. Nearly all of them acknowledged that Sotomayor is a presumptive front-runner, 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, as well as a clear liberal alternative.

The most consistent concern was that Sotomayor, although an able lawyer, was "not that smart and kind of a bully on the bench," as one former Second Circuit clerk for another judge put it. "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." (During one argument, an elderly judicial colleague is said to have leaned over and said, "Will you please stop talking and let them talk?") Second Circuit judge Jose Cabranes, who would later become her colleague, put this point more charitably in a 1995 interview with The New York Times: "She is not intimidated or overwhelmed by the eminence or power or prestige of any party, or indeed of the media."

Her opinions, although competent, are viewed by former prosecutors as not especially clean or tight, and sometimes miss the forest for the trees. It's customary, for example, for Second Circuit judges to circulate their draft opinions to invite a robust exchange of views. Sotomayor, several former clerks complained, rankled her colleagues by sending long memos that didn't distinguish between substantive and trivial points, with petty editing suggestions--fixing typos and the like--rather than focusing on the core analytical issues.

Some former clerks and prosecutors expressed concerns about her command of technical legal details: In 2001, for example, a conservative colleague, Ralph Winter, included an unusual footnote in a case suggesting that an earlier opinion by Sotomayor might have inadvertently misstated the law in a way that misled litigants. The most controversial case in which Sotomayor participated is Ricci v. DeStefano, the explosive case involving affirmative action in the New Haven fire department, which is now being reviewed by the Supreme Court. A panel including Sotomayor ruled against the firefighters in a perfunctory unpublished opinion. This provoked Judge Cabranes, a fellow Clinton appointee, to object to the panel's opinion that contained "no reference whatsoever to the constitutional issues at the core of this case." (The extent of Sotomayor's involvement in the opinion itself is not publicly known.)

Not all the former clerks for other judges I talked to were skeptical about Sotomayor. "I know the word on the street is that she's not the brainiest of people, but I didn't have that experience," said one former clerk for another judge. "She's an incredibly impressive person, she's not shy or apologetic about who she is, and that's great." This supporter praised Sotomayor for not being a wilting violet. "She commands attention, she's clearly in charge, she speaks her mind, she's funny, she's voluble, and she has ownership over the role in a very positive way," she said. "She's a fine Second Circuit judge--maybe not the smartest ever, but how often are Supreme Court nominees the smartest ever?"

I haven't read enough of Sotomayor's opinions to have a confident sense of them, nor have I talked to enough of Sotomayor's detractors and supporters, to get a fully balanced picture of her strengths. It's possible that the former clerks and former prosecutors I talked to have an incomplete picture of her abilities. But they're not motivated by sour grapes or by ideological disagreement--they'd like the most intellectually powerful and politically effective liberal justice possible. And they think that Sotomayor, although personally and professionally impressive, may not meet that demanding standard. Given the stakes, the president should obviously satisfy himself that he has a complete picture before taking a gamble.

Jeffrey Rosen is the legal affairs editor at The New Republic.
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« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2009, 11:07:24 PM »

Exclusive: The Truth About 'La Raza'
by  Rep. Charlie Norwood

The nation's television screens many days recently have been filled with scenes of huge crowds carrying the colorful green and red flag of Mexico viewers could well have thought it was a national holiday in Mexico City.

It was instead, downtown Los Angeles, Calif., although the scene was recreated in numerous other cities around the country with substantial Mexican populations. Hordes of Mexican expatriates, many here illegally, were protesting the very U.S. immigration laws they were violating with impunity. They found it offensive and a violation of their rights that the U.S. dared to have immigration laws to begin with.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa mounted the podium, but any hopes that he would quiet the crowds and defend the law were soon dashed. Villaraigosa, himself, has spent a lifetime opposing U.S. immigration law.

For law-abiding Americans without knowledge of the dark side of our current illegal immigration crisis, all this is unfathomable. For those who know the truth about the "La Raza" movement, these demonstrations were a prophecy fulfilled.

It is past time for all Americans to know what is at the root of this outrageous behavior, and the extent to which the nation is at risk because of "La Raza" -- The Race.

There are many immigrant groups joined in the overall "La Raza" movement. The most prominent and mainstream organization is the National Council de La Raza -- the Council of "The Race".

To most of the mainstream media, most members of Congress, and even many of their own members, the National Council of La Raza is no more than a Hispanic Rotary Club.

But the National Council of La Raza succeeded in raking in over $15.2 million in federal grants last year alone, of which $7.9 million was in U.S. Department of Education grants for Charter Schools, and undisclosed amounts were for get-out-the-vote efforts supporting La Raza political positions.

The Council of La Raza succeeded in having itself added to congressional hearings by Republican House and Senate leaders. And an anonymous senator even gave the Council of La Raza an extra $4 million in earmarked taxpayer money, supposedly for "housing reform," while La Raza continues to lobby the Senate for virtual open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens.

The Mexican flag flew over a crowd of pro-amnesty marchers in New York. Marches like this across the U.S. have been supported by the “La Raza” movement. (Reuters/Seth Wenig)
Radical 'Reconquista' Agenda

Behind the respectable front of the National Council of La Raza lies the real agenda of the La Raza movement, the agenda that led to those thousands of illegal immigrants in the streets of American cities, waving Mexican flags, brazenly defying our laws, and demanding concessions.

Key among the secondary organizations is the radical racist group Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, or Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan (MEChA), one of the most anti-American groups in the country, which has permeated U.S. campuses since the 1960s, and continues its push to carve a racist nation out of the American West.

One of America's greatest strengths has always been taking in immigrants from cultures around the world, and assimilating them into our country as Americans. By being citizens of the U.S. we are Americans first, and only, in our national loyalties.

This is totally opposed by MEChA for the hordes of illegal immigrants pouring across our borders, to whom they say:

"Chicano is our identity; it defines who we are as people. It rejects the notion that we...should assimilate into the Anglo-American melting pot...Aztlan was the legendary homeland of the Aztecas ... It became synonymous with the vast territories of the Southwest, brutally stolen from a Mexican people marginalized and betrayed by the hostile custodians of the Manifest Destiny." (Statement on University of Oregon MEChA Website, Jan. 3, 2006)

MEChA isn't at all shy about their goals, or their views of other races. Their founding principles are contained in these words in "El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan" (The Spiritual Plan for Aztlan):

"In the spirit of a new people that is conscious not only of its proud historical heritage but also of the brutal gringo invasion of our territories, we, the Chicano inhabitants and civilizers of the northern land of Aztlan from whence came our forefathers, reclaiming the land of their birth and consecrating the determination of our people of the sun, declare that the call of our blood is our power, our responsibility, and our inevitable destiny. ... Aztlan belongs to those who plant the seeds, water the fields, and gather the crops and not to the foreign Europeans. ... We are a bronze people with a bronze culture. Before the world, before all of North America, before all our brothers in the bronze continent, we are a nation, we are a union of free pueblos, we are Aztlan. For La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada."

That closing two-sentence motto is chilling to everyone who values equal rights for all. It says: "For The Race everything. Outside The Race, nothing."

If these morally sickening MEChA quotes were coming from some fringe website, Americans could at least console themselves that it was just a small group of nuts behind it. Nearly every racial and ethnic group has some shady characters and positions in its past and some unbalanced individuals today claiming racial superiority and demanding separatism. But this is coming straight from the official MEChA sites at Georgetown University, the University of Texas, UCLA, University of Michigan, University of Colorado, University of Oregon, and many other colleges and universities around the country.

MEChA was in fact reported to be one of the main organizers of those street demonstrations we witnessed over the past weeks. That helps explain why those hordes of illegal immigrants weren't asking for amnesty -- they were demanding an end to U.S. law, period. Unlike past waves of immigrants who sought to become responsible members of American society, these protesters reject American society altogether, because they have been taught that America rightfully belongs to them.

MEChA and the La Raza movement teach that Colorado, California, Arizona, Texas, Utah, New Mexico, Oregon and parts of Washington State make up an area known as "Aztlan" -- a fictional ancestral homeland of the Aztecs before Europeans arrived in North America. As such, it belongs to the followers of MEChA. These are all areas America should surrender to "La Raza" once enough immigrants, legal or illegal, enter to claim a majority, as in Los Angeles. The current borders of the United States will simply be extinguished.

This plan is what is referred to as the "Reconquista" or reconquest, of the Western U.S.

But it won't end with territorial occupation and secession. The final plan for the La Raza movement includes the ethnic cleansing of Americans of European, African, and Asian descent out of "Aztlan."

As Miguel Perez of Cal State-Northridge's MEChA chapter has been quoted as saying: "The ultimate ideology is the liberation of Aztlan. Communism would be closest [to it]. Once Aztlan is established, ethnic cleansing would commence: Non-Chicanos would have to be expelled -- opposition groups would be quashed because you have to keep power."

MEChA Plants

Members of these radical, anti-American, racist organizations are frequently smoothly polished into public respectability by the National Council of La Raza.

Former MEChA members include Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was officially endorsed by La Raza for mayor and was awarded La Raza's Graciela Olivarez Award. Now we know why he refuses to condemn a sea of foreign flags in his city. California Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante is also a former MEChA member. He delivered the keynote address at La Raza's 2002 Annual Convention.

The National Council of La Raza and its allies in public office make no repudiation of the radical MEChA and its positions. In fact, as recently as 2003, La Raza was actively funding MEChA, according to federal tax records.

Imagine Robert Byrd's refusing to disavow the views of the KKK, or if Strom Thurmond had failed to admit segregation was wrong. Imagine Heritage or Brookings Foundation making grants to the American Nazi Party.

Is the National Council of La Raza itself a racist organization? Regardless of the organization's suspect ties, the majority of its members are not. When one examines all the organization's activities, they are commendable non-profit projects, such as education and housing programs.

But even these defensible efforts raise the question of whether education and housing programs funded with federal tax dollars should be used in programs specifically targeted to benefit just one ethnic group.

La Raza defenders usually respond by calling anyone making these allegations "a racist" for having called attention to La Raza's racist links. All the groups and public officials with ties to the La Raza movement can take a big step towards disproving these allegations by simply following the examples of Senators Byrd and Thurmond and repenting of their past ways.

If they are unwilling to admit past misdeeds, they can at least state -- unequivocally -- that they officially oppose the racist and anti-American positions of MEChA, and any other groups that espouse similar views.

Through public appearances, written statements, and on their respective websites, La Raza groups and allies must:

1. Denounce the motto "For La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada," as repugnant, racist, and totally incompatible with American society or citizenship.

2. Acknowledge the right of all Americans to live wherever they choose in the U.S. without segregation.

3. Commit to sponsorship of nationwide educational programs to combat racism and anti-Semitism in the Hispanic community.

4. Denounce and sever all ties with MEChA and any other organizations with which they have ever been associated which held to the racist doctrines held by MEChA.

5. Acknowledge the internationally recognized borders of the U.S., the right of the citizens of the U.S. to determine immigration policy through the democratic process, and the right of the U.S. to undertake any and all necessary steps to effectively enforce immigration law and defend its border against unauthorized entry.

6. Repudiate all claims that current American territory rightfully belongs to Mexico.

If the National Council of La Raza, other La Raza groups, and local and national political leaders with past ties and associations with the radical elements of the La Raza movement can publicly issue such a statement and live by every one of these principles, they should be welcomed into the American public policy arena, with past sins -- real or imaginary -- forgiven.

If they cannot publicly and fully support these principles, Congress needs to take appropriate steps and immediately bar any group refusing to comply from receiving any future federal funds. Both the House and Senate should strike these groups from testifying before any committees, and the White House should sever all ties. Both political parties should disengage from any further contact with these groups and individuals.

There are plenty of decent, patriotic Hispanic organizations and elected officials to provide Congress with necessary feedback on specific issues confronting Americans of Latino heritage. Any group or individual who can agree with the simple six points should be welcomed into that fold.

If not, the American people will know there's a wolf in their midst, and take the necessary precautions to defend our Republic against an enemy.

Mr. Norwood, a Republican, represents the 9th District of Georgia.
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« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2009, 02:09:21 AM »

Ummm, , , why is this piece in this thread?  Wouldn't this better belong in Immigration Issues or American Creed over on our SCH forum?
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« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2009, 08:28:03 AM »

Sotomayor is a member of "La Raza" and these are her politics.
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« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2009, 08:37:30 AM »

Sonia Sotomayor 'La Raza member'
American Bar Association lists Obama choice as part of group
Posted: May 27, 2009
11:20 pm Eastern

By Joe Kovacs
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

As President Obama's Supreme Court nominee comes under heavy fire for allegedly being a "racist," Judge Sonia Sotomayor is listed as a member of the National Council of La Raza, a group that's promoted driver's licenses for illegal aliens, amnesty programs, and no immigration law enforcement by local and state police.

According the American Bar Association, Sotomayor is a member of the NCLR, which bills itself as the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S.

Meaning "the Race," La Raza also has connections to groups that advocate the separation of several southwestern states from the rest of America.

Over the past two days, Sotomayor has been heavily criticized for her racially charged statement: "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."

The remark was actually made during a 2001 speech at the University of California's Berkeley School of Law. The lecture was published the following year in the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal.

Could Mexico retake the southwestern United States? Get the DVD that says the invasion is already happening!

The comment is being zeroed in on by voices from the political right.

"I'm not saying she's a racist, but the statement sure is," columnist Ann Coulter said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a latina woman,'" blogged former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga. "Wouldn't they have to withdraw? New racism is no better than old racism. A white man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw." 

Radio's Rush Limbaugh noted, "And the libs of course say that minorities cannot be racists because they don't have the power to implement their racism. Well, those days are gone because reverse racists certainly do have the power to implement their power. Obama is the greatest living example of a reverse racist, and now he's appointed one. ..."

But others are suggesting Sotomayor's racial views will have little impact on her confirmation to the bench.

"She's gonna get confirmed. Get out of the way of the truck," political analyst Dick Morris said tonight on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor."

Host Bill O'Reilly responded, "The core conservative person ... does not understand that the GOP is shrinking and needs to expand."

The NCLR is applauding the Obama for his selection of Sotomayor.

"Today is a monumental day for Latinos. Finally, we see ourselves represented on the highest court in the land," said Janet Murguia, NCLR's president and CEO.

La Raza also praised former President George W. Bush for nominating Alberto Gonzales to succeed John Ashcroft as attorney general.

As WND previously reported, La Raza was condemned in 2007 by former U.S. Rep. Charles Norwood, R-Ga., as a radical "pro-illegal immigration lobbying organization that supports racist groups calling for the secession of the western United States as a Hispanic-only homeland."

Norwood urged La Raza to renounce its support of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan – which sees "the Race" as part of an ethnic group that one day will reclaim Aztlan, the mythical birthplace of the Aztecs. In Chicano folklore, Aztlan includes California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Texas.
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« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2009, 08:42:04 AM »

Well, now it makes sense and this could be serious.  La Raza IS a racist and a seditious organizatin IMHO.  Also to be noted IMHO is that IMHO, this particular source "World Net Daily" often hyperventilates, omits pertinent facts, and in general is not my idea of a reliable source in its own right-- though, as appears to be the case here, it can serve to flag an important issue/question for worthier sources to investigate.
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« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2009, 08:58:42 AM »

Oh ye of little faith. There is always a reason for everything I post.

« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2009, 01:47:13 PM »

Felon Voting: Another Troubling Sotomayor Decision
 Posted May 29th, 2009 at 11.37am in Rule of Law.

One of the biggest annoyances to the Left in recent years has been the Constitutional right of states to prohibit felons from voting. They have filed lawsuit after lawsuit (unsuccessfully) under the Voting Rights Act trying to overturn these laws. Fortunately, except for the Ninth Circuit (as usual), other circuit courts of appeal have properly recognized the constitutional authority of the states and have also held that the legislative history shows that Congress obviously did not consider such state laws to be subject to the prohibitions in the Voting Rights Act.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution specifically recognizes the rights of states to abridge the right to vote “for participation in rebellion, or other crime.” As the Second Circuit recognized in 2006 in Hayden v. Pataki, 449 F.3d 305 (2d Cir. 2006), when it upheld New York’s law prohibiting incarcerated felons from voting, there were specific statements in the House and Senate Judiciary Committee Reports and on the Senate floor explicitly excluding felon disenfranchisement laws from provisions of the Voting Rights Act. In fact, this was so clearly the case that there were several unsuccessful attempts in the 1970’s by some in Congress to amend the VRA to have it apply to such state laws.

Yet in a dissenting opinion in Hayden, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, disagreed. She thought that the majority’s extensive look into the history of the Voting Rights Act, the legislative comments, and the felon disenfranchisement rights of states as outlined in the Fourteenth Amendment were a waste of time. Since the Voting Rights Act “applies to all voting qualifications” and the New York statute “disqualifies a group of people from voting,” that should “constitute the entirety of [the court’s] analysis.” Sotomayor then makes the duplicitous claim that she is just upholding the statute, saying that “even if Congress had doubts about the wisdom of subjecting felon disenfranchisement laws to the results test of §2 [of the Voting Rights Act], I trust that Congress would prefer to make any needed changes itself, rather than have courts do so for it.” Far from this modest result, she was actually proposing that the courts alter the statute by applying it to state laws to which Congress never intended the law to apply, and for good reason.

Even more disturbing is the implication of her opinion that Congress could by statute run roughshod over express constitutional protections – in this case one that reserves a right to the states to determine whether criminals (even those in prison!) should be permitted to vote in their elections.

The plaintiffs in this case rested their claim on the strained theory that restrictions on felons voting disproportionately impact minorities. This is yet another sad example where Judge Sotomayor appears to have allowed her views on race to supersede the clear requirement of the law.
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« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2009, 10:32:42 PM »

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.

Ismael Roldan
 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. The media gurus complied, with inspiring stories of how she was born to Puerto Rican immigrants, how she was raised by a single mom in a Bronx housing project, how she went on to Princeton and then Yale. In the years that followed she presumably issued a judicial opinion here or there, but whatever.

The president, after all, had taken great pains to explain that this is more than an American success story. Rather, it is Judge Sotomayor's biography that uniquely qualifies her to sit on the nation's highest bench -- that gives her the "empathy" to rule wisely. Judge Sotomayor agrees: "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," she said in 2001.

If so, perhaps we can expect her to join in opinions with the wise and richly experienced Clarence Thomas. That would be the same Justice Thomas who lost his father, and was raised by his mother in a rural Georgia town, in a shack without running water, until he was sent to his grandfather. The same Justice Thomas who had to work every day after school, though he was not allowed to study at the Savannah Public Library because he was black. The same Justice Thomas who became the first in his family to go to college and receive a law degree from Yale.

By the president's measure, the nation couldn't find a more empathetic referee than Justice Thomas. And yet here's what Mr. Obama had to say last year when Pastor Rick Warren asked him about the Supreme Court: "I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas. I don't think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation."

In other words, nine months ago Mr. Obama thought that the primary qualification for the High Court was the soundness of a nominee's legal thinking, or at least that's what Democrats have always stressed when working against a conservative judge. Throughout the Bush years, it was standard Democratic senatorial practice to comb through every last opinion, memo, job application and college term paper, all with an aim of creating a nominee "too extreme" or "unqualified" to sit on the federal bench.

Mr. Obama knows this, as he took part in it, joining a Senate minority who voted against both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito. Mr. Obama also understands a discussion of Judge Sotomayor's legal thinking means a discussion about "judicial activism" -- a political loser. In a day when voters routinely rise up to rebuke their activist courts on issues ranging from gay marriage to property rights, few red-state Democrats want to go there. Moreover, a number of Judge Sotomayor's specific legal opinions -- whether on racial preferences, or gun restrictions -- put her to the left of most Americans.

Which brings us to 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. The Beltway media also dutifully latched on to this White House talking point, reporting threats from leading Democrats, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who intoned that Republicans "oppose her at their peril."

This would be the same Mr. Schumer who had this to say about Miguel Estrada, President Bush's Hispanic nominee (who, by the way, came to this country as an immigrant from Honduras) to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2002: Mr. Estrada "is like a Stealth missile -- with a nose cone -- coming out of the right wing's deepest silo." That would be the same Mr. Schumer who ambushed Mr. Estrada in a Senate hearing, smearing him with allegations made by unnamed former associates. That would be the same Mr. Schumer who sat on the Judiciary Committee, where leaked memos later showed that Democrats feared Mr. Estrada would use a position on the D.C. Circuit as a launching pad to become the nation's . . . first Hispanic Supreme Court judge. Two tortured years later, Mr. Estrada withdrew, after the Democrats waged seven filibusters against a confirmation vote.

Republicans will be tempted by this history to go ugly. They might instead lay down their own rules, the first being that they will not partake in the tactics of personal destruction that were waged by the left on nominees such as Mr. Thomas or Mr. Alito or Mr. Estrada. But the party could also make a rule to not be scared away from using Judge Sotomayor's nomination, or future Obama picks, as platforms for big, civil, thorough debates about the role of the courts and the risk of activist judges to American freedoms and beliefs.

Write to

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« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2009, 10:58:22 AM »

WASHINGTON — In 1996, Judge Sonia Sotomayor delivered a speech comparing campaign contributions to “bribes” and asking whether elected officials could credibly say they were “representing only the general public good, when private money plays such a large role” in helping them win office.

“If they cannot, the public must demand a change in the role of private money or find other ways, such as through strict, well-enforced regulation, to ensure that politicians are not inappropriately influenced in their legislative or executive decision-making by the interests that give them contributions,” she said.

The 1996 speech, a version of which was later published in a law journal, is not the only public marker in the record of Judge Sotomayor, who is now President Obama’s Supreme Court choice, on campaign finance regulations.

Judge Sotomayor has ruled in several cases for outcomes favorable to proponents of campaign restrictions. And before she became a judge, she spent four years on the New York City Campaign Finance Board, which enforces election spending laws, and where, board minutes and other records obtained by The New York Times show, she took an active role.

“People who are First Amendment absolutists are not going to be thrilled with her positions in these cases,” said Richard L. Hasen, a Loyola Law School Los Angeles professor who specializes in election law. “But people who support reasonable regulation of the political system are going to be more in favor of the kind of positions she has taken.”

Several important cases about campaign finance regulations could eventually reach the Supreme Court, including a case challenging contribution limits on independent groups that run political advertisements and another in which the Republican National Committee has brought a fresh challenge to the ban on unregulated “soft money” in elections.

The constitutionality of campaign finance laws has been one of the hardest-fought issues at the Supreme Court in recent years, generating some of its highest-profile rulings.

In 2003, the court voted 5 to 4 to uphold the 2002 McCain-Feingold law, which banned soft money — contributions not subject to donor limits — to political parties for use in campaigns. But the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 2006 and her replacement by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. created a new majority bloc that has struck down campaign regulations in several more recent cases.

Justice David H. Souter, whom Judge Sotomayor would succeed if confirmed, has been among the faction willing to uphold such laws. “Sotomayor’s replacement of Souter won’t change the balance on the court in this area — so it means they won’t become more hostile to regulation as a result of this change,” said Richard Briffault, an election law specialist at Columbia Law School who has worked on issues related to the Campaign Finance Board. “This may be a good example of where this will be pretty close to a one-for-one substitution.”

Judge Sotomayor’s engagement with campaign finance regulations dates back to 1988, when Peter L. Zimroth, New York’s corporation counsel, said he recommended that Mayor Edward I. Koch appoint her to the city’s new Campaign Finance Board.

The board members, including Ms. Sotomayor, became pioneers in developing a voluntary program in which local candidates receive public matching money in exchange for accepting disclosure requirements and limits on contributions and spending.

Board minutes provide a glimpse: Ms. Sotomayor, then in private practice, grilled one politician over why his campaign reported receiving some cash contributions as checks, requested a study “on the ethnicity and sex” of program participants, and reviewed the Spanish translation of voter guides.

At other times, Ms. Sotomayor noted approvingly that the program appeared to be encouraging more challengers, and also warned that a certain proposed action “might be construed as a partisan move.” On rare occasions, she dissented from board votes, including a decision to penalize the 1989 mayoral campaign of David N. Dinkins over paperwork problems. The minutes do not say what her specific objections were.

Ms. Sotomayor resigned from the board when she became a federal judge in 1992. But the experience seems to have helped shape her views. In addition to her 1996 speech warning about the influence of money in politics which she wrote with Nicole Gordon, a former executive director of the Campaign Finance Board — she went on to issue rulings in several cases that endorsed election regulations.

For example, as Mr. Hasen noted in a recent blog post, she upheld a law that forbids paying signature-gatherers by the number of people they get to sign petitions. She also upheld a law that prevented minor political parties from gaining official status on ballots.

That record is not without exception. In 2005, she voted to strike down the State of New York’s method of choosing judges, a ruling the Supreme Court overturned.

Still, after a panel of her colleagues upheld a Vermont campaign finance law that imposed strict contribution and spending limits on campaigns, she voted not to rehear the case. The Supreme Court later struck down the Vermont law.

Judge Sotomayor’s record on campaign finance regulations has not gone unnoticed. The Center for Competitive Politics, which opposes such limits, has noted her views with concern, declaring she is “not the Supreme Court nominee we wanted.”

But Democracy 21, which supports such regulations, argued that her “views are within the mainstream of the Court’s well-established First Amendment jurisprudence and consistent with the exercise of robust free speech rights.”

Itai Maytal contributed research.
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2009, 12:50:35 PM »

When Democrats derailed a GOP Latino nominee

By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
05/29/09 12:05 AM EDT

Unless something entirely unforeseen happens, confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor will be a lovefest for the Democrats who run the Senate Judiciary Committee.  There will be much talk about Sotomayor's historic opportunity to become the first Hispanic on the Court, about her inspiring background, and about the sterling qualifications she would bring to the job.  Sotomayor will have the majority party strongly on her side, and odds are things will end happily for her.

For some Republicans, however, it will be hard to avoid thinking back a few years, to a confirmation hearing that didn't end happily at all.  In 2001, President George W. Bush nominated former Justice Department lawyer Miguel Estrada to a seat on the federal courts of appeals.  In that instance, as today, the nominee was was a Hispanic with a compelling story and impressive qualifications.  And some of the very people who are today praising Sotomayor spent their time devising extraordinary measures to kill Estrada's chances.

Born in Honduras, Estrada came to the United States at 17, not knowing a word of English.  He learned the language almost instantly, and within a few years was graduating with honors from Columbia University and heading off to Harvard Law School.  He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, was a prosecutor in New York, and worked at the Justice Department in Washington before entering private practice.

Estrada's nomination for a federal judgeship set off alarm bells among Democrats.  There is a group of left-leaning organizations -- People for the American Way, NARAL, the Alliance for Justice, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the NAACP, and others -- that work closely with Senate Democrats to promote Democratic judicial nominations and kill Republican ones.  They were particularly concerned about Estrada.

In November, 2001, representatives of those groups met with Democratic Senate staff.  One of those staffers then wrote a memo to Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin, informing Durbin that the groups wanted to stall Bush nominees, particularly three they had identified as good targets.  "They also identified Miguel Estrada as especially dangerous," the staffer added, "because he has a minimal paper trail, he is Latino, and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment.  They want to hold Estrada off as long as possible."

It was precisely the fact that Estrada was Hispanic that made Democrats and their activist allies want to kill his nomination.  They were determined to deny a Republican White House credit, political and otherwise, for putting a first-rate Hispanic nominee on the bench.

Durbin and his colleagues did as they were instructed.  But they had nothing with which to kill the nomination -- no outrageous statement by Estrada, no ethical lapse, no nothing.  What to do?

They brainstormed. Estrada had once worked in the Justice Department's Office of Solicitor General, right? (Appointed under the first President Bush, Estrada stayed to serve several years under Clinton.)  That office decides which cases the government will pursue in the Supreme Court, right? And that process involves confidential legal memoranda, right?  Well, why don't we suggest that there might be something damaging in those memos -- we have no idea whether there is or not -- and demand that they be made public?

Durbin and his colleagues knew the Bush Justice Department would insist the internal legal memos remain confidential, as they always had been.  It wasn’t just the Bush Administration that thought releasing the documents was a terrible idea; all seven living former Solicitors General, Republican and Democrat, wrote a letter to Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy begging him to back off.

But the Democrats didn't back off.  They had a new, very serious question to ask: What is Miguel Estrada hiding?

The answer was nothing, of course.  But the strategy worked.  Democrats stonewalled Estrada's nomination, and, after losing control of the Senate in 2002, they began an unprecedented round of filibusters to block an entire slate of Bush appeals-courts nominees, Estrada among them.  The confirmation process ground to a halt.  More than two years after his nomination was announced, Estrada, tired of what appeared to be an endless runaround, withdrew his name from consideration. Instead of being on the federal bench, he is now in private practice in Washington.

And that was how Democrats treated the last high-level Hispanic court nominee.  Think about that when you watch their lovefest with Sonia Sotomayor.

Find this article at:
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« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2009, 07:44:43 AM »

"Let's play grown-up." When I was a child, that's what we said when we ran out of things to do like playing potsie or throwing rocks in the vacant lot. You'd go in and take your father's hat and your mother's purse and walk around saying, "Would you like tea?" In retrospect we weren't imitating our parents but parents on TV, who wore pearls and suits. But the point is we amused ourselves trying to be little adults.

Chad Crowe
 And that's what the GOP should do right now: play grown-up.

The Democrats in the White House have been doing it since January, operating with a certain decorum, a kind of assumption as to their natural stature. Obamaland is very different from the last Democratic administration, Bill Clinton's. The cliché is true: White House staffs reflect their presidents. Mr. Clinton's staff was human, colorful, messy, slightly mad. They had pent-up energy after 12 years of Republican rule, and they believed their own propaganda that Republicans were wicked. They were oafish: One dragooned a government helicopter to go play golf. President Obama's staff is far less entertaining. They're smooth, impeccable, sophisticated, like the boss. They don't hate Republicans but think they're missing a few chips (empathy, logic, How Things Really Work). It is true they don't know what they don't know, but what they do know (how to quietly seize and hold power, for instance—they now run the American auto industry), they know pretty well.

But back to Sonia Sotomayor, which is my subject.

She is of course a brilliant political pick—Hispanic when Republicans have trouble with Hispanics, a woman when they've had trouble with women. Her background (public housing, Nuyorican, Catholic school, Princeton, prominence) is as moving as Clarence Thomas's, and that is moving indeed. Politically she's like a beautiful doll containing a canister of poison gas: Break her and you die.

The New York Post's front page the day after her announcement said it all: "Suprema!" with a picture of the radiant nominee. New York is proud of her; I'm proud of our country and grateful at its insistence, in a time when some say the American dream is dead, that it most certainly is not. The dream is: You can come from any place or condition, any walk of life, and rise to the top, taking your people with you, in your heart and theirs. Maybe that's what they mean by empathy: Where you come from enters you, and you bring it with you as you rise. But if that's what they mean, then we're all empathetic. We're the most fluid society in human history, but no one ever leaves their zip code in America, we all take it with us. It's part of our pride. And it's not bad, it's good.

Some, and they are idiots, look at Judge Sotomayor and say: attack, attack, kill. A conservative activist told the New York Times, "We need to brand her." Another told me a fight is needed to excite the base.

Excite the base? How about excite a moderate, or interest an independent? How about gain the attention of people who aren't already on your side?

The base is plenty excited already, as you know if you've ever read a comment thread on a conservative blog. Comment-thread conservatives, like their mirror-image warriors on the left ("Worst person in the woooorrrlllddd!") are perpetually agitated, permanently enraged. They don't need to be revved, they're already revved. Newt Gingrich twitters that Judge Sotomayor is a racist. Does anyone believe that? He should rest his dancing thumbs, stop trying to position himself as the choice and voice of the base in 2012, and think.

A few—very few—agitate to go at Judge Sotomayor as the Democrats went after Robert Bork in 1987. The abuse suffered by that good man is a still suppurating wound within the GOP, but it is also a wound for the Democrats, the worst kind, a self-inflicted one. They damaged our national political culture and lowered their own standing with their assault, and their victory left them looking not strong and uncompromising but mean and ferocious. And on some level they know it. Ask Ted Kennedy, if he had it to do over again, if he would repeat all his intemperate and unjust words about "Bob Bork's America" and "back-alley abortions" and blacks turned away from lunch counters. He'd be a fool if he said yes. He damaged himself in that battle.

The choice for Republicans isn't between "attack" and "roll over." It's broader than that, and more interesting. There's a new and fresh opportunity here for Republicans in the Senate to be serious, and, in their seriousness, to be seen and understood in a new light.

Serious opposition to Judge Sotomayor is not only fair, it's necessary: It's your job to oppose if you oppose. But it should be serious, not merely partisan. Mr. Obama himself well knows he voted against John Roberts and Sam Alito only in essence because they were conservative. He was planning a presidential run and playing to a left-wing base. But that didn't enhance his reputation, did it? Not with anyone who wasn't part of his base.

Barring extraordinary revelations, Judge Sotomayor is going to be confirmed. She's going to win. She does not appear to be as liberal or left-wing as others who could have been picked. She seems reminiscent of the justice she will replace, David Souter. She will likely come across in hearings as smart, spirited, a middle-aged woman who's lived a life of grit, determination and American-dream proving.

Republicans can be liberated by the fact that they're outnumbered and likely about to lose. They can step back, breathe in, and use the Sotomayor confirmation hearings to perform a public service: Find out what the future justice thinks and why she thinks it, explain what they think and why they think it, look at the two different philosophies, if that's what they are. Don't make it sparring, make it thinking.

Don't grill and grandstand, summon and inform. Show the respect that expresses equality and the equality that is an expression of respect. Ask and listen, get the logic, explain where you think it wrong. Fill the airwaves with thoughtful exchanges.

Here are some areas: What is judicial activism? Is it sometimes more rightly called judicial presumption? Judge Sotomayor sided against the Connecticut firemen in the famous Ricci case—why? Was this empathy, or a very selective sympathy that resulted in the victimizing of human beings who were not members of a politically favored ethnic or racial group? What is affirmative action, when does it become quota making? How does she understand the Second Amendment? What did the Framers intend there? In what ways did her experience, upbringing and ethnicity contribute to her understanding of the law?

These are just a few fertile areas. There are more.

The odd thing Republican elected officials forget is that they often have the better argument. So used are they to the defensive crouch that they find it difficult to stand tall, expand, tell, hear. They should have more faith in the philosophical assumptions of their party, which so often reflect the wisdom of experience, of tradition, of Founders more brilliant than we.

This might be a good time for them to rediscover their faith in the American people, in their ability to listen, weigh and think. That thinking may not always show up immediately in polls, but it adds up in time and has its own weight, its own force, and future.

Trust them. They're grown-ups, even if they don't always dress the part.
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2009, 07:37:24 AM »

June 01, 2009, 4:00 a.m.

He’s Not Hispanic, He’s a Conservative
What Miguel Estrada’s ordeal should tell us about Sonia Sotomayor’s patrons.

By Kevin Williamson

In the waning days of the 2008 presidential campaign, an anti-Palin bumper sticker began appearing on the rusty backsides of Subarus across the fruited plains: “She’s Not a Woman, She’s a Republican!” There are two ways to read that: The intended reading is that Governor Palin’s conservatism negated whatever attraction her sex might have had for women and for practitioners of identity politics. Conservatives, with their meritocratic preferences, might have endorsed a slightly different reading: “Who cares about her sex? She believes in the right things.”

The latter reading probably would have been disingenuous. Republicans may not support affirmative action as such, but they are not naïve when it comes to electoral calculus. When Pres. George W. Bush nominated Miguel Estrada to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, there were no “He’s Not a Hispanic, He’s a Republican!” bumper-stickers, though there might as well have been. As Americans are treated to a fresh dose of racial essentialism and Hispanic grievance politics with the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, it is worth remembering how Estrada was treated by the same Democrats and leftist pressure groups that now celebrate, sanctimoniously, Sotomayor’s race-based views and President Obama’s implicit endorsement of them.

Byron York has an authoritative analysis of congressional Democrats’ two-faced take on Sotomayor and Estrada here. Behind closed doors, the Democrats were honest about Estrada, saying they had “identified Miguel Estrada as especially dangerous, because he has a minimal paper trail, he is Latino, and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment.” And while the most outrageous elements of the Democratic leadership’s abuse of Estrada have been much discussed, there is much that is entertaining, and despair-inducing, in the Democrats’ judicial strategy memos, compiled by the Wall Street Journal here. Sample: “Ultimately, if [Chairman Pat] Leahy insists on having an August hearing, it appears that the groups are willing to let [Timothy] Tymkovich [Tenth Circuit] go through (the core of the coalition made that decision last night, but they are checking with the gay rights groups).” There is something illuminating in that: The Democratic party is different from the Republican party in that it is bound more by coalitional politics, the politics of mutual interest, than by philosophy, and therefore the gay-rights groups held a veto over the nomination of Timothy Tymkovich to the Tenth Circuit.

Who held the veto power over Estrada’s nomination? It is always worth keeping in mind that the Democrats’ first and most important constituency is the media. What did the mainstream media have to say about Estrada? Dahlia Lithwick of Slate called the nomination “cynical” and accused Bush of “pandering.” Michel Martin, an ABC reporter — reporter, mind you, not an opinion commentator — dismissed Estrada as “an affirmative-action candidate.” Estrada enjoyed the highest possible rating from the American Bar Association, no friend of conservatives, and had a distinguished career in both private practice and government, but an ABC reporter felt comfortable describing him thus: “He is an affirmative-action candidate, as practiced by the Republican party and the conservative movement.” Martin, a former Washington Post hand and at one time the Wall Street Journal’s White House correspondent, has been knee-deep in grievance politics; among her efforts at ABC was the race-obsessed “America in Black and White.” Naturally, she has landed at NPR, the government’s green pasture for liberal mediocrities.

Martin also worked on the Clarence Thomas hearings, and that is significant. People for the American Way described Estrada as a “Latino Clarence Thomas.” And, as with that Palin bumper sticker, there are two ways of reading that. Suffice it to say that PFAW did not intend it as a compliment. Senator Kennedy, too, had Justice Thomas on the brain, fearing that Estrada would eventually end up on the Supreme Court. “If we allow a stealth right-winger on this court, we have only ourselves to blame,” he said. “We must filibuster Miguel Estrada’s nomination. The White House is almost telling us that they plan to nominate him to the Supreme Court. We can’t repeat the mistake we made with Clarence Thomas.” Kennedy was being dishonest, and not just out of habit: There was nothing stealthy about Justice Thomas’s legal opinions. By “stealth” Kennedy and other liberals meant “undercover,” specifically under the cover of brown skin. “He’s Not a Hispanic, He’s an Originalist!”

Or maybe not Hispanic at all. Just as white liberals have denounced government-aid critic Dambisa Moyo, an economist from Zambia, as being inauthentic in her Africanness, Estrada’s critics pronounced that he was not really Hispanic, in spite of being born and raised in Honduras. Angelo Falcon of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund did not find Estrada Hispanic enough: “It’s not good enough to simply say that because of someone’s genetics or surname that they should be considered Hispanic.”

Likewise, Rep. (now Sen.) Robert Menendez of New Jersey said Estrada simply “shares a surname” with Hispanics, but did not share their values, which, we must infer from the congressman’s analysis, are heritable traits — why else make the distinction? Menendez and Kennedy did a tag-team act in Congress, with Menendez denying Estrada’s Hispanic credentials and Kennedy resorting to cartoonish Hispanic stereotypes, fabricating, out of whole cloth, a “temperament” problem for Estrada, a “short fuse” and an inability to keep himself “even-tempered.” The appeal to the stereotype of the hot-headed Latino was not lost on observers. One Hispanic leader told Fox News that Kennedy’s remarks were “offensive” and “racist.” Another source said Kennedy was “trying to make him into Ricky Ricardo.” Estrada, to his credit, did not respond by proclaiming himself a “wise Latino” or by opining about “how wonderful and magical it is to have a Latino soul.”

A few Hispanic groups eventually took notice. The League of United Latin American Citizens — again, not exactly a conservative outfit — saw through the racial electioneering: “There is nothing in Miguel Estrada’s extensive record that would lead a reasonable person to conclude anything other than this nominee is an exceptionally well qualified, highly principled attorney, who will make a fine judge on the D.C. Circuit,” LULAC president Hector Flores said.

Less supportive was the National Council of La Raza, which declined to take an official position on the nomination but which nonetheless did its Democratic masters’ bidding in playing along with the farce that Estrada had been insufficiently forthcoming during the nomination process. It was the usual lukewarm hogwash, as they pronounced themselves “concerned” that “serious questions remain unanswered.” La Raza has not always been so finicky in its associations, as its history of association with frankly racist Latino separatist organizations demonstrates.

But that is the perverse nature of identity politics on the left: Estrada’s Hispanic background was not enough to endear him to groups such as La Raza, which are Democratic franchises first and foremost, regardless of the particularities of their agendas. No conservative will ever be Hispanic enough for La Raza, black enough for the NAACP, or gay enough for GLAAD. Unsurprisingly, La Raza is more happily disposed toward Sotomayor, who is a member of their organization, which, among other things, opposes the enforcement of U.S. immigration law. Perhaps that makes one more authentically Hispanic, in their view. But what about the law? She’s not a Hispanic, she’s a potential Supreme Court justice.

— Kevin Williamson is a deputy managing editor of National Review.

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« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2009, 01:09:14 PM »

I don't agree with all Noonan says but this I do:

"A conservative activist told the New York Times, "We need to brand her." Another told me a fight is needed to excite the base.

Excite the base? How about excite a moderate, or interest an independent? How about gain the attention of people who aren't already on your side?"

To me this is the problem with GOP in a nutshell.  Limbaugh et all can rant and rave all they wants.  The only ones who will agree with them are already believers.  He is not, and apparantly, can not win over any *new* converts.  And that is the problem.

Marc Levin who like a lot and mostly agree with states we need new blood, and new guard of Republicans in politics.  It is time to get rid of the old guard.  This is clearly obvious.
But we also need a new guard of spokespeople. And that includes Limbaugh.
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« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2009, 10:58:38 PM »

Right.  Like John McCain , , ,

Its been so long since I caught Rush that I don't really have an opinion on him.  Glenn Beck I am finding very interesting though.  A bit quirky, but he brings on really bright guests, and asks prepared thoughtful questions, and has a decent concentration span-- withness his recent praiseworthy relentless pressure on ACORN.
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« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2009, 04:13:41 PM »

The following is from then-Sen. Barack Obama's floor statement explaining why he would vote against confirming Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (September 2005):

. . . [T]he decision with respect to Judge Roberts' nomination has not been an easy one for me to make. As some of you know, I have not only argued cases before appellate courts but for 10 years was a member of the University of Chicago Law School faculty and taught courses in constitutional law. Part of the culture of the University of Chicago Law School faculty is to maintain a sense of collegiality between those people who hold different views. What engenders respect is not the particular outcome that a legal scholar arrives at but, rather, the intellectual rigor and honesty with which he or she arrives at a decision.

Given that background, I am sorely tempted to vote for Judge Roberts based on my study of his resume, his conduct during the hearings, and a conversation I had with him yesterday afternoon. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind Judge Roberts is qualified to sit on the highest court in the land. Moreover, he seems to have the comportment and the temperament that makes for a good judge. He is humble, he is personally decent, and he appears to be respectful of different points of view.

It is absolutely clear to me that Judge Roberts truly loves the law. He couldn't have achieved his excellent record as an advocate before the Supreme Court without that passion for the law, and it became apparent to me in our conversation that he does, in fact, deeply respect the basic precepts that go into deciding 95% of the cases that come before the federal court -- adherence to precedence, a certain modesty in reading statutes and constitutional text, a respect for procedural regularity, and an impartiality in presiding over the adversarial system. All of these characteristics make me want to vote for Judge Roberts.

The problem I face -- a problem that has been voiced by some of my other colleagues, both those who are voting for Mr. Roberts and those who are voting against Mr. Roberts -- is that while adherence to legal precedent and rules of statutory or constitutional construction will dispose of 95% of the cases that come before a court, so that both a Scalia and a Ginsburg will arrive at the same place most of the time on those 95% of the cases -- what matters on the Supreme Court is those 5% of cases that are truly difficult.

In those cases, adherence to precedent and rules of construction and interpretation will only get you through the 25th mile of the marathon. That last mile can only be determined on the basis of one's deepest values, one's core concerns, one's broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one's empathy.

In those 5% of hard cases, the constitutional text will not be directly on point. The language of the statute will not be perfectly clear. Legal process alone will not lead you to a rule of decision. In those circumstances, your decisions about whether affirmative action is an appropriate response to the history of discrimination in this country, or whether a general right of privacy encompasses a more specific right of women to control their reproductive decisions, or whether the Commerce Clause empowers Congress to speak on those issues of broad national concern that may be only tangentially related to what is easily defined as interstate commerce, whether a person who is disabled has the right to be accommodated so they can work alongside those who are nondisabled -- in those difficult cases, the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge's heart.

I talked to Judge Roberts about this. Judge Roberts confessed that, unlike maybe professional politicians, it is not easy for him to talk about his values and his deeper feelings. That is not how he is trained. He did say he doesn't like bullies and has always viewed the law as a way of evening out the playing field between the strong and the weak.

I was impressed with that statement because I view the law in much the same way. The problem I had is that when I examined Judge Roberts' record and history of public service, it is my personal estimation that he has far more often used his formidable skills on behalf of the strong in opposition to the weak. In his work in the White House and the Solicitor General's Office, he seemed to have consistently sided with those who were dismissive of efforts to eradicate the remnants of racial discrimination in our political process. In these same positions, he seemed dismissive of the concerns that it is harder to make it in this world and in this economy when you are a woman rather than a man.

I want to take Judge Roberts at his word that he doesn't like bullies and he sees the law and the court as a means of evening the playing field between the strong and the weak. But given the gravity of the position to which he will undoubtedly ascend and the gravity of the decisions in which he will undoubtedly participate during his tenure on the court, I ultimately have to give more weight to his deeds and the overarching political philosophy that he appears to have shared with those in power than to the assuring words that he provided me in our meeting.

The bottom line is this: I will be voting against John Roberts' nomination. . .
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2009, 11:12:25 AM »

Sotomayor’s Mistake
America is intermarrying, integrating, and assimilating as never before.

By Victor Davis Hanson

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has scolded Americans for being “cowards” and not talking more about race. Now, Holder is getting that “dialogue” with the recent controversy surrounding President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor.

Most of the furor surrounds statements on race by Sotomayor herself: “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.”

Sotomayor was clear enough. In a broad discussion about sex/race discrimination cases and their history, she stated that judges’ ethnicity and gender make them better or worse at what they do.

Sotomayor also once complained that, “We (Latinos) have only 10 out of 147 active circuit court judges and 30 out of 587 active district court judges. Those numbers are grossly below our proportion of the population.”

Aside from Sotomayor’s notion that federal jobs should be parceled out on the basis of race, what exactly does she mean in an America that is intermarrying, integrating, and assimilating as never before?

And why were the same people who now hold up Sotomayor’s background as a qualification for the Supreme Court so quick, when George W. Bush was president, to rally to deny Miguel Estrada a court-of-appeals judgeship?

When Sotomayor invokes racial exceptionalism — and her supporters privilege her Latina status — we enter a morass in which there is no consistent logic about either who qualifies as a minority deserving of special state consideraton or why any one group has claims over another.

Is minority status deserving of government redress defined by some sort of claim of membership in groups that suffered past bias inside the United States?

Hardly. The University of California system, for example, not so long ago worried about too many Asians on its campuses. Yet Japanese-Americans were once put in internment camps and Chinese immigrants denied civil rights. Had Asians lost their aggrieved status because per capita they were doing too well? And does that suggest that race ipso facto is no longer a hindrance to success?

Perhaps the logic of government-mandated diversity instead hinges not just on redressing historical discrimination, but also on considering present-day racial bias.

Again, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Arab-Americans, for example, don’t qualify for affirmative action, but they’re hardly immune to discrimination here in the U.S.

In truth, in the 21st-century United States we don’t know what race exactly is, or its exact role in our own success or failure, much less the reasons how and why it should count for special government consideration.

In a radically changing America, which immigrants from Mumbai, Muslim Arab-Americans, or destitute newcomers from Croatia will the government reward on the basis of their skin color, poverty, lack of English skills, or religion?

Who will prove to have the greater case for victimhood and government redress — the half-African graduate of prep school or the poorer, darker Palestinian daughter of an immigrant 7-11 storeowner?

Or should we revert to class — giving the child of the single, alcoholic, unemployed father preference over the daughter of a hardworking immigrant who built a successful business by working seven days a week?

To be the most fair, should we update rules of the Old Confederacy and have racial statisticians examine our DNA to see whether we were really are 1/16 this or that federally approved race? Sounds crazy, but sometimes that’s where it feels like we’re heading.

Just as the government now both regulates and runs General Motors, so it decides who is victimized and who is not, and then rewards (and therefore punishes) on the basis of race.

But again, 21st-century America is intermarried and mixed up. People are complex individuals, not cookie-cutter representations of their supposed tribe. The Balkans, Iraq, and Rwanda are not our models.

So, can we imagine Ivy League–educated Justice Sonia Sotomayor simply as a judge, no more, no less? Can the Senate, in its confirmation hearings for Sotomayor, vote up or down on her written record and expressed philosophy of jurisprudence?

They ought to leave it at that — and only that.

— Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. © 2009 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2009, 06:54:18 PM »
Sotomayor speech undercuts Obama claims
Credits Democratic Senator for her initial nomination
By Tom LoBianco (Contact) | Friday, June 5, 2009

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor said in a 1998 speech that she owed her first federal judicial nomination almost entirely to New York Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, undercutting the spirit of President Obama's claim that it was Republican President George H.W. Bush who was responsible for her first appointment to the federal bench.

Mr. Obama and fellow Democrats have repeatedly pointed to her initial nomination to a federal district court in 1991 by then-President Bush, and her later elevation to an appeals court by then-President Clinton seven years later, as evidence she is a nonpartisan selection for the high court.

But in her own account of her nomination, delivered in a speech to a Hispanic legal association, Judge Sotomayor recalled that she was only nominated, and only received a Senate floor vote, because of political horse-trading by Mr. Moynihan, the senior senator from New York, where Judge Sotomayor lived. President Bush, Judge Sotomayor added, was far from an enthusiastic advocate for her nomination.

"Over the next twenty months, Senator Moynihan cajoled and pushed the Republican White House to nominate me. He traded other nominees in other states some circuit and other district court with the [White House] to get me ultimately nominated by President Bush," Judge Sotomayor said, according to the text of the speech to the Cervantes Society.

The address was included in a voluminous record of the judge's speeches, opinions and personal data delivered to the Senate Thursday ahead of her confirmation hearings this summer.

Judge Sotomayor's blunt account of the backroom politicking involved in her nomination appears to undercut a refrain used by her supporters -- including President Obama -- that she is the product of bipartisan presidential approvals.

"It is her experience in life and her achievements in the legal profession that have earned Judge Sotomayor respect across party lines and ideological divides," Mr. Obama said in a weekly radio address last month. "She was originally named to the U.S. District Court by the first President Bush, a Republican. She was appointed to the federal Court of Appeals by President Clinton, a Democrat."

Republicans and conservative activists have made the same argument about Mr. Moynihan's role, but Judge Sotomayor's words will likely give them much more ammunition.

Mr. Moynihan used an arrangement that New York's two senators had with the Bush White House in which the senator whose party controlled the White House nominated three judges for every one judge the other senator recommended, she wrote in the 1998 speech. New York's other senator at the time was Republican Alfonse D'Amato.

Mr. Moynihan used his one nomination for Judge Sotomayor and spent the next two years battling the Bush administration to secure her formal nomination.

A White House spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

In the Cervantes Society speech, Judge Sotomayor detailed a 1991 phone call she received from an attorney in the George H.W. Bush White House informing her that the president was unlikely to nominate her to the bench "because my senator was not cooperating."

"As they guessed, I called Sen. Moynihan's office and I learned that the White House wanted his cooperation in getting the Judicial Committee, chaired then by Democratic Sen. Joe Biden, to push out of the committee two Republican circuit court nominees," Judge Sotomayor wrote.

"You would not be drawing a wrong conclusion in presuming that two circuit court judges owe their positions to my nomination and [to] Sen. Moynihan's dedication to making it happen," she said.

Her grueling 28-month confirmation battle did not end there. A "disgruntled senator" blocked the nomination of four women nominees, including Judge Sotomayor, until the Senate Judiciary Committee removed a hold on another nominee, according to her speech.

Athough Judge Sotomayor did not identify the "disgruntled" lawmaker in the speech, news reports from the time say Alabama Sen. Richard C. Shelby, then a Democrat, had blocked the nominations because of a separate hold placed on an Alabama prosecutor who supported the death penalty. Mr. Shelby later switched parties and is now a Republican.
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« Reply #26 on: June 06, 2009, 10:19:21 AM »

Sotomayor Guns For The 2nd Amendment

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, June 04, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Gun Control: In a case headed for the Supreme Court, a three-judge panel rules Chicago's gun ban constitutional since the 2nd Amendment doesn't apply to states and cities. High court nominee Sonia Sotomayor concurs.

Those Pennsylvania townsfolk bitterly clinging to their guns may have been premature in celebrating the decision in D.C. v. Heller that the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does indeed guarantee an individual right to keep and bear arms.

In Heller, the Supreme Court overturned the District of Columbia's draconian, 32-year-old gun ban. It barred most of the district's residents from owning handguns and required that all legal firearms be kept unloaded or disassembled under trigger lock. If predators broke into your house, some assembly would be required.

When the district rejected his application to keep a firearm in his home to protect his family, Dick Anthony Heller, an armed security guard, did not think it was a reasonable restriction on his 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. So he sued.

In a 5-4 decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court ruled that the 2nd Amendment indeed protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia and to use that firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
An individual right to bear arms is supported by "the historical narrative" both before and after the 2nd Amendment was adopted, Justice Scalia wrote.

Not so fast. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected subsequent suits brought by the National Rifle Association against the city of Chicago and its suburb of Oak Park, both of which believe the Constitution prevents citizens from defending themselves.

The Circuit Court decision was written by Judge Frank Easterbrook and joined by Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer. Easterbrook's reasoning is fascinating. According to him, the Revolution was fought and independence won so that the Founding Fathers could write a Constitution with a Bill of Rights that applied only to the District of Columbia.

"Heller dealt with a law enacted under the authority of the national government," Easterbrook wrote, "while Chicago and Oak Park are subordinate bodies of a state." We're all for federalism, but the U.S. Constitution is the U.S. Constitution.

Surely he can't be serious. But he is, and agreeing with him is Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals examined in Maloney v. Cuomo a claim by a New York attorney that a New York law prohibiting possession of "nunchucks," a martial arts weapon, violated his 2nd Amendment rights.

Sotomayor and the 2nd Circuit affirmed a lower court's decision that the 2nd Amendment applies only to federal laws and not to states or municipalities.

"We clearly disagree with the court's conclusions," NRA attorney William Howard told Bloomberg. The next step will be an appeal to the Supreme Court. Sonia Sotomayor will likely be sitting on that court.

President Obama's opinion on the 2nd Amendment has been ambivalent. He says he supports an individual's right to bear arms. Yet the Nov. 23, 2008, Chicago Tribune said Obama believed in the right of local communities to enact common-sense laws to combat violence and save lives and that he believed the D.C. handgun law was constitutional.

In a 1996 campaign questionnaire, Obama wrote that he supported "banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns." He says now that it was filled out by an aide who misrepresented his views. We don't believe total gun bans, whether in Washington, D.C., or Oak Park, Ill., are a common-sense restriction that saves lives. We believe that guns save the lives of innocent people daily and that more guns mean less crime.

Surely a wise Latina with varied life experiences such as Sotomayor can feel empathy for the unarmed and defenseless potential victims vulnerable to armed predators in this country.
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« Reply #27 on: July 14, 2009, 01:01:40 PM »


Sonia Sotomayor will parry a wide range of questions about her judicial philosophy during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings in the Senate this week. The most revealing line of inquiry may be about her views on the use of foreign and international law when judging cases.

Like several of the judges on the left branch of the court, Judge Sotomayor has said she favors a broader consideration of foreign and international law in U.S. judicial opinions. While she rarely had occasion to dip into foreign sources during her time on the Second Circuit, she recently went out of her way to embrace the concept and its applications by the high court.

In a speech to the American Civil Liberties Union of Puerto Rico in April, Judge Sotomayor explained that "ideas have no boundaries," and that "international law and foreign law will be very important in the discussion of how to think about the unsettled issues in our own legal system." To discourage the use of foreign or international law, she added, would "be asking American judges to close their minds to good ideas."

That's political quicksand for a judge Democrats are eager to portray as a moderate inclined to narrow reading of text and precedent.

Of particular interest to the confirmation hearings will be Judge Sotomayor's favorable reference in the ACLU speech to the Supreme Court's reasoning in two recent cases citing foreign and international law: Roper v. Simmons and Lawrence v. Texas. In Roper, the Court drew on international criticism of the death penalty to buttress the argument that it should be prohibited for juveniles under the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

In Lawrence v. Texas, the court overturned a Texas statute against sodomy on the grounds that it violated due process. In his opinion for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy cited the European Court of Human Rights to show that the court's earlier decision in Bowers v. Hardwick was incorrect. In both those cases, Judge Sotomayor said, the court was using the foreign or international law to "help us understand what the concepts meant to other countries and . . . whether our understanding of our own constitutional rights fell into the mainstream of human thinking."

Cases like Roper and Lawrence fit squarely into that area of overseas law most sought after for borrowing by the more liberal justices of the court -- that is, the realms of moral or social policy. The problem with such inspiration is that it is inherently subjective and arbitrary. The laws of the world are infinitely diverse, and praising one necessarily condemns another. Cherry-picking desirable law introduces the very kind of legal chaos our Constitution was designed to prevent. If one judge may look to the courts of Western Europe for expansion of liberal thoughts on human rights, why may another not look to decidedly less liberal ideas?

Iran allows women who appear without a hijab on the streets to be lashed 74 times. China limits families to bearing one child. Even the democracies of Western Europe have laws that differ broadly from ours. Few countries, for instance, share our rules protecting the rights of the accused, or have the U.S.'s constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.

In his dissent from the court's reliance on foreign law in Roper v. Simmons, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that "The Court should either profess its willingness to reconsider all these matters in light of the views of foreigners, or else it should cease putting forth foreigners' views as part of the reasoned basis of its decisions. To invoke alien law when it agrees with one's own thinking and ignore it otherwise is not reasoned decision making, but sophistry."

There are plenty of ways to use foreign law appropriately -- most obviously in comparing standards for implementation in the case of treaties. Some judges have also looked to Constitutional antecedents like English jurist William Blackstone to help better understand the context and thinking of the Founders and their foundations in English common law.

Outside of that, using foreign law as a guidepost or inspiration raises issues of both sovereignty and democracy by permitting jurists outside the U.S. system to guide the trajectory of our democracy. The proper place for the consideration of whatever "good ideas" may be found in foreign law is not the courts but the Congress.

Judge Sotomayor insists in the ACLU speech that the brouhaha about foreign and international law is due to a misunderstanding about how she and others like Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg would propose to use it. The point, she says, isn't that judges actually use foreign decisions as precedent (er, well, of course they don't), but that they open their minds to the intellectual force of their foreign counterparts.

But either foreign ideas carry weight by butressing judicial arguments, or they don't. Judicial opinions are written with great precision and care because they matter, and each strand of argument becomes a part of the grit and texture of American law.

No one is suggesting that judges stop reading or learning in ways that help expand their understanding of the law and the cases they are hearing. But that is an altogether different matter than official citation in a decision.

Our system of government has stood the test of time not in spite of but because it is uniquely drawn from the priorities of our own citizens, and them alone. The responsibility of the Supreme Court is neither to win an international beauty pageant, nor to encourage the export of our ideas. It is to extend principles of the Founders and the words of the Constitution into a world that still needs their wisdom.

Ms. Levy is a senior editorial writer for the Journal, based in Washington.
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« Reply #28 on: July 16, 2009, 11:57:25 AM »

The previous post is right on the mark.  Arbitrarily cherry-picking foreign law to support decisions is the opposite of a rigorous constitutional process.

Sotomayor seems to understand that honest liberalism isn't how you go through confirmation even in a Democrat Senate so she pretends to be something other than what her previous words and decisions define her to be.  She will be a reliable vote on the liberal side of controversial decisions, but she is not a legal scholar with compelling logic or intellectual discipline likely to sway other justices on anything.

She has problems with competence and honesty.  Today's example shows that she won't admit that all nine sitting Justices disagreed with her on Ricci even though that case is undoubtedly the most important in her preparations for the hearings:

 Senator Kyl’s Second-Round Questioning,  Roger Clegg, National review

Senator Kyl is masterful again. He points out that her earlier claim — that her hands in Ricci were bound by Supreme Court and Second Circuit precedent — is simply not true. What is the precedent, he asks, and asks.  She doesn’t answer, and doesn’t answer. Finally she cites the Bushey decision — a 1984 Second Circuit decision predating all kinds of intervening Supreme Court decisions and statutory amendments. Then Kyl points out that, even if this were binding precedent, it could have been overturned by en banc review, which she voted against (the deciding vote, as Senator Sessions pointed out yesterday). She has no answer to this, either. Nor does she have a convincing answer to Senator Kyl’s next question, regarding her panel’s back-of-the-hand rejection of a case that ultimately was important enough to command the attention of a majority-minus-one of the Second Circuit, the Supreme Court (which rejected her approach 9-0, as Senator Kyl notes), and the nation. On the question of whether the Supreme Court rejected her approach 9-0, she says it’s hard to say because “there were a lot of opinions in that case.” Ridiculous. There were four opinions, and obviously the majority and the two concurrences (by Scalia and Alito) rejected her approach. And Ginsburg does, too (see footnote 10 and page 23). She is not telling the truth.
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« Reply #29 on: July 16, 2009, 01:01:41 PM »

I found S's refusal to agree that there is a right to Constitutional right to self-defense mind-boggling.
« Reply #30 on: July 22, 2009, 01:50:04 PM »

Sotomayor Doesn’t Deserve a Supreme Court Seat

Posted by Ilya Shapiro

Having sat through the entire gavel-to-gavel coverage of last week’s confirmation hearings, I still don’t know if I would vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor if I were a senator, I really don’t. Deciding how to vote on this is more than a simple matter of deciding whether she is “qualified” to sit on the Supreme Court—which is hard enough given there is no fixed qualification standard.

It also has to include how much deference you want to give the president, in general terms but also taking into account that Sotomayor will likely be confirmed and you want to position yourself politically for the next nominee. And it has to include, of course, how your constituents feel; while it’s cowardly to follow opinion polls blindly, you are accountable to those who sent you to Washington. There are many other considerations, both political and legal.

But I’m not a senator—or even a senator’s aide—so I don’t have to make that decision. As a constitutional lawyer, however, I can say that—even as most of Sotomayor’s opinions are uncontroversial—it is impossible to overlook the short thrift the judge gave to the judicial process in Ricci v. DeStefano and Didden v. Port Chester. I am similarly hard-pressed to accept hearing-seat conversions that contradict over 15 years of speeches and articles: most notably against the idea that judges’ ethnic backgrounds—and even “physiological differences”—should affect their rulings.

Given Sotomayor’s repeated past rejection of the idea that law is or should be objective, stable, or discernible from written text, her inability during her testimony to explain her judicial philosophy—or even state her position on important cases and issues beyond an acceptance of precedent (by which she would no longer be bound in her new role)—leaves me with an abiding concern about the damage she could do to the rule of law in this country. Because of the nominee’s evasion, obfuscation, and doubletalk, I like her less now than I did before the hearings.

And so, on second thought, I do know how I would vote. During John Roberts’s confirmation hearings, Sen. Dick Durbin said that “no one has a right to sit on the Supreme Court” and that the “burden of proof for a Supreme Court justice is on the nominee.” I will follow this very apt “burden of proof” paradigm and respect the logic of Sen. Arlen Specter, the Republican-turned-Democrat former judiciary committee chairman who at President Clinton’s impeachment trial curiously evoked Scottish law to vote “not proven.” Given the impropriety of citing foreign law (another issue on which the nominee failed to explain her “conversion” in hearing testimony), I would vote that the case for confirming Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is “not proven”—under American law.
« Reply #31 on: July 26, 2009, 01:56:05 PM »

Scott Ott's Examiner Scrappleface: Obama uses Prof. Gates arrest to push Sotomayor confirmation

By: Scott Ott
Examiner Columnist
July 24, 2009

News fairly unbalanced. We report. You decipher.

After accusing Cambridge, Massachusetts, police of acting "stupidly" in the disorderly conduct arrest of his friend, Harvard Professor Henry Gates, President Obama today said the incident highlights the urgency of confirming Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court before the Senate's August recess.

"This situation affirms Judge Sotomayor's Latina wisdom in the Ricci v. Destephano case," said the president, referring to her appeals court ruling against firefighters whose successful promotion exam performance was invalidated because no black firefighters passed the test.

"If a black officer had confronted Skip Gates trying to jigger into a house, Skip would not have become belligerent, and so he would not have been arrested. Putting Sotomayor on the High Court, will put the Cambridge Police Department on notice about being more culturally sensitive in their hiring practices."

According to the police report, Gates initially refused to show identification to an officer who had responded to a 911 call about a potential burglary, then the Harvard scholar repeatedly shouted allegations of racism at police.

Obama noted with some satisfaction that Gates, "the nation's pre-eminent African-American scholar, even in crisis, had the presence of mind to draw upon his rich storehouse of cultural literacy. When the officer said he would speak with him outside, Gates said, 'Ya, I'll speak with your mama outside.'"

The president praised Gates' wit and intellectual firepower, while re-affirming his accusation that the police "acted stupidly."

"With Sonia Sotomayor tilting the balance on the court," he said, "some day police departments nationwide will be staffed with officers who know a Harvard intellectual when they see one breaking into a house. To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I have a dream that one day a man will not be judged by his apparently illegal actions, but by the color of his skin and the content of his curriculum vitae."

Examiner columnist Scott Ott is editor in chief of, the family-friendly news satire site.

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