Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court’

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This Minority Will Be Vindicated

August 12, 2009

IBD     10 Aug 09

Supreme Court: The 31 senators who voted against Justice Sonia Sotomayor may get grief now, but time is on their side. Their reservations will be proved to be right on the money.

Saturday will be forever marked as the historic day on which the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice was sworn in. The Senate on Thursday voted 68-31 to confirm President Obama’s first pick for the high court.

In the coming months and years, however, we are likely to see something else historic unfold, bringing into question the integrity of our system of checks and balances.

The new justice’s record of past statements and rulings virtually guarantees that the Sonia Sotomayor who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee, who promised always to judge, never to legislate, will not be the person we find writing opinions from the bench.

When this happens, the 31 senators now depicted by Democrats as bigots will be proved right. Those lawmakers’ opposition, which has nothing to do with race, boils down to a single, inescapable conclusion: The woman with the compelling life story who appeared before them was profoundly and intentionally misleading them.

The nine Republican senators who voted for her, on the other hand, such as South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, Indiana’s Richard Lugar, and Missouri’s Kit Bond, may well end up being viewed by their constituents as having let themselves be bamboozled by the rhetorical flourishes of a street-smart New Yorker.

A new University of Tennessee analysis scrutinized Sotomayor’s record using a statistical model based on the records of 31 Supreme Court justices. It concluded what we have been warning of in these pages for months now: Sotomayor is going to be the single most liberal of the nine high-court members.

The study warns that she will lean to the left on 67% of the cases during her first term. By contrast, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas cast liberal votes less than 40% of the time over three terms, while Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg voted on the liberal side 61% — significantly less than the prediction for their newest colleague.

But it really doesn’t take a study to know what kind of justice Obama’s choice will be; it just takes a common-sense look at what she has written and said over the years.

This is a judge who has joked about appellate courts being where policy and laws get made. She has said that asking federal judges not to consider foreign law on cases that are supposed to be guided by the U.S. Constitution is asking them to “close their minds” because “ideas have no boundaries.”

The new justice also provided some insight into her infamous “wise Latina” remark in an early-1990s TV interview for the Practising Law Institute.

Asked if she found women lawyers before her court more guilty of “histrionics,” Sotomayor replied that actually “I have found that to be the case in reverse with older men toward me. And that may be more a paternal attitude than anything else. So I have received lectures from older male attorneys.”

Does her overturned ruling in the New Haven Fire Department reverse discrimination case, in addition to many other reversed decisions, reveal a robe-clad radical, eager to shake up what she views as America’s white, male, paternalistic society?

It seems clear that her ideology is that of the high court’s past radicalism, manifested in its unanimous 1971 Swann ruling in favor of busing, its 1972 Furman decision banning the death penalty, and 1973’s Roe v. Wade case, nullifying the abortion laws of all 50 states.

If this is the kind of justice Sotomayor turns out to be, not only will those 31 senators be fully and forever vindicated; the Senate confirmation process — allowing judges to rise to power after conducting a con game under oath — will be exposed as severely broken.

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It Comes Down To Sotomayor Or Constitution

August 12, 2009

IBD   5 Aug 09

Judge Sonia Sotomayor appears bound for a seat on the Supreme Court. Even so, Republicans should use her nomination to educate the American people about the dangers of politicizing the judiciary.

Sotomayor is a competent jurist who symbolizes hard work, personal achievement and ethnic diversity. However, as Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., argued during the hearing on John Roberts, “the burden of proof for a Supreme Court justice is on the nominee.” She has not met that burden.

Judge Sotomayor’s advocates have emphasized her moderate record on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. But in several decisions she has summarily dismissed protection of fundamental liberties. Moreover, Circuit Court judges remain constrained by the possibility of Supreme Court review — and the hope of advancing to the high court.

How would Justice Sotomayor act? She’s been involved in ethnic identity activism throughout her college and professional life. She spent 12 years as a board member of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, which promoted the usual ethnic and liberal agenda.

Her judicial vision is extreme. Perhaps her most famous comment was 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.”

Six years ago she declared: “Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences … gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”

She returned to this theme many times: “My experiences will affect the facts that I choose to see as a judge.” Moreover, “there is no objective stance, but only a series of perspectives — no neutrality.” Indeed, “our experiences as women and people of color affect our decisions. The aspiration to impartiality is just that.”

She also believes judges are to change the law: “The public expects the law to be static and unpredictable. The law, however, is uncertain and responds to changing circumstances.”

In fact, “Our society would be straitjacketed were not the courts, with the able assistance of the lawyers, constantly overhauling the law and adapting it to the realities of ever-changing social, industrial, and political conditions.”

Thus, “a given judge (or judges) may develop a novel approach to a specific set of facts or legal framework that pushes the law in a new direction.” After all, she contends, “Change — sometimes radical change — can and does occur in a legal system that serves a society whose social policy itself changes.”

One need not have an idealized vision of the law to find these sentiments profoundly disturbing. Empathy is a dubious guide to statutory and constitutional interpretation. Diversity has value, but Sotomayor’s claim that her ethnicity and gender make her a better decision-maker is bizarre.

Moreover, her stereotypes are seriously misleading. Nine white men outlawed racial segregation in Brown v. Board of Education. A Hispanic firefighter challenged New Haven’s “pro-minority” employment policy in Ricci v. DeStefano.

No one would disagree that as society changes, so must laws and practices. But the Constitution leaves that job up to the legislative and executive branches. Turning a group of nine jurists into a continuing constitutional convention puts all liberties at risk.

Another issue of concern is the use of international law to interpret the U.S. Constitution and law. Thoughtful legislators should consider foreign experiences in assessing social problems and deciding how to resolve them.

But Steven Groves of the Heritage Foundation has detailed how Sotomayor argues that foreign cases should be used by judges — and justices — to shape U.S. law.

Early this year she said: “International law and foreign law will be very important in the discussion of how to think about the unsettled issues in our legal system.” She also said “unless American courts are more open to discussing the ideas raised by foreign cases, by international cases, that we are going to lose influence in the world.”

Why should the judiciary worry about America’s international influence?

In 2007, Judge Sotomayor wrote: “The question of how much we have to learn from foreign law and the international community when interpreting the Constitution is … worth posing.”

Why should foreign cases have any role in interpreting the Constitution?

Sonia Sotomayor is a decent person and capable jurist. But her radical ideas suggest she would be a less-measured justice than judge. The rule of law, and thus the original constitutional system based on individual liberty and limited government, would suffer. Judge Sotomayor has not met Sen. Durbin’s burden of proof. The Senate should vote no on her appointment.

• Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a graduate of Stanford Law School and a member of the California and District of Columbia bars.

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Cartoon: Sotomayor, Judicial Activism

July 29, 2009

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Connecting Sotomayor to Flight 800

July 22, 2009

Sotomayor Squashed Journalist’s First Amendment Rights

Jack Cashill – June 18, 2009 – AmericanThinker.com

What no one can question about the investigation into the mysterious July 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 off the coast of Long Island is that the government came down hard on serious journalists, and on no journalist harder than investigative reporter, James Sanders.

A key player in that government machinery was none other than District Court judge, Sonia Sotomayor.

In May 2000, she and two colleagues ruled against James Sanders and his wife, Elizabeth, in a civil suit the pair brought against the government agencies that had pursued and arrested them.

True, Sotomayor acknowledged, the government’s “aggressive investigation commenced immediately following publication of the newspaper article,” and yes the article in question did point to criminal conduct on the part of senior Justice Department and FBI officials.

No matter, ruled the judges, “It does not follow that [the Sanders] were punished because they may have drawn blood.”

From the beginning, the story of TWA Flight 800, the one that James Sanders chronicled, has been a story of humanity betrayed – none more so than the families of the 230 good souls aboard that doomed plane.

Fifty-three of the dead were TWA employees. A TWA trainer, Elizabeth Sanders had worked with many of the attendants on the doomed flight and knew several of the pilots.

Their deaths wounded Elizabeth deeply. In the weeks afterward, she and her TWA colleagues passed numbly from one memorial service to another, their grief matched only by their growing anger at the obvious misdirection of the investigation.

Elizabeth introduced one of those colleagues, 747 pilot and manager Terry Stacey, to her husband, and he would become Sanders’ best source within that investigation.

That introduction would get the sweet, vulnerable Elizabeth arrested and convicted of conspiracy.

The harassment of Sanders can be traced to March 10, 1997, when California’s Riverside Press-Enterprise headlined its front page with an article titled, “New Data Show Missile May Have Nailed TWA 800.”

The story identified James Sanders as an “investigative reporter,” provided information on his previous non-fiction books, and described his inquiry into the Flight 800 investigation over the preceding months.

This story created a significant problem for the Justice Department. The article’s text confirmed that Sanders was on the trail of potential criminal activity by certain investigators.

As those charged with containing the investigation realized, their worst nightmare had come to pass. Forensic evidence had left the hangar.

(Above: James Sanders explains in his own words)

Some unknown person within the investigation had removed a pinch of material from the plane as telling and potentially damaging as Monica’s famed “blue dress.”

That person was Terrel Stacey. He had removed it of his own volition and sent it to Sanders FedEx.

This piece of seat back was laced with the DNA of the crash, a reddish-orange residue trail that streaked across a narrow section of the plane’s interior.

The FBI had lifted samples in early September 1996, then refused to share the test results with Stacey and others working with the NTSB. For the record, those tests today remain classified under the guise of national security.

The Clinton Justice Department began to defame the Sanders the day after the article appeared, March 11, publicly and falsely claiming that the reddish-orange residue was glue.

If the residue were nothing but glue, it is hard to explain why the FBI launched a major investigation that resulted in the arrest of Stacey, James Sanders, and Elizabeth Sanders.

The law in question had been enacted in the 1960s to discourage souvenir hunters from carting away wreckage at a crash scene before authorities arrived.

What Stacey had taken was much more precious, namely information. Had he managed to scrape off the residue, as he tried to do, he could not have been prosecuted under the scavenger law.

In the Sanders’ trial, the jurors were not allowed to know that James was a reporter. For all they knew, he and Elizabeth were rogue junk dealers. Both were convicted.

Sotomayor and colleagues fully ignored the suppression of Sanders’ First Amendment rights in their ruling.

“The government,” they claimed, “was motivated by a legitimate desire to identify and eliminate a patent security breach in the official investigation, rather than by an illegitimate desire to silence an objectionable viewpoint.”

If this were true, it is hard to understand why in1997 the FBI’s New York office Internet site headlined the story of the Sanders’ arrest, “Conspiracy theorist and wife charged with theft of parts from airplane.”

The use of the word “conspiracy theorist” would seem to suggest that the FBI arrested Sanders precisely because he held an “objectionable viewpoint.”

Having ignored the obvious, the judges concluded, “Absent any evidence that the prosecution was brought to punish the defendants or to retaliate against them for exercising their rights, the defendants were not entitled to discovery on the issue of actual vindictiveness.”

As Sanders observes, discovery would have revealed that the FBI and CIA had changed the testimony of key witnesses, fully fabricated some witness statements, altered the debris field, reshaped recovered airplane parts, and concealed or corrupted a wide range of additional salient evidence to fit their cover story.

Sanders, who has lived this case for the last twelve years, does not mince words in describing the Supreme Court nominee: “The evidence clearly established probable cause to believe Sotomayor entered the conspiracy and aided and abetted the conspiracy.”

What gives legs to Sanders’ conspiracy charge is that during that same year Sotomayor ruled against him, she ruled in favor of TWA and Boeing.

Despite her famed Latina compassion, Sotomayor was the sole dissenting vote in denying compensation to the victims’ families.

Sanders is not alone in his belief that TWA and Boeing had been coerced into accepting the government position on the crash in return for the administration’s help in weathering its consequences.

All Sanders asks for now is a little of Sotomayor’s superior justice and Obama’s equally superior transparency.

Jack Cashill

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Courting Votes Of Hispanics A GOP Mistake

July 16, 2009

Courting Votes Of Hispanics A GOP Mistake

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN | IBD 15 July 2009

Republicans have been given fair warning: Should GOP senators treat Sonia Sotomayor as contemptuously as Democrats treated Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito, they should expect Hispanic hostility for a generation.

The chutzpah of this Beltway crowd does not cease to amaze.

They archly demand that conservatives accord a self-described “affirmative action baby” from Princeton a respect they never accorded a pro-life conservative mother of five from Idaho State, Sarah Palin.

Pundits here gets hoots of appreciation for doing to a white Christian woman what would constitute a hate crime if done to a “wise Latina woman.” ….

The imperative of the GOP is not to appease a city that went 93-7 for Obama, but to win back its lost voters.

In 2008, Hispanics were 7.4% of the total vote. White folks were 74%, 10 times as large. Adding just 1% to the white vote is thus the same as adding 10% to the candidate’s Hispanic vote.

[what] Republicans… must do is expose Sotomayor, as they did not in the case of Ginsburg, as a political activist whose career bespeaks a lifelong resolve to discriminate against white males to the degree needed to bring about an equality of rewards in society.

Sonia is, first and foremost, a Latina. She has not hesitated to demand, even in college and law school, ethnic and gender preferences for her own. Her concept of justice is race-based.

Yet here is a judge who ruled that New York state, by denying felons the vote, violated their civil rights. How so? As there are disproportionately more blacks and Hispanics in prison, denying convicts the right to vote has a disparate impact on minorities.

The New York law does discriminate, not on the basis of race, but whether or not you raped, robbed or murdered someone.

Even if Sotomayor is confirmed, making the nation aware she is a militant supporter since college days of ethnic and gender preferences is an assignment worth pursuing. For America does not believe in preferences. Even in the blue states of California, Washington and Michigan, voters have tossed them out as naked discrimination against white males.

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Photo Clipping: Sonia Sotomayor

July 16, 2009

IBD: 15 July 2009

Sotomayor

Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor smiles during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing on Monday.  “The task of a judge is not to make the law, it is to apply the law,” she said.

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Cartoon: Sotomayor Hearing

July 14, 2009

IBD: 14 July 2009

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Cartoon: Racial Discrimination

July 6, 2009

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Honduras And Drugs

July 6, 2009

Honduras Defiant

IBD – 2 July 2009

Democracy: Nations aren’t usually put to the fearsome test to “live free or die.” But Hondurans are accepting it as the world pressures them to reseat a potential dictator in office. They aren’t bending.

On Tuesday, all 192 members of the U.N. General Assembly voted to condemn Hondurans’ removal of President Mel Zelaya from office. He was ousted this week after brazenly defying a Supreme Court ruling against a reelection referendum. Using the language of the effort’s ringleader, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, the U.N. called the constitutional act “a military coup.”

The same day, the Organization of American States gave Honduras three days to reinstall Zelaya as president or its membership would be suspended. The World Bank “paused’ lending until Zelaya is back. The Inter American Development Bank followed suit.

Standard & Poor’s warned of a credit downgrade. Tourists were told by embassies to leave. Three bordering nations cut off trade. Nations pulled ambassadors. Venezuela’s despot, Hugo Chavez, cut off cheap oil. He now bucks for an OAS-led military invasion if his leftist pal Zelaya is not restored to power.

The U.S. has its own bag of potential sanctions for Honduras, although as new facts emerge about Zelaya’s involvement in the drug trade and his mental instability, doesn’t look as though it intends to use them. Still, the Sword of Damocles over Honduras could mean a suspended free trade treaty, a cutoff of its $200 million in aid, and an end to its immigration agreement with the U.S.

As the world follows Chavez’s lead in trying to force Honduras to accept a lawless man as its leader, disasters for Honduras loom.

The tiny country is impoverished. Its seven million people have a per capita income of just $1,635 a year. Its economy has been enfeebled by Zelaya himself. He has fixed prices and wages, and opened the door to drug traffickers, creating a burgeoning narcostate.

It seems impossible that Honduras could withstand new draconian pressure and isolation over taking Zelaya back.

Yet evidence shows that Hondurans consider the latter fate worse. If Zelaya is restored as president, he will resume his dictatorial ambitions while Hondurans lose their future freedoms. Oh, the OAS will tell them “dialogue” will solve it.

But Hondurans know better: If the rule of law won’t dissuade Zelaya from being dictator, why would sweet talk work?

Honduras’ new, constitutionally appointed leader, Robert Micheletti, defied the global blowhards sitting in judgment of Honduras and said he wasn’t leaving.

To Chavez, he said: “You don’t scare me.” He also warned Zelaya that if he flew back to assume office, he’d be arrested. Honduras’ Congress, and its Supreme Court are holding the line, too.

This can only be happening because they are listening to the only people whose opinion matters: Hondurans, some 80% of whom approve of the Court action. “Everyone here is celebrating,” a business leader told Latin Finance.

Tuesday, thousands of these Hondurans peacefully rallied in the streets, in vivid contrast to the 200 pro-Zelaya thugs who trashed fast food joints and burned garbage a day earlier.

Freedom isn’t free, and it looks as though the Hondurans will have to prove it. Accepting a fate as an international pariah state bears a hefty price. But plucky Hondurans have made their choice, valuing freedom over world esteem. If against all odds they win, their choice will strike the biggest blow for democracy since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The chain reaction that ensues may topple the false democracies in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Cuba. Just as Hondurans aided freedom fighters to crush Sandinista communism in the ’80s, they’ll now turn back the tide of false democracies.

If only America could be at their side for the victory this time.

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Thumbs-Down On Obama’s ‘Empathy’ Standard

June 15, 2009

Thumbs-Down On Obama’s ‘Empathy’ Standard

By RAGHAVAN MAYUR | Investors Business Daily | 15 June 2009

Most Americans reject the broader criteria that judicial activists think can be brought to bear on Supreme Court decisions, including the “empathy” standard that President Obama has said is important in particularly difficult cases, a new IBD/TIPP Poll shows.

Three in five (59%) believe a high court justice should consider only the Constitution, applicable laws and precedents rather than all of these plus his or her own life experiences and views. Only one in three (32%) say justices must consider their life experiences and personal views.

By party, 42% of Democrats, 81% of Republicans and 66% of independents favor exclusive reliance on law.

By ideology, 71% of conservatives, 57% of moderates and 39% of liberals favor this approach.

On the empathy factor, a majority (51%) disagree with a statement paraphrasing remarks Obama made in 2005: “When it comes to the Supreme Court justices, law and precedent should determine rulings in 95% of the cases, but in the really hard and important cases, justices should go with their heart.”

Only 23% agree with the statement. Most independent voters (58%), conservatives (61%) and moderates (50%) disagree with it. Democrats (31%) and liberals (35%) are the leading supporters of the concept that justices should go with their heart.

Obama’s position on “empathy” dates to September 2005, when as a senator considering the nomination of now-Chief Justice John Roberts, he said:

“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.”

By nominating Judge Sonia Sotomayor, one can reasonably conclude that Obama is applying his “empathy” standard.

In a CNN report, for example, an administration official concurred that Obama “was looking for someone with a balance of skills: very, very smart; independent thinker; highly regarded for integrity and commitment to the law. He found all of those things with (Sotomayor), including his goal of selecting someone with the empathy factor — real-world, practical experience and understanding of how the law affects real people.”

Some commentators, such as Karl Rove, former strategist for President George W. Bush, believe “empathy” is the latest code word for liberal activism — “for treating the Constitution as malleable clay to be kneaded and molded in whatever form justices want. It represents an expansive view of the judiciary in which courts create policy that couldn’t pass the legislative branch or, if it did, would generate voter backlash.”

The dictionary defines judicial activism as “the practice in the judiciary of protecting or expanding individual rights through decisions that depart from established precedent or are independent of, or in opposition to, supposed constitutional or legislative intent.”

Sotomayor is believed by some to have tipped her activist hand when she once said the U.S. Court of Appeals on which she sits “is where policy is made.”

In summary, it’s hard to resist the temptation to conclude that the “empathy standard” is indeed an extension of judicial activism and that by rejecting it, Americans also reject judicial activism.

The IBD/TIPP Poll also probed how Americans view the president as a result of nominating Sotomayor. Seventy percent said their opinion of Obama did not change one way or the other.

One in six (16%) felt “more favorable” toward him and 13% “less favorable,” for a net advantage of 3 percentage points. The advantage with independent voters is negative 7 points (8% more favorable, 15% less favorable).

The net advantage Obama gained among Democrats is 26 points, among liberals 29 points, among women 4 points and among Hispanics 24 points.

Two-thirds say their view of Republicans has not changed in the wake of the Sotomayor nomination.

But 22% see them in a less-favorable light vs. just 9% who view them more favorably.

Mayur is president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, IBD’s polling partner.

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How We’re Killing Our ‘Living Constitution’

June 4, 2009

How We’re Killing Our ‘Living Constitution’

By THOMAS SOWELL IBD 11 May 2009

While President Barack Obama has, in one sense, tipped his hand by saying he wants judges with “empathy” for certain groups, he has in a more fundamental sense concealed the real goal:

Getting judges who will ratify an expanding scope of the power of the federal government and a declining restraint by the U.S. Constitution.

This is consistent with everything else Obama has done in office and is consistent with his decades-long record of alliances with people who reject American society’s fundamentals.

Judicial expansion of federal power is not really new, even if the audacity with which that goal is being pursued may be unique. For more than a century, believers in bigger government have also been believers in having judges interpret the restraints of the Constitution out of existence.

They called this “a living Constitution.” It has in fact been a dying Constitution, as its restraining provisions have been “interpreted” to mean less and less so that the federal government can do more and more.

For example, the Constitution lets private property be taken for “public use” — perhaps building a reservoir or a highway — if “just compensation” is paid. That power was expanded by the Supreme Court in 2005 when it “interpreted” this to mean that private property could be taken for a “public purpose,” which could include almost anything for which politicians could come up with the right rhetoric.

As for “just compensation,” that is often about as just as “separate but equal” was equal.

As for “empathy” for the less fortunate, it is precisely lower income and minority neighborhoods that are disproportionately bulldozed to make way for upscale shopping and entertainment centers that will bring in more taxes for politicians to spend to get themselves re-elected.

This process of “interpreting” the Constitution (or legislation) to mean pretty much whatever you want it to mean, no matter how plainly the words say something else, has been called judicial activism.

As a result of widespread objections to this, that problem has been solved by redefining “judicial activism” to mean something different.

By the new definition, a judge who declares legislation that exceeds the authority of the legislature unconstitutional is called a “judicial activist.”

The verbal virtuosity is breathtaking. With just a new meaning to an old phrase, reality is turned upside down. Those who oppose letting government actions exceed the bounds of the Constitution — justices like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — are now called “judicial activists.” It is a verbal coup.

Politicians such as Sen. Patrick Leahy and law professors such as Cass Sunstein and many in the media measure how much of a judicial activist a judge is by how many laws that judge has declared unconstitutional. Sunstein, incidentally, is among those being mentioned as a nominee for a post on the Supreme Court.

When the Supreme Court in 1995 declared that carrying a gun near a school was not “interstate commerce,” there was consternation and outrage in the liberal press because previous decisions of the Supreme Court in years past had allowed Congress to legislate on virtually anything it wanted to by saying it was exercising its authority to regulate interstate commerce.

When the Supreme Court decided by a 5-4 vote that carrying a gun near a school was not interstate commerce, it was saying something that most people would consider too obvious for words.

But it was considered outrageous that the Supreme Court recognized the obvious and refused to rubberstamp the sophistry that let Congress pass laws dealing with things that the Constitution never authorized it to deal with.

Incidentally, carrying a gun near a school was something that states had the authority to deal with, and most states had already banned it.

What is at stake in Supreme Court nominations is the power of the federal government.

“Empathy” is just camouflage, a soothing word for those who do not look beyond nice-sounding rhetoric.

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Cartoon: Sotomayor (Latina)

May 29, 2009

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Supreme Court Selection: Sotomayor

May 29, 2009

From my friend Phil Whitaker:

Dear friends, for your edification,

You will not learn about this in CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, or MSNBC.

ð       President Obama recently announced the nomination of federal court judge Sonia Sotomayor as the first Hispanic to serve on the Supreme Court. Sotomayor, 54, will succeed retiring Associate Justice David Souter if she is confirmed by the Senate.

ð       Sotomayor is a graduate from Princeton University, where her legal theses included Race in the American Classroom, and Undying Injustice: American “Exceptionalism” and Permanent Bigotry, and Deadly Obsession: American Gun Culture. In this text, the student Sotomayor explained that the Second Amendment to the Constitution did not actually afford individual citizens the right to bear arms, but only duly conferred organizations, like the military. Instead of making guns illegal, she argues that they have been illegal for individuals to own since the passing of the Bill of Rights

ð        THOMAS JEFFERSON in a letter to Charles Hammond, August 18, 1821 said the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal judiciary; an irresponsible body, working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little to-day and a little to-morrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States, and the government of all be consolidated into one.

You can object to Sonia Sotomayor being approved as your next Supreme Court Justice by contacting your US Senator.

You can find your officials @ http://f2a.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=315&Itemid=122

Florida:

Martinez, Mel – (R – FL)

356 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-3041
Web Form: martinez.senate.gov/public/?p=EmailSenatorMartinez
Nelson, Bill – (D – FL)
716 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-5274
Web Form: billnelson.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm
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Supreme Court: Spurning Souter

May 4, 2009

Spurning Souter

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, May 01, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Supreme Court: Retiring Justice David Souter’s high-court career perfectly illustrates the political poisoning of the judicial confirmation process. His successor may very well be an improvement.

Overshadowed as it is in Americans’ memories by the 1991 Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, President George H.W. Bush’s appointment of David Souter in 1990 is often forgotten. But it spoke volumes about the deterioration of the Supreme Court appointment process.

He was the ultimate “stealth candidate,” chosen out of fear of a repeat of the 1987 Robert Bork defeat. The White House chief of staff, former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, was overjoyed with himself when he plucked the little-known and hermitic Souter from his rural Weare, N.H., cabin.

Working in state government pretty much continually since 1968 as a prosecutor and judge, Souter was on the federal bench a mere two months when President Bush accepted the advice of Sununu and Souter’s ex-boss, liberal New Hampshire Republican Sen. Warren Rudman, naming the mystery man to the highest court in the land.

During hearings, the only Judiciary Committee member to sniff out traces of the liberalism that was to mark Souter’s high court career was Sen. Gordon Humphrey, R-N.H., who elicited an admission that as a trustee of a hospital in Concord, Souter has approved its policy of performing abortions.

When the hearings were over, it was the Democrats who felt bamboozled, but two decades of Republican high court nominations should have taught this lesson: Doubt or the lack of a record means the candidate is likely to be a liberal.

Liberals haven’t been dismayed with a Democratic high court appointment since John F. Kennedy picked Byron White, who wrote the dissent in Roe v. Wade.

Republican presidents, by contrast, appoint closet liberals again and again — Nixon gave us Chief Justice Warren Burger and Roe author Harry Blackmun, Ford gave us the court’s current most liberal member, John Paul Stevens, and even Reagan gave us Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy.

In all those cases, what was needed was the guts to embrace and defend a nominee who understands that the Supreme Court’s job is to judge, not act as an unelected superlegislature.

With the Democratic majority in the Senate likely to reach a filibuster-proof 60 votes, Barack Obama can obviously name whoever he wants.

In the summer of 2007, he said “we need somebody who’s got the heart . . . the empathy to recognize what it’s like to be a young, teenaged mom; the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.”

That doesn’t mean Oprah will be changing careers. “Empathy” may well mean someone steeped in radical “critical legal studies” thinking, which cynically views law as nothing more than wordplay and disguised politics. And he may choose someone who thinks international law should eclipse our Constitution.

But if the president really believes bipartisanship means “that we’re open to each other’s ideas,” as he recently said, then why not consider someone a bit to the right of current Justices Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer?

A genuinely open, independent mind will find some of the legal wisdom of fellow justices like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas rubbing off on him or her — which would be a marked improvement over David Souter.

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Courting Disaster

April 14, 2009

Courting Disaster

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, April 13, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Jurisprudence: For Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. law is not enough. She believes American judges should apply foreign law to domestic cases. How can such a person serve on our highest court?


Read More: Judges & Courts


Speaking last week at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law at a symposium in observance of her 15 years on the Supreme Court, Ginsburg said she didn’t “understand all the brouhaha lately from Congress and even from some of my colleagues about referring to foreign law.”

“Why shouldn’t we look to the wisdom of a judge from abroad with at least as much ease as we would read a law-review article written by a professor?” said the Clinton appointee, who once was a lawyer for the ACLU.

If only Ginsburg were alone in taking that position.

Justice Stephen Breyer, also a Clinton appointee, and retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor have both supported the practice of drawing on foreign law in American courts.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who like O’Connor has been something of a disappointment as a Reagan appointee, also has a record of looking abroad for judicial inspiration.

Writing for the majority in the 2005 Roper case that overturned a death sentence for a 17-year-old convicted of murder, Kennedy cited an “overwhelming weight of international opinion,” including opposition among “leading members of the Western European community” to the execution of juveniles, as a factor in the ruling.

Either the U.S. Constitution is the foundation of our law, or it isn’t.

If so, then to go outside of our borders seeking judicial wisdom is both unlawful and destructive to our system. If it isn’t the supreme law of the land, then the law becomes whatever the most politically powerful or violent elements of society say it is.

That’s a step backward, not forward, a devolution into a modern mobocracy that would be difficult to reverse.

No matter what its intentions, no matter how insightful its judgment might be, a foreign court cannot tell Americans what their Constitution means. They were neither elected by U.S. voters nor appointed by an authority who was. They have no accountability to American citizens or our system of laws. Their views are irrelevant.

The only relevance is what the framers of the Constitution intended when they wrote it. Courts have no right to twist or ignore the meanings of their words, or to apply present-day drifts of public opinion. The Constitution is not a malleable document or list of suggestions. If that is all it is, then it is nothing.

The U.S. Constitution isn’t perfect, but it is the best that humanity has ever devised. No nation in history has expanded liberty and has been as just as the U.S.

No nation has contributed to the evolution of equitable law more than America has in its relatively short 232-year history. None has better shielded its people from the power of government. Nowhere else has speech been freer, the right of assembly more strongly guaranteed, the rights of the accused more protected and minorities more zealously safeguarded than they have been here in the U.S.

We owe the English a debt for their contribution to our system. It is their system of common law that America has built upon. That debt does not mean, however, that we have to look to British law to inform rulings made on our own soil concerning our own people.

More than two decades before the Founders wrote and ratified the Constitution, the colonists declared their independence from Britain. While the nation has since made many alliances in commerce and in war, it has been judicially independent and it must remain so.

Other nations should be borrowing ideas from us. Any justice worthy of the Supreme Court should recognize this.

While it’s too late to do anything about those on the court who don’t, it’s not too late to ensure that no future justice will be swayed by foreign law. Those who would need to be weeded out by the confirmation process.

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Justices Mixed On Clinton Movie

March 25, 2009

Anti-Clinton film focus of top court case

by: MICHAEL DOYLE McClatchy News Service
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court justices gave decidedly mixed reviews Tuesday to efforts to regulate “Hillary: The Movie,” as they considered a case that may shape future election campaigns.

Everyone agrees the 90-minute film is vehemently anti-Hillary Clinton. The justices disagree on whether it’s tantamount to a political ad that can be regulated, or a documentary that enjoys full free-speech protection.

“I saw it,” Justice Stephen Breyer said. “It’s not a musical comedy.”

The arguments in the case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, indicated that the Supreme Court will produce another sharply fractured decision guiding campaign finance rules. The justices are expected to issue a ruling before early summer.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and Stephen Breyer suggested that they consider the film the kind of campaign advocacy that’s subject to reasonable regulation. By contrast, Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito cast the campaign-finance regulations as an infringement on the First Amendment.

Alito drilled home the point that campaign books might be banned next if the Obama administration prevails in the argument that campaign-finance restrictions extend to a lengthy documentary.

“That’s pretty incredible,” Alito said, to say that “if a campaign biography was published, that could be banned.”

A conservative group called Citizens United produced “Hillary: The Movie” and released it in January 2008. Featuring conservative commentators such as Robert Novak and Ann Coulter, the movie repeatedly describes Clinton with words like “cunning,” “ruthless,” “deceitful” and “Machiavellian.”

At the time of the film’s release, Clinton was a New York senator in the midst of the Democratic presidential primary, which she eventually lost to Barack Obama. Now secretary of state, she was at the time considered the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“This documentary is the very definition of the robust, uninhibited debate … that the First Amendment is there to guarantee,” said Theodore Olson, a former Bush administration solicitor general who represents Citizens United.

Corporations and labor unions long have been banned from directly funding political campaigns, although they can establish political action committees. A 2002 campaign-finance law extended the restrictions to cover ads that seek to sway voters without explicitly calling for a particular vote.

The 2002 law blocks corporations and labor unions from funding such “electioneering communications” within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a general election. Individual contributors also must be disclosed.

Citizens United showed the movie in six theaters nationwide. The organization also wanted to pay $1.2 million so the movie could be distributed through a video-on-demand service.