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Senator Graham and Judge Sotomayor

Posted by on Jul 15, 2009 in Confirmation, Conservatism, Lindsey Graham, Sotomayor | 0 comments

We should all applaud Senator Graham for asking Judge Sotomayor the tough questions during her confirmation hearings. Rather than gloss over the questioning on a nominee who is all but certain to be confirmed, the Senator has done a great job in allowing Americans to gain insight into the predispositions and judicial philosophy of the Judge. He particularly asked the tough questions on social issues that create tension in the hearing room, since the topics pertain to issues being sanitized with political correctness. e.g. abortion, gun rights

More importantly, Senator Graham has not only asked the tough questions, but he has done so in a fair and congenial manner. This benefits the effectiveness of the questioning and supports the integrity of the values underpinning the questions. His efforts benefit the citizens of South Carolina, and the rest of us in America who wish we had a conservative Senator.

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Judging the Judge

Posted by on Jul 13, 2009 in Federal Judges, President Obama, Senate Confirmation, Sotomayor, Souter | 0 comments

Should Judge Sotomayor be confirmed to replace Justice Souter? That is the question being publicly debated in the Senate Halls of Washington, D. C. It is always ironic to hear the majority party argue in favor of a candidate nominated by a President of the same party. They, of course, do not want the minority party’s Senators to ask the tough questions that touch on the nominee’s judicial philosophy. The argument is that such questioning unnecessarily politicizes the judicial confirmation process, and will dissuade young lawyers who want to be Federal judges from working on controversial matters.

The arguments against tough questioning are ridiculous and undermine the whole point to the Senate confirmation process. The confirmation hearings are meaningless if they do not involve asking the questions that may be uncomfortable for a nominee. If there are questions that create tension, one must ask why such tension exists. Is it merely caused by the sometimes adversarial process of legislating in a two-party dominated Congress? In Judge Sotomayor’s case, I believe there is more to the story.
We have seen the videotape of the Judge aptly describing her belief that Appeals Courts are where policy is made. We have also just witnessed the current U.S. Supreme Court reverse her decision involving claims of reverse discrimination made by New Haven Firefighters.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if the sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices could provide testimony during the confirmation hearings? Maybe they would have some insight on Judge Sotomayor’s judicial temperament and reasoning process.
Finally, the argument that President Obama won the election and should have his nominees confirmed without substantive inquiry must fail. The Senate was elected by the same folks that elected President Obama, and some who did not. If the Senate fails to fully and fairly question and challenge (where needed) the philosophy espoused by Judge Sotomayor, then they are abandoning the people who put them in power. Former Senator Obama essentially said the same thing in his speech opposing Justice Alito:

“As we all know, there’s been a lot of discussion in the country about how the Senate should approach this confirmation process. There are some who believe that the President, having won the election, should have the complete authority to appoint his nominee, and the Senate should only examine whether or not the Justice is intellectually capable and an all-around nice guy. That once you get beyond intellect and personal character, there should be no further question whether the judge should be confirmed.

I disagree with this view. I believe firmly that the Constitution calls for the Senate to advise and consent. I believe that it calls for meaningful advice and consent that includes an examination of a judge’s philosophy, ideology, and record. And when I examine the philosophy, ideology, and record of Samuel Alito, I’m deeply troubled.” Senator Obama, January 26, 2006

Let us hope our current Senate has the same courage of their conviction.
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Supreme Decision

Posted by on Jun 1, 2009 in Confirmation, Conservatism, President Obama, Sotomayor, Supreme Court, White House | 0 comments

Is Judge Sotomayor the right pick for the U.S. Supreme Court?  I haven’t decided yet, since there are so many of her viewpoints, prior decisions and policy stances to consider.  Is she a conservative, probably not.  Did she really save baseball?  Maybe so.  But with all of these things to consider, let’s hope the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee does not cave to pressure from the White House to quickly confirm the judge.  

There are almost four months standing between this point in time and the start of the Supreme Court’s next session in October, 2009.  That provides plenty of time to allow the Senate, and America, to really look at Judge Sotomayor’s background and experience.  If the judge can explain some of her positions that are problematic to conservatives, let’s allow time for an explanation and full consideration of her views prior to a confirmation vote.  
For example, I am very interested in hearing her explanation as to why a white male judge is not qualified to objectively decide a discrimination matter.  I am also interested in hearing the judge’s explanation for her videotaped statement where she implied her endorsement to judge made law and social policy.  
Are the Democrats entitled to appoint a probable left leaning judge based on the 2008 election results?  Absolutely.  Are they entitled to quick Senate confirmation, devoid of considered study of a judge’s prior decisions, policy preferences and overall judicial philosophy?  Absolutely not.
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