Last week the Senate held hearings with Judge Sonia Sotomayor to determine whether she was fit to be named to the Supreme Court. As expected, the lines of battle in the Senate were along party lines with the resident quislings on the Republican side.
The issue at hand was not whether or not Sotomayor has the experience to be named to the Supreme Court. Clearly, she does. The issue was whether or not she has the objectivity and temperament to dispense “blind” justice, or whether she would let her emotions and personal prejudices hold sway and rule based on the outcomes she desired. Sotomayor was a case study for the much larger question of judicial activism.
The outcome of this was never in doubt. Sonia Sotomayor will be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. While this may appear to be a clear victory for Obama and the liberals in the Senate, the truth is actually far different.
While the outcome of this “battle” was never in doubt, it appears that the larger ideological war has been won by the conservatives. Sonia Sotomayor will be confirmed, but first she had to pretend to be John Roberts, Sam Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas combined. In other words, she had to lie in order to get confirmed. Does anyone out there really believe that after a long career of espousing life experiences and empathy as a judge her sole criteria for judging will now be total “fidelity to the law,” as she said in the hearings? Sonia Sotomayor will make her decisions based on her feelings about the case. This is why Barack Obama, who champions “empathy” above all else in a judge, chose her. He knows that she will vote consistently based on the outcomes she wishes to see, and twist the words of the Constitution to back up her opinion. Since she shares the same worldview as Obama (he is a smart man; he would never have nominated her if she did not share his views), her votes on the Court will mirror his mindset, and he is clearly a man who thinks that the law is flexible.
But Sotomayor and the Democrats who coached her testimony in the weeks leading up the hearings, know that this mindset is way outside of the average American’s view of the law. So what did we hear in her testimony? We heard a hardline judicial conservative, one who completely disavowed Barack Obama’s “empathy” standard. We heard a tacit acknowledgement that the sort of judicial activism favored by liberals is a bad idea.
What we heard in Sotomayor’s testimony was a concession that judicial restraint and judicial conservatism is what the American people want. They won’t get it with Sotomayor, or anyone else Barack Obama names to Federal courts, but it is clearly a winning issue for conservatives.