Posts Tagged ‘umpire’

Jeff Sessions’ Remarks In Sotomayor Confirmation Hearing

July 13, 2009

Transcript: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)
Opening Statement

Monday July 13, 2009

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for your leadership.

And I believe you set up some rules for the conducting of this hearing that are consistent with past hearings, and I believe will allow us to do our work together. And I’ve enjoyed working with you on this process.

I hope this will be viewed as the best hearing this committee has ever had. Why not? We should seek that.

So, I join Chairman Leahy, Judge Sotomayor, in welcoming you here today. And it marks an important milestone in your life. I know your family is proud, and rightly so, and it’s a pleasure to have them with us today.

I expect this hearing and resulting debate will be characterized by a respectful tone, a discussion of serious issues, a thoughtful dialogue and maybe some disagreements. But we worked hard to do that, to set that tone from the beginning.

I’ve been an active litigator in federal courts. I’ve tried cases as a federal prosecutor and as attorney general of Alabama. The Constitution and our great heritage of law I care deeply about. They are the foundation of our liberty and our prosperity.

And this nomination is critical for two important reasons. First, justices on the Supreme Court have great responsibility, hold enormous power and have a lifetime appointment. Just five members can declare the meaning of our Constitution, bending or changing its meaning from what the people intended.

Second, this hearing is important, because I believe our legal system is at a dangerous crossroads. Down one path is the traditional American system, so admired around the world, where judges impartially apply the law to the facts without regard to personal views. This is the compassionate system, because it’s the fair system.

In the American legal system, courts do not make law or set policy, because allowing unelected officials to make law would strike at the heart of our democracy.

Here, judges take an oath to administer justice impartially. That oath reads, “I do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and to equal right to the rich and the poor, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me under the Constitution and laws of the United States, so help me God.”

These principles give the traditional system its moral authority, which is why Americans respect and accept the ruling of courts, even when they disagree. Indeed, our legal system is based on a firm belief in an ordered universe and objective truth. The trial is a process by which the impartial and wise judge guides us to truth.

Down the other path lies a brave new world, where words have no true meaning, and judges are free to decide what facts they choose to see. In this world, a judge is free to push his or her own political or social agenda.

I reject that view, and Americans reject that view.

We have seen federal judges force their political and social agenda on the nation, dictating that the words “under God” be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance and barring students from even private, even silent prayer in schools.

Judges have dismissed the people’s right to their property, saying the government can take a person’s home for the purpose of developing a private shopping center.

Judges have, contrary to longstanding rules of war, created a right for terrorists captured on a foreign battlefield to sue the United States government in our own country.

Judges have cited foreign laws, world opinion and a United Nations resolution to determine that a state death penalty law was unconstitutional.

I’m afraid our system will only be further corrupted, I have to say, as a result of President Obama’s view that in tough cases the critical ingredient for a judge is, quote, “the depth and breadth of one’s empathy,” close quote, as well as his words, quote, “their broader vision of what America should be.”

Like the American people, I have watched this process for a number of years, and I fear that this thinking empathy standard is another step down the road to a liberal, activist, results-oriented, relativistic world, where laws lose their fixed meaning, unelected judges set policy, Americans are seen as members of separate groups rather than as simply Americans, where the constitutional limits on government power are ignored when politicians want to buy out private companies.

I feel we’ve reached a fork in the road, I think, and there are stark differences. I want to be clear. I will not vote for, and no senator should vote for, an individual nominated by any president who is not fully committed to fairness and impartiality toward every person who appears before them.

And I will not vote for, and no senator should vote for, an individual nominated by any president who believes it is acceptable for a judge to allow their personal background, gender, prejudices or sympathies to sway their decision in favor of or against parties before the court.

In my view such a philosophy is disqualified. Such an approach to judging means that the umpire calling the game is not neutral, but instead feels empowered to favor one team over another. Call it empathy, call it prejudice, or call it sympathy, but whatever it is, it’s not law. In truth it’s more akin to politics, and politics has no place in the courtroom.

Some will respond Judge Sotomayor would never say it’s never acceptable for a judge to display prejudice in that case, but I regret to say, Judge, that some of your statements that I’ll outline seem to say that clearly. Let’s look at just a few examples. We’ve seen the video of a Duke University panel, where Judge Sotomayor says, “It’s the Court of Appeals where policy is made, and I know, I know that this is on tape, and I should never say that and should not think that.”

And during a speech 15 years ago, Judge Sotomayor said, quote, “I willingly accept the way the judge must not deny the difference resulting from experience and heritage, but attempt continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate,” close quote.

And in that same speech she said, quote, “My experiences will affect the facts I choose to seek.” Having tried a lot of cases, that particular phrase bothers me. I expect every judge to seek all the facts.

So I think it’s noteworthy that when asked about Judge Sotomayor’s now famous statement that a wise Latina would come to a better conclusion than others, President Obama, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg declined to defend the substance of those remarks.

They each assume the nominee misspoke. But I don’t think it — but the nominee did not misspeak. She is on record as making this statement at least five times over the course of a decade. I am providing a copy of the full text of those speeches for the record.

Others will say that despite these statements, we should look to a nominee’s record, which they characterize as moderate. People said the same of Justice Ginsburg, who is now considered to be one of the most activist members of the Supreme Court in history.

Some senators ignored Justice Ginsburg’s philosophy and focused on the nominee’s judicial opinions. But that is not a good test, because those cases where necessarily restrained by precedent and the threat of reversal from higher courts. On the Supreme Court, those checks on judicial power will be removed, and the judge’s philosophy will be allowed to reach full bloom.

But even as a lower court judge, our nominee has made some troubled rulings. I’m concerned by the Ricci, the New Haven firefighters case recently reversed by the Supreme Court, where she agreed with the city of New Haven’s decision to change the promotion rules in the middle of the game. Incredibly, her opinion consisted of just one substantive paragraph of analysis.

Justice Sotomayor has said she accepts that her opinions, sympathies and prejudices will affect her rulings. Could it be that her time as a leader in the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, a fine organization, provides a clue to her decision against the firefighters?

While the nominee was chair of that fund’s litigation committee, the organization aggressively pursued racial quotas in city hiring and in numerous cases fought to overturn the results of promotion exams. It seems to me that in Ricci, Judge Sotomayor’s empathy for one group of firefighters turned out to be prejudice against another.

That is, of course, the logical flaw in the empathy standard. Empathy for one party is always prejudice against another.

Judge Sotomayor, we will inquire into how your philosophy, which allows subjectivity in the courtroom, affects your decision-making, like, for example, in abortion, where an organization of which you were an active leader argued that the Constitution requires taxpayer money to fund abortions; and gun control, where you recently noted it is settled law that the Second Amendment does not prevent a city or state from barring gun ownership; private property, where you ruled recently that the government could take property from one pharmacy developer and give it to another; capital punishment, where you personally signed a statement opposing the reinstatement of the death penalty in New York because of the inhuman psychological burden it places on the offender and the family.

So I hope the American people will follow these hearings closely. They should learn about the issues and listen to both sides of the argument and — and at the end of the hearing ask, if I must one day go to court, what kind of judge what I wish to hear my case? Do I want a judge that allows his or her social, political or religious views to change the outcome? Or do I want a judge that impartially applies the law to the facts and fairly rules on the merits without bias or prejudice?

It’s our job to determine which side of that fundamental divide the nominee stands.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

END

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Sonia Sotomayor: Another Radical In Robes

May 26, 2009

In a nutshell: Sonia Sotomayor is an activist judge whose decisions have nearly always been overturned by the very Court to which she aspires, as well as a judge who has expressed racist views.

Let us begin with her racist views.

Have you ever seen the statue representing justice?  Ever notice that “Lady Justice” is wearing a blindfold?

Lady Justice wears the blindfold so that she will NOT be biased by what her eyes see.  She will not notice the race, the gender, the religion, or any other such factor.  Instead, she will balance each case before her with the scales of justice, as determined by the law.

We immediately discover that Judge Sonia Sotomayor has no resemblance whatsoever to Lady Justice.  As CNN provides:

At a 2001 U.C. Berkeley symposium marking the 40th anniversary of the first Latino named to the federal district court, Sotomayor said that the gender and ethnicity of judges does and should affect their judicial decision-making. From her speech:

“I wonder whether by ignoring our differences as women or men of color we do a disservice both to the law and society….

“I further accept that our experiences as women and people of color affect our decisions. The aspiration to impartiality is just that – it’s an aspiration because it denies the fact that we are by our experiences making different choices than others….

Our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor [Martha] Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, 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.” [U.C. Berkeley School of Law, 10/26/2001]

Judge Sotomayor has ripped the blindfold off, and makes race and gender major focal points of her view of “justice.”  That she feels that a Latina woman is able to reach a “better conclusion” than a white male is simply racist.

Imagine for a single nanosecond that a white man said, “I would hope that a wise white man with the richness of his experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman who hasn’t lived that life.” Imagine the OUTRAGE.  Her statement is every bit as racist; but it is radically leftist, and so it is ignored for any purpose of criticism.

What about the scales of justice that Lady Justice uses to weigh cases?

Sonia Sotomayor lacks proper scales, as well.  She certainly lacks impartiality, by her own acknowledgment.

First of all, let us see how she views the law:

In a 2005 panel discussion at Duke University, Sotomayor told students that the federal Court of Appeals is where “policy is made.” She and other panelists had been asked by a student to describe the differences between clerking in the District Court versus in the Circuit Court of Appeals. Sotomayor said that traditionally, those interested in academia, policy, and public interest law tend to seek circuit court clerkships. She said, “All of the legal defense funds out there, they’re looking for people with Court of Appeals experience. Because it is — Court of Appeals is where policy is made. And I know, and I know, that this is on tape, and I should never say that. Because we don’t ‘make law,’ I know. [audience laughter] Okay, I know. I know. I’m not promoting it, and I’m not advocating it. I’m, you know. [audience laughter] Having said that, the Court of Appeals is where, before the Supreme Court makes the final decision, the law is percolating. Its interpretation, its application.” [Duke University School of Law, 2/25/2005, 43:19, http://realserver.law.duke.edu/ramgen/spring05/lawschool/02252005clerk.rm%5D

Should judges legislate from the bench?  Should they make policy?  Sotomayor clearly acknowledges her view, even as she recognizes how radical and wrong it is, and therefore says the pro forma things to cover her arse.

She uses her position on the bench to impose her views upon the law, to make policy rather than allow the legislative branch to make policy and issue verdicts on the basis of the laws that are written.

Chief Justice John Roberts once put it this way:

“Judges are like umpires.  Umpires don’t make the rules. They apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire.”

Amazingly, this statement has been attacked by the left.  That is because they want a judge to be able to change the color or shape of the baseballs, or change the size or length of the bats, or subjectively alter the way the game is called.  And they believe that a judge should be able to call the game in a way that favors one chosen side over another (using their “empathy” or their preference for a particular race, for example).  Because THEY are the side that features the activists judges who will do those things to favor leftists causes and arguments.

Justice Scalia, in his response to ACLU president Nadine Strossen’s favoring judicial activism and finding opinions in foreign law that corresponded with the verdicts they wanted to impose, said:

“Someday, Nadine, you’re going to get a very conservative Supreme Court… And you’re going to regret what you’ve done.”

Because the left would howl in unholy outrage if rightwing justices abandoned the Constitution the way the left have and imposed their own views and sought their own sources to justify their subjective rulings.  If you’re on the left, imagine how you would feel if a far right judge invoked sharia law to suppress the homosexual agenda, and you’ll understand how conservatives feel about judicial activists invoking European law to promote it.  We didn’t place ourselves under the authority of European law; we placed ourselves under our very own Constitution.

Justice Roberts made another relevant and powerful statement:

“I had someone ask me in this process — I don’t remember who it was, but somebody asked me, you know, ‘Are you going to be on the side of the little guy?’ And you obviously want to give an immediate answer, but as you reflect on it, if the Constitution says that the little guy should win, the little guy is going to win in court before me. But if the Constitution says that the big guy should win, well, then, the big guy is going to win, because my obligation is to the Constitution. That’s the oath.

But this ISN’T the oath that Sonia Sotomayor will hold herself to.  Rather, she will pull off the blindfold, and judge cases by race and by gender.  And she will “make policy” rather than follow the law.

What did Thomas Jefferson say about the threat of Supreme Court Justices imposing their own will upon the Constitution and imposing laws on the nation based on nothing but their own wills?

“This member of the Government was at first considered as the most harmless and helpless of all its organs. But it has proved that the power of declaring what the law is, ad libitum, by sapping and mining slyly and without alarm the foundations of the Constitution, can do what open force would not dare to attempt.” —Thomas Jefferson to Edward Livingston, 1825. ME 16:114“The Constitution . . . meant that its coordinate branches should be checks on each other. But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.” —Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 1804. ME 11:51

“To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem [good justice is broad jurisdiction], and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.” —Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820. ME 15:277

I don’t hear Jefferson praising “empathy” as the defining quality of of our Supreme Court Justices. I don’t hear him lamenting that a Latina woman isn’t on the bench due to her superior wisdom over his own (as a white man).  I don’t hear him praising Sotomayor’s desire to “make policy” from the bench.  In fact, what I hear Jefferson doing is rolling in his grave over the abomination that Barack Obama’s and Sonia Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy is inflicting upon the nation.

Finally, Sotomayor doesn’t make good law.  Too many times, her activist decisions have been overturned.  Of the cases in which she ruled that went before the US Supreme Court, Sotomayor has been reversed fully five out of six times.  And the one time she WASN’T reversed, her reasoning was unanimously faulted by every single justice:

Cases Reviewed by the Supreme Court

• Ricci v. DeStefano 530 F.3d 87 (2008) — decision pending as of 5/26/2009

• Riverkeeper, Inc. vs. EPA, 475 F.3d 83 (2007) — reversed 6-3 (Dissenting: Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg)

• Knight vs. Commissioner, 467 F.3d 149 (2006) — upheld, but reasoning was unanimously faulted

• Dabit vs. Merrill Lynch, 395 F.3d 25 (2005) — reversed 8-0

• Empire Healthchoice Assurance, Inc. vs. McVeigh, 396 F.3d 136 (2005) — reversed 5-4 (Dissenting: Breyer, Kennedy, Souter, Alito)

• Malesko v. Correctional Services Corp., 299 F.3d 374 (2000) — reversed 5-4 (Dissenting: Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer)

• Tasini vs. New York Times, et al, 972 F. Supp. 804 (1997) — reversed 7-2 (Dissenting: Stevens, Breyer)

Sonia Sotomayor is a judge who has been humiliated with an 8-0 smackdown of her judicial reasoning.

And the case that is “pending review” – Ricci v. DeStefano (aka the New Haven firefighter case), is precisely the sort of terrible and racist reasoning that should demonstrate how unfit for the highest court in the land Sonia Sotomayor truly is.

A couple of paragraphs from an excellent article on the case:

Mr. Ricci’s saga started in 2003. At the time, he was one of more than 100 firemen who took a written and oral exam that the New Haven Fire Department (NHFD) administered in order to determine whom it would promote to fill 15 openings for lieutenant and captain positions. In preparation for the test, Ricci, a dyslexic who struggles with reading and retaining information, simply outworked most of his competition. He spent more than $1,000 to purchase books that the city had recommended as useful study guides, and he studied for 8 to 13 hours each day. When the test scores were ultimately tabulated, Ricci’s name was near the top of the list. The promotion should have been his.

It didn’t happen that way. It soon emerged that New Haven’s black firefighters, on average, had performed quite poorly on the same test that Ricci had aced. In fact, not a single African American had scored high enough to qualify for a promotion. When word of this got around, a number of local black leaders with political influence thundered that the exam itself was to blame, arguing alternately that it was racially biased on the one hand, and a poor predictor of an applicant’s potential to fulfill the duties of a leadership position on the other.

This is exactly the sort of thing that Roberts was talking about in his analogy.  We had a law in place; we had a universally recognized system of promotion.  One man, in particular, tried to work as hard as he could within the rules that were supposed to be for everyone, and aced the exam.  But Sonia Sotomayor decided she didn’t like the results, and so she changed the rules quite literally after the game had already been played.

Let’s demand a justice who rules according to the law without prejudice rather than a justice who makes prejudice a basis for her rulings.  Let’s demand a justice who understands that she is under the rule of law rather than a justice who uses the legal system to “make policy.”

We don’t need another radical in robes.

The American people have enough black-robed masters and government bureaucrats imposing their will upon us in blatant disregard of the intent of the Constitution which is supposed to be our source of law.  We have enough officials who conflate their own power and explode the size and role of government as master over every sphere of our lives.  We can do far better than Sonia Sotomayor.