Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor - Courts Make Policy Video and More

Brian Saint-Paul has got a round-up of various reactions to President Obama's likely Supreme Court pick over at InsideCatholic.

Much will be made I'm sure of a statement she once made that the "Court of Appeals is where policy is made. There is a shorter video out there with the quote, but this one gives the full context (money quotes begins at 0:29):



She has no record of political contributions I could find.

LifeNews considered her the only potentially promising candidate on the shortlist in a post earlier this month, excerpt:
The only potential Supreme Court justice who may provide hope for pro-life advocates is Sonia Sotomayor, a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, has been the subject of considerable speculation because Obama is receiving pressure to appoint both a woman and Hispanic and she qualifies on both counts.

"Despite 17 years on the bench, Judge Sotomayor has never directly decided whether a law regulating abortion was constitutional," AUL explains.

Sotomayor participated in a decision concerning the Mexico City Policy, which President Obama recently overturned and which prohibits sending taxpayer dollars to groups that promote and perform abortions in other nations.

Writing for the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor upheld the Mexico City Policy, but AUL says the significance of the decision "may be minimal because the issue was largely controlled by the Second Circuit’s earlier opinion in a similar challenge to the policy."

AUL notes that Judge Sotomayor also upheld the pro-life policy by rejecting claims from a pro-abortion legal group that it violated the Equal Protection Clause.

"Rejecting this new argument, Justice Sotomayor wrote that because the challenge involved neither a suspect class nor a fundamental right," AUL notes. "She then acknowledged the ability of the government to adopt anti-abortion policies, noting, 'there can be no question that the classification survives rational basis review. The Supreme Court has made clear that the government is free to favor the anti-abortion position over the pro-choice position, and can do so with public funds.'"

At the same time, Judge Sotomayor wrote an opinion overturning, in part, a district court’s grant of summary judgment against a group of pro-life protestors.

Though not concerning abortion policy directly, the case is viewed as a stand against free speech for pro-life advocates.


UPDATE: Americans United for Life, upon whose analysis the above article was based, has released a statement on the nomination:
AUL President & CEO on Sotomayor Nomination

“For all the President’s talk of finding ‘common ground,’ this appointment completely contradicts that hollow promise. Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy undermines common ground. She is a radical pick that divides America. She believes the role of the Court is to set policy which is exactly the philosophy that led to the Supreme Court turning into the 'National Abortion Control Board,' denying the American people the right to be heard on this critical issue. This appointment would provide a pedestal for an avowed judicial activist to impose her personal policy and beliefs onto others from the bench, at a time when the Courts are at a crossroad and critical abortion regulations – supported by the vast majority of Americans – like partial-birth abortion and informed consent laws lie in the balance.

Here's her wiki entry.

More as more is known.