Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Challenge to Long's Assertion

In following the news coverage concerning the nomination of U.S. Appellate Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice David Souter on the United States Supreme Court, I came across the comments of an individual I had never heard of in previous judicial nomination fights. Her name is Wendy Long. I was trying to find the quote she made on NBC News which I found rather disturbing, something to the effect that if a white man said that being a white allows them to make better judicial decisions, that people would be rightly outraged.

That was in response to a speech Judge Sotomayor gave in 2001 in which she made this comment: "I would hope 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."

I did not find Ms. Long's direct quote on NBC, but I did find the one she made on National Review, which CNN's Anderson Cooper picked up on:

"Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order
who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important that the law
as written. She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one's
sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the
bench. She reads racial preferences and quotas into the Constitution, even
to the point of dishonoring those who preserve our public safety. On
September 11, America saw firsthand the vital role of America's firefighters
in protecting our citizens. They put their lives on the line for her and the
other citizens of New York and the nation. But Judge Sotomayor would
sacrifice their claims to fair treatment in employment promotions to racial
preferences and quotas. The Supreme Court is now reviewing that decision.
She has an extremely high rate of her decisions being reversed, indicating
that she is far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal
activist Supreme Court."

Naturally, I wanted to figure out who this Wendy Long was, and who
she is affiliated with, especially since she ridiculously thinks that Judge
Sotomayor is unsympathetic toward America's first responders. Turns out she
is the legal counsel for a group called The Judicial Confirmation
Network. According to their web site, this is their purpose:

The Judicial Confirmation Network is an organization of citizens joined
together to support the confirmation of highly qualified individuals to the Supreme Court of the United States. In addition, JCN works to ensure that the
confirmation process for all judicial nominees is fair and that every nominee
sent to the full Senate receives an up or down vote.

We believe that the qualifications desirable in a nominee
include:

Integrity
Common sense
Education and experience in the law; and
Devotion to the Constitution

We believe that the proper role of a judge or justice is to
interpret the law and the Constitution – not make up the law and deprive the people of the right to govern ourselves.

We believe that a judge or a justice should not use the power of the court to impose his or her personal or political agenda on the people.

Ms. Long herself is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law, a member of The Order of the Coif, who clerked under Justice Clarence Thomas and served as a press secretary for two Republican U.S. Senators, so you can kind of see where this is going.

Based on what I have been able to read on Judge Sotomayor, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonia_Sotomayor, I am trying to figure out which one of the four criteria that she does not measure up to.

Her two previous confirmations should address any issues about integrity. She is definitely qualified through her education and experience. Based on this quote: "I don't believe we should bend the Constitution under any circumstance. It says what it says. We should do honor to it.", I believe Judge Sotomayor is devoted to the Constitution.

As for common sense, it depends on who is judging common sense. If Ms. Long thinks that this current Supreme Court is a liberal, activist court, then maybe she should not be the definer of common sense. Sotomayor's career has been defined by being a practical applier of the law in her decisions. Nothing radical, but as it is with most judicial decisions, thoughtful and debatable. In my opinion, she applies common sense to her decisions, whether you would agree with them or not.

Bottom line, Ms. Long is the new attack dog for this fight. She will be the face of the GOP during this nomination process, providing the cover necessary for those Republican senators to vote against Sotomayor's appointment without totally alienating the Latino vote in 2010 and 2012. Her role will be to define the fight, citing judicial activism, so that the GOP will not be labeled as anti-Latino.

Unfortunately, that may not work since they cannot muzzle Rush Limbaugh who has already labeled Judge Sotomayor a racist. Imagine that, Limbaugh calling somebody a racist. I guess he would know, but I digress.

I would expect to see a lot of Ms. Long this summer making the case against Judge Sotomayor. I look forward to continuing to challenge her assertions.