Sotomayor unqualified for Supreme Court
Judge Sonia Sotomayor, recently nominated for the Supreme Court seat being vacated by the retiring Justice David Souter, is unqualified to become a member of the Court. Why? Because her judicial philosophy explicitly rejects objectivity and impartiality.
In a 2001 speech titled “A Latina Judge’s Voice,” she declared that “the aspiration to impartiality is just that–it’s an aspiration because it denies the fact” that “our experiences as women and people of color affect our decisions.” Elsewhere in the speech, she noted that judges are typically unable to “transcend … personal sympathies and prejudices” and that “gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.” “There is no objective stance but only a series of perspectives,” Sotomayor said.
Referring repeatedly to her “Latina soul” and “Latina identity,” Sotomayor rejected the view often expressed by the Court’s first female Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, that “a wise old man and a wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases.” On the contrary, Sotomayor said, “I would hope that 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.”
This is a blatant endorsement of subjective emotional decision-making, which has no place on the Court and will swiftly corrupt what’s left of its integrity. The Supreme Court has a solemn duty to interpret and apply the Constitution. That is an intellectual task requiring ruthless objectivity—which, contrary to Judge Sotomayor, is not an illusory “aspiration” but a requirement of justice. A conscientious judge strives to banish all emotional influences from the decision-making process. But here is Judge Sotomayor declaring herself helpless to resist—indeed, even welcoming—the influence of personal intuitions that cannot be grasped or shared by persons of another gender or ethnicity.
Although Judge Sotomayor has many of the tools necessary for service on the Supreme Court—judicial experience, intelligence, legal knowledge—she has adopted a philosophy of judging that makes all of those qualities irrelevant. The Senate Judiciary Committee should expose her dangerous judicial philosophy, and the Senate should vote to reject her nomination.
There is a lot more to say about this particular nomination and the implications of Sotomayor’s statements. I’ll be following this process and posting additional commentary.