This week, the United States Senate began hearings on the confirmation of Judge in the US Senate, Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor will undergo confirmation questioning to the United States Supreme Court.
President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor offers the opportunity for an important public debate over the proper role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional republic. Judge Sotomayor, who has served federal judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since 1998, has offered a boundless view of the role of judges that would promote judicial supremacy at the expense of representative government.
The Chicago Young Republicans (CYRs) do have concerns regarding Judge Sotomayor. She is known for her unpredictability, and businesses the economy can not flourish when there is no predictability of the law the law is not predictable. Judges should interpret the law as written and not legislate from the bench. We elect legislators to make law. Judges, however, are appointed for life and, therefore, should only interpret the law. In other words, judges who believe they are free to make law are usurping the democratically elected representatives of the people.
As CYR Treasurer Arthur Gollwitzer explained, “the statue of Lady Justice wears a blindfold for a reason. Judges are supposed to be impartial and decide cases without regard for a party’s wealth, gender, religion, or ethnicity. Judges are supposed to behave like referees or umpires, they are not players in the game, and they only call the fouls, balls, and strikes. Elected legislators write the rules. Separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution. We have a representative democracy and our elected legislators are charged with making the laws. “
For example, in 2005, the Supreme Court voted unanimously 8-0 US Supreme Court to overturn one of Judge Sotomayor’s rulings in the case Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. v. Dabit. In that case, Judge Sotomayor ruled that a class action securities suit brought in state court by a broker/stockholder could proceed notwithstanding the limits placed on such suits was not preempted by the 1998 Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act. However the Supreme Court reversed the ruling, stating that “it would be odd, to say the least” if the law contained the exception that Judge Sotomayor said it did.
Perhaps the most famous example of Judge case that Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy has ruled on is that of Ricci v. DeStefano aka “the New Haven Firefighters.”In this case, the appellant Frank Ricci, a white firefighter, filed suit when white firefighters were not promoted to lieutenant because no African-American or Hispanic firefighter scored high enough for promotion on the promotion test. New Haven officials said they denied promotions to the white firefighters because they feared a discrimination lawsuit if they only promoted white firefighters. While on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Sotomayor ruled against Ricci. Then on June 29, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Judge Sotomayor and ruled ruled 5-4 in favor of the 20 New Haven firefighters.
The Merril Lynch and “New Haven Firefighter” cases were not the only times that the Supreme Court overturned Judge Sotomayor’s rulings. In fact, the Supreme Court has overruled Judge Sotomayor in four of the six cases reviewed by the High Court. That is not a good record.
“While we as Latinos are joyful to see a Latina succeed, a person’s background, experience and personal feelings cannot be more important that loyalty to the rule of law,” said Angel Garcia, Latino and active CYR member. “We need a Justice that will be an objective ‘referee’ not a biased individual who will inject personal experience. Her past decisions, like the Ricci case, brings into question how objective Sotomayor can be.”
Corrine Williams, 305-479-5683