Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Manhattan Institute pundit vouches for Sotomayor's position on appeals courts


Perhaps the leading talking point that the right wing pundits are using against Judge Sonia Sotomayor, is the charge that her statement on federal appeals courts and policy. The right, whom we can suspect will include Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News in general, have been calling attention to a YouTube video in which Judge Sotomayor, at an academic conference, says that appeals courts are where "policy is made."

Yet, James Copland of the conservative, economic libertarian-minded New York City-based think tank, the Manhattan Institute, demonstrated intellectual integrity in properly putting the appeal court role in perspective.
From PBS News Hour, May 26, 2009:
JAMES COPLAND: Well, I'm largely satisfied with the answer on the sort of the Second Circuit or the Circuit Courts make policy answer. I think it was a bit of a misstatement, but I do think that it's, in fact, the case that the law of the land is largely determined by the appellate courts.

The Supreme Court takes a very small number of cases, and the Circuit Courts actually sort of set the law out there that's followed by all the trial court judges in the country. So I don't find that particularly objectionable.

Another point that Copland made, as well as the readily-posed to strike conservative opinion molders on cable TV and talk radio is the charge that President Barack Obama nominated her for justice, on the basis of her gender and her ethnicity.

Copland said that this nomination was "demographic selection." But Judge Sotomayor has a stellar resume. She had high honors in college and in law school. While studying at Yale Law School she was the editor of the Yale Law Journal.
In addition to serving in federal court she has recently also served as a part-time law lecturer and Columbia Law School since 1999. She has also performed similar law instruction work at New York University Law School.

Think of the numerous white male nominees that have successfully made their way into the Supreme Court. --nominees that often had less stellar credentials than Sotomayor. Where was the outcry when the Court was entirely white male (save for Marshall, O'Connor or Thomas)? When we have a top notch nominee, why not have a nominee whose selection is a corrective measure, diluting the dominance of males? Women are half of society; so shouldn't it be fitting that the Court have women as at least two of its nine members? Latinos are the second largest minority. Where is the outrage in choosing a highly qualified judge that happens to be a Latina?

Justices Scalia and Alito have Italian-American heritage and are Roman Catholic in their religious orientation. Thus they come from two groups that are heavily sought after group by the two political parties. If people are going to have outrage over Sotomayor and her Latina background, they are being disingenuous if they do not express the same outrage in Republican presidents' selecting two Italian-American Catholics for justice.

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