In the now-famous Duke Law School appearance, Judge Sotomayor said the “court of appeals is where policy is made,” adding, “I know this is on tape, and I should never say that because we don’t make law.”
As others have pointed out, in light of those comments, there is no question her ruling in Ricci v. DeStefano deserves a closer look. That was the case where Judge Sotomayor upheld a discriminatory practice that affected firefighters in New Haven, Connecticut, who were denied promotions because not enough minorities scored high enough on a racially neutral test. Ironically, the group of discriminated firefighters included one Hispanic.
She also voted to refuse rehearing that case and did not even think the case was worthy of a published opinion — very interesting considering the fact that the Supreme Court is currently considering the case and will announce its opinion at the end of June.
I know Sen. Leahy has tried to alleviate our concerns by saying that Sotomayor promised to follow the law (maybe he also looked into her eyes), but again, this is no fairytale. We must take a close look at her record because there is too much at stake. And yes, I know it is a novel concept to Sen. Reid, but that includes reading her opinions.
For the Democratic leadership to feel they are fulfilling their “advice and consent” duties by having lunch with Judge Sotomayor and then voting is one thing, but they should at least not stand in the way of those faithful Senators who have respect for the Constitution and their constituents and want to take the time to examine legitimate and well-documented concerns in the nominee’s record.