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Lies, Leahy and the Wise Latina

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

If a liberal politician tells you it’s a “nice day,” better grab your hip boots.

Now that Lies (and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them) author Al Franken is actually a real-life United States senator, we might need to craft either a new definition of “lies” or “truth” – take your pick. The whoppers have been flying thick and fast in recent days.

For instance, in his July 11 radio address, President Obama actually declared that the stimulus “has worked as intended.” If you recall, the White House promised during arm-twisting time in February that the $787 billion stimulus would create or “save” 3.5 million jobs over the next two years. Instead, the unemployment rate has risen from 8.1 percent in February to 9.5 in July. Employers cut 467,000 jobs in June. Something’s working, but it’s not millions of still-jobless Americans. To be fair, the stimulators have got another 19 months or so. And they claim that 8 zillion jobs would have been lost without the massive fix. But it’s not looking good, especially since they’re already talking about Son of Stimulus.

And how about Sen. Patrick Leahy’s glowing tribute to the Wise Latina at her Senate hearing on Monday? With a straight face, and knowing Sonia Sotomayor’s record on racial preferences has been flushed out for all to see, Leahy coughed, ahrem!:

“She understands that there is not one law for one race or another. There is not one law for one color or another. There is not one law for rich and a different one for poor. There is only one law.”

This is not something you might expect about a nominee who served 12 years on the board of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (now the Latino Justice/PRLDEF), or the National Council of La Raza (“the Race”), both of which unabashedly advocate for race-based special rights for minorities along with a laundry list of other liberal causes like unrestricted abortion and economic redistribution.

And if Sotomayor is so committed to the rule of law, why has she been reversed four out of six times when her rulings have come before the Supreme Court?

Leahy again: “She has said that ‘ultimately and completely’ a judge has to follow the law, no matter what their upbringing has been. That is the kind of fair and impartial judging that the American people expect. That is respect for the rule of law. That is the kind of judge she has been.”

Really? Then why did Sotomayor summarily dismiss the reverse racism claim in the Ricci case from New Haven, Conn. white firefighters (and even one Hispanic) who had scored high enough but were denied promotions simply because of their skin color? Should they have spent more time in the tanning booth?

Speaking of liberal jurists, Leahy also found time to burnish the reputation of departing Justice David Souter, who sashayed his way on to the court by being billed as a strict constructionist conservative, and once aboard, dispensed liberal liquor by the barrel:

“Justice Souter,” Leahy claimed, “served the Nation with distinction for nearly two decades on the Supreme Court with a commitment to justice, an admiration for the law, and an understanding of the impact of the Court’s decisions on the daily lives of ordinary Americans.”

You mean ordinary Americans like Suzette Kelo, who saw city officials in New London, Conn. expand the idea of eminent domain to seize her home not for a vital right of way but merely to facilitate more tax-generating development? Souter, who voted with the 5-4 majority in Kelo v. City of New London (2005) to rubber stamp this egregious violation of property rights, must have decided that she was not an “ordinary American” but something else. A Canadian, maybe.

It really is a shame that Souter’s home town of Weare, New Hampshire in the wake of Kelo rejected a serious proposal to condemn his home and build in its place the Lost Liberty Hotel. Perhaps the city fathers would have favored a miniature golf course, taxidermy shack or whatever else might have been more remunerative than the justice’s residence.

Getting back to Leahy, he peppered his speech with warnings to his colleagues about civility, which must have made them feel something like a church choir being reprimanded by Hulk Hogan:

“I trust that all Members of this Committee here today will reject the efforts of partisans and outside pressure groups that have sought to create a caricature of Judge Sotomayor while belittling her record, her achievements and her intelligence.”

Leahy, who voted against the nominations of the highly qualified Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito, is a curious advocate for restraint and courtesy. Here’s how National Review’s Jay Nordlinger recalls Leahy’s conduct of hearings in 2001 for Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft, one of the most gentlemanly public officials in memory:

“Leahy threw at Ashcroft everything he had, trying to sink the nomination. There were hostile witness panels, hostile allegations—the works. Says one person close to the Ashcroft team, ‘Our reaction was, Wow! I mean, holy Moses! The guy's trying to slay us!’ In the end, Ashcroft squeaked through, but not before being tarred before the nation as a racist, reactionary nut.”

That’s something to keep in mind when we hear Mr. Leahy admonish his fellow Judiciary Committee panelists:

“As we proceed, let no one distort Judge Sotomayor’s record.”

Too late, Senator. You already have.

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