With all the squawking going on about Justice Sotomayor‘s past statements, the din must have numbed the minds of the conservatives who have forgotten that some justices in their own party have held pretty much the same views as Justice Sotomayor. So here are just a couple of reminders – blasts from the past if you will – about what some Republican justices have said about the very same issues for which Sotomayor is now being crucified.
Recall, Sotomayor said the following:
The saw is that if you’re going into academia, you’re going to teach, or as Judge Lucero just said, public interest law, all of the legal defense funds out there, they’re looking for people with court of appeals experience, because it is — court of appeals is where policy is made. And I know — and I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don’t make law, I know.
And, she was on tape, so, of course, the comment has now become fodder for the howling right-wing of the party led by its titular head, Limbaugh the Loser.
But here is the shocker, some justices on the Supreme Court have said the same thing and enshrined it into their judicial decisions. Like, say, noted leftist jurist Antonin Scalia, who, in the majority opinion of the 2002 case Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, 536 U.S. 765, wrote:
This complete separation of the judiciary from the enterprise of “representative government” might have some truth in those countries where judges neither make law themselves nor set aside the laws enacted by the legislature. It is not a true picture of the American system. Not only do state-court judges possess the power to “make” common law, but they have the immense power to shape the States’ constitutions as well. See, e.g., Baker v. State, 170 Vt. 194, 744 A. 2d 864 (1999). Which is precisely why the election of state judges became popular.
Photo Credit: AP photo on Huffington Post
Additionally, Sotomayor’s critics are up in arms over the fact that she has admitted that her ethnic background has an affect on her decision making process. As it turns out, her statements are very similar to those made by Justice Sam Alito during his Senate confirmation hearing:
ALITO: Senator, I tried to in my opening statement, I tried to provide a little picture of who I am as a human being and how my background and my experiences have shaped me and brought me to this point. … And that’s why I went into that in my opening statement. Because when a case comes before me involving, let’s say, someone who is an immigrant — and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases — I can’t help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn’t that long ago when they were in that position. […]
And that goes down the line. When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account.
But, of course, these hypocritical lapses by Scalia and Alito are perfectly acceptable to the harping right wing since they were made by Republican conservatives. Apparently Scalia and Alito haven’t gotten the memo that justices don’t make policy or let their backgrounds affect their views.
Ah, but what can you expext from a party that just doesn’t get it. The whining and gnashing of teeth won’t do any good – especially when members of their own feel the same way Sotomayor feels and have expressed those same views publicly.