Really. I have tried. I did my best not to get ODS. For eight years I fought with those suffering from ‘BDS’ or, Bush Derangement syndrome trying to counter the atrocious lies spin and misinformation designed to destroy the Bush admin and the confidence of the American and indeed people of the free world over all towards the USA. When Obama was elected I swore to myself that I would carefully weigh and analyze the noise coming from his opponents so I would not become that thing I had fought for two terms. The irrational hate filled partisan nut-bar which can do no good for the purpose of freedom and liberal democracy. But the FACTS of the Obama administration are becoming to much to bear. The actual choices he makes for appointments such as a known tax cheat for head of the IRS. Now granted, his actual crime was minimal and common but we ALL know had Bush appointed someone with that indiscretion shall we say in his past, the decibel level would have broken any city ordinance anywhere.
WASHINGTON – In 2001, Sonia Sotomayor, an appeals court judge, gave a speech declaring that the ethnicity and sex of a judge “may and will make a difference in our judging.”
In her speech, Judge Sotomayor questioned the famous notion – often invoked by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her retired Supreme Court colleague, Sandra Day O’Connor – that a wise old man and a wise old woman would reach the same conclusion when deciding cases.
“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,” said Judge Sotomayor, who is now considered to be near the top of President Obama’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees.
Her remarks, at the annual Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, were not the only instance in which she has publicly described her view of judging in terms that could provoke sharp questioning in a confirmation hearing.
This month, for example, a video surfaced of Judge Sotomayor asserting in 2005 that a “court of appeals is where policy is made.” She then immediately adds: “And I know – I know this is on tape, and I should never say that because we don’t make law. I know. O.K. I know. I’m not promoting it. I’m not advocating it. I’m – you know.”
The video was of a panel discussion for law students interested in becoming clerks, and she was explaining the different experiences gained when working at district courts and appeals courts. Her remarks caught the eye of conservative bloggers who accused her of being a “judicial activist,” although Jonathan H. Adler, a professor at Case Western Reserve University law school, argued that critics were reading far too much into those remarks.
Republicans have signaled that they intend to put the eventual nominee under a microscope, and they say they were put on guard by Mr. Obama’s statement that judges should have “empathy,” a word they suggest could be code for injecting liberal ideology into the law.
Judge Sotomayor has given several speeches about the importance of diversity. But her 2001 remarks at Berkeley, which were published by the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, went further, asserting that judges’ identities will affect legal outcomes.
“Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences,” she said, for jurists who are women and nonwhite, “our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”
Her remarks came in the context of reflecting her own life experiences as a Hispanic female judge and on how the increasing diversity on the federal bench “will have an effect on the development of the law and on judging.”
In making her argument, Judge Sotomayor sounded many cautionary notes. She said there was no uniform perspective that all women or members of a minority group have, and emphasized that she was not talking about any individual case.
She also noted that the Supreme Court was uniformly white and male when it delivered historic rulings against racial and sexual discrimination. And she said she tried to question her own “opinions, sympathies and prejudices,” and aspired to impartiality.
Still, Judge Sotomayor questioned whether achieving impartiality “is possible in all, or even, in most, cases.” She added, “And I wonder whether by ignoring our differences as women or men of color we do a disservice both to the law and society.”
She also approvingly quoted several law professors who said that “to judge is an exercise of power” and that “there is no objective stance but only a series of perspectives.”
“Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see,” she said.
Charles J. Ogletree Jr., a Harvard law professor and an adviser to Mr. Obama, said Judge Sotomayor’s remarks were appropriate. Professor Ogletree said it was “obvious that people’s life experiences will inform their judgments in life as lawyers and judges” because law is more than “a technical exercise,” citing Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s famous aphorism: “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.”
In a forward to a 2007 book, “The International Judge” (U.P.N.E.), Judge Sotomayor seemed to put a greater emphasis on a need for judges to seek to transcend their identities, writing that “all judges have cases that touch our passions deeply, but we all struggle constantly with remaining impartial” and letting reason rule. Courts, she added, “are in large part the product of their membership and their judges’ ability to think through and across their own intellectual and professional backgrounds” to find common ground.