Tag archives: Supreme Court

The Associate Justice from Cardinal Spellman?

by Michael Fragoso

May 27, 2009

Say what you will about Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, her personal story is a compelling one. From the sickly daughter of a widow in the South Bronx projects to the Pyne Prize at Princeton, the Yale Law School, and almost two decades as a federal judge is a remarkable journey. Yet, one should ask how much of Judge Sotomayor’s success “against-the-odds” came from her high-quality preparation at in the Catholic school system. Would her story have turned out differently had she attended a soon-to-be-blighted South Bronx public high school rather than the rigorous Cardinal Spellman?

That said, how many future Sonia Sotomayors are among the 1,715 DC students currently enrolled in private and parochial schools through the DC Opportunity Scholarship voucher program? How many will still be given the same chance to excel once the program is terminated in 2010? If President Obama is serious about the importance of Judge Sotomayor’s biography, he should work even harder to make sure that DC children from similar backgrounds can have the same opportunities.

Sotomayor: A Policy Maker or a Jurist?

by JP Duffy

May 26, 2009

Here is Tony Perkins’ statement on President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sotomayer. Her record makes one wonder… is she a legislator or a jurist?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 26, 2009 CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Maria Donovan, (866) FRC-NEWS

Sotomayor: A Policy Maker or a Jurist?

Washington, D.C.- This morning President Obama announced his nominee to the nation’s highest court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

President Obama has chosen a nominee with a compelling personal story over a judicial pick with a solid constitutional judicial philosophy. A compelling personal story is no substitute for allegiance to the Constitution and its sound application to public life.

Judge Sotomayor’s failure to premise her decisions on the text of the Constitution has resulted in an extremely high rate of reversal before the high court to which she has been nominated.

With that fact in mind Judge Sotomayor appears to subscribe to a very liberal judicial philosophy that considers it appropriate for judges to impose their personal views from the bench. President Obama promised us a jurist committed to the ‘rule of law,’ but, instead, he appears to have nominated a legislator to the Supreme Court.

For example, in 2001 when delivering the Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture at the University of California-Berkeley Law School, Sotomayor stated: ‘I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.’

Needless to say, that statement is troubling - if not offensive - on many levels. As the distinguished legal reporter Stuart Taylor of the National Journal observed about that speech and of Sotomayor, ‘her thinking is representative of the Democratic Party’s powerful identity-politics wing.’

In a 2005 panel discussion at the Duke University Law School that can be seen on YouTube and cable news channels, the judge stated that the U.S. Court of Appeals is ‘where policy is made.’

With all due respect to Judge Sotomayor, our constitution states otherwise and public surveys indicate that the American public understands this constitutional principle and want judges who interpret the law and do not act as life-tenured judicially empowered social workers.

The Family Research Council expects the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the entire Senate to fully examine and publicly present an accurate picture of Judge Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy to the American public before they vote on her nomination.”

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No Softening on Gay Judges

by Peter Sprigg

May 13, 2009

Pro-homosexual activist groups like Lambda Legal began pressing President Obama, even before he was inaugurated, to appoint homosexuals as federal judges, and now that there is a Supreme Court vacancy, the possibility of the first “openly gay or lesbian” Supreme Court justice is being discussed in the media and (intensely) in the blogosphere.

Comments by Sen. Jeff Sessions, by a spokesman for Focus on the Family, and by me, suggesting that a history of same-sex attractions would not necessarily, automatically, and a priori disqualify a candidate for the court led a blogger for Politico to ask, “Is [the] right softening on gay judges?”

In that piece, Josh Gerstein contrasted recent comments by Focus on the Family judicial analyst Bruce Hausknecht with a quote of mine from an article about homosexual judges at the state level that appeared in USA Today in 2006. That article quoted me this way:

We don’t accept that homosexuality is any kind of cultural identity that should be sought in a judge,” says Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group in Washington, D.C., that opposes same-sex marriage. “We think it’s a behavior, not something that should be held up as a role model.”

That comment has been held up as somehow being in conflict with my comments last week to Jake Tapper of ABC News:

Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow at the conservative Family Research Council, says that “the real issue would not be the person’s private life but the issue would be would they be imposing their personal ideology upon the court. In this case would they be imposing a pro homosexual ideology, a pro-same sex marriage ideology.”

It’s also been contrasted with what I told a blogger, Greg Sargent, who is affiliated with the Washington Post:

We don’t think that the process of selecting a Supreme Court justice should include asking questions about a person’s personal sex life,” Peter Sprigg, senior fellow at the Family Research Council, told me moments ago.

But if a person does publicly identify as gay or lesbian, or particularly if a person has been involved with homosexual rights activism at any level, then there would have to be serious questions asked about whether he or she would impose a pro-gay ideology on the court.”

Sprigg added that homosexuality in and of itself would not be a “determinant” against the acceptability of the nominee.

I didn’t even remember the USA Today interview until I saw it quoted, so I went back and reviewed it. The problem with the ostensibly more “hard-line” quote is that those quoting it did not mention that it came immediately after this statement by the reporter:

The effort by gay rights groups to increase the number of openly gay state and local judges has drawn criticism.

Three years later, I remain fully convinced that homosexuality can never be viewed as a positive characteristic in a judge (or in anyone else), so I fully stand by my position that no one should ever be appointed as a judge because they identify as “gay.”

However, those who identified my comments this year as a change in tone from the 2006 interview apparently did not read that article all the way through-since it ended with this:

[G]ay-rights groups … aim to create a “farm team” of judges who could be in position for the federal bench if future presidents are willing to appoint such judges.

Sprigg says his group would fight such an effort. But he says gay judges are acceptable to his group - as long as their sexual orientation isn’t a factor in their work.

We don’t think we should make an issue of it, if they keep it private,” he says. “If we had reason to believe that they would pursue a pro-homosexual agenda, then we would vigorously oppose them.”

Some of the bloggers commenting on this story have failed to make the distinction between saying conservatives “would not automatically disqualify” a homosexual candidate and saying conservatives “could support” one. The statements about not disqualifying a candidate simply reflect the fact that we believe even Supreme Court nominees deserve some zone of privacy, and acknowledge that there is at least a hypothetical possibility that somewhere in the country there is a judge who has experienced same-sex attractions, but who also respects judicial restraint and the original intent of the Constitution.

In the real world, however, the chances of finding a highly-qualified judge who fits both of those descriptions are probably about equal to the chances of a camel passing through the eye of a needle. So don’t hold your breath waiting for social conservatives to “support” a “gay” judicial nominee.

How Do I Feel About the Constitution Today?

by Family Research Council

May 3, 2009

One thing can be said for President Obama is that he doesnt sneak up on his targets. And another thing that can be said for this liberal administration is that it is not in the least embarrassed about its inclinations. To buy into this left-of-center government is to have gotten what one bargained for. Yesterday Obama made it clear that he wants to see retiring Justice David Souter (he who ignored the erstwhile tradition of justices allowing a president of the party that appointed him to nominate his successor) replaced by October and by an individual who has empathy and is about how our laws affect the daily realities of peoples lives. These are indeed fine characteristics, but they are finest in legislators and not in judges, and in judges they are finer in trial judges than in appellate and Supreme Court judges whose empathy may or may not be a reliable yardstick of, well quaint concept justice or due process.

President Obama also suggested that some (unspecified) Americans need Supreme Court judges who will use their empathy to assure that they feel welcome in their own nation. Is Obama referring to judges who will enforce duly enacted civil rights laws? To homosexual couples desiring to marry and have the U.S. Constitution traduced to their cause? To Mormons and Christians who are being assaulted in their churches or on the street for their participation in our democracy? To legal immigrants? Illegal immigrants?

In the realm of feeling, any answer is possible. But in the realm of leftwing jurisprudence, only one answer to each of these questions is likely. The empathy that matters is in the eye of the office-holder.

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