Swimming Against the Mainstream

July 13, 2009 – Monday

Swimming Against the Mainstream

Today the confirmation hearings begin for President Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor. Once the questioning starts, the Senators should be earning their salary as they try to discover what exactly Ms. Sotomayor meant by some of her controversial statements; why she tried to suppress her ruling in the Connecticut firefighters’ discrimination case, and what her role was in the anti-life work at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF)? From 1980 to 1992 Judge Sotomayor was an active governing board member of the PRLDEF, where she helped to shape the group’s controversial legal policy. Just one example of this is the PRLDEF brief in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services in 1989. Sotomayor’s group called the right to abortion “precious.” I would think that most Americans would disagree that the ability to take a young human life is “precious!”

Ms. Sotomayor’s troubling history as a jurist and activist has raised numerous other concerns on the life issues, on sovereignty issues, marriage issues, and more. Finally, she is entering the hearings with some of the highest levels of public opposition any Supreme Court nominee has fared in the last two decades according to a new CNN poll. FRC Senior Fellows Chris Gacek and Cathy Ruse and researcher Michael Fragoso have put together a host of questions that Senators on the Judiciary Committee need to ask the nominee.

FRC: Assessing Judge Sonia Sotomayor Before Her Confirmation Hearings
Read our Pamphlet, ‘Judicial Activism and the Threat to the Constitution’

Leaving Integrity on the Cutter Room Floor

Many in Washington complain that the “process of judicial nominations is broken.” Any hopes of trying to fix that process are severely limited when you consider who President Obama asked to escort his Supreme Court nominee, Stephanie Cutter. In 2005, Ms. Cutter led a Democratic “war room” to defend the Democrats’ filibuster against President Bush’s nominees, both judicial and otherwise. Ms. Cutter created “laminated, pocket-size message cards” that the Democrats in the House and Senate carried to defend their filibustering ways. Also in 2005, she defended the right to “Bork” candidates, saying, “If ‘borked’ means fulfilling your constitutional duty by protecting the rights and freedoms of the American people, then every senator should wear that as a badge of honor.” Borking refers to blocking a nominee based solely on distorted personal and political attacks.

Cutter is no stranger to Supreme Court battles, having helped coordinate, while on Senator Ted Kennedy’s (D-Mass.) staff, the left’s fight during the confirmations of Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito, at times hand-feeding talking points to liberal groups — or vice-versa. She continues this practice today, first organizing a number of liberal groups to show up at the White House press conference announcing the nominee. Now, to the surprise of few, one of those groups is coordinating personal attacks on one of the firefighters scheduled to testify this week against the nominee regarding the discrimination he suffered in the Ricci case.

Cutter was “no holds barred” in blocking some of President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees. In one case a memo was leaked from Ms. Cutter’s office that pointed out that Hispanic judicial nominee Miguel Estrada was especially “dangerous” because “he is Latino.” While President Obama might have campaigned on a “Washington outsider” message, the thugs he is hiring around him bring the wrong kind of change.

The Politico: Ex-Inspector General Gerald Walpin is still endorsing Sonia Sotomayor

Ruth Bader ‘Populations We Don’t Want Too Many Of’ Ginsburg

Do you think Supreme Court justices are immune from all kinds of prejudices that affect their thinking? Let’s look at the mindset of someone already sitting on the Supreme Court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently told the New York Times she was surprised when the high court ruled, in 1980, that taxpayers do not have to pay for abortions under the federal Medicaid program. “Frankly, I had thought at the time Roe was decided there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations we don’t want too many of.” Who might those populations be, Justice Ginsburg? The poor? Minorities? Persons with disabilities? Residents of Appalachia? It cannot be criminals–even if you assume that unborn children could qualify as criminals–since they’re not the ones accessing Medicaid.

I hope that members of the Judiciary Committee will closely question Judge Sotomayor. Does she embrace the views of Justice Ginsburg? Does she think it’s appropriate for public servants to talk about getting rid of large segments of the public? When she was an attorney with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, that group argued for federal funding of Medicaid abortions for the poor. Does she think Puerto Ricans are among “those populations we don’t want too many of?”

Read our pamphlet, ‘The Top Ten Myths About Abortion’

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