Judge frustrates senators

July 16, 2009
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It’s times like a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing that really drive home the differences between how the general public and judges think, especially on hot-button issues like abortion and gun rights.

I found a few quotes from U.S. Supreme Court nominee 2nd Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor worth highlighting.

Senators questioned her on the topics mentioned above, to which the judge failed to give the answers the senators wanted to hear. According to a CNN.com article, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, was frustrated by Judge Sotomayor’s responses saying she’d need specifics of a particular case before giving her opinion about whether someone has a fundamental right to own a gun or whether certain abortions would be legal.

“What we do is different than the conversations citizens have about what they want the law to do,” the judge said, noting judges have to look at the facts and apply the law based on those facts. “It’s not that we make a broad policy choice and say this is what we want.”

This is something I think most of the general public, and apparently politicians, don’t understand when dealing with judges. They are selected (or elected) to uphold and interpret the law, not to interject their personal beliefs into the law.

A judge may believe abortion should be illegal or all guns should be outlawed, but as Judge Sotomayor stated, judges have to consider the facts of the case and the applicable laws to make a decision. Of course, the politicians who oppose her nomination would love for her to respond to the questions with answers they don’t like so they can jump all over her and use it to vote against her.
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  1. I need an experienced attorney to handle a breach of contract matter. Kindly respond for more details. Graham Young

  2. I thought the slurs were the least grave aspects of her misconduct, since they had nothing to do with her being on the bench. Why then do I suspect they were the focus? I find this a troubling trend. At least she was allowed to keep her law license.

  3. Section 6 of Article I of the Indiana Constitution is pretty clear and unequivocal: "Section 6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious or theological institution."

  4. Video pen? Nice work, "JW"! Let this be a lesson and a caution to all disgruntled ex-spouses (or soon-to-be ex-spouses) . . . you may think that altercation is going to get you some satisfaction . . . it will not.

  5. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

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