Demanding Answers From Sotomayor

When I was at Daily Kos writing about the nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the SCOTUS, I attempted to concentrate on their views on the issues. Particularly with Roberts, I urged that the Senate demand answers on issues like privacy, executive power and other important Constitutional matters. I have never accepted the idea that because an issue could come before the Court, nominees could avoid answering questions on those matters. Unfortunately, the Sotomayor nomination discussion has been derailed by blatant sexism and racism. It should be about the issues. NYTimes' Charlie Savage reports on NARAL bringing the discussion back to the issues and demanding answers from the nominee:

Nancy Keenan, president of the National Abortion Rights Action League, urged them to pressure senators to demand that Judge Sotomayor reveal her views on privacy rights before any confirmation vote. “Discussion about Roe v. Wade will—and must—be part of this nomination process,” Ms. Keenan wrote, adding. “As you know, choice hangs in the balance on the Supreme Court as the last two major choice-related cases were decided by a five-to-four margin.”

I agree with NARAL. In addition, there are many other issues that require detailed questioning -among these executive power. Let's get back to the issues.

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    This is what I care about too (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:11:48 PM EST

    In addition to her views on privacy (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by lobary on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:19:48 PM EST
    I'd like to hear her views on the exclusionary rule.

    Yes, Issues! (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by jawbone on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:28:28 PM EST
    Anyone know who is putting out the pro-Sotomayor ads, which also nicely fluff Obama? I don't recall ever seeing anything like this.

    I see executive powers as being very important, along with civil liberties.

    And, how would business law change if corporations were no longer considered "persons"?

    Not sure (none / 0) (#39)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu May 28, 2009 at 10:34:58 AM EST
    but its about time, since Thomas the left has basically been a rubber stamp for the right, while sitting back and letting conservatives take shots at Democratic nominees.

    Most on the left are probably too afraid (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:35:54 PM EST
    to ask those questions of this nominee - for fear that she will disappoint - and of course chip away at the Obama armor that they are so desperate to protect even if it is mostly an illusion.

    I am guessing she is pretty conservative even on issues such as privacy, but as my Dad said to me tonight, "You never really know what a judge will be like."  He said that after he said at the start of the conversation, "Well, I am pretty sure that she's not nearly as liberal as I'd like her to be."

    I don't think that her relatively slim track record on choice is an accident.  I also don't think it is necessarily what most Democrats would want it to be either.  But we shall see because I don't see any reason why her nomination will be derailed at this point.  George Bush and the GOP trained this nation well and I'll bet Obama writes him a thank you note someday for convincing Americans that the President is "The Decider".

    If she's with the Clinton nominees (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by andgarden on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:42:36 PM EST
    on privacy, I don't have much to complain about. I worry that she may be to their right, though.

    I have seen (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Steve M on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:53:05 PM EST
    very little from Sotomayor on constitutional issues, aside from the First Amendment.  I'm interested in hearing more.

    Executive power, privacy, (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Anne on Wed May 27, 2009 at 09:01:23 PM EST
    reproductive choice, voting rights - all big issues, so it would be nice to get a sense of where Sotomayor comes down on them.  Not looking for hard-and-fast, you-can-hold-me-to-this answers, but I would like to know how she feels about these things.  We know she has opinions - everyone does.  What are they?

    Looking forward to getting a better idea of Sonia Sotomayor.

    I'll be satisfied (none / 0) (#11)
    by andgarden on Wed May 27, 2009 at 09:09:50 PM EST
    if she tips her hand on privacy.

    Or, alternatively, if we "discover" (none / 0) (#12)
    by andgarden on Wed May 27, 2009 at 09:10:41 PM EST
    something she wrote in the 70s or 80s that she now has to refuse to discuss.

    Yep (none / 0) (#13)
    by lilburro on Wed May 27, 2009 at 09:29:51 PM EST
    surely someone knows her views on abortion.

    The anecdote BTD provides below gives me hope that in a court as conservative as the SC is now, she would certainly have the courage to tell the right wing to f*ck off about abortion.


    Or, it could mean (none / 0) (#34)
    by dk on Thu May 28, 2009 at 09:55:06 AM EST
    she will tell the left to f*ck off about abortion.  The problem is that we don't know which it will be.

    How is that (none / 0) (#36)
    by lilburro on Thu May 28, 2009 at 10:04:27 AM EST
    suggested by the anecdote?

    Well, I grant you that the (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by dk on Thu May 28, 2009 at 10:08:28 AM EST
    anecdote can have all sorts of meanings.  One meaning, of course, is that she is willing to fight against all sorts of discrimination, whether it be racism or sexism.

    Another, more neutral meaning is simply that she is a fighter and unafraid to speak her mind on a subject she feels strongly about.  Obviously, we value that quality particularly when the person is on our side.  We all want fighters on our side.  But what if, on the issue of choice, she is on the other side?  We simply do not have enough information on her in connection with this issue to know at this point.


    Change that I could get excited about (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by MO Blue on Wed May 27, 2009 at 09:56:55 PM EST
    Choosing politicians and appointments based solely on the issues. Since we seem to move further and further away from that premise every year, I don't know that pendulum  will move in that direction anytime during my lifetime.

    A Democratic selection to the SCOTUS that results in stronger rulings against privacy, choice and more in favor of increased powers for the executive and corporations etc. will just about make me abandon all hope for anything that I consider a Democratic agenda.  

    That orientation is VERY (none / 0) (#22)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu May 28, 2009 at 12:10:51 AM EST
    unlikely with Sotomayor.  She's no Roberts, she's probably the diametrical opposite of him on that score.

    Which part of my comment (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by MO Blue on Thu May 28, 2009 at 12:21:54 AM EST
    are you saying that Sotomayor is the diametrical opposite of Roberts?

    In favor of increased powers for the executive and corporations etc.

    Really interested in your response since there seems to be conflicting data on some of the other blogs and expressed concern on privacy and choice.


    Still very busy taking care of my (5.00 / 0) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 28, 2009 at 08:29:18 AM EST
    granddaughter and my daughter after her surgery.  How sad that the discourse is still about Sotomayor's race and gender instead of the job we are trying to hire her for.  Always loved reading your writings about the justices.  A niche on the left that will always need you until you can't do it anymore.

    Given The Absence Of Views (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by bob h on Thu May 28, 2009 at 08:42:31 AM EST
    on reproductive choice by Sonia, if I were a Republican I would take a chance that she could be Souter in reverse.

    abortion? (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 28, 2009 at 09:03:06 AM EST
    gay marriage?
    presidential power?
    the "drug war"?
    privacy in general?

    it is said she will side with law enforcment more than your average democratic appointee.  what does that mean?
    there are a lot of questions.  I wonder if Obama is not just as happy that they are not being answered.

    I hope it is not true.  but I worry.

    Thank you. (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:20:08 PM EST

    Walking and chewing gum (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:34:46 PM EST
    Now. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by oculus on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:35:54 PM EST
    Heh heh heh (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 28, 2009 at 09:29:03 AM EST
    Honestly, what race is (none / 0) (#15)
    by Catesby on Wed May 27, 2009 at 10:07:47 PM EST

    She looks whiter than I do, and I am pretty darned white.

    I can see discrimination against Latinos being a complaint in this case, but not racism.  Latinos aren't a race.  They aren't even culturally homogeneous, let alone racially.

    Oh good (5.00 / 6) (#16)
    by Steve M on Wed May 27, 2009 at 10:12:44 PM EST
    the college freshman argument about the dictionary definition of racism, how I've missed it.  In other fascinating news, Arabs can't be anti-semitic because they are Semites themselves!

    Oy (none / 0) (#19)
    by nycstray on Wed May 27, 2009 at 11:36:28 PM EST
    You mean Freshman actually debate this, or should I say, in this manner?! Cause my head was spinning off a bit there with the
    She looks whiter than I do, and I am pretty darned white.

    I'm pretty darn white also, but it doesn't take an artist versed in shades of white to tell the difference between "whites" as a color or heritage.

    Latinos aren't a race? Don't they fall under "Hispanic" as a race, therefore they are a race (according to all those things that ask your "race")? I mean really? What is white? What is AA? What is Asian? Do they REALLY go there in these "debates"?! I thought they were supposed to be more open (the next gen that is)?


    It's not the most earth-shaking... (none / 0) (#17)
    by EL seattle on Wed May 27, 2009 at 11:33:17 PM EST
    ...aspect of the Sotomayor nomination, but her work (and decisions) in the copyright realm might warrent some discussion and consideration over the next few months.  

    A few items of note so far have been brought up on Ben Sheffner's copyrights and campaigns site.  If the following is accurate, there should be an interesting paper trail here:

    For the record, I don't think it's quite fair to judge Judge Sotomayor's copyright record based solely on her Tasini decision. She has demonstrated an admirable zeal in addressing infringement, and her Seinfeld Aptitude Test opinion evidences a true respect for copyright owners' rights. I'm told Judge Sotomayor has about 73 other copyright decisions. I look forward to reading them all.

    Although, of course, by interesting I of course mean interesting to those people who for one reason or another find copyright decisions to be interesting.

    I find them to be interesting (none / 0) (#20)
    by nycstray on Wed May 27, 2009 at 11:42:54 PM EST
    seeing as I'm an artist who works in the licensing field and also is interested in not being co-opted on my own independent work. I also feel it's important for small and independent biz owners, so they may care.

    to be blunt, (none / 0) (#18)
    by cpinva on Wed May 27, 2009 at 11:34:51 PM EST
    "we" haven't moved from the premise of addressing specific issues, it has been the republicans, the right-wingnuts and such as jeffery rosen. not attempting to extract such information from a nominee serves the conservatives more so than liberals/progressives; it keeps the truly authoritarian views of an alito or roberts from public view, and reduces the discussion of a sotomayer to a personality food fight.

    though this backlashed on the republicans with justice souter (more or less), they've used it to pretty good effect overall. let's hope, with a democratic majority, it can be squashed in the confirmation hearing.

    Exactly what Republican tactics (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by MO Blue on Wed May 27, 2009 at 11:54:27 PM EST
    have been squashed since the Democrat have obtained the majority?

    Seems to me that the Dems have adopted many of the less attractive tactics from the Republican playbook when it suits their purpose. Also, don't see that many Republican agenda items being squashed by the Democratic majority either. Instead, many are being promoted and at time passed by Democratic politicians.


    Feingold agrees. (none / 0) (#26)
    by Ben Masel on Thu May 28, 2009 at 02:34:31 AM EST
    Interviewed by local TV at his listening session up nort' Tuesday

    Sen. Russ Feingold who was in the area Tuesday, says the president called him to talk about the process.

    He says President Obama called him recently to get his input on what type of person he should appoint. He says Sotomayor's name didn't come up at that time, but calls the decision to appoint her: a good one.

    Feingold says Sotomayor is a bright judge who doesn't let people push her around. He says he still wants to learn more about her background, but Sen. Feingold says Sotomayor, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Bush Sr. in 1992, isn't a controversial choice.Sen. Feingold says one the biggest questions about Sotomayor is where she stands on the issue of presidential power.


    From my viewpoint (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by MO Blue on Thu May 28, 2009 at 06:49:19 AM EST
    I would have preferred that Obama had nominated someone who was controversial. An Alito from the left of the spectrum.

    I agree with Feingold that one of the biggest  questions about Sotomayor is where she stands on the issue of presidential power. Another is where she stands on choice.


    How come the Repubs never worry about (none / 0) (#31)
    by sallywally on Thu May 28, 2009 at 09:21:04 AM EST
    nominating people from the right wing of their party but the Dems think they have to choose someone "moderate" - i.e., to the right of their party? I am getting more concerned that Sotomayor will be a Souter in reverse. Very, very bad if this happens.

    We can hope Obama knows for sure that she will not be this. I hope!

    To the right of their party? (none / 0) (#33)
    by MO Blue on Thu May 28, 2009 at 09:31:56 AM EST
    Democratic voters or Democratic politicians?  Is the current Democratic Party, if defined by its politicians, actually to the left of a true center? Based on their actions since gaining the majority, I have my doubts.

    Because (none / 0) (#35)
    by CoralGables on Thu May 28, 2009 at 10:01:37 AM EST
    Republicans that think that way and nominate extremists don't care about the whole, just their own self interests. Democrats, at least those that haven't reverted to the Republican tactic in reverse, are looking to lead to the benefit of all for the greater good.

    Their dedication to leading (none / 0) (#38)
    by MO Blue on Thu May 28, 2009 at 10:12:45 AM EST
    to the benefit of all for the greater good is not exactly being highlighted in their handling of healthCARE reform.

    The greater good of the insurance companies maybe. Real people who need good affordable healthCARE, not so much.


    We told you so (none / 0) (#40)
    by pf on Thu May 28, 2009 at 09:54:45 PM EST
    I can't see the rationale of allowing a candidate to step, sleuth-like, into the USSC, without answering rigorous questions concerning their views on Roe V Wade.

    I am taken back, however, that Nancy Keenan is the one raising the question.  She single-handedly did more to split the women's vote in the primaries when she went forth to support Obama instead of Clinton.

    It is inconceivable to me, as a former Clinton supporter, that President Hillary Clinton would have selected anyone with any question in that regard.

    No, Barack Obama does not get to skate on this one.  And neither does Sotomayor.

    Not only do we NOT need a left-wing Souter, we don't need a women's Clarence Thomas, or a Church partnership with Alioto in his bizarre notions of women getting a husband's permission first concerning her decisions about HER body.

    Didn't Nancy Keenan know FOR CERTAIN what Barack Obama would do here??  

    And if not, why in the world did the national leadership of NARAL endorse him?

    Not only does Sotomayor have questions to answer, but so does Barack Obama and so does Nancy Keenan.