Obama on Justice Roberts, or why he chose Sotomayor.
Don’t know if you caught it, but in Tuedsay’s WSJ, Page A21; they reprinted Obama’s Senate floor speech on why he voted against Roberts and it’s very telling as to why he picked Sotomayor. I have printed some excerpts that I thought were telling:
“The problem I face — a problem that has been voiced by some of my other colleagues, both those who are voting for Mr. Roberts and those who are voting against Mr. Roberts — is that while adherence to legal precedent and rules of statutory or constitutional construction will dispose of 95% of the cases that come before a court, so that both a Scalia and a Ginsburg will arrive at the same place most of the time on those 95% of the cases — what matters on the Supreme Court is those 5% of cases that are truly difficult.
In those cases, adherence to precedent and rules of construction and interpretation will only get you through the 25th mile of the marathon. That last mile can only be determined on the basis of one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.
In those 5% of hard cases, the constitutional text will not be directly on point. The language of the statute will not be perfectly clear. Legal process alone will not lead you to a rule of decision. In those circumstances, your decisions about whether affirmative action is an appropriate response to the history of discrimination in this country, or whether a general right of privacy encompasses a more specific right of women to control their reproductive decisions, or whether the Commerce Clause empowers Congress to speak on those issues of broad national concern that may be only tangentially related to what is easily defined as interstate commerce, whether a person who is disabled has the right to be accommodated so they can work alongside those who are nondisabled — in those difficult cases, the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge’s heart.”
>>and then had these things to say about Roberts:
“I talked to Judge Roberts about this. Judge Roberts confessed that, unlike maybe professional politicians, it is not easy for him to talk about his values and his deeper feelings. That is not how he is trained. He did say he doesn’t like bullies and has always viewed the law as a way of evening out the playing field between the strong and the weak.
I was impressed with that statement because I view the law in much the same way. The problem I had is that when I examined Judge Roberts’ record and history of public service, it is my personal estimation that he has far more often used his formidable skills on behalf of the strong in opposition to the weak. In his work in the White House and the Solicitor General’s Office, he seemed to have consistently sided with those who were dismissive of efforts to eradicate the remnants of racial discrimination in our political process. In these same positions, he seemed dismissive of the concerns that it is harder to make it in this world and in this economy when you are a woman rather than a man.”
>>So, seems to me that Obama is unfortunately consistent in that he is calling on one’s experiences to make rulings in Sotomayor’s case. Looking to apply the law be damned, and further in Roberts case. If Obama perceives you as not in line with his philosophies, you’re just wrong.
If you think that her rulings overturned 60% of the time by the supreme court are reason enough to refuse her, Obama is quite clear he’s looking to decrease the percentage of those rulings being overturned by appointing her as her rulings would be most likely be his.