President Obama Picks Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court
by Steven Ertelt
May 26, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Barack Obama has settled on a new Supreme Court judge to replace retiring Justice David Souter, who had comprised the 5-4 pro-abortion majority on the high court. Obama selected New York federal appellate Judge Sonia Sotomayor.
The pick allows Obama to satisfy the two camps that had been lobbying for a new Supreme Court justice — women and Hispanics.
Sotomayor will likely draw opposition from pro-life groups, although her limited record on abortion may not be enough for strong opposition from Republican lawmakers or to earn her a filibuster in the Senate.
Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network previously told WorldNetDaily that Sotomayor is an activist judge, who likely agrees with Roe v. Wade and would prefer that the courts make abortion law.
Sotomayor remarked in 2005 that the courts are the place "where policy is made."
In a videotaped statement, she goes on to say, And I know I know this is on tape, and I should never say that because we don’t make law. I know. O.K. I know. I’m not promoting it. I’m not advocating it. I’m you know."
"What she said is exactly the way she judges," Long said in response. "It’s exactly what the president has talked about. He likes that. He thinks that liberal judges are so smart and so enlightened and have such great instincts about what policy should be that they should be making the decisions about policy for the rest of us."
Sotomayor, a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, has not directly issued any rulings on abortion but she has been involved in abortion cases..
"Despite 17 years on the bench, Judge Sotomayor has never directly decided whether a law regulating abortion was constitutional," the pro-life group Americans United for Life noted in a recent analysis of potential Supreme Court candidates.
Sotomayor participated in a decision concerning the Mexico City Policy, which President Obama recently overturned and which prohibits sending taxpayer dollars to groups that promote and perform abortions in other nations.
Writing for the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor upheld the Mexico City Policy, but AUL says the significance of the decision "may be minimal because the issue was largely controlled by the Second Circuits earlier opinion in a similar challenge to the policy."
AUL notes that Judge Sotomayor also upheld the pro-life policy by rejecting claims from a pro-abortion legal group that it violated the Equal Protection Clause.
"Rejecting this new argument, Justice Sotomayor wrote that because the challenge involved neither a suspect class nor a fundamental right," AUL notes. "She then acknowledged the ability of the government to adopt anti-abortion policies, noting, ‘there can be no question that the classification survives rational basis review. The Supreme Court has made clear that the government is free to favor the anti-abortion position over the pro-choice position, and can do so with public funds.’"
At the same time, Judge Sotomayor wrote an opinion overturning, in part, a district courts grant of summary judgment against a group of pro-life protestors.
Though not concerning abortion policy directly, the case is viewed as a stand against free speech for pro-life advocates.
Sotomayor will likely enjoy an easy road to confirmation because the chamber contains 59 Democrats, an expected 60th Democrat if Al Franken of Minnesota joins the chamber soon, and a few pro-abortion Republicans who may side with Democrats.
Related web sites:
Video of Sotomayor comment – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfC99LrrM2Q
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