Senate Republicans Begin Criticism of Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 24, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Republicans Begin Criticism of Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 24
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — After taking a conciliatory, and possibly foozled, approach to pro-abortion Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, Senate Republicans took to the floor on Tuesday to begin what appears to be a more concerted effort to criticize her record and comments in advance of Judiciary Committee hearings.

The lawmakers transitioned from the meet-and-greet portion of the Supreme Court confirmation process to castigating Sotomayor for her comments favoring judicial activism.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, and top Judiciary Republican Jeff Sessions, all pro-life, began critiquing Sotomayor in consecutive floor speeches.

Cornyn talked about Sotomayor’s comment in which she said that courts make policy — which observers are concerned highlights her possible penchant for judicial activism.

“The American people, I don’t think, want judges who believe that they have been endowed with some power to impose their views for what is otherwise the law,” Cornyn said. “Americans believe … that judges should by definition show self-restraint and respect for the other branches of government.”

McConnell agreed, and said "Judges are supposed to be passionate advocates for the evenhanded reading and fair application of the law, not their own policies and preferences."

Although the speeches may show some unity by those most likely to oppose Sotomayor’s nomination, most observers say there is little the opposition can do to defeat or stall her nomination given the strong numbers Democrats have in the Senate.

Still, one lawmaker said that shouldn’t stop those who have genuine concerns about Sotomayor from speaking out about the problems with her record and nomination.

“I think we recognize the importance of highlighting the areas of concern — because there are areas of concern — to put Judge Sotomayor, but also other senators, on notice that these are issues that they may want to look into as we consider her qualifications,” Cornyn told the news site Politico.

Pro-life groups have also upped their opposition to Sotomayor, and the president of Americans United for Life released a new editorial on Monday saying she will be more pro-abortion than Justice David Souter, the abortion advocate she would replace.

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