Sotomayor Needs To Judge Facts, Not Feelings

Charmaine Yoest

hide captionCharmaine Yoest is president & CEO of Americans United for Life.

Courtesy of AUL.org

When President Obama described the kind of judge he would pick for the Supreme Court, his top requirement wasn't fidelity to the Constitution. It was feelings — or, as Obama put it, "empathy."

Now, with his choice of Sonia Sotomayor to fill the vacancy on the highest court of the land, no one can say the president didn't warn us. Sotomayor is a judge who makes it clear she decides cases on feelings, not facts. She is a radical judicial activist who readily admits that she applies her personal political agenda when deciding cases.

In an age when, according to the president himself, we have moved beyond race, Sotomayor's philosophy is a throwback to the days of racial factionalism and division. She has written that she believes her ethnic background and sex give her the edge over "white male" judges. As she put it, she hopes that a "wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

But justice for Judge Sotomayor isn't just about reaching "a better conclusion" based on the laws of the land. It's about making policy. In a speech at Duke Law School in 2005, Sotomayor said that her own Court of Appeals is "where policy is made." She has also said that taking such "judicial action" is part of what she calls the "heroics of judges today." Those heroics, she says, depend upon "protecting our own turf and ensuring that it is we who interpret the law."

And what happens when Judge Sotomayor tries to interpret the law? Four out of the five times her decisions have come before the Supreme Court, the court reversed them. It ruled that she had made errors in statutory interpretation — misapplying the law. And the one time the court upheld her decision, it ruled unanimously that her reasoning was faulted. Sotomayor may have saved baseball, but her batting average with the Supreme Court puts her in the bush leagues.

Her philosophy of radical judicial activism is exactly the thinking that led to the Supreme Court turning into what is effectively the National Abortion Control Board, denying the American people the right to be heard on this critical issue. She will further entrench the court's self-appointed role as the sole arbiter of abortion policy. Based on her judicial philosophy, we expect her to elevate unrestricted, unregulated and taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand to a fundamental constitutional right by reading the sweeping Freedom of Choice Act into the Constitution.

Appointing Sotomayor to the Supreme Court would give her a pedestal to impose her personal policy and beliefs onto others from the bench. But this is precisely what Americans do not want in their judges: A nationwide poll we released last week found that 7 out of 10 Americans believe that "some federal judges have gone too far by doing more than just interpreting the law and instead are making new law." Mainstream America does not want a Supreme Court nominee who, instead of following her duty to uphold the Constitution, chooses instead to dictate her own personal political agenda.

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