Tuesday, July 14, 2009
It Looks Like We Can All Agree
I'm gonna say that was about an hour ago.
Sotomayor employs a rhetorical dodge by focusing on how she interpreted Justice O'Connor's famous statement that "a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases." She says that O'Connor couldn't have meant that the the wise man and the wise woman will reach the same decision in every case, since judges often disagree. Rather, she interpreted O'Connor's statement to mean that men and women have an equal capacity to reach wise judgments.Drew M.:
Of course that's correct: O'Connor was saying that men and women shouldn't reach different decisions because of their genders. But here is where Sotomayor hides the ball. Having created a diversion by talking about what O'Connor meant, she slipped in this key statement: "the words that I use, I used agreeing with the sentiment that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was attempting to convey."
That statement is a falsehood. Sotomayor's whole point in quoting Justice O'Connor was to disagree with, or at least express reservations about, O'Connor's view that the judge's gender shouldn't affect the outcome of a case. Here is the passage from
Sotomayor's speech:Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O'Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope 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.Thus, Sotomayor's characterization of the context of her "wise Latina" remark is the opposite of the truth. She wasn't "agreeing with the sentiment that Justice O'Connor was attempting to convey," as she told Senator Leahy. Rather, she staked out a position in opposition to O'Connor's. In her speech she expressly disagreed with O'Connor's view, as Sotomayor put it, "that both men and women were equally capable of being wise and fair judges."
I've been on the fence as to whether Senators should vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor, but this rather breathtaking dishonesty provides strong grounds to vote against her confirmation.
We can prove that Sonia Sotomayor is lying: She said the same thing at least six times and a simple familiarity with the English language and semantic logic tells us what she meant.
She is now telling us that everything she said previously was said in a made-up childhood language called "Opposite Talk," where everything she says means the precise opposite.
This is a lie.
If I were to be sued for libeling Sonia Sotomayor, I could attempt a defense that each time I called her a liar, I was not in fact calling her a liar and had no intention to do such a thing; indeed, when I called her a liar, I meant a "wise truth-teller."
I could attempt this defense, but I would lose, as it is absurd. Everyone knows what my words mean and therefore my intent in using them.
Judge Sotomayor’s exchange with Senator Schumer on foreign and international law (available towards the end of this transcript) is either incomprehensible or disingenuous.Jim Geraghty:
As I have documented, Sotomayor has defended freewheeling resort to foreign and international law while positing an unintelligible distinction between “use” of foreign or international law and “consider[ing] the ideas that are suggested” by international and foreign law. Among other things, she said that Justices Scalia and Thomas, in “extensively criticizing the use of foreign and international law in Supreme Court decisions,” misunderstand that imaginary distinction. She stated that she “share[s] more the ideas of Justice Ginsburg in thinking or in believing that unless American courts are more open to discussing the ideas raised by foreign cases and by international cases that we are going to lose influence in the world.” And she spoke approvingly of recent instances—Roper v. Simmons and Lawrence v. Texas, specifically—in which the Court “looked … to foreign law to help us decide our issues.”
But today Sotomayor seemed to say virtually the opposite.
The reason Sotomayer is lying is because she knows that her oft- and clearly-stated beliefs disqualify her, and that denying those very well documented beliefs is the only way she can hope to sell herself as qualified. Why? Because she knows Americans wouldn't want her on the Supreme Court if her views were common knowledge.
We're only about halfway through Sessions's questioning, but it seems he's already backed Sotomayor into an interesting corner. Each time he reads back a past statement that appears to suggest that Sotomayor has issues with objectivity, or that she believes that certain genders and ethnicities come to better judgments than others, the nominee has to insist that the statement was completely misunderstood or was a "rhetorical flourish that fell flat."
In other words, the defense is that she's a poor communicator who articulates her views so poorly that people come away from her speeches believing that her view is the exact opposite of what it really is, and that over the span of several years, those communication skills never improved until the moment she appeared before the Judiciary Committee.
Which gives me faith in the American people yet.
Nonetheless, Obama will prevail and the United States Supreme Court will take another step toward the abyss of radical leftist politics.