Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Liberal? When Convenient, I'm Sure.

by Dick Mac

President Obama yesterday nominated Sonia Sotomayor, a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, to be the next Supreme Court Justice.

Sotomayor was born to Puerto Rican parents in the South Bronx, New York, in the early fifties, and studied at Princeton and Yale before becoming a member of the bar.

Conservatives, because she is not a staunch conservative herself, may paint her as a liberal and try to pretend she is an activist judge.

She is known as the judge who saved baseball, and that is bandied about as a compliment. In this camp, as you may know, I can thing of fewer industries more worthy of destruction than Major League Baseball. I will count this against her.

She sided with the New York Times in their efforts to use the work of freelance writers on a pay for use site, without compensation. She believed that the publisher owed nothing to those who actually created the work they were selling over and over again. Fortunately, her ruling was overturned and the Supreme Court upheld the reversal of her decision, which means that writers get paid for their work when it is sold over and over again.

It is not clear to me if Sotomayor is pro-choice or not. In a ruling that supported the Bush administration's position, she ruled that it was legal for the Federal government to attach provisions to international aid that allowed them to refuse money to any foreign health care facility that performed abortions. Obama has lifted that ban, so her ruling stands in stark contrast to her boss' position. I will give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she might believe that a woman has the right to control the reproductive functions of her own body; but, I am not convinced that she is a pro-choice American.

She replaces a justice whose property rights position is questionable. Souter claimed that property could be taken by eminent domain for any reason, including the development of malls and hotels. A Sotomayor decision prevents the City of New York from seizing the motor vehicles of drunk drivers accused, which is a positive step in the direction of the rights of personal property holders.

The hottest issues facing our courts today are regulation of industry and the rights of homosexuals. I don't think I go very far out on a limb when I write that the Hispanic communities across America have been consistently anti-gay. I do not consider Sotomayor to be an enlightened American, and I suspect she will fall on the Obama side of the issue and rule against the rights of homosexual taxpayers to marry. I hope I am wrong here.

Even though America's center has shifted far to the right in the past twenty-five years, I would hardly call Sotomayor a liberal, and she is not an activist for liberal causes.

It will be fun to watch the Republicans in the Senate walk the tightrope of nominating a Hispanic woman to the court.

The GOP relies heavily on the prejudices of Hispanics, especially playing on their homophobia/machismo and their Catholicism. If the Republicans mount a campaign against a Hispanic woman, it might alienate that community who has been historically relied-upon to vote with a knee-jerk reaction to the issues of homosexuals and abortion. The Republicans, with their party in shambles, can not afford to alienate this bloc of voters.

But, then, Obama hasn't nominated a judge who camps very far from the Conservative ideology that defines America in the 21st Century.

Maybe it would be best if the GOP blocked her nomination.

I look forward to hearing about her positions on gay marriage and abortion rights.

Sotomayor's Supreme Court bid in Senate's hands

Sotomayor’s Rulings Are Exhaustive but Often Narrow

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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