Bench Memos

Grading Sotomayor

Judge Sotomayor deserves an A+ for brazen doublespeak.  She emphatically rejected the lawless “empathy” standard for judging that President Obama used to select her, but she denied the plain import of her many statements contesting the possibility and desirability of judicial impartiality.  She hid behind a ridiculously simplistic caricature of judging that embarrassed and disgusted her most vociferous backers, but she never recognized any meaningful bounds on the role of a Supreme Court justice.  She gave a series of confused statements about the use of foreign law that are inconsistent with each other and that contradict a speech that she gave just three months ago. 

The primary question that Judge Sotomayor’s testimony raises is whether her thinking is really so muddled or whether she was being savvily deceptive—or both. 

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