Bench Memos

Sotomayor Hearing—Schumer’s Round 1

Senator Schumer ran through lots of cases in which Judge Sotomayor ruled against sympathetic plaintiffs (or, in one case, in favor of an unsympathetic party).  These are the very sort of cases that Schumer and his fellow Democrats would use against a Republican nominee (and in at least one instance did so in a very ugly manner), but no one contends that Sotomayor indulges her empathies in every case in applying the law to the facts.  The big problem is that, if and when she is no longer constrained by precedent, she will be free to indulge her empathies in determining what the law means.

I missed most of Schumer’s discussion of foreign law with Sotomayor.  But I did catch Schumer’s idiotic comparison of consulting foreign law with consulting a dictionary.  The point of consulting a dictionary is to get assistance on the public meaning of terms.  What relevance is there in looking to foreign law?