Bench Memos

Sotomayor on the Job

Justice Sotomayor’s first vote on the Supreme Court yesterday was to stay the execution of an unquestionably guilty hitman that even Ohio’s Democratic governor wanted to go forward. (It did; she and the liberal activist bloc lost the vote.)

Who’s surprised?

Sotomayor boosters tried to paint her as a tough-on-crime former prosecutor to counteract her radical-left, anti-death-penalty activism during her days with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Remember Joe Biden assuring law enforcement she “has your back”?

Remember the White House continually highlighting her work for New York City DA Robert Morgenthau?

Remember her supporters touting that she had allowed “the first prosecution in the Southern District of New York of a death-penalty case in over 40 years”?

Ever catch the Alliance for Justice’s report, which said: 

Exhibiting a modest and restrained approach to trial process, she frequently concludes that procedural defects resulted in harmless rather than structural error. Her cautious style reveals the temperament of a former prosecutor who understands the real-world demands of prosecuting crime and fundamentally respects the rule of law, while remaining alert to the rights of criminal defendants.

All these little attempts to mislead and distract were transparently absurd, but it’s worth noting, just for the record.