Bench Memos

Sotomayor’s Public Cheerleading for Obama

In a speech that she delivered to the Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Law Alumni Assocation on April 17, 2009—two weeks before news of the Souter vacancy broke—Judge Sotomayor made a number of references to President Obama that seem surprisingly and disturbingly partisan coming from a sitting federal judge:

“The power of working together was, this past November, resoundingly proven.”  (p. 6)

“The wide coalition of groups that joined forces to elect America’s first Afro-American President was awe inspiring in both the passion the members of the coalition exhibited in their efforts and the discipline they showed in the execution of their goals.”  (p. 7)

“On November 4, we saw past our ethnic, religious and gender differences.”  (p. 10)

“What is our challenge today:  Our challenge as lawyers and court related professionals and staff, as citizens of the world is to keep the spirit of the common joy we shared on November 4 alive in our everyday existence.” (p. 11)

“It is the message of service that President Obama is trying to trumpet and it is a clarion call we are obligated to heed.”  (p. 13)

Canon 2 of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges provides that a judge “should act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.”  Sotomayor’s public cheerleading for Obama seems clearly to violate that ethical obligation.

[Cross-posted on The Corner]

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