Bench Memos

Surprise, Surprise

Remember when the White House held that pep rally with law-enforcement groups who supported Justice Sotomayor’s confirmation? The one where Vice President Biden told the law-enforcement groups that “Judge Sotomayor has your back”?

Now, three months into her second term, Adam Liptak says, “Justice Sotomayor has completely dispelled the fear on the left that her background as a prosecutor would align her with the court’s more conservative members on criminal justice issues.” Moreover, he says she “guides” the Court’s liberal wing, and legal blogger Mike Sacks calls her the Court’s liberal “enforcer.”

Liptak’s piece might be news for those who weren’t paying any attention during the confirmation process, but it won’t come as a surprise to anyone who followed JCN’s analysis. As our former colleague Wendy Long wrote on NRO just after the White House event:

The whole event was staged to try to counteract a substantive point about Sotomayor’s record: Both on and off the bench, it indicates a self-proclaimed ‘liberal’ who would hamper law enforcement, who does not apply criminal law fairly and impartially, and who discounts the safety of the public and the merits of the personnel who protect them when her notions of race and identity politics come into play.

By the time she was nominated, Justice Sotomayor had a long record of siding with the Left’s favored parties, causes, and outcomes in the “difficult” cases. That record was consistent with the long trail of speeches and articles asserting, among other things, that impartial judging is not really possible. If there really was “fear on the left,” it was always pretty unreasonable in light of the facts.

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