The Campaign Spot

Cornyn: Will We Get Sotomayor the Speech-Giver or Sotomayor the Judge?

I asked Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) about how Sotomayor’s answers are playing to his colleagues who aren’t on the Senate Judiciary Committee: “There’s a lot going on right now, things like today’s vote of the [Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions] committee. I did see in the Rasmussen poll some deterioration in the number of people who think she should be confirmed,” he said. “I think that as we see more discussion of matters like the New Haven firefighters case, some people are going to react very negatively.”

He mentioned that ”we don’t have the numbers to effect a filibuster, even if we were so inclined.”

But clearly, while he’s pleased with how the hearings are proceeding, Sotomayor’s answers have left him and other senators “guessing as to what kind of judge she would be.”

“We don’t know if we’re going to get Sonia Sotomayor the speech-giver or Sonia Sotomayor the judge,” Cornyn said. “Once she’s on the Supreme Court, she can say anything she wants with no chance of reversal. The lack of clarity is creating some problems.”

He added that she seemed “malleable,” even positively citing prevous comments by Justices Scalia and Thomas.

Cornyn said Sotomayor’s record as a judge “isn’t horrible, it’s pretty traditional. There are some positions I disagree with, but that’s fairly normal. But once she gets to the Supreme Court, there’s no limitation, no constrant on her ability to pursue her wishes. If it heads down the path of her speeches, that’s a real concern, because I think that would be the definition of bad judicial activism.”

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