White House: Sotomayor Delivers Anything But Race-Based Justice–So Confirm Her Quickly


Accompanying the release of Sonia Sotomayor’s response (read it here) to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questionnaire, White House Counsel Greg Craig argues on the White House website that she should be confirmed quickly:

In an effort to advance her nomination through the Senate as swiftly as possible, Judge Sotomayor has completed her questionnaire faster than any Supreme Court nominee in recent history – in just 9 days. For historical context, it took Chief Justice Roberts 13 days, Justice Ginsburg 15 days and Justice Alito 30 days from the time they were designated to the time they completed their questionnaires. With her record of 17 years on the bench, this historically fast completion of the exhaustive questions is no small feat that will hopefully lead to her swift consideration by the Senate and enable her to be a member of the Supreme Court by the time they begin selecting cases in September.

Without eliding statements which have made conservatives froth at the mouth, Craig also plays up those aspects of her career on the bench which highlight her impartiality–a response of sorts to critics who accuse her of meting out race-based justice.

Impartiality in Judging: Judge Sotomayor said “It is very important when you judge to recognize that you have to stay impartial. That’s what the nature of my job is. I have to unhook myself from my emotional responses and try to stay within my unemotional, objective persona.” [Latinos in Law: Wonderful Life, 2000]

Role of Diversity and Ethnicity: Judge Sotomayor said, “[D]iversity and ethnicity shapes who we are and the contributions we make to the world but they don’t and shouldn’t define our humanness or limit the giving to the larger community of people we share this planet with…..On September 11, fire-men and women, police-men and women, and other heroes gave their lives without taking note of the colors of the faces they were trying to save. Countless people stood on blood giving and food lines, hundreds if not thousands of people volunteered their time and donated resources to the rescue effort and none asked about the race, color or religion of the people they were helping.” [Unity Day at the FBI, 5/1/02]

Diversity on the Courts: Judge Sotomayor has written and spokenly frequently about how life, including gender and race, can impact how judges understand cases. Similar to remarks by Justice Ginsberg, Justice Alito and other Supreme Court justices and nominees, Judge Sotomayor believes that life experience can inform the process of judging. Judge Sotomayor said “First, if Prof. Martha Minnow is correct, there can never be a universal definition of ‘wise.’ Second, I would hope that a wise woman with the richness of her experience would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion. What is better? I, like Professor Resnik, hope that better will mean a more compassionate, and caring conclusion.

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