Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Making the Case for Sotomayor


By Elena Rovner

As the Senate begins open hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, no doubt there will be those who continue to oppose the nomination, but they will have a tough time proving their case.

It has been widely observed that President Obama has chosen someone who is superbly qualified. Judge Sotomayor has outstanding legal credentials and understands that upholding the rule of law means going beyond legal theory to ensure consistent, fair, common-sense application of the law to real world facts.

If confirmed for the Supreme Court, Judge Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100 years, and more overall judicial experience than anyone confirmed to the Court in the past 70 years. She has been a big-city prosecutor and a corporate litigator, a federal trial judge on the U.S. District Court, and an appellate judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Before she was promoted to the Second Circuit by President Clinton in 1998, Judge Sotomayor was appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush – with a show of bipartisan support that proves good judging transcends political party.

In fact, our 41st president recently spoke out against Judge Sotomayor’s few (but extremely vocal) detractors, saying, “I think she’s had a distinguished record on the bench and she should be entitled to fair hearings.” I couldn’t agree more -- after all, fairness is what this is all about.

The Supreme Court needs more fair-minded members such as Judge Sotomayor, who is in the mainstream of American viewpoints and is not pushing a political agenda. We need judges who will uphold our Constitution and the law to provide equal justice and protect personal freedoms for everyone in America, regardless of wealth, status, or popularity.

Judge Sotomayor is a highly qualified nominee who will keep faith with our nation’s constitutional values. Senators Specter and Casey and their colleagues must ensure that she is given a fair and expeditious confirmation process – one that will allow for a frank and transparent conversation about her views on the law and the constitution, covering her record and issues on which she has yet to establish a record.

The nomination hearings must proceed without delay. I agree with President Obama who said he believes it is important for the Senate to vote on Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation before the August recess to allow the new Justice time to prepare and participate when the Court confers in September and selects cases to be heard this year.

Judge Sotomayor is a highly qualified nominee who has a demonstrated commitment to core constitutional values and a common-sense understanding of how the law impacts the lives of all Americans on a daily basis. It is essential that the President continues to appoint, and the Senate confirm, Judges who meet these essential criteria.
Rovner is co-chair of the Judicial Nominations Committee of the National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh section and the co-leader of the Pennsylvania Coalition for Constitutional Values.
Copyright (C) 2009 by the American Forum. 7/09