Friday, July 17, 2009

An Open Letter on Sotomayor

By Linda Tobin and Marie Smith

As the Senate finishes its hearings on the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Senators George Voinovich and Sherrod Brown will soon execute one of their most important constitutional responsibilities – voting to confirm the lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

Judge Sotomayor is a highly qualified nominee who will keep faith with our nation’s constitutional values. Ohioans should value someone who is moderate and measured in her rulings.

Endorsed by the American Bar Association, President Obama has chosen someone who is superbly qualified. Judge Sotomayor has outstanding legal credentials and she understands that upholding the rule of law means going beyond legal theory to ensure consistent, fair, common-sense application of the law. We Ohioans understand the need for someone who respects fair application of the law for all.

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, 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 detractors, saying, “I think she’s had a distinguished record on the bench and she should be entitled to fair hearings.” We 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.

We approve of the timely handling of Judge Sotomayor’s hearings. Now is the time for the Senate to vote on her confirmation. Sotomayor should be seated before the August recess to allow her time to prepare when the Supreme Court reconvenes in September. In nominating Judge Sotomayor, President Obama has chosen someone with the ideal combination of brilliance in the law and a real-world understanding of how legal theory is applied.
Tobin and Smith are co-chairs of the Ohio Coalition for Constitutional Values.
Copyright (C) 2009 by the Ohio Forum. 7/09