Monday, July 13, 2009

Sotomayor Entitled to Fair Hearings


By Carol Bloch and Jan Schneiderman

When the Senate begins holding hearings on the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Senators Nelson and Johanns will exercise one of their most important constitutional responsibilities – to advise and consent to lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court.

Judge Sotomayor’s outstanding legal record shows that she is someone who makes judicial decisions based on the law and the Constitution. In nominating Judge Sotomayor, President Obama has chosen someone with the ideal combination of brilliance in the law and a real-world understanding of what it means to ensure that legal theory is applied in a way that ensures justice for all.

If confirmed for the Supreme Court, Judge Sotomayor will bring more federal experience than any justice in the past 100 years. She has served as a large-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.

Judge Sotomayor was first appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush and was later promoted through an appointment by President Bill Clinton to serve on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. First appointed to the federal court by a Republican president, followed by a Democratic president, it is clear that her substantial qualifications and good judgment transcend political party. In fact, our 41st President has recently gone on record to say that “she’s had a distinguished record on the bench and she should be entitled to fair hearings.”

Judge Sotomayor is an ideal choice for the Supreme Court. She is in the mainstream of American viewpoints and not pushing a political agenda. She is an ideal example of the kind of justice that we need on the Supreme Court -- judges who will uphold our Constitution and the law to provide equal justice and protect personal freedoms and individual liberty for everyone in America.

We agree with President Obama that 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 in September when the Supreme Court confers to select cases to be heard for the year.

We urge Senators Nelson and Johanns, and their colleagues, to ensure that Judge Sotomayor is given a fair and expeditious confirmation process. Such a process should allow for an open discussion about her record, as well as discussion of issues on which she has yet to establish a record on her positions. We are confident that her confirmation will affirm what the American Bar Association, Presidents George H.W. Bush, Clinton and Obama, and the majority of Americans already believe: that Judge Sotomayor is a highly qualified and ideal candidate for the Supreme Court of the United States.
Bloch and Schneiderman are co-chairs of the Nebraska Coalition for Constitutional Values and are leaders in the National Council of Jewish Women.
Copyright (C) 2009 by the American Forum. 7/09