Well, of course our senators, Hatch and Bennett, voted against Sonia Sotomayor.
The woman has decades of experience and qualifications up the wazoo, but the NRA doesn’t like her, and she did make that silly “wise Latina” crack, so what else could they do — vote their conscience? Do their jobs?
Of course not.
Sen. Bennett’s press release is priceless on this. Here’s the first paragraph of that release where he states his first, and one must assume, most important problem with her:
“Despite Judge Sotomayor’s impressive story and experience, I believe that we must hold Supreme Court nominees to the highest standard, and unfortunately after reviewing her record while serving on the Second Circuit court, I have decided that I cannot support her nomination. I remain troubled by Judge Sotomayor’s stated belief that the right to bear arms is not a ‘fundamental right’ despite the words of our Constitution.”
So, right off, he’s cozying up to the NRA, which of course is lots more important that anything else Sotomayor may ever have done, ever.
The fact that the NRA specifically threatened to “score” any votes for Sotomayor by Republicans, which means it might have taken a bit of intestinal fortitude to vote the opposite way, seeing as how the NRA throws a lot of weight around and is listened to by a lot of hard core far right folk, makes Sen. Bennett’s reason for voting as he did clear.
Sen. Hatch is being a bit more cagey. His statement in the SL Tribune says:
“America needs judges who are guided and controlled not by subjective empathy that they find inside themselves, but by objective law that they find outside themselves,” said Hatch, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who for the first time in his 32 years in office voted against a Supreme Court nominee.”
He’s not mentioning the NRA, which is in his favor, but he’s going back to that silly stuff about how her stated “empathy” will control her decisions, not “strict rule of law,” the fictional idea that law is so cut and dried that judges need be only computers, assessing evidence and spitting out a ruling. Sen. Hatch, of course, is one of the larger proponents of the “activist judge” bugaboo — any judge who doesn’t spint out a ruling that Sen. Hatch, guided by his own history, background and cultural upbringing must, perforce, be changing the law.
In a way that gets back to the NRA because the Second Amendment, despite Sen. Bennett’s claim, has been subject to considerable interpretation for the last 200 or so years, and will continue to be in the future, just as the rest of the Constitution is. That’s why we have a Supreme Court, that’s why we put people on it who are wise, and who have a variety of life experiences, and who have the wisdom to judge both the intent and the letter of the law.
Sen. Bennett and Sen. Hatch, with their own idealogically-driven litmus tests, don’t want a Supreme Court that thinks, they want one that does their bidding and the bidding of their own masters.
Which, sadly, is not the people who elected them.