More on Sotomayor

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by Bend, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. Bend

    Central OR

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    LA Times

    Reporting from Washington -- Senate Republicans said Wednesday they would press Judge Sonia Sotomayor on gun rights, a politically divisive issue that they hope could weaken Democratic support for the Supreme Court nominee.

    Though Republicans are a pronounced minority in both the House and Senate, they have used the gun issue to their advantage to divert the legislative agenda, forcing Democrats from moderate and conservative states to take politically risky votes on gun provisions.

    Sotomayor's judicial record appears to provide the GOP with another opportunity to bring the issue to light. Since the Supreme Court decided in a landmark case last year that restrictive laws in Washington, D.C. -- a federal entity -- infringed on a constitutionally protected right to own a handgun, the debate has shifted to whether that ruling also affected handgun control laws in individual states.

    This year, Sotomayor was part of a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that held the 2nd Amendment did not apply to the states. At a news conference Wednesday, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and other senators said they were concerned about the decision and pledged to grill Sotomayor about it at her confirmation hearings, which begin July 13.

    The panel's reasoning, Sessions said, "would eviscerate the 2nd Amendment in many parts of the country."

    Democrats and gun control groups argue, however, that Sotomayor and the other members of the panel were following a restrained approach to the case by declining to rule on an issue the Supreme Court has yet to take up. Sotomayor "properly followed precedent," said Daniel Vise, a lawyer with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

    If confirmed, Sotomayor could end up hearing the very issue she considered in the 2nd Circuit case. The high court probably will consider the question as early as next term.

    Sotomayor is the first nominee since the high court's gun rights decision, and she is likely to be asked about her fidelity to that ruling in much the same manner that other nominees have been quizzed about respecting Roe vs. Wade, the seminal abortion rights case.

    Gun rights "are now up for grabs in the court, so it brings a whole new constituency to this fight," said Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice, a conservative group. "This could become a tough vote for red-state Democrats because they don't want to be on the wrong side of the 2nd Amendment."

    Gun control and the 2nd Amendment are lightning-rod issues that Democrats would just as soon avoid. Seizing on that, Republicans during this session of Congress have brought up gun rights whenever possible.

    The GOP criticism of Sotomayor centers on the three-judge ruling that upheld New York's law forbidding the use or possession of a popular gang weapon known as a nunchaku, saying, "It is settled law . . . that the 2nd Amendment applies only to limitations the federal government seeks to impose on this right," they said, citing an 1886 Supreme Court ruling.

    Sessions said Wednesday that the panel went out of its way to make its views on the 2nd Amendment clear, saying Sotomayor used language "that was not necessary to decide the case in front of her."

    On June 2, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals took the same tack in upholding a ban on handguns in Chicago. In April, however, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said that gun possession is a fundamental right under the Constitution.
  2. Leif Runenritzer

    Leif Runenritzer
    Active Member

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    I'm happy that this is being brought to light. I was afraid it would be overshadowed by that other thing.
  3. Bend

    Central OR

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    GOA and ex-Prez of NRA Alert-

    GOA Applauds Call to Action on Judge Sotomayor from NRA's Past President

    Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
    8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
    Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408

    Monday, June 29, 2009

    Gun Owners of America applauds immediate past NRA President Sandy Froman, who stepped up to the plate last week with a call to arms for all NRA members to vigorously oppose the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. (See the article below).

    GOA has been calling on our members to oppose this nomination since it is clear that Sotomayor is anti-Second Amendment and wants to legislate from the bench.

    The official position from current NRA leadership is to take a "wait and see" approach to the Sotomayor nomination which may well allow her to wiggle through and be confirmed.

    GOA calls on all pro-gunners across America to urge NRA leadership to join in this critical fight to protect the Constitution -- and especially our gun rights.

    -- GOA Vice-Chairman Tim Macy


    NRA Members Must Oppose Sotomayor
    by Sandy Froman

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama's first nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, has a narrow view of the Second Amendment that contradicts the Court's landmark decision in District of Columbia v.
    Heller. A heated debate has started in the U.S. Senate over her opposition to the right to keep and bear arms. This issue, which has decided the fate of presidential elections, could also decide her nomination. Gun owners, and especially the members of the National Rifle Association, must aggressively oppose Judge Sotomayor's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

    On June 24, senators began speaking on the floor of the Senate expressing grave concerns over Judge Sotomayor's Second Amendment record. Senator Jeff Sessions R-AL, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, pointed out that although her record on the issue is "fairly scant," she has twice stated that the Second Amendment is not a fundamental right. Senator Sessions also noted that in Second Amendment and other constitutional cases, Sotomayor's analysis of important constitutional issues has been lacking suggesting "a troubling tendency to avoid or casually dismiss difficult Constitutional issues of exceptional importance." Sotomayor's view on the Second Amendment clearly reflects an extreme anti-gun philosophy, and some Democrat senators from pro-gun states are justifiably nervous.

    Last year, the Supreme Court held in Heller that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of individual Americans to keep and bear firearms.
    But that ruling was a fiercely-contested, 5-4 split decision. Justice Kennedy joined the four conservatives on the Court to make the majority, with the four liberal justices writing passionate dissents about how the Second Amendment does not apply to private citizens.

    Bluntly speaking, the Second Amendment survived by a single vote. Had one justice voted differently, the Second Amendment would have been erased from the Bill of Rights forever. Today in the Supreme Court, the right to bear arms hangs by a single vote.

    The next question the Supreme Court will decide is whether the Second Amendment is a "fundamental right" that applies to cities and states, thus preventing them from restricting gun rights. Even the liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held earlier this year in Nordyke v. King that the Second Amendment is a fundamental right, yet Judge Sotomayor disagrees.

    When Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, it belied his flowery rhetoric about respecting our constitutional gun rights. Out of almost 200 federal appeals judges in this country, Judge Sotomayor is one of only six to weigh in (after the Heller case) to hold that the Second Amendment only limits federal actions. If your state or city chooses to ban all guns or take away the ones that you already have in your home for hunting and self-defense, Sonia Sotomayor says the Constitution can't help you.

    This position becomes all the more radical when it's revealed how she reached this conclusion. Only six judges have denied gun rights against the states. Of these, three did so in a recent Seventh Circuit case, NRA v. Chicago, writing a detailed opinion that the Second Amendment doesn't apply to the states because they thought an old 1800s Supreme Court case tied their hands on the issue, and they commended the case up to the Supreme Court after long and scholarly consideration. Judge Sotomayor and two of her liberal colleagues, however, wrote only a single paragraph on the whole issue when deciding their own New York case, Maloney v. Cuomo. In one paragraph, she said the Second Amendment gives people no rights at all when it comes to state or city laws. She gave no explanation, and made no call for Supreme Court action.

    Then we find that this has been a consistent belief for Sotomayor. In a case before her in 2004, she and her colleagues concluded that there is no fundamental right in the Second Amendment but provided no substantive analysis to justify this conclusion. Throughout her career, Judge Sotomayor's record is one of consistent opposition to the private ownership of firearms.

    America has almost 90 million gun owners who value their rights. And of these, no one does more to protect the Second Amendment than the four million members of the National Rifle Association.

    I served as an officer of the NRA for nine years, including a two-year term as president. I saw NRA members turn the tide on Election Day 2000 to defeat Al Gore. We fought again to help defeat John Kerry in 2004. We can do the same with Sonia Sotomayor, if we call our U.S. Senators and tell them to vote against this anti-gun judge. No fewer than fourteen Democrat senators have solid records on the Second Amendment, and we must urge them to oppose this nominee.

    Next year, the Supreme Court is likely to take up NRA v. Chicago, which will decide whether the Second Amendment applies to states and cities like it does the federal government. This case is as important as Heller, and will massively impact gun rights forever.

    We already know where Judge Sotomayor stands. It's time to tell the Senate, "Vote No! on Sonia Sotomayor."
  4. Bark

    Active Member

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    I just e-mailed Wyden and Merkley voicing my opinion against Sotomayor.......More people need to call, e-mail......get involved, explain why she is not a good choice. If they don't get an earful from the folks that voted for them they will confirm her.
  5. CEF1959

    Willamette Valley, Oregon
    New Member

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    Respectfully, I think this trashing of Sotomayor's nomination is a waste of time.

    1. Sotomayor joined a three-person unanimous appellate decision, which she didn't even write, following earlier precedent in the Second Circuit to the effect that the Second Amendment creates states' rights, but not individual rights. Not only was that the established law in the Second Circuit, but throughout the US federal courts. If that makes her a threat to gun rights, the same would apply to 90% of all Republican-appointed federal judges. That decision says nothing about her.

    2. Sotomayor may still be in favor of a restrictive view of the Second Amendment, but we don't know that. Even if she is, so what? Are you expecting this administration to give you Wayne LaPierre? Shooting down Sonia Sotomayor isn't going to get you someone better.

    3. There was an election in 2008. Consequences flow. The people, through democratic processes, elected Barack Obama to choose Supreme Court nominees. And they elected 60 Democratic senators to hold the confirmation hearings. The Republicans lost in a landslide. Sorry if we don't like that, but for those of us who believe in the American system and think it's the best and fairest in the world, we'll abide, with guns holstered, ready for the next election.

    4. Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation is a done deal. Save your energy for a fight that can be won. Tilting against windmills is a waste of ammo.
  6. JAFO

    OR, USA
    Active Member

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    It is always good to let your representatives know how you feel about any issue. It is never a good idea to sit around and wait for things to happen that should not.
  7. Bend

    Central OR

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    Equality on Trial
    by Thomas Sowell

    For the fourth time in six cases, the Supreme Court of the United States has reversed a decision for which Judge Sonia Sotomayor voted on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. If this nominee were a white male, would this not raise questions about whether he should be elevated to a court that has found his previous decisions wrong two-thirds of the times when those decisions have been reviewed?

    Is no one supposed to ask questions about qualifications, simply because this nominee is Hispanic and a woman? Have we become that mindless?

    Qualifications are not simply a question of how long you have been doing something, but how well you have done it. Judge Sotomayor has certainly been on the federal bench long enough, but is being reversed four out of six times a sign of a job well done?

    Would longevity be equated with qualifications anywhere else? Some sergeants have been in the army longer than some generals but nobody thinks that is a reason to make those sergeants generals.

    Performance matters. And Judge Sotomayor's performance provides no reason for putting her on the Supreme Court.

    Although the case of the Connecticut firefighters is the latest and best-known of Judge Sotomayor's reversals by the Supreme Court, an even more revealing case was Didden v. Village of Port Chester, where the Supreme Court openly rebuked the unanimous three-judge panel that included Judge Sotomayor for "an evident denial of the most elementary forms of procedural due process."

    Longevity is not the only false argument for putting Sonia Sotomayor on the Supreme Court. Another is the argument that "elections have consequences," so that the fact that Barack Obama won last year's elections means that his choice for the Supreme Court should be confirmed. This is a political talking point rather than a serious argument.

    Of course elections have consequences. But Senators were also elected, and the Constitution of the United States gives them both the right and the duty to say "yes" or "no" to any president's judicial nominees.

    It is painfully appropriate that the case which finally took the Sotomayor nomination beyond the realm of personal biography is one where the key question is how far this country is going to go on the question of racial representation versus individual qualifications.

    Too much that Sonia Sotomayor has said and done over the years places her squarely in the camp of those supporting a racial spoils system instead of equal treatment for all. The organizations she has belonged to, as well as the statements she has made repeatedly -- not just an isolated slip of the tongue taken "out of context"-- as well as her dismissing the white firefighters' case that the Supreme Court heard and heeded, all point in the same direction.

    Within living memory, there was a time when someone who was black could not get certain jobs, regardless of how high that individual's qualifications might be. It outraged the conscience of a nation and aroused people of various races and social backgrounds to rise up against it, sometimes at the risk of their lives.

    Many, if not most, thought that they were fighting for equal treatment for all. But, today, too many people seem to think it is just a question of whose ox is gored-- or for whom one has "empathy," which amounts to the same thing in practice.

    Clever people say that none of this matters because Republican Senators don't have enough votes to stop this nominee from being confirmed. But that assumes that every Democrats will vote for her, regardless of what the public thinks. It also assumes that alerting the public doesn't matter, now or for the future.

    The standards for judging the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor are not the standards of either the criminal law or the civil law. That is, nothing has to be proven against her "beyond a reasonable doubt" or even by "a preponderance of the evidence."

    Judge Sotomayor is not in any jeopardy that would entitle her to the benefit of the doubt. It is 300 million Americans and their posterity who are entitled to the benefit of the doubt when the enormous power of determining what their rights are is put into anyone's hands as a Supreme Court justice for life.

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