The Law and the Wise Latina

Voting against the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor will take a wealth of political courage. Giving Sotomayor a rough time with regard to the plethora of reasons why she should not sit on the United States Supreme Court will take even more.

It would be relatively easy for a senator to explain to his or her constituents that he or she look forward to a day when they could vote in favor of confirming a nominee who is both Hispanic and qualified. Explaining why they relentlessly pointed out overt, repeated acts of racism and judicial activism on her part—not to mention the several occasions where her decisions, rooted in a stark dearth of intelligence, were overturned by the Supreme Court—would be slightly more difficult.

This morning, I heard South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham say, in his opening statement, that he was greatly troubled by the overtly racist statements made on several occasions by Sotomayor – but I also heard him say that elections have consequences, and that he would likely vote to confirm her absent some sort of “meltdown.”

If that truly is the case, I never, ever, ever want to hear Senator Graham ever advocate adherence to the United States Constitution again. If he is willing to overlook a woman who is equally willing—if not more so—to shred the Constitution in the name of social justice, Graham has lost the ability to evoke our founders, their values, or the documents in which they were enshrined for the remainder of his political career – which, if he intends to turn his back on the Constitution because “elections have consequences,” I hope will be extremely short.

And that goes for any Republican.

The Democrats have never, ever shown any sort of respect or restraint when questioning conservative nominees, regardless of their ethnicity or of the “quality” of their life story. Never. Instead, they have carried on as they usually do – with the politics of personal destruction.

Now, we see that tactic in place again, this time not against one of their own—Sotomayor—but against those who wish to point out that she cares more about the color of a party’s skin than of the rule of law. This time, we’re seeing supporters of Sonia Sotomayor looking to ruin New Haven, Connecticut firefighter Frank Ricci in the same way they looked to ruin Joe Wurzelbacher, that plumber who dared to point out presidential candidate Barack Obama’s aspirations of destroying small business and the American economy. In the case of Ricci, however, the very same people who claim to “stand up for the little guy” and “work tirelessly on behalf of the disabled” are instead looking for any way possible to disparage a man who just wanted to be treated the same regardless of his debilitating dyslexia.

Lindsay Graham was correct in saying that elections have consequences. As we see by rising unemployment, a disenfranchised intelligence community and emboldening terrorists worldwide, they most certainly do. In this case, however, Sonia Sotomayor is looking to shape America for generations to come. For life. Unfortunately for our nation, for the rule of law, and for the fading memory of our founding fathers, she will likely be confirmed – in the meantime, however, it should be the mission of each and every Republican to ensure that every American knows the difference between original thinking and judicial activism, and knows exactly the kind of damage that Barack Obama and the Democrats are bringing down upon our country.

I will work tirelessly to campaign against any Republican who votes in favor of Sotomayor’s confirmation, and for any Democrat who votes against it. And it is my only hope that politicians on both sides of the aisle will drop the gloves and treat Sonia Sotomayor with the exact same deference and respect—read: disdain—with which Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Samuel Alito, Chief Justice John Roberts, and others like Miguel Estrada have been treated.

Here are my questions for the Hon. Sonia Sotomayor:

  1. Is a Hispanic female party more or less likely to bring a bona fide grievance before the Court than a white male party?
  2. If you were in my shoes, and Chief Justice John Roberts were to have said, on several occasions, that he has been able to come to a better decision because of his life experiences and his being a white male judge than, say, a Hispanic or black or Native American female judge could, how fit would you consider him to be objectively adjudicating matters where the legal and constitutional issue, rather than the parties, are of the utmost importance?
  3. Most of your decisions which have reached the Court at which you aspire to sit have been overturned or otherwise scrutinized for your failure to properly interpret the law. With no court to review the Supreme Court, should the American people be confident you’ll get it right?
  4. Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution lays out the 17 enumerated powers vested in Congress. Are there any limits to the power of Congress pursuant to that clause? What is your opinion as to the role of the “Necessary and Proper Clause?”
  5. When it comes to interpreting the Constitution, what role if any should foreign and international jurisprudence play?
  6. When it comes to interpreting the Constitution, what is the role of the original intent of our founders?
  7. Which carries more weight, in terms of being more persuasive or even binding, the contemporaneous writings of our nation’s founders at the time the Constitution was adopted, or the various facets of international and foreign law?
  8. What extrinsic factors and considerations, outside the law, should have an effect on your decisions, and to what extent?
  9. Absent a “case” or “controversy,” what is the power of a federal court to interpret the law?
  10. In terms of statutory interpretation, what role does the actual text of the statutes play?
  11. In your various speeches, you’ve spoken of the rapidly changing social policy here in the United States. Is it the role of a judge to update and adapt the law in order to reflect and account for those societal changes?
  12. Should the Constitution be interpreted so as to allow capital punishment?
  13. For more than a decade, you counseled the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund on many issues of law and policy. You served on the group’s board, you served as an executive. That group, while an admirable one, touted capital punishment as a manifestation of racism – what role did you have in assisting the PRLDEF in taking such a position on capital punishment?
  14. Do you personally believe that capital punishment is a manifestation of continuing racial underpinnings in our society?
  15. What relationship, if any, did the PRLDEF have with ACORN, the community organization group under investigation in more than a dozen states for voter fraud and intimidation?
  16. Why does Lady Justice wear a blindfold? Is the Constitution color-blind?
  17. Do you believe that the City of New Haven, Connecticut should have been permitted to do away with all of the firefighter examinations because of race alone?
  18. With regard to the claims of Frank Ricci and the other firefighters, did constitutional concerns take a back seat to the nature of the case and ethnicity of those involved? What of the dissent by your Court of Appeals colleague and mentor?
  19. How did your life experiences and insight as a wise Latina judge affect your disposition on the Ricci matter?
  20. What role does empathy have in adjudicated cases and controversies before the Court?
  21. How can a judge fairly and objectively adjudicate a certain matter and apply the law if he or she is of the opinion that different standards and differing versions of the truth apply to different people based upon race, national origin, or financial status?
  22. What role does the First Amendment play in campaign finance?
  23. Are there any provisions in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act worthy of consideration as possibly unconstitutional?
  24. The Supreme Court, in District of Columbia v. Heller, noted that “[u]nder any standards of scrutiny that we have applied to enumerated constitutional rights, banning from the home ‘the most preferred firearm in the nation to ‘keep’ and use for protection of one’s home and family’ . . . would fail constitutional muster.” Given the Court’s decision in Heller, how do you reconcile your decision in Maloney v. Cuomo—nearly two years later—that a state or city not under federal purview could ban the possession of weapons for self-defense?
  25. Should the Second Amendment be incorporated against the states?
  26. What did you mean when you held, in United States v. Sanchez-Villar, that the Second Amendment does not protect a fundamental right?
  27. At what point, under our Constitution, does an unborn child have constitutional rights, equal protection of the laws?
  28. Do you consider Roe v. Wade to be good law? Is it the role of the federal government to weigh in on abortion in America?
  29. Speaking of possible government overreach, what role should a judge have in defining the nature of a marriage or family?
  30. Again, speaking of the role of the federal government and judges, does the Takings Clause provide for any restriction in the power of government to take private property?
  31. In Kelo v. City of New London, the Court supported eminent domain by arguing that the plan by the city to take public property—in that case, houses—and give them to a private entity for the development of a shopping mall fell under the Fifth Amendment’s “public use” requirement. In her dissent, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor warned of the slippery slope. What is your perspective on “public use” and eminent domain?
  32. In the name of “social justice,” can the federal government rewrite contracts such as residential mortgages and leases?
  33. What role does the government have, if any, in the regulation of activity that does not cross state lines? What is your feeling as to the nature of “commerce?”
  34. What is the role of the Court with regard to national security? What measure of deference, if any, should the court have to the judgment of Congress and the White House?
  35. How should the Court reconcile the duty of the federal government to protect America and Americans against terrorism from sources overseas and stateside?
  36. What rights should captured foreign terrorists enjoy under the United States Constitution?
  37. Where in the Constitution is the right to privacy?
  38. In the history of the Court, which Justices do you most admire? With which do you find yourself most continually at odds?
  39. What has been the Court’s biggest triumph? Greatest mistake?
  40. Why do you want to serve on the United States Supreme Court?


  1. Anonymous says:

    Maybe someone should ask her to quote something from the Constitution. I'm not sure she has read it.


    Have her expound on the 10th Amendment.

    verification word: fiatire
    what you put on GM wheels


    No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully you have emailed this list of questions to each and every Senator, Jeff.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this well-written piece. It sums up my feelings on the nomination of this totally unqualified latina woman who has been nominated because she can feel someone's pain better than a white man and she grew up in a single parent home. There are many much more qualified men an women of all races who would be a better choice.

    Many people here in SC are disgusted by the politics of Lindsay Graham. It is really too bad that he was re-elected with very little opposition. The Dems know when they have a good thing going and they have done little to oppose him here. He can "oppose" Sotomayor 'til the cows come home, but he has already stated that he will in all liklihood vote for her. I will be highly surprised if he does not. This is from the same man who was a proud part of the Gang of 14. Things are heating up in SC and the next time Graham runs, I think he will have strong Republican opposition.

    I watched a part of the hearings on Judge Sotomayor this morning and was very impressed with Sen. Cornyn's (R-TX) remarks. He hit the nail on the head. Sotomayor will either uphold the Constitution or continue on her track of judicial activism. More and more people are beginning to wake up to what's going on nationally and are looking for strong, constituionaly minded leadership. I glad I got to hear from Sens Cornyn and Coburn.

    If Sotomayor is not confirmed, heaven knows what will come next.

    Ima SoBelle in SC


    Things are heating up in SC and the next time Graham runs, I think he will have strong Republican opposition.

    If he doesn't, Ima, I'm-a gonna take him down myself. I have a bit of history out there in the Golden Corner. I'm not indigenous, but I will be a resident of your great state at this time next year, and my heart has been there for a decade.

    The people there deserve a senator who reflects their values and their convictions.

    I've met Sen. Graham while I was working for his hometown newspaper. He was an extremely nice and gracious man. But a conservative he is not, and the great people of the Palmetto State deserve a conservative.


    For a while when he was speaking it looked like he had 'a set' but alas they never fully descended and then retracted.

  8. Dot from PA says:

    Question: Has any Supreme Justice been removed from the bench? If they have what was the reason, (other than death, illness or retirement)

  9. Rix says:

    Elections have consequences, indeed – too bad it only works one way. Next time (if ever!) a conservative President wins, I wanna see some consequences for all the brainless good-for-nothing lazybodies that voted the Usurper in.


    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

  11. Linda says:

    So I need some help from my fellow bloggers out there. We have written, we have called, we have yelled, we have threatened. Nothing seems to have aeny effect. We have one of those "need to be constantly stimulated" video news/junk screens in our elevator at work and I just read on there that some REPUBLICAN senator told Sotomayor that "unless you mess up really badly, you will be confirmed."

    So where do we go from here? We're being railroaded with everything – and now confirmations to the highest court in the world!!! At what point does the physical revolution start? How far can the American people go before they step off the edge?


    SEDITION smells so good.

  13. UNCLE SAM WANTS YOU not to says:

    Linda, my platoon is now accepting applications. Off this weekend to be married, however.

  14. Linda says:

    Uncle Sam: My husband is a gun dealer. Does that qualify me?

  15. I HEAR STATIC says:

    Come on Linda! And don't wear a wire.

  16. OH NO HE DIDN'T says:

    underwire ok.

  17. Hugh says:


    Where is my post?

  18. Anonymous says:

    41. What does "La Raza" literally mean translated into English?

    42. Regarding the organization of the same name, of which you are a member: If a white male Justice that sat on the bench with you (assuming the full Senate approves your nomination) was a member of the KKK, would you approve?

  19. goddessdivine says:

    Too bad it isn't you asking the questions. If we have to hear more about how her family was the first on the block to buy a set of encyclopedias, I'm going to puke.

    Please let us know which Republican Senators confirm this racist to the bench. Confirmations have consequences.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Apparently Orly Taitz has had some success (she's also had LA Times calling her for more info) – (and Orly just confirmed it on radio program) from:

    Sent: Monday, July 13, 2009 3:09 PM
    To: pamela barnett
    Subject: Great News! Obama eligibility will be heard on merits!!

    Please distribute everywhere.

    Just got off the phone with Orly Taitz, the attorney who had a hearing today in court concerning BO qualifications!!!!

    At the hearing today at the Federal Court building in Santa Ana, Judge Carter said the following:

    1. There will be a trial.

    2. It will be heard on the merits.

    3. Nothing will be dismissed on proceedural issues.

    4. The trial will be expeditious, and the judge pledged to give case priority.

    5. Being a former Marine he realizes the importance of having a Constitutionally qualified POTUS/CINC.

    6. Judge stated that if Obama isn’t Constitutionally qualifed he needs to leave the White House.

    The DOJ will be involved with the case also…. I wasn’t clear if they would be trying to get to the truth or they would just be blindly representing Obama.

    Orly will be adding members of the military from California as plaintiffs also.

    This is from what my interpretation of our conversation.

    Orly, asked me to disseminate this information out for her, she will be doing a posting later after she gets some sleep.

    Please say a prayer of protection for Orly, her family, and Judge Carter. Please also pray that the truth will come to light regarding Obama and justice will be done.


    CPT Pamela Barnett, USA Retired

  21. Anonymous says:

    I find it interesting that every political commentator who discusses the Ricci case and favors Frank Ricci's side of it inevitably makes sure to mention that Ricci is dyslexic and thus had to study extra hard, even though that fact had absolutely no bearing on the legal issue being decided.

    Seems like nothing more than a thinly-veiled bid to provoke people's sense of empathy to me.

  22. Gail B says:

    I pray that Orly Taitz is successful, but I'm awfully afraid that she's in over her head–way over her head.

  23. Hugh says:

    There is some comment from Sotomayor about the 2nd Amendment not be valid. Wayne LaPierre of NRA hoped all over this with Glen Beck on today Monday July 13.

    Any argument she has against (State) gun ownership argues against confirmation.

  24. suek says:

    I'd like to ask a few questions myself:

    What makes her a "Latina" woman? She was born in the USA, lived in the USA for all of her life, went to USA parochial schools, and USA colleges. What specific cultural "lagino" influences shaped her life? Is she Latina because her mother was? How many generations does it take before a person is "American"? what does that make Obama?

  25. Anonymous says:

    each time i see apicture of soto – especially the pictures of her walking on crutches – it reminds me of THROW MOMMA FROM TE TRAIN.

    You know she's supposeto be warm and cuddly and loving and then awful things comes from her mouth and still you try to love her.

    there's a danger here. with the boldness ILLEGAL aliens are showing with their demonstrations of wanting more automatic taxpayers money to take care of them, SOTO's opinions coupled with Gingsberg's could spell real trouble imo…. not to mention SOTO's opinions on SECOND AMMENDMENT RIGHTS.

    toss her and find someone else, even if you must find another Hispanic…. but this woman is trouble with a giant 'T.'


    Obama is Kenyan, thru and thru.

  27. Anonymous says:

    off topic, but i absolutely like the VERIFICATION words too. i have never seen them in this fashion on any other site….

    Jeff, if that's your doing, congrtulations on a great job.
    i just got "OLISHI". sounds like a great name for a new pup, huh?

  28. Gail B says:

    I sent all 40 of your questions to my senators (and numbered them), saying that they were from Jeff Schreiber at

    That should keep them out of trouble for a few minutes!

  29. Hugh says:

    It is curious that the most in the media think the Ricci case think that the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision will not affect Sotomayor’s confirmation. Yet, the Court soundly excoriated the three judge panel that issued the one-page summary opinion, following the lead of Sotomayor’s associate whose comments bought the case to light. I find the Court’s 9-0 shellacking and the panel’s lack of due diligence to be much more incriminating.

    In a related matter I heard Karl Rove speaking on Fox News that the minority Republicans can stop Sotomayor’s confirmation with only one apposing vote in committee. Either I am greatly mistaken in my hearing or perhaps Rove is, but, if true, I find this incredible and especially incriminating against the Republicans as they are so prone to give the President and the Democrats the benefit of the doubt in judicial confirmations.

    It reminds me of the Revolutionary War. The British paused when they had a chance to bring down George Washington in the field. In contrast, the colonial marksmen bought down a highly respected British field commander turning the tide of battle. I saw the story on History Channel as I recall. At any rate, the analogy certainly fits the political wars.

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