Sonia Sotomayor: Judicial Activist?

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Judge Sonia Sotomayor was nominated to replace Supreme Court Justice Souter on June 1, 2009 by President Barack Obama. After extensive Senate hearings by the Committee on the Judiciary, Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed by the United States Senate with a 68 to 31 vote on August 6th, 2009. (Supreme Court) Although it was clear that Republicans had no intention to filibuster the nomination, partisan lines were clearly divided both during the committee hearings and illustrated in the Senate votes. However, due to the Democratic Majority in the Senate, it was clear that Sotomayor would be confirmed. During the hearings, Sotomayor answered the questions honestly, eloquently, and cautiously. During questioning, it was evident which issues were most important to the Senate: impartiality, activism and the ‘wise’ Latina. Not all agreed with the President’s choice of nominee. In fact, some referred to his choice as a judicial activist. (Baker, 2009) Yet, because Judge Sotomayor was replacing liberal Justice Souter, it was no surprise. As the hearings began, the conservative concerns were apparent among the hearing. Three issues that are listed above are believed to be the most relevant during the questioning. Impartiality was raised during a number of issues. Because of Judge Sotomayor’s bold opinions and previous speeches made, her ability as a judge to look at issues regarding the law impartially questioned many. For example, her belief regarding the deference to Congress’ intent was raised. The issue regarding her impartiality was seen in Senator Cardin’s (D-MD) questioning. Sotomayor responded by explaining how a judge’s job is to apply the law to the unique facts of the individual case. In addition, she repeatedly discussed the importa... ... middle of paper ... ...n, C. (1999). Nominations: A Theory of Institutional Constraints and Choices. American Journal of Political Science, 43(4), 1069-1095. Senate Committee on the Judiciary: S. Hrg. 111-503, Confirmation Hearing on the Nomination of Hon. Sonia Sotomayor, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, July 13 - 16, 2009. (n.d.). Senate Judiciary. Retrieved February 2, 2011, from Senate Judiciary Committee (2009, July 15). Continuation of the Nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Podcast retrieved from Senate Judiciary Committee. Supreme Court Nominations present-1789. Retrieved from Sotomayor's 'wise Latina' Comment a Staple of Her Speeches - CNN. (5 June 2009). Featured Articles from CNN.

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