It is a bit difficult for me to say that I actually “support” Sotomayor. There is every indication that she subscribes to the approach that the Constitution is a “living and breathing” document, which can be interpreted to fit the times, rather than for what it is. The thought process is that the Supreme Court can basically amend the Constitution by applying current day thought to it, even though certain “rights” are not enumerated in the Constitution. The Amendment process being overly rigorous, we have “chosen” to amend it in a different way.
I will agree with one thing. The amendment process is too rigorous. But it is only too rigorous because we have perverted the role of the Supreme Court. These justices – 9 people – have free reign to amend the Constitution on a virtually unchecked basis. I have no problem with the amendment process being rigorous in order to change the Constitution on its face. I do, however, have a problem with the disparity in which the Supreme Court can essentially amend the Constitution and the ability for the U.S. populace to correct their mistakes when they overstep their bounds. The founding fathers have to be rolling over in their graves at the thought of 9 unelected individuals having complete authority in changing the Constitution or its meaning with almost no way to balance that. This cannot be what they had in mind. I’m quite certain the “living and breathing” concept would have been met with ridicule and disbelief in their time.
So, given my discomfort with that notion, why in the world would I “support” the confirmation of Justice Sotomayor?
Answer: I’d rather have my foot amputated than my entire leg.
Let’s face reality: I will not like anyone Obama appoints. Should the nomination of Sotomayor sink, he will appoint someone with the same judicial philosophy again. This simply will not change.
So, the question becomes one of “the devil you know” versus the one you don’t. And as flawed as Sotomayor may be in some key areas (her comments on Latina superiority, ties with certain groups, stances on illegal immigration, certain business rulings) there is at least a faint hope that she is not completely whacked-out left-wing on social issues. Her record is slim on abortion, gay marriage, and other issues. In fact, there are some indications that she may be at least moderate on the abortion issue, based on some her rulings on that issue. She is a Catholic, which is only really appealing to me if she considers herself an actual Catholic. I don’t play identity politics with Catholicism. A devout Catholic certainly would give me hope that she has a similar worldview as mine, and is a plus. But that doesn’t necessarily seem to be the case here. That said, there may be some level of Catholic understanding on some of these formative issues that can’t hurt matters. One can only hope and pray that this is the case.
So, there are some glimmers of hope. One telling thing is that the White House is going out of its way to assure nervous pro-choicers. This could be a good sign, particularly if it’s true that she was never directly asked about abortion. Perhaps the President has certain assumptions abouot her that aren’t accurate? Again, we can only hope and pray.
The bigger driver in my lukewarm support, though, is simply that I strongly suspect that – as liberal as Sotomayor may be on certain issues – the next appointee would be an abomination. That’s my fear, and I don’t think it’s an unfounded one. That may be a weak reason to hope for her confirmation, but it’s all I’ve got.
So, I guess my summary conclusion is that I oppose Sotomayor’s appointment on many grounds. However, reality being what it is, I’m quite certain I’d oppose her replacement even more. I’ll take the devil I know. Perhaps she will surprise us all.