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Supreme Kabuki

July 18, 2009

The Sotomayor confirmation hearings are the mother of all political Kabuki. What’s essentially happened is that a judge who has prided herself on her touchy-feely approach to law was chosen as the nominee for the Supreme Court precisely because of her touchy-feely approach to law (aka “empathy”). As soon as the confirmation hearings began, though, the nominee turned into her philosophical opposite: all of a sudden it was the law, and only the law, that would guide her decisions. Also, she has turned into a strong believer in the strict division of judicial power from legislative power. While she laughed about this concept not too long ago, she’s now telling the Senate committee that “[w]e don’t make policy choices in the court.”

This show that’s going on on the Hill is all the more disingenuous considering that Obama himself wouldn’t vote in favour of Sotomayor’s confirmation if he believed her newly found alter ego to be genuine. Consider his rejection of Judge John Roberts when Obama was still a Senator:

The problem I had is that when I examined Judge Roberts’ record and history of public service, it is my personal estimation that he has far more often used his formidable skills on behalf of the strong in opposition to the weak. In his work in the White House and the Solicitor General’s Office, he seemed to have consistently sided with those who were dismissive of efforts to eradicate the remnants of racial discrimination in our political process. In these same positions, he seemed dismissive of the concerns that it is harder to make it in this world and in this economy when you are a woman rather than a man.

It is interesting to note that Democrats evidently found it necessary to set up this theatre with opposite-to-truth roles. They knew that Madame Sotomayor could not simply be candid during the confirmation hearings but had to twist her former statements into the contrary of what they actually meant. It shows that Democrats are quite aware that Americans in general don’t like the “empathy” approach to the interpretation of the law, nor the ‘Let’s make the Constitution say what we want it to’ attitude. Sadly, this doesn’t keep liberals from pursuing such a judicial regime, trampling their actual role as representatives of the people in the process. How preposterously cynical politics have become freshly after the swearing in of a president who got elected in part because he promised an end to those methods.

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