Sotomayor Could Have Said:July 15th, 2009

A few things Judge Sotomayor didn’t say:

“The rule of law has been in decline throughout my legal career. I’d like to reverse that. Inequalities in the legal system now exempt rich and powerful people from punishment for serious crimes and responsibility for gross misconduct, while imprisoning underprivileged and undereducated people in unprecedented numbers. The result is that the citizenry has zero confidence in the laws or the possibility of justice. Most of you senators were sitting right here while it all happened. You might as well stock the Senate toilet paper dispenser with the U.S. Code.”

“I’ll be a millstone around the neck of presidents, including the one who appointed me. They’ve claimed power the Constitution doesn’t give them, even torturing prisoners and abducting and killing people without legal process. I’d like to reverse that. It’s not just bad for the victims, it’s bad for all of us. Does it occur to any of you folks that if the President can bomb a house in Pakistan, on his own say-so and in violation of Pakistani laws, US laws and the UN Charter, he can certainly knock out your digs in Chevy Chase?”

“Don’t pester me with your religion, please, and I won’t pester you with mine. You live in a free country, and free countries don’t serve religions, yours or anybody else’s. Get used to it.”

“You have a hell of a nerve criticizing me, Senator. This could be the most corrupt Congress in the history of the republic. This senator’s taking big money from health insurers, that senator’s wife is working for such and such a bank, the other senator’s neck-deep in Indian casinos, and you’re all cheating on your wives. Your second wives, most of you. Gimme a break, Senator.”

“Senator, I happen to know you’re a lawyer, and no lawyer could read the cases I’ve decided and come to any conclusion but that I’m a competent and experienced judge. I know you’re playing to an audience of hate-filled people–that’s the only kind that would vote for trash like you–but when you impugn my record because of some speeches I made to schoolkids, you shame the entire legal profession, and I feel compelled to warn you against that.”

“I notice that the press is mainly interested in gossip, and you senators are dishing it out like ice cream. Look high and look low in your newspaper and on TV, and you’ll find almost nothing about the decisions I’ve made as a judge. Instead, you’ll see the most unflattering file photo of me that the editor could dig up next to an out-of-context quote from a speech I gave to some sixth-graders. It’s a good thing the founders mentioned “the press” in the First Amendment, or I’d come down like a ton of bricks on the steady stream of disinformation these folks pass off as news.”

Sotomayor may have strong convictions, but, typical of lawyers, she holds them in abeyance. She strikes me as a smart, scholarly and spineless jurist. If she can’t stand up to “Deliverance” characters on the Judiciary Committee, how is she going to fare against the right-wing legion of superheroes, Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, and Alito?