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May 26, 2009: Republican Lawmakers Accuse Supreme Court Nominee of ‘Personal Bias,’ Judicial ‘Activism’

Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) attacks Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor (see May 26, 2009) for what he calls “personal bias based on ethnicity and gender.” Smith says, “Judge Sotomayor will need to reassure the country that she will set aside her biases, uphold the rule of law, and interpret the Constitution as written, not as she believes it should have been written.” Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who will vote to confirm or deny Sotomayor’s nomination as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says Sotomayor has shown disrespect for the law in her time on the bench. Eleven years ago, Sessions voted against allowing her to become an appeals court judge. Sotomayor was confirmed despite Sessions’s vote. Now, Sessions says she will get a “fair and respectful hearing” before the committee, but says he and other conservatives worry about her “history of activism.” Legal analysts say Sotomayor has a history of complying with the law, and far from being a judicial activist, has usually shown judicial restraint and a deference to existing case law and judicial precedent. (Fox News 5/26/2009) In a statement, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) questions “her ability to rule fairly without undue influence from her own personal race, gender, or political preferences.” (Senator James Inhofe 5/26/2009) Liberal columnist Dana Goldstein retorts that the same question could be asked of the seven white males already on the bench, and asks sardonically, “White men are raceless and genderless, haven’t you heard?” (Goldstein 5/26/2009)


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