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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama Picks Sonya Sotomayor for Supreme Court

The AP is reporting this morning that President Obama will announce later today that his pick to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter will be Judge Sonya Sotomayor. Sotomayor is currently a judge on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.

This is particularly troubling because she clearly believes courts should make law and not interpret the law. Take for instance this quote, reported by the Washington Post reported that while speaking at Duke University in 2005, Sotomayor said:

“All of the legal defense funds out there, they’re looking for people with court of appeals experience” because “the court of appeals is where policy is made.”

This will come as a surprise to those who believe that the legislative branch makes policy and law. To be fair to Ms. Sotomayor, she realized she was on tape and tried to cover her tracks by saying:

“I know this is on tape and I should never say that, because we don’t make law, I know. Um, okay. I know. I’m not promoting it, I’m not advocating it.”
The audience got her point and chuckled. President Barack Obama said he wanted someone who has “empathy” with everyday people in making judicial rulings. Looks like he found the person he was looking for.

So what does her record say about her when it comes to Second Amendment cases? SCOTUS Blog has this on her past rulings related to the Second Amendment.

Second Amendment: Sotomayor was also a member of the panel that issued a per curiam opinion in another controversial case that may be headed for the Court next year. In Maloney v. Cuomo, 554 F.3d 56 (2009), the panel considered (as relevant here) a claim by a New York attorney that a state law prohibiting possession of a chuka stick (also known as nunchaku, a device used in martial arts consisting of two sticks joined by a rope or chain) violated his Second Amendment right to bear arms. The district court rejected the claim on the ground that the Second Amendment does not apply to the states. On appeal, the panel affirmed. Relying on the Supreme Court’s 1886 decision in Presser v. Illinois, it explained that it was “settled law . . . that the Second Amendment applies only to limitations the federal government seeks to impose” on the individual’s right to bear arms. The Supreme Court’s recent decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, the court continued, “does not invalidate this longstanding principle.” And while acknowledging the possibility that “Heller might be read to question the continuing validity of this principle,” the panel deemed itself bound to follow Presser because it “directly controls, leaving to the Supreme Court the prerogative of overruling its own decisions.” Maloney’s lawyers intend to file a petition for certiorari in late June.
And this from Dave Kopel's October 2008 article in NRA's America's First Freedom magazine:

According to Sotomayor, “the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right.” (U.S. v. Sanchez-Villar, 2004).

Obama, having disappointed the far left when it comes to the war and immediately seeking to restrict the Second Amendment rights of law abiding Americans, has given them everything they wanted in a Supreme Court Justice.

Update: More from Kopel on Sotomayor's views on the Second Amendment based on the Maloney v. Cuomo decision can be found here. Hat tip to Sebastian.

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