Sotomayor Vote To Happen Soon
The North Dakota Judicial Confirmation Network just alerted me that the confirmaiton of Judge Sotomayor will take place at 3:00 pm EST.
Following are notes they passed a long from a floor speech to be delivered today by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski:
Floor Speech of Senator Lisa A. Murkowski (R-AK):
· This is one of the most important decisions any of us will make in our Senate careers.
· Justices are not accountable to the President who nominated them, nor to the Senators who confirmed them, nor directly to the people. Yet they are the last line of defense.
· Nominees must be ever vigilant in words and deeds so as to never undermine the confidence bestowed upon them.
· After deep introspection, I cannot support Judge Sotomayor. This is difficult because I like her.
· Justice O’Connor underscored the importance of putting women on the Court and in other high offices. So I’m pleased that President nominated a woman to succeed Justice Souter.
· Judge Sotomayor is certainly qualified to be on the Court. In America, we celebrate success stories like hers.
· But there are aspects of her record with which I am uncomfortable. I’ve heard from 1,400 Alaskans who are uncomfortable as well. Alaskans are naturally independent thinkers.
· Judge Sotomayor has challenged Justice O’Connor’s viewpoint on some 8 occasions. I was looked for an indication from her that her remarks were ill-conceived. But I am still not clear that she understands the impact that her words had on the American people or could have on the credibility of the court.
· Alaskans value diversity, but we reject the notion that coming from a particular background makes you wiser than someone else.
· Alaska is constantly in federal court — 63% of our land is owned by the federal government.
· We are suspicious of Ivy Leaguers who spend most of their lives in the Boston/Washington corridor, because we question if they can truly understand our concerns.
· All this leads me to question whether she will hear the pleas of those with backgrounds different from her own with objectivity.
· I’m also concerned about her remark that “the court of appeals is where the policy is made.” Alaskans get nervous when courts make policy decisions, particular regarding Constitutional rights. And no issue concerns them more than the Second Amendment. She has dealt with it on at least two occasions, and neither gives me confidence. Maloney was one of the first cases to construe the Second Amendment following the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller. A three-judge panel in the Ninth Circuit reached quite the opposite conclusion (Nordyke v. King). To this panel, this was the undeniable outcome of Heller’s reasoning. It was not necessary for Maloney to reach the conclusion that the right to bear arms is not a fundamental right. I would have expected her to write a thoughtful and scholarly opinion, rather than sign on to an opinion widely regarded as superficial. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time. My colleagues have discussed the Ricci case at length.
· I’d like to discuss Didden. If a suit is time-barred, there is no reason for the judge to reach the merits of the case. For reasons I cannot fathom, Judge Sotomayor’s panel engaged in an analysis of the issues. They simply concluded that Didden’s Constitutional rights were not violated.
· The measure of a judge is in the quality of her analysis. The strength of her reasoning is as important if not more important than who wins or loses. In three instances, her panel failed to provide the rigorous analysis expected of Supreme Court Justice.
· If advice and consent is to be meaningful, the Senate cannot be a rubber stamp. My decision is not based on partisanship, ideology, or recommendations of outside groups. It is based on positions she has taken, her positions on Constitutional questions, and the face that 1,400 Alaskans have arrived at the same conclusion as I have.