Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sotomayor on the Empathy Test, the Constitution, and the Rule of Law

I assume Justice Sotomayor will be confirmed. If so, I hope she sticks with some of the things she's been saying in her hearings thus far:
KYL: Let me ask you about what the president said -- and I talked about it in my opening statement -- whether you agree with him. He used two different analogies. He talked once about the 25 miles -- the first 25 miles of a 26-mile marathon. And then he also said, in 95 percent of the cases, the law will give you the answer, and the last 5 percent legal process will not lead you to the rule of decision. The critical ingredient in those cases is supplied by what is in the judge's heart. Do you agree with him that the law only takes you the first 25 miles of the marathon and that that last mile has to be decided by what's in the judge's heart?

SOTOMAYOR: No, sir. That's -- I don't -- I wouldn't approach the issue of judging in the way the president does. He has to explain what he meant by judging. I can only explain what I think judges should do, which is judges can't rely on what's in their heart. They don't determine the law. Congress makes the laws. The job of a judge is to apply the law. And so it's not the heart that compels conclusions in cases. It's the law. The judge applies the law to the facts before that judge.
GRAHAM: Do you believe the Constitution is a living, breathing, evolving document?

SOTOMAYOR: The Constitution is a document that is immutable to the sense that it's lasted 200 years. The Constitution has not changed except by amendment. It is a process -- an amendment process that is set forth in the document.

It doesn't live other than to be timeless by the expression of what it says. What changes is society. What changes is what facts a judge may get presented. . . .
HT: Power Line Blog

I don't harbor false hopes that she's a closet Scalia (!), but the above seems relatively surprising.

BTW, one liberal law prof is so upset at what she said that he now thinks she either perjured herself or is morally unqualified to sit on the SOTUS!