SO­TOMAYOR CON­CERNS

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - / Bruce Tins­ley

Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell — like many con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans — isn’t en­thralled by Supreme Court nom­i­nee So­nia So­tomayor. The Ken­tuck­ian on June 23 ac­cused the ap­peals court judge of be­ing bi­ased in fa­vor of women and His­pan­ics, and ques­tioned her abil­ity to be neu­tral on the bench.

Pres­i­dent Obama “has said re­peat­edly that his cri­te­rion for fed­eral judges is their abil­ity to em­pathize with spe­cific groups,” Mr. McCon­nell said in a Se­nate floor speech. “He said it as a se­na­tor, as a can­di­date for pres­i­dent, and now as pres­i­dent. I think we can take the pres­i­dent at his word about want­ing a judge who ex­hibits this trait on the bench. And based on a re­view of Judge So­tomayor’s record, it’s be­com­ing clear to many that this is a trait that he’s found in this nom­i­nee.

“Judge So­tomayor’s writ­ings of­fer a win­dow into what she be­lieves hav­ing ‘em­pa­thy’ for cer­tain groups means when it comes to judg­ing. And I be­lieve that once Amer­i­cans come to ap­pre­ci­ate the real-world con­se­quences of this view, they’ll find the em­pa­thy stan­dard ex­tremely trou­bling as a cri­te­rion for se­lect­ing men and women for the fed­eral bench.”

The mi­nor­ity leader said a re­view of Judge So­tomayor’s writ­ings and rul­ings il­lus­trated his point, in­clud­ing her 2002 ar­ti­cle in the Berke­ley La Raza Law Jour­nal that he says shows “her trou­bling as­ser­tion that her gen­der and eth­nic­ity would en­able her to reach a ‘bet­ter’ re­sult than a man of a dif­fer­ent eth­nic­ity. Her ad­vo­cates say this as­ser­tion was inart­ful, that it was taken out of con­text. We’ve since learned, how­ever, that she has re­peat­edly made this or sim­i­lar as­ser­tions.”

“Other com­ments Judge So­tomayor made in the same law re­view ar­ti­cle un­der­score, rather than al­le­vi­ate, con­cerns with her ap­proach to judg­ing. She ques­tioned the prin­ci­ple that judges

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