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