July 13th, 2009
06:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Sotomayor pledges 'fidelity to the law'

Judge Sonia Sotomayor speaks Monday to the Senate panel considering her nomination to the Supreme Court.
Judge Sonia Sotomayor speaks Monday to the Senate panel considering her nomination to the Supreme Court.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor said Monday that her hotly disputed judicial philosophy is, in fact, quite simple: Remain faithful to the law.

"In the past month, many senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy," Sotomayor told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee during her opening statement at her confirmation hearings.

"It is simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make law, it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record ... reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms, interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress's intent and hewing faithfully to precedents established by the Supreme Court and by my Circuit Court. In each case I have heard, I have applied the law to the facts at hand."

Sotomayor said the "process of judging is enhanced when the arguments and concerns of the parties to the litigation are understood and acknowledged."

That, she noted, "is why I generally structure my opinions by setting out what the law requires and then explaining why a contrary position, sympathetic or not, is accepted or rejected. That is how I seek to strengthen both the rule of law and faith in the impartiality of our judicial system."

Sotomayor argued that her "personal and professional experiences help [her] listen and understand, with the law always commanding the result in every case."

Some of Sotomayor's critics have argued that she has allowed her rulings to be swayed by factors such as ethnicity and race.

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Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. mike

    So does that mean you will interpit the second admendment to give people the right to bear arms or is that still not a fundamental right?

    July 13, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  2. Willy Brown

    She’s a farce but she will have no impact on the bench she bought and paid for.

    July 13, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. mike

    Except for that pesky race issue.

    July 13, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  4. be the opposite of Scalia

    that would be enough to make you worth while

    just balance out Scalia

    July 13, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  5. pcharmin

    what is fidelity to the law suppose to mean??? unfortunatly her comments about ruling on how the law effects someone is not how the constitution works.because know matter what case she is ruling on someone is going to be affected negitively,so do you rule according to who you feel sorry for the most

    July 13, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  6. tedious898

    .....simple, fidelity to the law.

    Get over yourselves! This woman is qualified. This is an honorable person that happens to be "Latina and a woman"

    Sling your mudd GOP people and after alienating every minority in the country, your party can look forward to an early ticket to complete obscurity. I'm looking forward to your complete absence.

    July 13, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  7. Brian

    Seriously, is she to be believed? She is an activist. That is why she was selected. Why is it so wrong to tell the truth now. There is no disgrace in being honourable and truthful.

    July 13, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  8. Richard-Arkansas

    "Some of Sotomayor's critics have argued that she has allowed her rulings to be swayed by factors such as ethnicity and race."

    Yes and some of herr critics believe that the world is 6000 years old and the sun revolves around the earth.

    Those who actually have reviewed her rulings have found them very well done and not the activism that we are currently seeing on the Roberts' court. Even the New Haven ruling followed SCOUS precedence and the Roberts' court was activist in ruling against SCOUS precedence.

    Now if we could get Rioberts, Alito, and Thomas to resign and get a liberal nominated. Sotomayor is a centrist, not a left-wing judge but then again, the current court is so far to the right that if Roberts were around in 1957, we would still have segregated schools.

    July 13, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  9. AlwaysThinking

    Actions speak louder than words: Look at her judicial record and make decide her nomination accordingly.

    A pretty straight-forward task, if you ask me.

    July 13, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  10. Doug Neumann

    "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life. "

    "All of the legal defense funds out there, they're looking for people out there with court of appeals experience, because court of appeals is where policy is made. And I know, I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don't make law, I know. I know. "

    These are her own words.

    July 13, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  11. mjm

    Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, quoted CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin's statement that "in every major case since he became the nation's 17th chief justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff."

    Unless you count the time he told the city of New Haven that they couldn't discriminate against some fire fighters.

    In fact, this quote if from an article in the New Yorker. The whole article is about Roberts standing up for the rights of the individual against government.

    Who was the judge that they over turned anyway?

    July 13, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  12. Bpin

    Yep. In front of congtrss, what else is she to say? Sotomayor is like a bunch of other folks that go through Washington. Listen to what I say, but don't pay attention to what I do. This whole confirmation hearing is a waste of the taxpayers money. It is all political and not about her ability to judge. Dems have got their minds made up already, and so have Reps. What is the use? Nothing she could say or do will keep her from being confirmed. Just a waste of time.

    July 13, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  13. ib

    If she goes by the law why have so many of her rulings been overturned. I'm not a fan of hers and by the way I'm not racist either.

    July 13, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  14. annie for Palin

    Don't worry if this thing is voted down – people like her are a dime a dozen and obama probably has a whole closet full just waiting to step in if she fails.

    July 13, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  15. Steve, Columbia SC

    I want to hear her say "fidelity to our Constitution," otherwise let's find another nominee.

    She will end up having an affair with international law.............

    July 13, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  16. jaye

    She will be an excellent supreme court justice.
    The naysaying republicans need to shut up (their nothing but war mongers and hate mongers and racist, anyway).

    July 13, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  17. AJ

    I've got news for Sotomayor: If it werent for judges "making law" she'd be peddling her pomogranites in Puerto Rico. What a disastrous nominee.

    July 13, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  18. hypocrites_are_everywhere

    Obama's 3 checkmate moves!

    1. Sonia Sotomayor gets confirmed
    2. Mullah Omar or Osama bin's head will be discovered (by July 4th 2011)!
    3. Healthcare reform will squeak through

    Middle East's long-lasting (I.e. most stable thus far) peace will be in place! And the economy will heal itself by 2012!

    Just watch!

    July 13, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  19. FEMALES FOR FEMALES

    Pledging don't mean anything to the illegals of America. They come here as gangsters. Do gangerster deed then flee back across the border before anyone know it is them that do it. You think this woman will honor legislation that will take away the coming and going of gangsters?

    July 13, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  20. Dennis

    Still blaming Bush for his own shortcomings. It's time to move on.

    July 13, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  21. Pamma

    Her," Fidelity to the Law", is flawed, because she has been overturned many times.

    July 13, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  22. Nat, NYC

    "Ha-ha, i shouldn't say that", thinking Sonia.

    July 13, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  23. James Farley

    Your actions speak so loud I can not hear what you are saying

    July 13, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  24. Denna

    I believe that Judge Sotomayor will be a fine addition to the Supreme Court. It would be nice if white males (read – GOP) would unbunch their undies and give her a fair hearing. Let it go that she is proud of who she is. Only a person with confidence would be as good at her job as she is. Remember, a Republican nominated her to the bench to begin with.

    July 13, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  25. DAVE N CA

    wow..... that is good..... for years in her speeches on the law circuit she would come to a better conclusion than a white male...... and that laws are made by junior courts.... not lawmakers...... i hope the republicans rip her to shreds tomorrow..... she will be confirmed but is not qualified to be on the highest court in the land......the blind fold will be removed and unless you are african american or hispanic or any nationality other than white you will have it made with this judge....

    July 13, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
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