June 19th, 2009
03:30 PM ET
13 years ago

Ken Starr backs Sotomayor court bid

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) - Although several prominent conservatives such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and talk show host Rush Limbaugh have been sharply critical of Sonia Sotomayor and her nomination to the Supreme Court, President Obama's first high court pick has won the support of at least one high-profile conservative legal figure: Kenneth Starr, the former federal judge who led the investigation that ultimately lead to the impeachment and trial of President Bill Clinton.

"I'm very much an admirer of her, and I'm supporting the nomination," Starr said Thursday at a law and journalism conference at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. "I think that's a very wise and sound nomination of our president."

Starr, the former independent counsel for the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky investigations of the 1990s, told reporters after the event that he has voiced his support to at least two U.S. senators, whom he declined to name, but has not been asked to write an official letter of endorsement.

He also addressed comments that Sotomayor made in a 2001 speech at the University of California at Berkeley, in which she said, "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."

"She has said some things, hasn't she, that suggest, well, we need to pause here, hit the pause button, and let's explore this," he said. "She said what she said, and so that very much merits examination. She didn't say that in a judicial opinion, and that's very important. Let's see what she did in her judicial work, right? What was her formal work as opposed to what does she say in an important setting at Boalt Hall at Berkleley, University of California Berkeley, wherever she may have said this."

Asked by CNN to comment on Sotomayor's 2005 statement that the federal appellate courts, where she has served since 1998, is "where policy is made," Starr suggested that it is at times appropriate for judges to make policy.

"There are times when policy reasons are in fact informing the judicial process and openly so," he said, pointing to family law and to the issuing of injunctions as examples. "In that process in weighing the factors for an injunction, it is well settled that judges are in fact considering policy questions, overtly, with everyone smiling. Think about more daily administrations of the law. Family law issues. We want judges to be thinking about issues of policy and morality and so forth."

Starr served as U.S. Solicitor General under President George H.W. Bush and currently serves as the dean of Pepperdine University Law School.

Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Jim in Indinana

    Standing on principle rather than towing the republican political line. How dare he.

    June 19, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  2. VGal

    Let's face it. Republicans go against EVERYTHING Obama does. This is just one more "no" from the "Party of No". Not an original thought in ANY of Republicans heads.

    June 19, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  3. Mike O'Brien

    Now, there's a switch for ya ! Ken Starr backs a Democrat. Mike in Montana P.S.: I think I'll go for a beer. Thank you, Ken Starr.

    June 19, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. Ken

    Aw, how cute, there's always one that trots out the Second Amendment like it is Holy Scripture.
    Ed, I'll bet anything that you cannot quote the ENTIRE text of the Second Amendment to the Constitution without looking it up first.
    Sotomeyer had, as far as I can find, ten or twenty 2nd Amendment related cases out of the thousand she ruled on. There may be more, but that's all I found.

    So, Ed, shut up.

    June 19, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. LibertyQueen

    kww is right, Ken Starr is a closet fascist who locked up Susan McDougal for 18 months in prison for contempt of court because she refused to tell lies about the Clinton's...read her book, The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk. ken starr rational? Oh Please! Lock the jack-booted thug up!

    June 19, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  6. Sylvia

    There go Ken Starr's credentials with the Republicans, right under the bus. I'll never forget how much I loathed this man, but principles do sometimes make strange bedfellows. Look at the two attorneys who argued the 2000 presidential case before the Supreme Court banding together to do battle for same sex marriage rights.

    June 19, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  7. daniel

    Repubs are like Sauron in "The Lord of the Rings" and control of the Supreme Court is their ring of power. All of their will and malevolence is bent on achieving this one thing.

    June 19, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  8. I am The Great and Powerful Wizard of Rush

    So how long until Mr. Starr is looking at the underside of the Party of No's bus?

    June 19, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  9. Mick

    This is like Cheney supporting gun control! What's the catch, Starr? I have zero respect for you after the witch hunt of the Clintons that took away from our national defense priorities. When the people shouting the loudest for his resignation were actually HAVING affairs, some with men, how int he world did that even happen? Oh, yeah, Republicans can tell you about ethical behavior, just don't expect any of them to live it.

    June 19, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  10. Ally

    Who gives a crap about Starr, he's a spineless ninny....he's good for one thing, taking out his own garbage every morning...remember??!!!
    lol lol lol

    June 19, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  11. Tatianna

    Well dems, you attack reps who oppose Sotomayer appointment to the SC and at the same time you attack reps who support her appointment to the SC. You cant have it both ways. For the past eight years dems relentlessly called reps sheep and accused them of blindly following and rubber stamping President Bush. Now Obama is current occupant in the Oval Office, your doing the same thing which you criticized reps for. If a candidate promiser to change the tone, doesnt this give the opposition control over whether he keeps his promise, and therefore an incentivde to be disagreeable.

    June 20, 2009 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
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