July 13th, 2009
11:10 AM ET
13 years ago

Hatch reminds committee of past Obama statements

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/13/art.hatch.gi.jpg caption="Hatch referenced statements from then-Sen. Obama about conservative judicial nominees."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch said Monday that he intends to evaluate Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination for the Supreme Court based in part on standards emphasized by President Barack Obama when Obama served in the U.S. Senate.

Speaking during the opening session of Sotomayor's confirmation hearing, Hatch specifically cited a speech Obama gave on the Senate floor in June, 2005, when the then-Illinois senator opposed President Bush's nomination of Judge Janice Rogers Brown to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Hatch quoted Obama as saying that "the test (of an effective judge) is whether he or she can effectively subordinate their views in order to decide each case on the facts and the merits alone. That is what keeps our judiciary independent in America."

Brown, a former justice on California's highest court, had been mentioned as a possible U.S. Supreme Court nominee during the Bush administration. A conservative African-American woman, Brown's nomination was opposed by many progressive and civil rights groups despite what many believed to be an extraordinary personal life story.

Obama eventually voted against Brown, though she was confirmed for the Court of Appeals' District of Columbia circuit.

A number of Sotomayor's supporters have cited her personal life story - and status as the first Hispanic nominee for the high court - in arguing for her confirmation.

- CNN's Bill Mears contributed to this report

Filed under: Orrin Hatch • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. lol

    Who would have thought that a "strong latino woman" could stir up the repulican ranks into such a lather?

    July 13, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. MN in VA

    sniffit – Based on reading several of your posts, "yammering" is what you excel at.

    Tell me why making a ruling based solely on the collor of the plaintiff's or defendant's skin color is not racist. Until you can convince me that that is not racism, I have no desire to waste anymore of my time "yammering" with you.

    July 13, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    @ Rick CT, who said "Go back and look at Leahy's (and other Dem's) performance when Bush put up nominations."

    Actually, Roberts and Alito had it pretty darn easy relative to most nimonees. Maybe you're the one who should brush up on the history books.

    That being said, anyone who claims the make-up of the SCOTUS shoudl be "representative" is an idiot. Read read read!!! Understand the nature of the judicial branch and the FACT that it is supposed to be insulated from political pressures and popular/majority opinions. I support Sotomayor for her education, training and qualifications...THAT'S IT AND THOSE ARE THE ONLY VALID ARGUMENTS. You may not realize it, but everyone blabbering about a "representative" SCOTUS does themselves and the cause a disservice. If what you want is equality and for people to be judged in an ethinicity- and color-blind manner, then YOU HAVE TO PLAY BY THAT RULE YOURSELF or you invite the other side to ignore it as much as you are.

    July 13, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. DLC

    It's also funny to me for some of the comment writers to say that they feel Obama is nominating people of color solely because they are people of color. Ironically, that's how "minorities" have felt about a lot of the issues for countless years. DUHH! That is why affirmative action became neccessary. Many people have been denied MANY rights and DESERVED and EARNED privileges based solely on just that, the color of their skin, disregarding their expertise, or qualifications, or skills. Sucks, doesn't it...feeling like you are being treated in the same manner in which you treat those in which you feel are LESS THAN YOU. This Republican party should then, I feel, remember THE GOLDEN RULE (DO UNTO OTHERS....)!!!! You never know when the tables may be turned.

    July 13, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. history repeats


    are you kidding? i love how republicans say that we look at obama like hes a messiah just because we like him alot more then we liked bush. you people LOVED bush and he made mistake after mistake and couldnt even talk in public!! the president you love couldnt even put a sentence together and you have the nerve to judge the way we like obama? churches were urging their "flock" to vote for bush to bring "god back to america". you people looked at bush as a messiah no matter how stupid the man was. you are such hypocrits its amazing! REALLY!!!

    July 13, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. GOP = Party of Hypocrisy

    Hatch disgraces himself with his pandering to the racist far-right fringe that controls the GOP. Of course Sotomayor will be confirmed because she is well qualified. Having an intelligent, extremely well qualified Latina judge who follows the law on the Supreme Court will be a great benefit for all Americans. Only the racists oppose her.

    July 13, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. MN in VA

    Marc @ 12:04 – the Judicial Branch was not created to represent the majority of Americans. That is what the Legislative and Executive Branches are for.

    July 13, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. GaryB

    Let's be clear about Judge Janice Rogers Brown. She was and remains an unapologetically partisan conservative. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and it does not mean that she is not a thoughtful or analytical judge. Her interpretation of the law, however, does tend to be colored by her own biases, particularly in terms of individual vs. corporate rights (she generally tends to side with corporations). There was legitimate concern that she could not separate her decisions from her political philosophy (which is a danger with all hyper-partisan judges from both the right and left). That's not a problem if you agree with her philosophy, but it is a problem if you claim to like your judges strict and impartial.

    July 13, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. Ken

    What I like about Hatch, and other lemming followers of America's righwing, like TCM and Doug, New Jersey, is their perserverance. One has to admire the remant thought processes they posess, despite having thier skulls breeched when the word s-t-u-p-i-d was branded on their foreheads.

    July 13, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. Proud Member..Party of No

    Keep lowering the bar, democrats. Your mission of turning us into a third-world country continues.

    July 13, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. c1delta

    the problem I see is we are loosing our free country. so many try to un do what a lot of us stood for. so we all will lose on this one

    July 13, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. Susan in NC

    Why must the proceedings be so hateful and mean-spirited? Frankly, I had to turn it off - the process is insulting to all involved and I'm amazed at the negativity. For or against her confirmation makes no difference - the process should be positive and respectful to all.

    July 13, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. ella

    The big picture – The Republican senators that have spoken already – All aged, caucasion males giving the same obviously bigoted argument against anything that is not like them, only to end their statement with praises for her.


    July 13, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    @ MN in VA, who said "Tell me why making a ruling based solely on the collor of the plaintiff's or defendant's skin color is not racist. "

    The problem here is that you and the rest of the people trying to make political hay with it start from a faulty premise. That is NOT what her decision in the New Haven case was based on. Read it. Nobody would disagree that making a decision based solely on race, etc., is wrong, but that's not at all what she and the other judges who made the decision did. Nor is it what the 4 SCOTUS justices who agreed with her did.

    Because you know nobody could rightfully say "yes, deciding solely based on race is ok" you invent that she did so. It's akin to the classic "have you stopped beating your wife?" game. No right answer once you've started from the premise that the guy was, at some point, presumed guilty of beating his wife.

    July 13, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. tedious898

    Doug Neuman (spelling?),

    Your posts are always intelligent; though often I disagree. Yes.....you are right...her ethnicity is of no consideration. Unfortunately your party makes race a issue in every part of the public debate. Remember the calls of "terrorist, lynch him" at the McCain/Palin rallies? Well, there is another side of America that should be represented...meaning Sotomayor is a very smart jurist and her accession to SCOTUS provides diversity. Sonya represents what's best about america...a minority can rise to the highest level of their profession / aspirations.

    July 13, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Leta

    Marc are you a McDougal your daddy got you riddin' my skirt again? It's alot different than it was in Lubbock ask John Cornyn and Hillary Clinton.....and you are no longer Mayor of that town...and why find another David Miller your's get into trouble......and how is your son since Grand Daddy sent him to Germany to avoid bad issues with in your reign.....?

    July 13, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. Expat American

    Given the racist tone adopted by the GOP during the last campaign and the bigoted rhetoric of the new party leader, Sarah Palin; to hear Republicans complain about racism is not unlike Nazi Collaborators complaining about being mistreated after Liberation.

    "Stop hitting us, we're human beings too..."

    July 13, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. DLC

    Sad! The opening statement's by many of the Republicans end it with "God Bless You." Give me a break!!! They really should quit bringing God into it after some of the crap they said. If they want to showcase their Christianity then maybe they should contemplate "WWJD?" For those of you who are unaware, that stands for WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? They can save it! I mean, C'MON!

    July 13, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. PFFT

    Actually, I couldn't stand Bush. But he was better than the other choice. Anything was better than what my choices were. But, you miss the point. There's an uproar over the fact that someone other than the great leader is using his words against him. That's my point. When people use Obama's words against HIM, they become wrong> Yet, when he used them in the first place, they were considered wonderful and revolutionary. Which is it? You can't say it's fair if it's only used against the other party.

    July 13, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. Maximus

    Selecting a juge is more like selecting a God, someone with no color, no race, no past sins, full of wisdom and courage, free of emotions; who cannot be intimidated and corrupted and whose decision cannot be appealed and reversed. We do not have such and individua alive today. If we are looking for someone to render justice, we are engaging in a wild goose chase on a bridge to nowhwere, for justice does not and cannot exist in this world. It is an illusion, a dream, or better yet a black flower. No matter whom we choose as judge, we are paying someone to do what is beyond his/her ability to fulfill. So what difference does it make whom we place as judge? It's like molding a statue as an idol like the indians did, and come kneel before it in quest for miracles, response to mysteries, solutions to problems. The Indian's were made of wood, stone or other material; and were free of speech and motion; ours are human, but both are incapable of serving the purpose they are chosen for.

    July 13, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. AlwaysThinking

    The Senators should be evaluating Sotomayor's record as a judge. She's got more experience on the bench than any other current Supreme Court judge, with 18 years of decisions to look at and evaluate.

    That will answer the question of whether she can set aside her personal views when deciding a case.

    July 13, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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