July 13th, 2009
11:15 AM ET
11 years ago

Kyl raises past Sotomayor statements

Kyl raised issues with past Sotomayor statements.

Kyl raised issues with past Sotomayor statements.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Arizona GOP Sen. Jon Kyl said Monday that while Judge Sonia Sotomayor's "background creates a prima facie case for confirmation," many of her past statements regarding the role of race and gender in judicial decision-making have raised serious questions about her suitability for the high court.

Among other things, Kyl cited Sotomayor's oft-cited comment that a wise Latina woman should be able to reach a better ruling than a white man.

Every person should have emphathy, Kyl also argued, but it is problematic when empathy becomes the key "ingredient" in reaching decisions.

Kyl also cited a comment once made by Sotomayor that U.S. courts need to take international law into account in certain instances or risk losing influence in the world.

"That's not a judge's concern," Kyl said.

Kyl made his remarks during the opening session of Sotomayor's Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

Filed under: Jon Kyl • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Stuffit

    Instead of giving rational answers or justification for her comments, seems like most on here just attack the messenger. Why?

    If Leahy would have asked this question, most of you would be saying, "He's so insightful and wants to get down to business and put this controversy to rest, once and for all."

    It's simply sad to see how the media and party affiliations have manipulated the logic module in a majority of American minds.

    July 13, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    As a former Army officer, it was my sworn duty to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. It was a duty that I proudly fulfilled. However, as an African American, I could also see the contradiction in that oath in that, when it was originally written, I was not truly included in all of the freedom and liberties detailed in the document. So, when I see Republicans trying to downplay empathy and say that judges need to be strict constitutionalist, I see the need for Sonia's confirmation not as an option but a vital necessity. The court needs to reflect the changes in our country in both idealogy and diversity.

    July 13, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. Kate in SW Fla

    Samuel Alito had both of his cases reversed. Sotomayor had 2 of 6. Get your facts right or butt out of conversation

    July 13, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. Fla.

    Sen. Kyl and too many of his Republican cohorts are unfortunately going to play the race card to appease their xenophobic base. Consequently, it will be to the GOP's own further demise amongst a diversifying electorate.

    Positive empathy should be shared by every person, including judges, but it is surely lacking in Kyl's misguided excuses to justify his pending Party of No.

    July 13, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. Xavier


    Sotomayor would never be nominated by republicans, namely because she isnt in the pocket of rich fat cats as most republicans tend to be.

    July 13, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. Tania

    Is there anyone out there whose background does not affect what s/he does and thinks? d'oh!

    Up to now she was not a Supreme Court judge. When she is affirmed, she will uphold the Constitution the way other Supremes have or have not.

    July 13, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. Xavier

    If anybody is racist it is republicans in their current form. I don't think much of any party that worships the ground pill popping Rush walks on.

    July 13, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. annie s

    Republican definition of racist: anyone who does not agree with their conservative viewpoints and anyone with the ability to think for themselves.

    July 13, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. Diane

    People, people, people – everyone just calm down. Everyone commenting on this story has said something that someone else might consider racist. Everyone in the world has said something that someone else considers racist. Just because someone thinks it is doesn't mean it is. Comments are taken subjectively by those that hear them.

    As to Justice Sotomayor, did she mean the "wise Latina" comment in a racist manner? I doubt it and before you ask, I am a "wise Anglo-Saxon woman". Justice Sotomayor has the qualificiations for the job – let her do it.

    As for empathy – every judge/justice should have it, but rule according to the law.

    July 13, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. WhoCares?

    Why do we have non-judges even confirming actual Judges?

    I am findng it ridiculous that these old non-judges are telling her (A JUDGE) what being a judge is all about.

    Why isn't there a panel of judges in charge of confirming her?

    Coukld you governm,ent system be any more inept.

    July 13, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. AlwaysThinking

    Scott, Tucson: Which "4 out of 6" decisions were overturned by the Supreme Court? How many decisions in total has Sotomayor made and how many of those were overturned and by which courts? How does her percentage of overturned cases compare to other judges at her level?

    Simply throwing out numbers (such as, 4 out of 5 guys named Scott from Tucson are idiots) is meaningless, unless you can back it up with FACTS.

    July 13, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. sammieb51

    I liked the comment I think Ginsberg made during her confirmation hearings when asked if the fact she was a woman would affect her decisions - she said doesn't the fact that you're a man affect the way you make decisions?

    More than a little unreal - we sit you stand - suddenly it matters if the washroom is really clean. Give me a break here GOP - the woman is more qualified than Roberts!!

    July 13, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. Kelby In Houston, TX

    Does anybody remember when "empathy" was a good thing?
    Does anybody remember when you would hope that a person would feel empathy for your situation? When empathy was something you looked for in a person as well as a judge.
    The meaning of the word "empathy" has been mutated by the people on the right, in much of the same way they made the word "liberal" and "socialist" into a bad word.
    They do this to a point where we liberal believe that you don't know the meaning/definition of these words. But the fact is conservatives change the meaning of these words to suite their needs and agenda.
    Either that or conservatives and Repuglicans are actually heartless

    July 13, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    What a crock. Tell us again about the pro-GOP judges that handed the 2000 election to Bush.

    July 13, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. Respect

    Mississippi Mike – so why do we have amendments to the constitution – if the primary role is to interpret it? Slavery & Womens rights and other amendments to the constitution because people showed empathy? WOW!

    July 13, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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