The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Sessions Warns Against Sotomayor’s Vulnerability to the ‘Siren Call of Judicial Activism’

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has taken his case against Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor to the public, explaining why he plans to vote against a nominee

Katharine Tate
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Jul 27, 2009

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has taken his case against Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor to the public, explaining why he plans to vote against a nominee that even some in his own party are saying is among the most qualified candidates for the high court in decades.

Still, it’s not completely clear if he’s warning conservatives or liberals.

In an op-ed in USA Today, he writes that “supporters of liberal judicial philosophy might find [Sotomayor's confirmation] a Pyrrhic victory,” adding that “during three days of careful questioning, Judge Sotomayor renounced the pillars of activist thinking.”

So liberals may be disappointed.

But they’re not the only ones, warns Sessions. “Pledging ‘fidelity to the law’ and practicing judicial restraint are different things,” he writes. “Which Sotomayor will we get?”

Sessions cites Sotomayor’s decisions in three cases that Republicans hammered her on during the confirmation hearings: a property rights case case that allowed the government to take property from one developer and give it to another; her Ricci decision rejecting white firefighters’ claims of race discrimination; and her decision this year finding that the Second Amendment does not provide a “fundamental right” enforceable against the states. Sessions says that “each was contrary to the Constitution.”

Those decisions, and not the statements at her confirmation hearing, show her true colors, he argues.

“I don’t believe that Judge Sotomayor has the deep-rooted convictions necessary to resist the siren call of judicial activism. She has evoked its mantra too often. As someone who cares deeply about our great heritage of law, I must withhold my consent.”

Katharine Tate | I’m a native of Massachusetts, where I earned bachelor's degrees in Health: Science, Society, and Policy and Sculpture from Brandeis University. I enjoy assisting and inspiring women in all aspects of their lives, and I consider myself a partner in their OB an GYN treatment. I particularly enjoy forming relationships with young women and assisting them in determining their healthcare needs and goals. I love to travel, create metal and fiber art, cook, and spend time outside. Also, I’m fluent in both German and American Sign Language.


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