Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sotomayor Hearings Day One: The Contradictory Demands Made by Senator Hatch

1. "Judge Sotomayor, you are nominated to the highest court of the land which has the final say on the law."

2. "Our democratic system of government demands that judges not take on the role of policy makers. That's a role properly reserved to legislators who can be voted out of office if people don't like what they legislate, unlike judges not being voted out of office." Senator Hatch

So, how does a justice not "make policy" if he or she has "the final say on the law?" If the Supreme Court has the right to overturn laws it deems unconstitutional because they infringe upon an individual right which we all have, is it not engaging in a "the role of policy makers" and if in fact it deems a law some believe to be unjust constitutional is it not acting in the capacity of a policy maker?

3. "So it's incredibly important that we get it right and confirm the right kind of person for the Supreme Court. Supreme Court nominees should respect the constitutional separation of powers. They should understand that the touch-stone of being a good judge is the exercise of judicial restraint. Good judges understand that their job is not to impose their own personal opinions of right and wrong. They know their job is to say what the law is rather than what they personally think that it ought to be. Good judges understand that they must meticulously apply the law and the Constitution even if the results they reach are unpopular. Good judges know that the Constitution and law constrains judges every bit as much as they constrain legislators, executives, and our whole citizenry."

If it was as simple as saying "what the law is" then we'd have no need for the three-level court system (District Court, Appeals Court, and Supreme Court) nor would we need a panel of justices.

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