A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Senator Sessions opposes Sotomayor confirmation

[JURIST] Ranking Republican on the US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] Jeff Sessions (R-AL) [official website] opposed the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor [WH profile] on Monday, maintaining that she lacks "deep-rooted convictions" [USA Today editorial] needed to resist judicial activism. Although Sessions conceded that Sotomayor will likely be confirmed, he wrote that liberals "might find it a Pyrrhic victory." Referring to statements made by the nominee before the committee, Sessions claimed that she dismissed her prior statements about the role that personal experience plays in judicial decision-making in an attempt to "rebrand" her previously stated approach. Sessions questioned her testimony, saying:

Why not defend the philosophy she had articulated so carefully over the years? Because the American people overwhelmingly reject the notion that unelected judges should set policy or allow their social, moral, or political views to influence the outcome of cases. Rather, the public wants and expects restrained courts, tethered to the Constitution, and judges who impartially apply the law to the facts. In the end, her testimony served as a repudiation of judicial activism.

Sessions criticized Sotomayor's stance on employment discrimination, eminent domain, and the incorporation of the Second Amendment, saying that her decisions on these issues were "contrary to the Constitution," and "short on analysis."

Sotomayor's confirmation hearing took place earlier this month. Last week, the committee delayed a vote to send her nomination for consideration by the full Senate, rescheduling for July 28. Earlier this month, the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary [association website] gave Sotomayor a unanimous "well-qualified" rating [letter, PDF; JURIST report]. In May, Sessions said that he did not anticipate a filibuster [JURIST report] against Sotomayor's nomination. Obama nominated Sotomayor in May to replace retiring [JURIST reports] Justice David Souter [official profile, PDF; JURIST news archive].

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.