"He has to explain what he meant"
9:38 AM, Jul 15, 2009 • By TERRY EASTLAND
The most notable development in the Sotomayor hearings yesterday was her rejection of her sponsor's approach to judging. President Obama has made clear over the years that the rule of law, or legal process, is not enough to decide a small percentage of cases, and that in those cases judges have to consult inside themselves, in their hearts, to determine the outcomes.
Yesterday, before she was questioned by Senator John Kyl of Arizona, Judge Sotomayor more or less had indicated that as a judge she found the law sufficient in all cases. It was, in effect, a repudiation of Obama's jurisprudence of empathy. Kyl made sure that he had heard Sotomayor right by pointedly asking her whether she agreed with the president's view of the necessity, in deciding some cases, of repairing to "what's in the judge's heart"? Her answer:
It's no wonder that Sen. Lindsey Graham thought he'd been listening to John Roberts, whose rejection of empathy jurisprudence is, of course, what led Senator Barack Obama to vote against his nomination.
Democrats are at risk in losing the debate over judicial philosophy. Have, overnight, Sotomayor's White House handlers decided she should qualify her anti-heart, pro-rule-of-law position? Would she dare try to do that today? Who is the real Judge Sotomayor?