White House Distributes More Aggressive Talking Points on Sotomayor

June 8, 2009 at 7:51 am | Posted in Barack Obama, Republican Party, Supreme Court | Leave a comment
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The White House has privately released a list of more aggressive talking points on SCOTUS nominee Sonia Sotomayor in an effort to combat attacks from the right that she is a racist, activist judge.  Here are a few of the newest lines of counter attack, which hone in on the argument that, with regard to one of the most controversial cases involving race, Sotomayor actually displayed judicial restraint:

* Judge Sotomayor was one member of a three-judge Second Circuit panel that ruled in Ricci, the New Haven firefighters case.

* The decision is an excellent example of judicial restraint. Although the judges were very sympathetic to the firefighters discrimination claims, they found themselves bound by Second Circuit precedent and unanimously affirmed the lower court decision. That lower court decision said that a city may evaluate whether to retain an employment promotion test that would have allowed essentially no minority candidates to be promoted within the fire department….

* The panel decision has been criticized for not reaching out and deciding important constitutional questions, but this would have run contrary to the idea of judicial restraint because the outcome was controlled by federal statutory law and longstanding Second Circuit precedent. Those important constitutional questions are better left for the Supreme Court, which has taken the case…

* There has been an effort by some folks who wish to reignite the culture wars of the past to define this case as an affirmative action case. This is not a case about affirmative action—the City of New Haven had no relevant affirmative action plan in place—this was one of many employment discrimination cases under Title VII to come before the Second Circuit.

* Some people are trying to criticize Judge Sotomayor for being a judicial activist even as they criticize her for judicial restraint in Ricci. This demonstrates that they are grasping for attacks in the face of a strong nominee. They simply can’t have it both ways.


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