Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sonia Sotomayer: Postergirl for the Leftist Elites

Directly before our eyes is a perfect example of how democracy is being eroded by the elites of our society. Drip-drip-drip, it is happening slowly but it is happening nonetheless.

Sonia Sotomayor is Barack Obama's first nomination for a Supreme Court Judge. If she gets the job, and there's every indication she will, she will have the job for life. In many ways that makes sense, as such judges should not be affected by political influence.

What does not make sense though and is, in fact, the antithesis of the spirit of the democracy itself, is Sotomayer's view of what a judge's job is. As this article clearly illustrates, she absolutely believes that it's a judge's right and even duty to make policy, even if that policy conflicts with the will of the politicians who were elected by the people; unlike her.

The Radical Left love judges like her because they know that only through them can they get their unpopular policies foisted on the majority of the citizenry, who disagree with them.

I know all of the Left Wing claptrap to explain why giving judges the power to make policy is the best course of action for society. It's absolute bunk. The same disastrous thing has occurred here in Canada. The result is that politicians are often afraid to effect any new policy for fear that such policy will be overturned and their political careers damaged in the process. So effectively, it's unelected judges who ultimately rule over us.

Lest we forget, judges are not God. Their decisions are often not based on wisdom but simply on their own political views. Politicians in a democracy can be removed by the people at the ballot box. Supreme Court judges cannot. That is why it is absolutely critical for them to never be able to make public policy.

The video below is of a judge long ago named Roland Freisler. I am not making any comparison between him and Ms. Sotomayer. But is critically important to be aware of how out of control a judge can get. We all have to accept the inherent paradox of our system: in order for a Supreme Court Judge to not be affected by political influence their decisions have to be paramount and their job tenure has to be guaranteed. Fine. But allowing the scope of their job to go beyond ruling on existing laws is very, very dangerous.

Update #1: For anyone who still believes that judges have a greater wisdom than us "mere mortals", I strongly encourage you to read about the Dred Scott decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. And if you think that is the only time that judges have made bad decisions, you are in severe denial!

On SDA I received a fascinating comment about what I've written:

Robert W - yes, an unelected, which is to say, unaccountable authority, is the antithesis of a democratic state.

The democratic state operates by and only by, the will of the people. This Will is not utopian, which is to say, it does not function within a belief that society can attain a state of perfection, whose attributes are accessible and knowable only to an elite or distinctive Set of people.

This Will is, instead, a perception that societies are piecemeal processes, whose rules must be answerable to the diverse and flexible needs of the people. The laws must therefore be answerable to and made by the people. That is why the Legislature must make the laws. Because the Legislature represents the people; they are elected.

The Courts have a different role; they must ensure that the legislated laws developed by the people fit with the long term structure of the society, as outlined in the Constitution.

For an unelected judge to move into judiciary activism is a violation of democracy because it denies this basic Will of the People. Instead, such a perspective operates within a sense of 'hubris', arrogance, elitism, a sense that the Judge has some special innate attribute of wisdom, lacking in The People that gives the judge alone direct access to Wisdom.

Note that this perspective assumes that there is One Truth, an Essential Truth, and this moves the society into a utopian notion of ultimate purity - as found in communism and fascism or any fundamentalist sect.

Ms Sotemayer is clearly an elitist; she assumes that her genetic identity as a woman, as Hispanic, affects her capacity to reason, and gives her unique and special access to Ultimate Truth. Such a view of cognition is invalid, and such a view of society is the antithesis of democracy.

Posted by: ET at May 28, 2009 10:33 PM

Update #2: Rex Murphy shares his thoughts.

Update #3: Mark Steyn shares his thoughts:

Re: Empathy vs Activism
[Mark Steyn]

Jonah, that's a very good point. "Empathy" seems to me to be defining activism down. I can't say I care for it, but at least "activism" requires a certain art — the ability to detect in 18th-century parchments that a bunch of guys in powdered wigs had cannily provided for partial-birth abortion or gay marriage or whatever. By contrast, "empathy" absolves you of the need to bother with any pretzel-like argument and lets you simply announce your bias, as Judge Sotomayor did in the Ricci case, like the schoolkid who knows the right answer but can't work out how to get to it.

Justice Sotomayor will not be good news for the United States constitution.

05/27 10:24 AM

The Limits of Sotomayorian Empathy [Mark Steyn]

I was interested to see that Sonia Sotomayor was the judge in the New York Times v. Tasini case, a case close to my heart. The authors of various freelance contributions to the Times sued over the paper's subsequent licensing of their writing to electronic databases that then re-sold the pieces to customers for $3.95 per. It was a fairly obvious breach of the 1976 Copyright Act, as well as of the more basic principle that rights not specifically assigned remain with the owner.

Judge Sotomayor cheerfully sided with the Times, a ruling that (as appears to be not uncommon with this jurist) was subsequently overturned at the Supreme Court — 7-2 (with David Souter being among the seven). Despite being a "wise Latina" enjoying all the benefits of "the richness of her experiences," she was sadly unable to empathize with the impoverished writers in their garrets eking out a thin crust from their freelance contributions to the appallingly low-paying Sulzberger GloboCorp Inc.

As I learned during my battles with Canada's "human rights" commissions, almost all "diversity" issues have a "property rights" component. I don't think Justice Sotomayor will be any great friend of the latter. And, alas, there will now be no David Souter to overturn her decisions.

05/27 09:20 AM

1 comment:

David in North Burnaby BC said...

An outstanding piece, thanks for sharing it, Robert. Really gets to the meat of the matter.