Senate Democrats

Sotomayor: Independent Studies Confirm Qualifications And Commitment To Law

Independent Studies of Judge Sotomayor’s Record Confirm Her Extraordinary Qualifications and Commitment to the Law

RHETORIC:  Today, Senator Cornyn suggested that Judge Sotomayor’s speeches show she may be an ideological judge, may seek to change the law, or may decide cases other than on the facts and the law.

JUDGE SOTOMAYOR repeatedly made clear that she decides cases based on the law, as indicated by her record.  She stated yesterday, “My record shows that at no point or time have I ever permitted my personal views or sympathies to influence an outcome of a case. In every case where I have identified a sympathy, I have articulated it and explained to the litigant why the law requires a different result.”
Many independent studies make clear that, as a judge, she fairly applies law to the facts before her.

The American Bar Association unanimously gave Judge Sotomayor its highest rating.

REALITY:  The American Bar Association unanimously found Sotomayor to be “well qualified” – this is the highest rating the ABA gives to judicial nominees.  The ABA’s rating is based on confidential interviews of large numbers of judges and litigants who have worked with her or appeared before her and includes a thorough evaluation of her integrity, professional competence, and judicial temperament.
The Congressional Research Service found that Judge Sotomayor is committed to precedent.

REALITY:  The Congressional Research Service (CRS) conducted an analysis of Sotomayor’s opinions, concluding:  “Perhaps the most consistent characteristic of Judge Sotomayor’s approach as an appellate judge has been an adherence to the doctrine of stare decisis (i.e., the upholding of past judicial precedents). . . . Other characteristics appear to include what many would describe as a careful application of particular facts at issue in a case and a dislike for situations in which the court might be seen as overstepping its judicial role.”

The Brennan Center found her constitutional decisions to be “solidly in the mainstream.”

REALITY:  The non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice reviewed all of Judge Sotomayor’s constitutional law decisions and concluded:  “Based on this exhaustive review, the conclusion is unmistakable: in constitutional cases, Judge Sotomayor is solidly in the mainstream of the Second Circuit. After we analyzed every constitutional case in the Second Circuit over the past decade, what was striking was the degree of unanimity and consensus on a court roughly evenly split between Democratic appointees and Republican appointees.”

An analysis of Judge Sotomayor’s criminal record demonstrates a commitment to the rule of law.
REALITY:  A comprehensive study of more than 800 of Judge Sotomayor’s criminal appellate decisions, by the Majority Staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee, found her to be a traditional, consensus judge on criminal justice issues.  The study found that “Judge Sotomayor sat with Republican-appointed judges on more than 400 criminal cases as an appellate judge, considering the same arguments and evidence.  She agreed with all Republican-appointed judges in the same case 97 percent of the time; she agreed with at least one Republican-appointed judge in the same case 99 percent of the time.”
The New York City Bar Association found Judge Sotomayor to be “highly qualified.”

REALITY:  The New York City Bar Association, representing the jurisdiction where she has practiced and presided, did a thorough review of Judge Sotomayor background and qualifications concluding: “. . . Judge Sotomayor is extremely well-credentialed to serve on our highest court; [] she possesses a formidable intellect and a mature legal mind open to the arguments of others; [] she is careful about deciding each case based on the precise facts and legal issues before her; [] she understands the human dimensions to her cases, but is also faithful in following the law as it exists; and [] she has a healthy respect for the limited role of judges and the balance of powers with the executive and legislative branches.”